Tomorrow is the 14th birthday of the little baby boy in the picture. My middle son Johnny is in 8th grade now. His major growth spurt hasn’t happened yet, but he is very proud of his early onset facial hair (nice mustache!). He likes drawing, art, and video games. His favorite movie is “Spaceballs” by Mel Brooks. He likes listening to his iPod which is chock full of the Beatles, Bryan Adams, AC/DC, Green Day, and Air. He has a horse-shoe like ability to make the Cubs win dramatic games he attends (he’s available, Cubs, if you want to hire him to attend all of your games). And he has a sensitive soul, full of empathy for everyone except his little brother.
I hope you’ll indulge me again. I do this every year on this blog. The following is the story of Johnny’s birth on March 12, 1998…
The headline on the Chicago Sun Times front page: “Cicero deal halts Rally by Klan”
The headline on the Chicago Tribune front page: “Clinton plans to join Ulster peace talks”
The headline on the Daily Herald front page: “Clinton refuses to say whether he will testify to grand jury”
The headline on the New York Times front page: “The World of Paula Jones”
But the biggest story was happening in the suburbs, and only one reporter was on hand to break the story….Me. I called into the John Landecker show that morning to report the news flash. The cast of characters included John Landecker, sidekick Catherine Johns, and newsman Richard Cantu.
The following is a transcript of that important phone call.
John: Oldies 104.3, John Records Landecker, it’s 8:27, and joining us on the phone from the maternity ward is the producer of the program, Rick the German Boy Kaempfer. Good morning, Rick.
Rick: Good morning.
John: Rick, tell us what’s going on.
Rick: Well as long as we’re plugging our kids (John had just plugged his daughter’s play), I’ve got a new one to plug.
Rick: Last night around eleven thirty Bridget’s water broke and we didn’t even have time to make it to the hospital downtown, so we went to the one out here.
Catherine: Oh, is that right?
Rick: And we have a new baby boy!
(Cheering and clapping in the studio)
Richard: Whoo Hooo! Congratulations. Two knucklehead boys!
Rick: And it’s a big one too.
Catherine: How big?
Rick: 8 pounds, 6 ounces.
Catherine: That is pretty big. How’s Bridget doing?
Rick: She’s doing real well. I’m at home now. I came home to check on Tommy…
John: Wait a doggone minute! You went home to check on your other child before you called the show? Where are your priorities?
Rick: Sorry, forgive me. I’m hopelessly out of whack.
John: OK, 8 pounds. How long was it?
Rick: 21 inches…if you know what I’m saying.
Catherine: We know what you’re saying.
John: No, how long was the baby?
Rick: Oh, the baby?
Richard: Once more into the gutter.
John: So what time was this kid born?
Rick: Two o’clock in the morning. They kicked me out of the hospital at 4:00, because Bridget has to share a room, and I came home and got a little sleep, and Tommy just woke me up, so I’m calling you right away.
John: So you’ve called all your family I hope.
Rick: Bridget called them.
John: But she had the baby.
Rick: Yeah, she had the baby in about two hours. It wasn’t that bad, although that’s easy for me to say. She was fine, what a trooper.
Catherine: And she wanted to chat, right?
Catherine: Now I want to know something. Does this child have a name?
Rick: Oh yes he does. His name is John Richard Kaempfer.
Richard: You honor us, Sir.
John: Was he named after anyone?
Rick: Well, my favorite Beatle is John.
John: John Lennon.
Rick: And of course, my favorite DJ….
Rick: Yup. John Brandmeier.
John: OK, you got me.
(Call waiting clicks)
Rick: And actually John is also a name in Bridget’s family. Her grandfather was named John. And so is her brother.
(Call waiting clicks again)
John: I see you got baby waiting there.
Rick: Yeah, I think I may be popular today.
John: Well, we’ll let you go. Congratulations on the big news! So you’ll be back to work tomorrow, right?
John: Just kidding, just kidding.
Rick: See you later.
John: There he goes. Proud papa.
John: Oh wait! Darnit! I forgot to ask him if he taped it.
Richard: Are you kidding? Of course he did.
John: Because if there was ever a disc jockey who knows how to exploit a child, it’s….
2 year old Tommy Kaempfer singing the jingle: John Records Landecker, Oldies 104.3.
Of course, I did tape it, by the way. It aired the next day. Friday the 13th.
14 years ago.
Happy birthday Johnny!