The Funny Biography of Vincent Flanders

A picture of Vincent Flanders at approximately 10 years of age

An animated GIF of this picture (I think it's funny.)

My mother kept little notes about important and funny events in my life and all the clever things I said. Years later, my father typed up my notes and notes about my sister, made two booklets, and gave them to my mother as a gift.

The bio starts, logically, at birth and goes up to to age 6 1/2. I originally thought there was something symbolic about why mom stopped keeping notes when she did. My sister told me I was right -- she stopped taking notes after my First Communion -- the photo to the right is from that event.

Events that I thought were amusing or sweet are highlighted in yellow.

The (Early) Life and Times of Vincent Flanders

October 2, 1954

Born at St. Vincent Hospital (symbolic, isn't it? -- vf) 10:26 p.m. CST, Indianapolis, Indiana. The doctor was Gerald W. Gustafson and the nurses were Beckman and Junken. Weighed 6 lb. 13 oz. and was 19 inches tall.

This entry was found in one of those "Memories" notebooks:

You were 30 minutes into this wonderful world when your dad took one look at you and swelled up his chest. Your mother had to wait another 15 hours before she could first hold you in her arms. Susie Brown (Mrs. W9IV) was your only other visitor at the hospital.

October 8

Came home from the hospital in a Moore-Kirk ambulance. Your first visitor was Mrs. Bowman and the second was Mrs. Nelms.

Lists of presents you received:

  • Blue and white crocheted outfit from Mrs. Maloy (including a shawl).
  • A white outfit and and a little white helmet from Aunt Phyllis Ann.
  • A yellow suit and two pairs of pants from Aunt Frances (both of these aunts are maternal)
  • A pair of blue and white boots from Mrs. Lovell.
  • A blue and white suit from Nancy Flanders.
  • A white and green suit and white anklets from Grace Bush.
  • All blue suit from Bill Moore.
  • A second pair of shoes was received from the Fortezzos (white with red rose buds on them).
  • A duck from Fred Brown.
  • A comforter from Mrs. Ball.
  • A pink blanket from Great Aunt Mildred McFadden.
  • A pink and blue blanket from Margaret Jarvis.
  • Pink, white and blue gown from Judy Thomas.
  • White shawl with pink rosettes from the girls at Eli Lilly.
  • Quilt with white background from Mary Sum.
  • Gown from Mrs. Winenow.
  • Pair of long trousers from Aunt Ann and Uncle Eugene

(Note from a diary my father wrote in) We got better acquainted today because I got to hold you while the nurses readied your mother for the trip home. The first thing you did was to holler loud and long. The way you echoed up and down the hallways caused me to be a bit embarrassed.

While you and your mother went home in the ambulance, I drove home ahead to be sure to get some pictures of your arrival. We can't see much of you in the pictures for, although it was a lovely fall day, we had to protect you from the cool air. Welcome home to 2837 State Street, Indianapolis, Indiana at 1:45 CST.

October 10 You first smiled for aunts, uncles, and grandfather (mother's side) of the family.
3 weeks Had Homocebrin and Kaopectate.
4 weeks Weighed 9 lbs. 5 oz. and was 22 inches tall.
November 13 Baptized at St. Francis de Sales by Father Paul Utz. Godparents were Grandma Anna and Uncle Kermit. You made faces when the salt was put in your mouth but slept through it all when the water was poured over your head. Also in attendance was Mrs. Ray Ball.
November 7

Made your first visit to Judy Thomas. Second visit was to Mr. & Mrs. John Guion and their son Doug. You set a precedent by sleeping the whole time. Third trip was to see your grandparents (50-mile trip).

8 weeks You noticed your hands for the first time (It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. -- vf) You weighed 12 lbs. 10 oz.
9 weeks We think you recognize your parents.
10 weeks You recognized your parents. You weighed 13 lbs. 10 oz.
December 18 Ate your first Pablum cereal.
December 24 You started reaching for the first time. You reached for a blue teddy bear.
December 25

Your first Christmas. You received:

  • Yellow suit from Joyce Nelms.
  • Blue and white teddy bear from Mrs. Bowman.
  • Grey, white and red donkey from Mrs. Ball. She also gave you a rattle and rubber dog.
  • Pink doll from Great Grandma Waples.
  • Fish, plastic ball, spoon and fork, and drum from mom and dad.
  • Mickey mouse toy from Aunt Nancy.
  • A rattle (dumbbell) from Aunt Phyllis Ann.
  • Telephone rattle from Aunt Frances.
  • $2 from Aunt Mary Jane, $3 from Uncle Kermit, $5 from Grandma Anna.
  • An engraved silver cup and little yellow corrigan sweater from Grandma Flanders.
3 months

You were afraid of strangers. Also tried to sit alone. You wanted to be held up perfectly straight.

You weighed 15 lbs. 12 oz. and were 24 inches tall.

You're a veteran with playing with your hands. You found your feet on your 3rd month birthday. Wiggled your toes and stared at them.

January 13, 1955 Your first fruit was crushed banana. You weighed 16lb 6oz.
February 1 You rode in a carseat.
4 months

You sat alone for about 30 minutes until you got tired. You got your toe in your mouth (not the last time my foot has gone in my mouth -- vf).

You weighed 17 lbs. 8 oz. and were 26 inches tall.

February 12 You rode in a baby buggy. You were busy turning your head watching all the people.
February 18 You are sitting alone very well. Started playing in your playpen.
February 19 You wore your first pair of leather shoes. They had soft soles.
February 24 You had carrots and did not like them.
March 19 You got your first shot from the doctor and you had chicken soup. you acted like a little man when you got the shot. You had your first taste of meat -- some bacon with vegetables. You weighed 18 lbs. 15 oz. (at 5 months).
March 31 You wore your first pair of long pants. They were blue.
April 1 You got a blue and white t-shirt to go with your long pants. All you want to do anymore is go outside. You weighed 20 lbs. 8 oz. (at 6 months) and were 27 1/2 inches tall.
April 8 Cut your first tooth. Cut your second on April 9. You also got your first pair of hard-sole shoes.
April 14 Had your first Jello -- lemon. Since then, you'll hardly eat your baby food.
April 16 You had your second shot and again acted like a little man. You also got your first pair of shoes which have harder soles. You are beginning to look like a little man. You are growing too fast.
April 17 You first stood. You pulled yourself up and stood all by yourself.
April 18 You had ice cream for the first time and liked it. You also pulled up by yourself for the first time.
April 19 You got a high chair.
April 20 Tasted mashed potatoes for the first time and liked them. You also mooched your first cookie (butterscotch) from the lady at Feed-Ja-Well cafeteria. You liked it and you smiled at the lady who gave it to you.
May 11 You were weaned! ("Poor Kid" was a parenthetical comment). You weighed 21 lbs. 3 oz. (at 7months).
May 13 Sick for the first time -- you had a sore throat and went to see Dr. Atho.
May 15 You learned to get up by yourself so you no longer have to crawl to a chair. You love milk shakes.
May 17 Had diarrhea from the infection.
May 18 Cut first upper tooth. Cut another one on May 23.
Easter Received two small and one large Easter baskets. A white basket with a chicken in it from Mrs. Bowman. In the Filipino basket, there was a chocolate bunny and eggs. Aunt Phil Ann sent a plastic egg with a bunny in it.
8 1/2 months You were able to walk alone from chair to chair, but you scooted to a chair to pull yourself up. You didn't walk long distances until 9 months. You weighed 22 lbs. 3 oz (at 8 months).
June 2 First word was, "Daddy."
June 5 Started saying "Hi" and "Hi daddy."
June 12 First sentence was "I'll get you." and you have used it regularly ever since.
June 23 You first walked all by yourself. Your mother stood you in the middle of the floor and you navigated very nicely to the davenport and when your daddy came home that evening you wore yourself out walking from one to the other.
July 15 Started saying, "Good." You weighed 24 lbs. 6 oz. (at 9 months) and were 30 inches tall.
July 6 You cut your upper right tooth. Cut another one on July 20.
July 22 You started saying "Hot."
July 30 Started saying "Thank you." When you don't want any more you will say, "All gone."
9 1/2 months You can walk wherever you please.
August 8 You cut your lower left tooth. This makes seven teeth now. When you don't want any more milk you will say, "All gone."
10 months

You have a vocabulary of 10 words -- hi, daddy, good, hot, I get it, thank you, and momma. Soon you added "dog." I told you the milk was "hot" and you said, "good." I repeated "hot" and you repeated, "good."

You're saying "all gone" a lot now.

You weighed 25 lbs. and were 30 1/2 inches tall.

10 1/2 months

You leaned over and picked up a spoon -- forgetting to scoot to a chair or other stationary object and continued to do so from that time on.

You clap to music and continually say, "I'll getcha."

We think you're mighty cute when you hug and kiss us. You are always wanting to be loved.

11 months You weighed 26 lbs. 2 oz.
September 8 Cut another lower tooth.
September 16 Vaccinated.
October 2

Burned finger on birthday candle. You got $3, a car, a top, a rocking chair, a pretty toy, two balls, a pair of corduroy pants, a brown and yellow t-shirt with "Sheriff" on it, a wind-up doggie, and a book.

You weighed 26 lbs. 8 oz.

October 13 Your great-grandmother (Maw) Overbay died. You went to Washington, Indiana for the funeral. You stayed away from home for the first time at Mrs. Ellis' (October 16).
October 19 Started saying "Bob" (my father's name -- vf), "clock," and many other new words too numerous to relate.
October 20

Your second night away was at Grandma Anna's. You wowed them all by going round and round in circles.

13 months You cry when the TV goes off the air and say, "No, no." We have to turn it off as soon as they play the sign-off (the National Anthem) to keep you from getting upset.
November 11 Cut two upper teeth. Cut a lower tooth on November 18 and another lower tooth on November 20.
Christmas 1955 You received a lot of presents that are not in our photo collection. On the Wednesday after Christmas you got ill and we had to have the doctor come to the house. Every time you threw up you would say, "broke." It took you about a week to fully recover.
January 1956 Cut your other four teeth.
15 months Got your first haircut. You can tell me about everything in four books.
16 months

You were climbing around and I found you in the middle of the kitchen table playing in the butter. You would show me where to get the wax paper when I was fixing your dad's lunch

17 months Can count to 10. You can recognize even the small "abc's" on your blocks. You are really cute.

You dance and sing the TV commercials a lot.

We got a new car -- a Buick -- and you call it "brick" and connect it with daddy going to work.

18 months

Talking constantly. You know all the gasoline, cigarette, and beer labels at the store and on TV. You say, "coat, hat, go bye bye in car." You know a lot of words, but leave out a lot of prepositions. It's our fault for talking that way to you.

You tried to tell your cousin Steven "bye-bye...go home" when he was swinging in your swing.

You traded Mr. Bowman some rocks for some of his roses.

You put the knives and forks away in the right places. You know where practically everything in the house belongs.

You were 35 inches tall and weigh 30 pounds -- what a big boy, sassy but sweet.

You have a tricycle and nice red wagon in which you play.

You can count to 10. When I spank your hand you tell me that you are "really tough." You fall down and bruise yourself and never whimper. You love to go to the park.

19 months.

You love to play outside and go to the park. It's wonderful to see you so happy, but you play until you're worn out.

They had baseball on TV and you would put out your hand and say, "real close" when the baseball games come on TV. That is what you say to us when you want us to throw the ball to you.

20 months You know about two lines from about ten songs and can carry a tune quite well.
May 20

You got your first pair of Oxford shoes. You surely are proud of them.

You have a swing in the back yard and a sandbox which you like very much.

You recognize the Gulf gas signs along the highway and say "Go Gulf."

You recognize most of the commercials on TV.

July 3 Mom was away from you all night for the first time (in the hospital getting ready to give birth to your sister).
July 4 Went to Little America park and went on the rides, which you really enjoyed, and watched the fireworks on TV.
July 5 You got a baby sister.
22 months You are continually trying to hug and kiss your baby sister. You're able to say about anything you try.


23 months

You said, "Coke, a man's beer." as you drank a Pepsi! You had heard that on TV for Bavarian's Beer.

You climb and get into everything an play in the water and turn on the faucets and lights.

You enjoy receiving new clothes and want to wear them right away. You weigh 34 pounds.

2 years

You're 35 1/2 inches tall and weigh 35 pounds.

You're talking much better in long sentences. You know your TV commercials land are quite a "commercial kid."

December 15

You took your first trolley ride to go see Santa Claus at the L.S. Ayres department store. You sat on his lap but you would not talk to him. You were beginning to make up to him just before you left.

You really enjoyed the toys and you were very good.

You slept all the way home on the trolley, went to bed at 8:00 p.m. and slept all night.

You're looking forward to Santa coming.

Christmas 1956 You had a nice Christmas with a lot of gifts that you really enjoyed. You got a truck, several cars, a scooter, book, 2 tinker toys and a lot of other gifts.
January 1957

You are really using long sentences.

You love to go to the Kroger grocery store.

You know the names of all the programs on TV and their sponsors.

You love trying to dance.

You surely are a good little boy and we love you so very much.

February 1957

Your sister was hurt and I said she might get killed. You said, "If she is broken, I'll have to get the glue."

You told me I was so mean because I wouldn't let you walk in the bathroom while I was mopping.

You told your sister "Go to's three o'clock...don't jabber."

You said "poor guy got killed and shot." You say so many cute things and we think you are plenty sweet as well as cute.

You love the Star Spangled Banner and you always mention (as it's sung during sign-off) that the "guy has a dirty hat."

You love TV and you know about all of the companies.

We love you so much. You'll soon see your third Easter.

March 1957 Right now you're plenty ornery. You still attempt to write on everything, but we love you very much and you do a lot of cute things.
June 1957

My, how large you are and so grown up.

You keep increasing your vocabulary but you are picking up some smart stuff from the boy next door. Oh, well. You're sweet and you'll get over it.

You know quite a lot of songs and you sang "Happy Birthday" to me on my birthday. I sure do hate to see you growing up. Time goes sooo fast.

September 7

You cut your head on the bathtub and had to have stitches put in at St. Vincent's hospital. It really frightened me!

You're so grown up. We bought you a car and told you it was for your birthday. You asked, "Where's the cake?" I got a cake from Omars to try it and when you saw it you said, "Oh, it's October. A happy birthday cake for me."

Christmas 1957

You were 42 inches tall and weighed 40 pounds.

You say your prayers really well every night and brush your teeth.

You're sweet and also bad and we love you. And it makes me feel sorta sad as you keep getting older. You're getting to be a big boy. You undress yourself alone and partially dress yourself.

You still call daylight "sunbright" and we never change you because we thought it was cute. You had me sit in the dark at home as you pretended you made pictures (developing photos).

You copy your daddy and you want to help us do everything.

You love cakes and pretend you're having a party.

You sure have a good memory for things that happened some time ago.

You love your sister and resent it whenever I spank her.

January 1958 You had to get five teeth fixed. You were very good about it.
February 1958

We bought you a new tricycle. It's a nice large one and you were really pleased.

We got you a shirt with a bowtie and you were really thrilled with it. You say it looks just like Garry Moore's.

You still like TV and pretend you're an announcer.

You and your sister have a good time. You're growing so tall.

You like to go play with your cousins Steve and Philip. You love to go shopping at L.S. Ayres.

March 17 You and your sister went out of state for the first time, to Cincinnati.

You told us you wanted to go to the Easter Parade in Cincinnati. We took you uptown in Indianapolis. That night when the parade was on TV I heard you say, "They took me to Indianapolis...what a dirty trick!"

You asked me about my bedspreads and then said, "What's the matter? Are your quilts dirty?"

April 1958

You're 3 1/2. Your dad went to smack you for being bad but you stopped him when you said, "When mommy was a kid I'll bet she did that."

You're crazy about the Red Cross commercials and turn the vacuum cleaner upside down to pretend you're giving me blood. You are always asking me what department it is (Health).

May 22 You first roller skated. All the kids had skates so we bought you some. We stayed up until 2:30 in the morning so you could practice when Daddy came home from work.
Summer 1958 I bought you some candy cigarettes and you threw away a piece of one. I told you I wouldn't buy any more if you threw them away. You said, "Mommy, you're supposed to. Everyone does that."
July 5

You were disappointed that your sister got to blow out the candles on her birthday cake.

You play and share very well with other children.

You look after your sister very well.

You wanted a chain truck (wrecker).

July 12 Took your first ride in a street car.
July 13 Went to Noblesville on a picnic. You enjoyed the rides, but didn't eat a thing.
July 20

We took you to church for the second time. You got along very well.

The next time we took you was July 27 and you shot at the people with your gun as they were going down the aisle. You quit shooting when told to do so.

October 1958 At age 4 you are 4'4" and weigh 43 pounds. You still love your birthday cake. You got a road grader and some building blocks.
November 1958 You're getting to be quite a boxer and you say you want boxing gloves, baseball mitt, a football, shoes, a basketball and hoop, an electric train, and doctor set -- and heaven knows what else.
December 1958

You told everyone on the bus about everything for which we ever corrected you.

You still want an electric train and doctor set for Christmas.

You found your football hidden in the closet and you told your dad, "I bet you're happy I found that. YOU might not have found it."

You also said "I have an electric train in the closet in a big, tall, brown box." We'd like to know how you can tell.

You said you wanted the doctor set because you wanted to be Dr. Rosenbaum. You said the doll had a fever and that you'd have to stick a needle in its fanny.

You were on the floor and when I asked you to get up you said, "I can't. I have had a heart attack."

February 1959

You wanted to go to work with your dad. I told you that you had to wait until you get a little bigger. You said, "I'm King size now and she (my sister -- vf) is Regular size."

I broke a yardstick on you and you said, "Break a couple more and they'll all be gone."

You also said that you'd like to have a Santa Claus costume with a white beard to put on your face.

My ironing cord broke and you told me, "You should have asked Santa Claus to get you one last Christmas."

April 1959

You told me that sometimes Jesus was big and sometimes a baby and that you didn't understand it but if I said so, that you guessed it was really true.

You have a water pistol and you really enjoy it. You think that people only die from bullets, poison, etc.

You keep quiet about the new house (not tell anyone we're moving), which is exceptionally good for a 4 1/2-year old boy.

You say that you will be six your next birthday. You want to be six because Phillip, Steven, Mike and Ronnie are all six.

You love all sports and now you want a race car helmet. Also, you want a space helmet and about everything you see on TV.

You're contest-minded and say some fairly good things about the products at times.

You are very good about sharing everything with your sister and with other children.

You're getting so rough at boxing that your Dad and I can hardly take it any more.

You also act like Superman. You tuck a small blanket in back of your shirt.

Once, after I left the room correcting you, I heard you say to your sister, "Come on out. It is all clear now!

May 23, 1959

We went to the Indianapolis 500 mile track for the first time. We went out with a police escort with the TV crew. Twenty-seven cars qualified that day -- a new track record.

We had a good time and you behaved well. We sat in the Pagoda. It was a new experience for you as well as for me. It was a nice day. You said to me, "I hope you don't wear those hose." (This came as a result of my being so particular about them the evening before.).

July 1959

You came and told me that Ginny's baby didn't speak English. You said you didn't know what it was, but guessed it must be French.

I have quite a time from keeping you from putting your letters into the mailbox. You don't understand why the mailman won't take them.

You do a good job of typing on the typewriter, but you don't space well.

December 1959

They read your name and your sister's on TV concerning your letter to Santa. You're very happy about it but later you said to me, "Mom, you or Dad must have written the letter because I didn't know how to spell football helmet."

You asked me if $2 was a lot of money. I answered, "No." You promptly said, "That's the cost of the football helmet."

You're driving hard bargains concerning work and money toward the cow train (a cattle yard add-in for an American Flyer train).

You won a bet and appeared on TV to receive it December 24. You got a big kick out of talking to Santa. We had to watch you that you didn't take your savings to Santa Claus to help toward your cow train.

February 1960

Now you're stuck on long ties. I bought you a small one.

You comb your hair and keep your shirttail in place. You're taking more pride in yourself.

You like to write letters (print) to your cousins.

You love your record player and like to dance to it.

My, how you've grown. You're talking a lot about school, which will start for you in September. I sure dread to see you start.

When your Aunt Mary Jane gave birth to a girl you remarked that you thought she was supposed to have a boy and then added, "I guess Uncle Gene must have changed his mind."

August 1960

You buried some rocks. I told you to take them out of the hole. You said, "I'm going to pray to Jesus to turn them into some pennies because you told me that Jesus can do anything." Our next-door neighbor, Dr. Harding, said, "Let me hear you explain that one."

Every time Donny Harding, the next door neighbor, got into a fuss with one of the kids his mother would call him into the house. One day she heard you say to Donny, "I know how to get your mother to call you into the house...get into a fuss."

You like roller coasters, etc. The smaller rides bore you.

September 13, 1960

First day of school -- St. Andrews Parochial School on 38th Street.

You dressed early in the morning and went into your dad's room and said, "This is the big day. I wonder if they have ROTC?"

I felt as if I'd die when you started school. I've felt numb all day, but I hope you will like it.

When you came home you said "I had to keep quiet for a 100,000 hours."

You told us you heard about Jesus and Mary today and you'd probably hear about the devil tomorrow.

One day after the Sister had corrected you for something you did you wrote on your paper, "I DO NOT LIKE YOU." You didn't expect the paper to be picked up. When you managed to apologize the next day, you wrote on the paper, "I'm sorry" only you spelled it "SORE."

After everything was straightened out, you liked school again.

February 13, 1961 You went to your first outside birthday party at Donny Harding's house.
February 16

The nun teaching the class asked if anyone knew who Abraham Lincoln was. You were called upon and answered, "He was our 16th President from 1861 to 1865. He married Ann Todd, had sons Robert and Todd, he was killed by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington." You were mad at yourself because you forgot to tell her the name of the play that Lincoln was watching.

You came home from school one day and said, "If I don't get my kissing hooks on Gloria, I'll be a dead duck." We still don't understand that one.