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Shades and Degrees as young Boys.jpg

Degrees was born in small hamlet of Likely, a rural British Columbia community at the tip of Quesnel Lake. The nearest hospital was 97 kilometers south/west of Likely, over a gravel logging rd, in the frontier town of Williams lake. 

Due to weather conditions and complications with the pregnancy, Degrees mother, Evelyn, was not able to travel to Williams lake for the delivery, so, Matilda Botumslapper, a retired midwife, currently working as a bartender at the Likely Lodge, was asked to help with his birth. 


Evelyn was alone, in her cabin, working on a batch of perogies for the Likely lodge when her water broke.  Cell phones were not a common item yet, and their cabin was too remote for a landline.  It was mid-January, and the snow had been too deep for logging, so her husband, Isadore, who usually works as a faller for West-Coast Timber, had picked up some extra work ploughing the section of Likely Road, between the Lodge and the Gavin Lake Substation. 

Isadore had driven their only vehicle to work earlier that day, so Evelyn had no transportation and no way of contacting anyone for help.  With her back in agony and labor pains getting stronger, and more frequent, Evelyn had no choice but to walk two kilometers, through six inches of fresh snow, along the rough logging road to Likely lodge, and hope that Matilda would be at work. 

With less than a kilometer remaining to the lodge, Evelyn reached the bridge that crossed the western arm of Quesnel Lake, just south of Goat Island.  As she was walking across the bridge she had a severe contraction which doubled her over and caused her to fall onto the shoulder of the road in the middle of the bridge.  The resulting stress triggered her dissociative memory loss condition and Evelyn temporarily forgot where she was going.  It is uncertain exactly how long Evelyn remained in her confused state, however, it was just after 11 AM when her husband, who was on his way home to check on her during his lunch break, saw her wondering slowly through the snow in a bloody dress and winter boots, carrying a small bundle in her arms.  When he pulled over he was horrified to see that she was not aware she had given birth and that the bundle in her arms was their newborn baby. 

Isadore quickly cut the chord, got both mother and baby into the truck and within five minutes had them both wrapped in a blanket and resting on a bed he had pulled in front of the fireplace that was roaring in the centre of the great hall of the Likely Lodge. 

Matilda had been setting up for the lunch crowd when Isadore arrived with Evelyn and the new baby. When she saw what was happening she helped Isadore get mother and baby as comfortable and as warm as possible.  As soon as the baby was clean and beginning to thaw a little Matilda took his vital signs, and temperature, which was just over 97 degrees, which is dangerously low for a newborn.  It took just over three hours for emergency services to arrive at the lodge, asses and ready the patients for transportation and deliver the new mother and her baby to the maternity ward at the Williams Lake hospital.   

Evelyn and Isadore had wanted to wait until the baby was born before picking a name, so that they would be sure that whatever name they chose would suite their baby when he, or she, arrived.  When the head nurse looked at the notes the paramedics had brought in with the baby she noticed that he did not yet have a name, so she began calling him "97 Degrees" which was a comment that had been highlighted on the baby's chart to ensure his lowered body temperature would receive the attention it required when he got to the maternity ward. It wasn't long before all the maternity staff began calling the baby by his new nickname, which quickly got shortened to just Degrees, which his parents thought suited him quite well, so, they decided to keep the name for him.

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