Monday, August 10, 2015

Time Travel Tuesdays ~ Baby #12, Triumph, & Tragedy

~I apologize in advance for the differing fonts and type sizes. I have grown weary of typing these long chapters and tried scanning the pages as my mother typed them and copying them into my blog. I found I had to format the pages in a word document differently if I wanted to copy and paste them. Somehow they came out differently with each copy. Maybe I'll have to copy the entire thing at once next time? There are obviously some kinks I need to work out! 

The last time I traveled back in time, my mother was a little baby, my Granny Hamblin (Ida) had just found that her father was dying from cancer, and my Aunt Fay had contracted "blood poisoning" which was a common term used when a bacterial infection was present in the bloodstream It affected Fay's leg in a horrible way.

Fay's leg was drawn up towards her back, and continued to be drawn
 up even after her fever was gone. She got so thin, but was so
 patient all during her sickness. In August, Carl got a job,
 working on the canal in St. Johns. We also wanted to be near a
 good doctor on Fay's account. She had been so ill all summer. One
 night she was so bad, that I felt I had to have help with her, so
 I sent one of the girls down to see if Lydia Maxwell would come and
 spend the night with us, which she did. We were up most of the
 night with her, and it was the night that I decided that we must be
 near a doctor. So when Carl suggested that we move to St. Johns
 and he could work there, I agreed. I hated to leave Father, but I
 had to think of Fay. I knew he was in God's care, and anything he
 did would be for the best. So, in the middle of August, we loaded
 our belongings in the wagons, bade my dear mother and father
 goodbye, with a sad heart and knowing full well we would never see Father alive again.

We found a house to rent, down in the swamp. Our neighbors on the
south were Brother and Sister Heber Jarvis. On the corner east of
them and across the street was Marion and Mary Gibbons. On the
same side of the street and north were the Connol1ey's. Across the
street and east were Brother and Sister Lige DeWitt. No one ever
had better neighbors.
We called in the county nurse to look at Fay's 1eg. After
examining her, she said the bone was affected and if we didn't get
her to a bone specialist, her leg would continue to be drawn back,
and she would never walk again. She made this remark in front of
Fay, and after all she had suffered
, she began to cry and could not
be comforted. I thought that was such a cruel thing to say in her
presence. We took her to Doctor Bouldin the next day. His verdict
was much more consoling. He said the bone was in no way affected,
was as good as his, only the ligaments needed stretching. She was
on crutches. He told us to throw them away, start her in school,
and have her walk as much as possible. She would use her leg on
the Giant Strides and at play, and before long she would be
walking. We started her to school, but she used one crutch for
awhile. Soon she could go without it. Eventually she was walking
without a limp. Again we thanked our Heavenly Father for this
blessing. She is a fine woman now, and the mother of nine boys
and girls. I realize now that all these experiences have been for
a purpose.
That winter my brother's daughter and son, Leata and Orville, came
to live with us and go to school. It was hard to have so many
housed in such a small place, but
 I could not refuse my brother,
who had always been so good to me. So generous in every way. I
have very happy memories of him and how good he always was to me.
Father gradually grew worse; and finally, one day in October (I
it was the 23rd) 1923, I received word that he had passed
away and I was soon on my way up there to comfort Mother
. Poor
Daddy. He looked so peaceful lying there. My two brothers, Claude
and Rain, were with him
 when he passed away. He was so considerate of Mother, and never made any more trouble for her than possible. So with the help of the children, he was cared for in his own home. 
          This is what Father would have wanted. I did not stay long after
he was laid to rest, as I had to get back home to Fay, and the
other children who were in school. I enjoyed the time I spent in
St. Johns. I had so many dear friends I had made through the years
while attending school there.
On December 8th of that year, my brother Claude was married at our
home to Alice Lavena Wilcox.
Time passed by, as always. My husband was away at work most of the
time and I was left to care for the children. I did my best, but
often felt the need of him being with me, to help with their care
and training. I had some real good neighbors, Mary Gibbons, and
Sister Susie Jarvis, on the south. Sister Wilmerth DeWitt and
Sister Connolly on the north. I managed to keep my children in
school, Sunday school, and Primary. My girls were exceptionally
good to help with the work. I don't know what I would have done
without them. My only regrets are that I could not give them more
and better advantages. Maybe they got more valuable experiences
they would not have received had we had more money to spend on
Along in the spring, Orville and Leata went to stay with Aunt Zina
Mineer. We enjoyed life here by these kind neighbors. The next
spring, 1924, I discovered that another little baby was expected in
our home. Sister Margaret Jarvis was hired to take care of me.
One Monday, around the 12th of November, my water broke and I sent
for Sister Jarvis. (There is a gap in the paragraph here. I assume here contractions started up but then slowed down a bit.) She stayed until the 14th when they started
again in earnest. Sister Jarvis got afraid and sent for Dr.
Bouldin. The baby, another sweet little girl, was born within a
few minutes after the doctor arrived. I have always been convinced
she would not have been born that soon if we had not sent for the
doctor. Her father was away at work and did not arrive until after
her birth. It was the first and only time I had a doctor with any
of my children and Shirley was the 12th child. I will never forget
my neighbors at that time. I had no hired help. My girls were
growing up and helping a lot, night and morning. Helen was less
than two years old and Sylvia only four. But with the help of good
neighbors, we managed.
In the summer Blanche and her cousin, Minnie Reynolds, went over on
the mountain where Carl was working to help cook for the men at the
road camp. Carl kept Orland with him most of that summer. On the
4th of July, I got a chance to go up to Alpine to see them. On the
way up there, I stayed all night with my sister Lillian. I shall
never forget a letter she wrote me, earlier in the year, telling me
how blue and despondent she was, and couldn't understand why, as
they were all well and Willard had a good job. He was Game Warden. The night I stayed with her she mentioned the John Nortons losing 
three children, all they had, with diphtheria, and she just 
wondered how they ever stood it. The poor girl didn't know that in 
just a month four of hers would be taken from her, three with the 
same disease, and Ardell, who was sick at the time, with St Vitus Dance. 

I went on to Alpine and visited Carl, Blanche and Orland. 
After returning home, word came of how sick Ardell was. They took
her to the Gallup Hospital, in Gallup, New Mexico and she passed
away July 19th, 1924. I was unable to attend the funeral as I was
expecting Shirley. It was hard not to be with my dear sister in
her sorrow. Within two weeks, Pauline, Beulah, and Wallace were
taken with diphtheria. I know they could not have stood that
sorrow had it not been for the sustaining help of the Lord. This
was a shock, though, that I am sure they never got entirely over.

Can you imagine those days, when an illness could sweep through your family and take multiple members? How awful this must have been! I never knew this about my Great Aunt Lillian. My heart aches for her! Here is a screen shot I took from her page on so that you could see the whole family. Their oldest child died 3 days after being born, there were nine children living at the time, and they lost four of them! Three to diptheria and Ardell to St. Vitus Dance or Sydenham's Chorea. According to Widkipedia,it is: 
 a disorder characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements primarily affecting the face, hands and feet.[1] 
It occurs about 6 months after the patient (most always under 18 years of age) has had rheumatic fever. About 20% of rheumatic fever patients contract a Group A beta haemolytic streptococcus infection. Sometimes this turns into the St. Vitus Dance. So Ardell (12) had had rheumatic fever months before, the streptococcal bacteria lay dormant, then came back and took her life just before her other three siblings Pauline (16), Beulah (11), and  Wallace (8) died from Diphtheria which according to the Mayo Clinic is:
"Diphtheria (dif-THEER-e-uh) is a serious bacterial infection usually affecting the mucous membranes of your nose and throat. Diphtheria typically causes a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and weakness. But the hallmark sign is a sheet of thick, gray material covering the back of your throat, which can block your airway, causing you to struggle for breath.
Diphtheria is extremely rare in the United States and other developed countries, thanks to widespread vaccination against the disease."
The children are buried in the Eagar Cemetery.

I am so very grateful to live in a time when my children and even myself did not have to worry about these awful diseases because of vaccinations and early detection and medications.
I almost cannot write anything after this. Their sister Minnie lived right next door to my Granny Hamblin for years. Granny must have thought about those children quite often, especially when she saw Minnie. I loved Minnie! She was always so happy ad kind. I thought she was my aunt, because of her age, and called her "Aunt Minnie". I wish I could go back now, with my grown-up knowledge and sense of compassion, put my arms around her, and tell her how sorry I am that she lost her brother and sisters that way. Minne was nearly 15 when this all happened so you know that she had vivid memories of it. Again, we are so very blessed to live now!
The other death that occurred during this chapter was that of Ida's father, John Willard Lee (my great-grandfather). He died of cancer and is buried in Nutrioso. According to Ida there never was a kinder, more thoughtful man on Earth. My mother was always so touched by how, on his death bed, he worried about her, baby Helen, and if Ida was too busy caring for Fay and her leg that she was forgetting to give Helen enough water to drink. He was a great and noble man, true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and a real pioneer on the American Frontier.

The other thing that caught my attention in this chapter was something called the "Giant Strides" that Granny mentions in Fay's recovery story. I wondered if it were some kind of leg brace, some rehabilitative device. I did what any person would do today and Googled it! Here is a Giant Strides:

I found this description on a blog by someone who remembers these things on their own childhood playground:

" Can you imagine how dangerous this was?? We grasped the rungs, ran around the pole faster and faster until our feet were airborne, sometimes sticking straight out. Very scary, especially when those bullies made it go too fast."

Aunt Fay was to use this device to support her weight and exercise the leg that was so badly atrophied. Hopefully she got exercise and didn't just swing around in the air! Below is a photo that I love. It shows my Aunt Fay Front and center, right in front of her father. She was about 11 years old when the blood poisoning took place and this photo looks to be  around the same time, perhaps a bit before. That's my mother Helen, in Granny Ida's lap. Sweet! I love Granny's hat too!

Next Time: A new calling for Ida,  baby #13 joins the family, and another move (or two, or three)!

No comments: