A Letter from Grandma Josie

Grandma Josie has been dead almost fifty-one years, but I read a letter from her three weeks ago that brought her back to life for me, for a few minutes.

My cousin David visited from Oregon, bringing with him a suitcase full of family photos and papers. I couldn’t believe it when he handed me a letter Grandma wrote to his mother – her daughter – sometime during the month in which she died. As far as we know, it is the last letter she ever wrote. read more

Our Family’s Own “Little Eva”

Americans are more fortunate than we take time to realize. When was the last time you considered that you will never have to worry about the possibility of seeing your precious child in an iron lung, lying there forever with a monstrous contraption breathing for your offspring? Or helping them learn to maneuver on a set of crutches that causes them to walk like an automaton? The reason you don’t worry about such things is that DPT series of injections children receive when they are young, as a matter of course, during pediatric visits. It is a given today that the horrible disease of polio has been eradicated. One less fear for parents.

Another disease that has been all but eradicated is tuberculosis, though there has been a resurgence of sorts in recent years. TB does still exist, but it can now be treated in much better ways than was the case a hundred years ago. TB changed the dynamics of my mother’s family, and this is a story I have been urged to write by my daughter, who says I need to focus not quite so much on fiction but should also get the family stories written before I am no longer able to do so.

Without further ado – the story of Little Eva. read more