I love the stories about my Dad’s mother, Grandma Stringam . . .
My paternal grandmother, Sarah Lovina Williams Stringam and her husband, George Lewis Stringam, homesteaded and raised their family in Glenwood, Alberta.
While Grandpa ranched and served in the legislature, Grandma worked in the home and community and as the accepted nurse/doctor in the rural area.
She is credited with saving many lives.
Several during the 1918 flu epidemic. Subjects of future posts.
But this story is about babies.
The Wood twins had been born four and a half months before to Mr. and Mrs. Glen Wood. The little ones were frail and sickly and still near their birth weight.
And now both of them had contracted pneumonia.
When Grandma arrived, their father was sitting in the kitchen with one of them.
He looked at Grandma and said, “Sister Stringam, I’m afraid you’re too late.”
Grandma told him not to speak that way. “Where there’s life, there’s hope,” she said.
Just then, the little one quit breathing. His father blew in his face and he revived.
Grandma told him to hold the baby for just a moment and she would get a mustard plaster to put on his chest.
The father just looked at her, so she stirred up a weak plaster, warmed it in the oven, and put it on the baby’s little chest until it turned pink.
Then she rubbed in oil and wrapped it in cotton batting. This seemed to make the baby breathe easier and it slept.
Both babies were coughing and Grandma called the nearest doctor half an hour away for instructions, but he told her he had done all he could for the babies and figured there was not much of a chance for them.
Grandma asked him, “Do you think I could give them mustard plasters?”
“Do you think they could stand them?”
“Oh, yes, if I’m careful.”
Then, the fateful words: “I don’t think they have a chance in the world. I’ve done all I can. Now it is up to you and the Lord. Do whatever seems best to you, Sister Stringam.”
So Grandma did. She and the babies’ parents took turns through the next days and nights caring for the two little ones.
By the end of a week, they had ‘improved greatly’ and Grandma was finally free to go home and care for her own family.
Though she didn’t agree, their parents insisted that Grandma had saved her babies.
When everyone else had given up, she carried on.
Sometimes, that makes all the difference.