Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, February 13, 2020

Getting Trained

Sarah, my grandmother, on her wedding day 1905.
Life was just . . . different back then.
1901.
In rural Utah, one made do.
And soldiered through.
Later, perhaps, one learned the whole story . . .
Sixteen-year-old Sarah, fifth of eight children and oldest surviving girl still at home, was put in charge of her younger siblings while their mother went to the big city for several months of formal midwifery training.
It was a time of learning.
Hard work.
And learning.
Did I mention learning?
Things were going surprisingly well.
Then youngest sister, twelve-year-old May, developed a sore throat.
A bad sore throat. That shed white ‘pieces’.
Older sister, Sarah, thought she merely had a bad throat and nursed her as best she could.
Without any outside influences.
Like the local Health Officer.
She had her sister “gargle everything she could think of, but it was still very bad.”
At length, she sought the advice of her grandmother, who lived nearby, and who did what she could to help.
Finally, when May was nearly better, Sarah’s Grandmother called the Health Officer.
Who told Sarah she had just nursed her sister through Diphtheria.
Maybe sometimes we’re better off not knowing . . .

5 comments:

  1. OFTEN we are better off not knowing. And well done Sarah.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chilling story. Yes sometimes we’re better off not knowing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. She was quite blessed that they didn't all catch it and have mom come home to an empty house! Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yikes, what a learning curve. Sarah was lucky she herself didn't get diptheria, it's highly contagious.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Eeeek! You're so right! I can't imagine being sixteen and having the care and nursing of several younger siblings for several months -- along with, I imagine, housework and meals as well. Children grew up faster in those days. I wonder where May picked up the diphtheria germ?

    ReplyDelete

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