Oh, the “not feeling up to it” moments during those long, last months of pregnancy. I remember those days well (not) and nights of not being able to sleep particularly well either. A good night’s sleep was a treat. Thankfully, I don’t think I ever developed bed sores. When I was pregnant with my youngest, I spent a lot of time knitting and doing Sudoku puzzles. As much as one wants to stay still when pregnant, life still goes on, especially when there are older children already in the picture. There are some benefits to having a gap in ages between children. My older child was past that stage when she needed me to do everything for her when I was pregnant with her brother. John and Mark were certainly self sufficient and old enough to assist their mother when she wasn’t feeling quite up to the task. She certainly experienced the guilt of not being able to do everything she wanted for eldest’s birthday as well. As parents, we always want to give our children the best that we can offer but we also have to set realistic goals.
Today’s letter goes on to describe my grandmother and Mrs. James preparing and applying a mustard plaster. Mustard plasters were a common treatment for colds and bronchitis in the past. I am curious to know what my grandfather thought of this treatment and when it stopped being commonly prescribed. Thankfully, the women were smart enough to realize that the mustard plaster should not be applied directly to the skin as it would have caused burning and irritation.
Ethel Herriman was the wife of Alva Herriman. Alva was Ethel’s second husband. On the 1940 census she had six children with the surname Wilson: Bethel, Robert, Eugene, Richard, Marjorie and Doris. Tracing Ethel and her children backwards through census records, I discovered that Ethel’s first husband was Harry G. Wilson, an undertaker in West Lafayette. Between the years 1920-30, they divorced and Ethel and the children moved to Kentland. Since she only had 3 sons, I can only assume at this point that one of her daughters also signed up, possibly as a WAVE. My grandmother reported that Ethel received a medal for four of her children being in service.
In 1942, Helen Egan would have been 19. Her parents were Richard and Marjorie Egan. Her father’s occupation was general office work in the restaurant industry (1940 census). I’m not sure which restaurant Helen was working for when she quit and tried to give it a go in Indianapolis. Presumably the same restaurant her father worked for….
And as always, my grandmother was thinking and planning ahead for the arrival of the baby. She had a lot on her plate, and it certainly wasn’t made any easier by my grandfather’s absence.
Monday morning and a little chilly. We had a rain Sat. evening and cooled things off a few degrees. Since no mail is taken out of here on Sunday I didn’t write yesterday-then too didn’t feel so good. I stayed home and kept rather quiet all day. John rec’d a telegram from Jim for his birthday to begin the day then he and Mark went to Church. I went down stairs and listened to church programs on the radio and held down the davenport most of the day. We went to bed about 9 or 9:30 and I slept good most of the night. I am beginning to feel like I am getting bed sores but I am going to keep pretty quiet today, but I
(page 2) feel better than I did yesterday. I must have done too much Sat. celebrating John’s birthday. Dorothy said she sent him a card with a dollar in it special delivery so he should get it today. He had a very nice birthday although I wasn’t equal to a full size party. Mrs. Plummer thought the cake was very pretty and helped me serve then she and I sat down in the kitchen and ate our refreshments and watched the five children enjoy theirs.
Irene’s summer cold started getting rather serious so she went to see Dr. C. Sat afternoon. He told her to use mustard plasters on her chest. Mrs. James came over Sat night to ask me about them. The directions on the box said to put the mixture next to the skin, but we decided it would be a lot less messy to use cheese cloth between
(page 3) the skin & plaster. I loaned them an old baby shawl to use on her chest & hold the heat in after they removed the plaster. I didn’t know any more about the things than Mrs. J but together we decided how to do it. Mrs. J. came over yesterday to see how I was feeling and said Irene was better. This cold wasn’t bothering her as much in her sinus as her chest. She really sounded bad. I talked to her a few minutes Fri evening and she sounded choked up.
The boys said Ethel Hirriman received a medal in church yesterday for her four children in service. I think she must have as many in as any one in town or around here.
I took some pictures of the boys and of the party Sat. I wanted to take one of Mrs. Plummer but she wouldn’t have one. When
(page 4)I get them developed will send you some. I had taken two of you on that roll and that was the one we took to C.C. [Clay City] and after we got there forgot about taking pictures. I think that was due to the rain.
Helen Egan quit working at the restaurant and went to Indpls and tried to get work at Allison but wasn’t successful. She is home now doing nothing. I am going to see if she would be interested in staying here a few weeks. Says she doesn’t want restaurant work. I am not going to mention anything to Mother because Jim has been talking about getting a furlough and she will want to be in T.H. [Terre Haute] when he is there and I may need someone right at the time Jim would be home. I’ll find someone-so don’t worry about it. (I am not).
Had to call the pumber out-the sink & tub drains quit working. I told him a little later I wanted him to come out and check the heating plant. It was cool enough this morning for the heat to kick on.