Saturday, November 16, 2013

Little Gwen is Born, but Marian Almost Dies

July 26, 1974

Dear Perry,

It just dawned on me today that I didn't tell you we must return Iretta Vetterlein's cake pan. It's the one that I loaned to Marie Ohman. Will you please see that she gets it back right away honey?!

How did everything go for you this week? How is everything at home? Have you been alone much? Marian is continuing to heal and mend very well and the baby is so good--takes her bottles without complaining though she would much rather nurse Marian. And Marian is trying to get her milk back by eating and drinking lots and nursing little Gwen every 4 hours.

[After reading this letter, I realized that I needed to talk to some of the people involved and get more of the back story. I first called Gwen who was pleased to report of her birth that, true to her mother's prediction to disbelieving hospital staff, her arrival happened sooner rather than later, which meant that she was born on the gurney in the hallway as frantic nurses attempted to rush her mother to the delivery room.]

The doctors are all amazed at Marian--not only is she healing so fast but because of her amazing attitude to be such a conscientious mother. She cannot lift or work yet but gets up and dressed and moving around every day. Her open wound (a long one) is healing rapidly without stitches.

[I next talked to Marian who told me some more of the story. Not many days after Gwen's birth,  she suffered a ruptured appendix, which required hospitalization and a difficult recovery. Marian had not been feeling well ever since Gwen's birth, but her fever, abdominal pain and lack of strength were attributed to the birth of her little girl. The medical staff did not detect the real problem until Marian's appendix became a medical crisis and she almost lost her life.]

The boys are a real handful and Cherylen is a dear, patient little girl. I am usually warn to a frazzle by the end of each day keeping them from killing each other. Getting the meals and dishes done and clothes washed is only minor details. I manage to nap each afternoon with the boys though the weather is over 100 degrees each afternoon and there is no air conditioner in this little house with a "hot tin roof"--no kidding! It's pretty bad. Surely wish we had Grandma Fast's little window fan!

[I then talked to Cherylen who, although only a child of five years, had vivid memories of this whole drama. While the adults were trying to deal with all the difficulties occasioned by Marian's medical crisis, Cherylen could only understand two things: her mother was gone and so was her baby sister. It turns out that Warren's secretary had stepped up to take care of baby Gwen while Marian was in the hospital with her ruptured appendix. But no one had consulted big sister Cherylen about these arrangements, and in her mind she worried that her little sister had been kidnapped. So after kindergarten, Cherylen walked a mile and a half to the secretary's house and demanded the return of her baby. The secretary was unsympathetic, gave Cherylen a spanking and ordered her to walk home, which she did--crying--whereupon she got another lecture for not coming straight home from school.]

Warren is playing golf with some of his buddies this afternoon. It's 6 PM now and he isn't home yet. Sometimes I feel like my good, generous disposition is being taken advantage of! Wow, I guess it's this awful heat that's getting me down today. When will it let up? Is it this bad in Claremont?

[I'm sure Warren's brother-in-law, Dale, could totally understand and sympathize with a man's need to relieve his stress on the golf course with his buddies.  After all, if your wife almost dies and you have four little children--one of them a newborn--what could be a better and more natural activity?]

Have you heard from the kids yet? Any interesting mail? Please write. Love, Gene

PS. Marian's doctor says she will not be able to take over her house and family for at least a month. Can you spare me that long?

Chris, David, Gwen and Cherylen Bodily with their
great-grandparents, Leona and Elmer Manwaring
August 12, 1974

Dear Perry and all,

It was so good to hear your voice yesterday that it is almost disappointing to think how long it takes to carry on a word or two by mail. When you called yesterday, Mrs. Campbell was here talking about her two boys. Bruce is going on a mission, and they don't know where Chris is. He just left home and has never written them. I could feel the sorrow and disappointment in her voice. Some of the neighbors say that Campbells always favored Bruce and that is why Chris left. I can't think of anyone who would try harder then Elwood and his wife to treat them both fairly.

Your father isn't feeling too well and spends most of his time on the bed. He eats fairly well but just doesn't take any interest in anything much. He says he will live until just about my birthday. Yesterday I said, "Well, are you getting better or worse?" And he said, "Worse!" The bishop came to see us Saturday and Dad had me make out our tithing check. The neighbors bring us food--that is some of them, especially on Sunday.

It was nice to see Jan and the girls two weeks ago, and we thought perhaps we would see them again last Saturday, but they didn't come. Perhaps they went home.

We surely do enjoy our nice carpet. Every time I put my bare foot on it, I have a special feeling of pleasure. The organ isn't fixed yet, but it looks good on the outside. They brought it back varnished and all of the keys in place but no bellows.

We have a fall wind today. Fall is surely coming and "Sweet Summer's going away" and "the cricket now his chirp begins" and they seem to sadly say. I must seal this letter as the mailman comes early now-a-days, so give our love to all of the folks. Love from Mother & Dad

September 24, 1974

Dear Perry & All,

This letter was to have been written earlier so that it could have gone to the postoffice today, but my usual procrastinating habits prevailed. So here I am with quite a few things on my mind that I hope I can remember to write.

We can walk on the nice, new carpet, and the organ is in place. I try to remember what I once knew, but I need to start all over again. June brought some of her music for me to work on, but I am slow. Mrs. Brunson came over and played some songs from the hymn book, and Hope and Grant came yesterday. Hope said, "Well, Mother, you taught us" (Meaning June and her how to play the organ.)

It is a beautiful day. Autumn comes slowly this year. I think I told you that Chris Campbell had left home. He came back and was at church yesterday. Bruce talked. He goes soon to Brazil. They came here after church. Bruce played the organ and Chris played the guitar. They are surely nice boys.

Every time I go out of doors, I hear a cricket chirping, and I think of the song-- "And the cricket new his chirp begins and the quail is whistling gay, 'Sweet summer, sweet summer, sweet summer's gone away.'"

I have been looking over the Book of Mormon and think how terrible are the results of sin and the thousands of people who fell because of it. There is a statement in the Bible "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man." It is rather discouraging to contemplate when it seems there should be more help in helping people to become good now than ever before.

What are all of you doing? I see the mail coming, so I will close. Love to all. Mother & Dad

A Thanksgiving from the past when our father decided
to invite some Native Americans from a local reservation
November 29, 1974

Dear Perry & Gene,

I wanted to call you on the phone, but after all, there isn't much one can say on the phone when you feel hurried. We went to Hazel's yesterday for dinner. She had turkey and everything that goes for a Thanksgiving dinner. Barbara's parents and her grandmother also were there. Hazel asked June, but I guess she felt like it was a good time to relax.

Floyd and Sharon brought us some roast chicken and a lovely cake Wednesday, so we are still eating Thanksgiving food, and I think they took some to June. Kerry Dee was released from the Army service last week, so he came back here to June's. She says he got a job right away here in Salt Lake using big equipment for road work. Julie went up to Idaho to visit her parents.

We still have nice sunshine. We have the old sewing machine out in the garage. It is still intact but needs a sanding and varnish. The next oldest things I have are two Relief Society magazines dated 1933 and 1934. I am trying to practice on the organ and June gave me some beginners music, but it is easier to play something I already know by ear.

We are glad you could visit all of your family on Thanksgiving. Love, Mother & Dad

Sledding on Elgin Avenue, Salt Lake City
Linda, cousin David, Marian & Dale, 1951
December 6, 1974

Dear Grandma & Grandpa,

Do you have any snow yet? Laura and John are always telling me we should live where it snows. They insist on hearing stories of how I slid down our street and built snowmen and snow houses. When I tell them the snow is very cold and lots of people don't like it, they look at me with unbelieving eyes.

We're all very busy but have few complaints. Marian and Warren are moving down here in a couple of weeks. Warren has a new job in Riverside which is about 1/2 hour drive from us. Love, Linda, Eric, Laura, John, Jesse and Elmer

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