Thursday, November 17, 2011

Aunt Julia

Tory Campbell and Julia Eames
Julia the School Marm
Julia wrote: In 1910 I married my childhood sweetheart Fred even though his parents objected to our wedding because we had both trained to be teachers and they thought that a wife should not work.

Fred & Julia

It was the fall of 1918, when the war was in Germany and Japan.  The flu was so bad in this country right after the war.  Of course, no one expected me to give birth to my baby, as I was only seven months and wasn’t expecting to deliver until the last of December. The hospitals were full.  You couldn’t get in for anything but the flu.  But by Wednesday the doctor knew I was in labor, so our friend, Nellie, came with the doctor and they delivered a little boy, so tiny, only four pounds.  The old doctor was very ill; he was shivering in the kitchen by the stove.  I screamed, the pain was so dreadful.  I said, “The baby is coming.  Someone come quick!”  Nellie ran to the bed and she could see a little foot.  She had the doctor there and sure enough there was another baby.  It took them quite some time to get this baby.  If he hadn’t been so small, I am sure he would not have lived.  He only weighed three pounds.  There were my twin boys, so tiny you could hardly believe that they were alive, or that I could keep them that way.  I got right out of bed and put a pillow on a common breakfast chair, then a blanket.  Nellie laid them both on the chair and covered them.  I had no clothes to put on even one baby, but never expecting two, I was quite mystified.

My sister-in-law came right over and brought outing flannel in squares.  She diapered and wrapped each one baby comfortably.  The doctor put boiled water in two bottles and they were fed.  Those boys were determined to live in spite of my ignorance, for goodness knows I didn’t know the rules of raising such tiny premature infants.  I could never have done it without Clarissa and Nellie.  They were as interested as if the babies were theirs. Our first baby David was stronger.  In two days, he started nursing.  But if my mother hadn’t come, we might have lost the smaller one.  She milked me with a breast pump and fed little Ned with an eyedropper for three days before he had the urge to nurse.  He was so very tiny.  We prayed constantly that we should be allowed to save these babies, and somehow, God seemed to listen and help us in every way.  Now they are fine men, and each served his country in the Second World War.  Each has sons that we pray may never be called to serve in any war.  These boys were born on October 9, 1918. They surely brought peace into the world. On November 11, 1918 there was peace.  


Cranberry Morning said...

That was a marvelous story! In my dad's generation there were a couple twin babies born (I knew one of them when he was older)and at that time, they kept those newborn twins in the warming ovens on the old cookstove - kind of like an incubator, I guess! (It sounds kinda bad for anyone who doesn't understand how a cast iron cookstove works). They survived and lived to old age.

Thank you for commenting on my post this morning.

Helen and her Daughters said...

Sweet story, must have been a lot of twins back then, my Grandmother who was born in 1900, had a set of twins (a boy and a girl), she was also a school teacher and her parents did not approve of my Granddaddy, but they married anyway.

Mary Witzl said...

What a great story, and how amazing that, delivered by an elderly doctor who almost certainly had a virulent form of the flu AND given the lack of preparation and provisions, both babies survived. Thank God for the generous, hard-working women who pitched in.

Scarlett said...

What wonder pictures and a wonderful post! Those twins must have been fighters to have survived. Scarlett x

Anne said...

What a lovely story. I love reading things like this and the photos are wonderful too.

01 09 10