Childhood illnesses

Continuing with Gerald Nathan Hodgson’s Northwest family narrative, with thanks to Michael Howard Hodgson:

I can remember, as a child, that childhood diseases regularly swept the neighborhood. We would hear of someone at Barstow or Orient being sick and then it would show up nearer home.

My parents said I was the sickest ever, when I had the whooping cough and red measles at the same time. For some reason, I never had scarlet fever or chicken pox and did not catch German measles until I was grown.

Nearly everybody in the community had the 1918 flu but no one in the family died. For some reason, I missed having it and was put to work carrying firewood from outdoors. I don’t really remember that, but I do clearly remember Dad sitting by the kitchen stove and shivering uncontrollably. It did not hit the family all at once, so the problem was somewhat staggered. Sick people stayed in bed as near as possible and tried to keep warm.

Tom Bay was here at the time and missed catching the bug — he and one or two others managed to help with the outside chores. We were lucky. Other people around did die. One young Indian in particular died because he took the sweat bath treatment. In some parts of the United States people died in great numbers. Apparently neither doctors or individuals took it seriously enough, and people died of pneumonia which followed the first three-day onset.


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