Here is another posting from my grandmother Jessie Lehmer’s 1959 journal. Jessie kept her journal for at least 29 years. You can find the first post in this series here.Jessie (age 57) is recovering from a lengthy hospital stay for a sore back and has yet to return to her job at Kilpatrick’s Department store in Omaha. Her husband Harry (age 60, who she refers to as Daddy), a boilermaker’s helper at Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, was recently hospitalized with a serious illness.
Other people mentioned this week include Harry and Jessie’s daughter, Agnes Grosvenor (37), who lives across the street with her husband, Jack Grosvenor (40) and their three children – Judy (18), Linda (16) and Jackie (3). Also mentioned is their oldest son, Walter (referred to as Jack L., age 38) and Dr. Muehlig (Harry’s doctor).
May 20, 1959 (Wednesday)
“Oh, dear God, hear our prayers as we pray for our loved one. Oh Lord, thy will be done. Just take over Lord, guide the doctors’ hands and we pray Lord that you will supply his every need. I am leaving now for the hospital to see my darling.
“11:30 p.m. I just got home from the hospital. Daddy is resting, was when I left. Thank God, he was with him. He was in surgery from 12:30 to 2:55. Doing as well as can be expected, awfully restless. He has a special nurse.”
May 21, 1959 (Thursday)
“Daddy is better today, praise the Lord. Just hope the Lord gives him a good night’s rest. He doesn’t have a special nurse tonight, was disappointed.”
May 22, 1959 (Friday)
“This is the saddest day of my life. Dr. Muehlig gave me his report on my darling. Malignant, nothing can be done for him, so I guess God is taking him home. I pray he will be merciful and spare him of too much suffering. He isn’t so good today, has been vomiting. They are giving him shots for vomiting, fever & pain, poor dear. … Jack L. stayed with Daddy. I left early as he was quiet and resting, hate to leave him. He hangs onto my hand hard. Oh, how I am going to miss him. Right now I don’t know how I am going to go on. I can’t see ahead now.”
May 25, 1959 (Monday)
“10 p.m. I left hospital at 9:10. Daddy was quiet, they were going to give him a hypo so he can sleep. He was lots better today, stronger, more alert. He sat up about 20 minutes. They gave him an enema, really got results – 2 weeks without a BM. He eats good, looks good. Of course, he is awful thin.”
May 26, 1959 (Tuesday)
“10 p.m. I am staying with Agnes. So low and down in the dumps. Daddy has been resting so good all day, slept most of the day. I hated to leave him. He was awake when I left, kissed & hugged me goodnight. So hard to see him laying there and know I am going to have to give him up. Just can’t hardly believe it.”
Larry Lehmer is a professional personal historian and chief legacy planner at When Words Matter, Ltd., who connects generations through their stories. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.