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 are Harry’s brother Warren (64), Dr. McDermott (Harry’s doctor), Francis Anderson and Matt Trottner (friends) and Mr. Smith (Harry’s hospital roommate).
June 9, 1959 (Tuesday)
“I left hospital at 8:30. Dr. McDermott was on the floor so the nurses got me out of his way. Daddy has been resting so comfortable ever since I got there. He had an enema. His bed is clean, it’s usually a mess. … Francis Anderson was up to see him, Daddy didn’t know him. Matt Trottner was there, Daddy knew him. Agnes came over this evening. At first Daddy wasn’t awake enough to see her, before she left he said ‘I know you.’ He said to me, ‘Don’t sell the house.’ I don’t know if he knew what he was saying or not. He is so sweet.”
June 10, 1959 (Wednesday)
“9:50 p.m. Left hospital about 8:40. They came in to get Daddy ready for bed. He is better today, said so many things. Told me he wanted to go to the toilet, even got up out of his chair. We cranked up the bed. He looks better, ate better. Dear God, just take over. If it is thy will, heal him.”
June 11, 1959 (Thursday)
“I slept good last nite, hope I do tonite. My back feels better but my chest is awful sore. Have been taking a couple of pain pills at nite.”
June 12, 1959 (Friday)
“9:25 p.m. I left hospital at 8:45, got my darling settled for the night. … When I left tonite he said ‘I am going with you.’ Dear God, I wish he could.”
June 13, 1959 (Saturday)
“9:35 p.m. I left the hospital at 9 p.m. My dear had a bad nite. Fell out of bed, cut his head over his right eye, bruised his nose. Took 2 stitches in forehead. He was sick to his stomach and vomiting. They took the catheter out. Mrs. Kobey, head nurse today, called me, wanted to know if I could come over, which I was happy to do. I got over about 9:20, gave him his bath, helped the nurse aide make his bed. I fed him his lunch, he kept it down, and his supper down. Has been resting good all day. He seems to be perfectly content when I am there. The nurses told Dr. McDermott he could jump on them, lay off me, so he didn’t say anything to me.”
June 14, 1959 (Sunday)
“I left hospital at 8:40, got there at 9 a.m. Daddy has been real good all day. I bathed him. He sat up quite a while, ate a good lunch, also a good supper. Dr. McDermott came in around noon, took off the bandage. They took 4 stitches. He almost has a black eye. Must have hit his eye on bed when he fell.”
June 15, 1959 (Monday)
“I left hospital at 8:45. Daddy was asleep, has been quiet all day. Had a good night. Mr. Smith said he ate a good dinner. Poor dear. His right eye is so bruised, looks terrible. … Warren hated to tell him goodbye. … I just live for the time to go to the hospital to see my Daddy. I sent car insurance away today for another 6 months. Warren is leaving in the morning.”
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.