On-Line Publication of the Anonymous Anything Society
HEALTH PROBLEMS EARLY IN THE 2OTH CENTURY
For most of my youth, beginning in the late 1920s in small
town America and in most everywhere else in the world, childbirth was
nearly always facilitated by midwives and or family members.
The numbers of deaths of the newly born and mothers as well, was horrific.
I cannot speak about the general population, but by the time I came
into the world (1927), three of my aunts, two of whom were sisters of my
father and one who was the wife of my Uncle John, died, along with three
newly borne infants, during childbirth.
Twin boys born to my paternal grandmother died of whooping
cough within weeks of their births and twin boys born to my maternal
grandmother died of smallpox. My mother and her two brothers, my uncles
Robert and Byron Phillips, had terribly pocked faces.
As a consequence of his refusal to inoculate their children,
my grandmother, Dora Hill Phillips, left my grandfather. He died later,
alone during a cold winter night of what a coroner declared was alcohol
poisoning. By then, Grandmother Phillips had joined our household.
When my Brother Donald was 16, he somehow contracted
Typhoid Fever. We never knew of any contact he had with a person who
carried it. The family physician told my parents there was little chance
of Donald’s survival. Their dedication was heroic. My parents wrapped him
in wet sheets to help quell the fever and plied him with home remedies
around the clock. He did survive and returned to finish his senior year in
high school. In the meantime, chicken pox, mumps and tonsillitis were
rites of passages for me and all the children of that era.
-Phil Richardson, Storyteller and Observer of the Human Condition.
Tommy Ross follows his older brothers to be an apprentice in the
hazardous trade of mining coal. It is doubly dangerous, for his
father has been sent to organize a local union in a "company
owned" coal camp. "The Prosperity Coal Company" is a novel based
on actual events that occurred all across the coal belt, when
America was on the cusp of the great depression, and union wars