By Doris Schroeder
Recently the front page of the Hutchinson News showed some old quarantine signs that used to be used when our city had trouble with small pox, chicken pox, scarlet fever, and whooping cough.
How well I remember some of those days! When my sister Luella was still alive and I was around one and a half to two years old, we lived in a rented house on West 9th St. for a short while.. I probably remember a few things then because my sis was about two and a half years older than me, and took really good care of me. We would play with the neighbor kids and she made sure I was all right. Consequently I knew I could feel secure.
One day she and I watched through the lace curtains for Mom to come home from the grocery store. We had to stay home during a time by ourselves because we had chicken pox and were quarantined.
There were no more times we had a sign on our door during Luella’s time on this earth and I had an enjoyable life, even though we moved around a lot.
After Luella was accidentally killed by a neighbor boy on West 14th, I became the only child for a few years until my sister Carol was born when I was seven.
We had moved to a house on West 6th, and I attended Allen Kindergarten. It was held in a white frame building on the other end of the block of where the big stone school was located. I received my first vaccination for whooping cough at the old school. I remember we waited to go in line to the nurse and I was dreading it with all my mind, imagining how much it would hurt, only to be pleasantly surprised that it hardly hurt at all!
Then we moved to my grandparents’ farm for a year, to McFarland, California, Riverside, Ambrose and back to McFarland. One day my Dad told me we were going to move back to the farm and I was ecstatic. We were there for about three and a half years and when my grandparents sold the farm, moved back to Hutchinson.
I went from a one-room country school to a large Junior High in Hutchinson.
It was totally different than the country but I thought it exciting. Many times my girl friend from the farm who had also moved to Hutch and I walked the many blocks to and from school. It was easier than walking across a plowed field so we didn’t mind.
One day in Fall, however, stands out in my mind. I had eaten lunch at the school and wasn’t feeling too good. We had chili that day and I was eager to get home. I had also developed the chills and an upset stomach and thought the long trip to home would never end.
I barely made it into our little house before throwing up. No one was home, my dad had come home from the filling station he ran and took Mom to the grocery store since she didn’t drive.
By the time they got home, I was burning up with fever and couldn’t even swallow the saliva in my mouth. They called the doctor and he came right out. He said I had streppe throat as well as scarlet fever. We had a big sign put on our front door that stated NO Entering, SCARLET FEVER!
That meant all four of us would need to stay in our little four room house for two weeks. I worried about getting behind in my school work but we got in touch with our former farm neighbors and they agreed to come to the back door for our list and buy our groceries. My girl friend Ruth would get my assignments from school and bring my books to me.
My dad also got scarlet fever but we had a delightful family time. We’d sit around our little eating table and talk about anything and everything. Mom, of course, loved to cook and we enjoyed her delicacies all the more. It was definitely a fun time and we were almost disappointed when we could again come and go. God is good and He never gives more than we can handle…in fact, it was a wonderful family time I will always cherish!
It is interesting that when John and I had our own family, we were never quarantined for any disease. I’m sure that is because of the vaccinations they were given in a more up-to-date world. Some things are great, however, I will always have special memories of the time we were quarantined. Life had slowed down for a time!
Doris welcomes your comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org