As a child, I had the usual contagious diseases all kids passed around back then: three kinds of measles (hey, my mom thought there were three kinds, that's all I know); mumps; pinkeye (several times); whooping cough (that was the worst).
In the summer of 1951 when I was seven years old, we were living in Guss, Iowa. For no apparent reason, I became listless and my stomach hurt. I began vomiting. I remember laying on my bed while my mom bathed me with a washcloth and dressed me; then she took me to see Dr. Croxdale, whose office was probably in Villisca.
He had me admitted to some small, local hospital where I was placed in a room with at least half-a-dozen other patients. I was hooked up to an IV. Relatives came from Missouri to visit me. Looking back, I suppose everybody thought I was going to die.
My mom swore I was vomiting blood, although I remember a nurse telling her no, it wasn't blood.
There was one very sick lady in a bed at the far end of the room who, my mom whispered to Aunt Ruby, was dying of cancer.
I received lots of get-well cards; many of them had little-girl handkerchiefs tucked inside. Some people gave me kiddie books: My favorites were "Cookie", about a dog that loved cookies more than anything else (my dog's name was Cookie); and one that was written in rhyme about the county fair. It began, "I went to the fair, oh, the grand county fair, With so much to see and such fun everywhere."
I was in the hospital for a week; toward the end of that time, I began feeling better. Nurses brought me hot tea in a cute little brown teapot, and it tasted good. Then they brought me broth and I kept that down. The IV was removed from my leg (yes, my leg) and before you know it, I was taken home. I was still weak, and my parents treated me like I was made of glass. The Hampels, who owned the store down the road, had given me a robe during my hospital stay, the first one I ever owned. I begged Mother to let me wear it down to the store to model it for them.
Our big vacation every year was a trip to the Iowa State Fair at Des Moines, and Mother and Daddy decided it was safe to take me. They made me promise to be very good and not run or jump. During that visit to the fair, my parents' joy was almost tangible.
Nobody ever knew exactly what ailment put me in the hospital. A few years ago, I got to thinking about that book, "Cookie", that was given to me during that time. I wanted to see that book again! So I searched the Internet until I found an old copy. It was originally published in 1944, the year of my birth. This particular copy was printed in 1948.
Yes, by the time I finished reading the book, I needed some cookies in a bad way! It still has that effect on me.
I just checked Ebay and found "Let's Go To The Fair", the other book I remember receiving. I'm not going to buy it, though.