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Dorothy
an essay by
Alverda Louise Heim Saum



Dorothy and I were two years apart and always extremely close. She was a family favorite in general. She was always so sweet and agreeable. Her health patterns were different from the rest of us. She never had any of the childhood diseases although the rest of us ran the gamut, except diphtheria. None of us ever had that. During the flu epidemic in 1918, everyone in the family had it except Dorothy. However, it seemed that every tine she got a cut of any kind, it resulted in blood poisoning. I can remember Dorothy wearing a lot of poultices.

During the summers when we lived on the “Farm”, Dorothy and I always spent two weeks with Auntie [Hazel] and Uncle Fred. It gave us a chance to be with Snookie, and Auntie’s house always seemed so wonderful. They had a bathroom. Our facilities were outdoors. One year Auntie made us each a black sateen dress with colored appliqués. They were the rage that summer. We really strutted our stuff in those dresses.

Shortly after we went to Panama, Dorothy got erysipelas, a skin infection, and quite serious, in her leg. She was in the hospital for a while. When she was eighteen or nineteen, she started feeling sick, losing weight and having pain. She became very yellow and was sent to the hospital. She was there a week when she died. Today it would probably be diagnosed as hepatitis.

That was in November and this was the first death in the family. We were all hit really hard by it. I was really hit hard. It was when I learned to deal with death, and I could not stand it. Yet I had to reconcile myself to it.

Jack, my husband, and Dorothy were engaged at the time of her death. If I did not have a date, they always let me tag along. We did not see Jack for awhile after the funeral, but he could not stay away from the comfort of having a family to go to, so our relationship just evolved.

[On her death certificate the cause of death was subacute interstitial hepititis. Contributing to her death was severe central necrosis of the liver.]

Linked toHEIM Alverda Louise; HEIM Dorothy Helen
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