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Home. Sun. Mch 14--'20
Dear Esther--

Am using Clark's fountain pen. May be you are tired of my using a pencil so much. I am anyway. Did my last letter give you the "blues"? I think if I had written to you a day later, it sure would have for-- I just felt awful about the death of Harold Mosier for seveeral reasons. In the first place I felt so sorry because I had heard enough about him to feel as tho' I knew him and secondly, to think he had to go with such a terrible disease. Then I was so sorry to know diphtheria was in our school. Lloyd came home Thur. eve & said his throat was sore. As it is very unusual for his throat to [be] sore, of course I was scared. I doctored him that eve. then the next day we kept him home from school, he appeared fairly good during the day, but I imagined it was put on for he was just about as much worried as I was. Then when evening came he got rather quiet & he said Mamma I don't feel so well. Now may be think I wasn't worried, for you see Harold took sick at school and sat just across the aisle from Lloyd. I couldn't eat one mouth full of supper that eve. I had him sleep with us & Warren with Clark. Well to make a long story short, he is almost O.K. now, but Ruth had a sore throat last eve. (Sat eve.) So last night (eve) I began on Lloyd with turpentine* (I doctored him right from the start with that) then I rubbed Ruth with it then I put Vix salve on Clark as he has had a cough for over a month. When I went to doctor Ruth she said it tickled her neck and I could not make her behave so I just slapped [it] on her any old where and a plenty of it, and I soon had her neck burning fierce. She just begged for vasoline. I told her she had been so mean I would not rub it on. We laughed so hard too. I would scold then we would laugh. I told her she was as touchy as you. I put her feet in hot water but she would not let me touch them. I do not really think her throat was very sore, but with diphtheria in the school I was not going to take any chances. I slept with her and in the middle of hte night we had anohter laughing spell. (she is so touchy) Clark heard us & said he thought we were never going to quit. Last eve. while I was "doping" her she said "I just wish Esther was home" I said "why can't I sleep with you just as well?" But she just stood there actually & truly wishing & wishing you were home, never to go away again. I am not surprised that Luella hears more general neighborhood news than you for I suppose I am your main correspondent and I don't hear much to tell you. Clark could tell you a great deal more than he does, I've an idea. No one has been here today and papa is the only one who went to S.S. Clark said he hoped no one would come if they did he would go right upstairs & go to bed. So you can guess the mood he is in. Lloyd has just three more weeks of school, it will be out Apr. 2. So I think they he will be home when you are here. (sorry).

All seem quite well tonight if I could only get Clark's cough loose. I have been too worried to cook anything extra to send to you. May be I'll feel more like myself this week. Tho' I am afraid of the diseases spreading in school for the next week or two.

Yes, I think you can do all you planned on doing at home during vacation except sewing and it always seems to take so long to do any thing in that line.

We have spent hte evening up till now here in the front room in the dark, telling original stories. But now Papa has finished milking he is in here & I will finish.

Clark said to tell you he would write to you during this week sometime.

Our carpenter has not appeared yet. Clark wants to change the whole plan. But I don't know as I do.

Well, I've run out for the present. So will quit. [...] I forgot to tell you Josephine has missed Thur. & Fri. of school on account of sickness was threatened was pneumonia. I've an idea they were like me--more scared than hurt, so kept her at home.

Well, goodnight. from--Mamma.


Clair Shoemaker was the only one in our class at S.S. yesterday.

The weather is fine and I guess we will all go to school today.

Will write a letter later in the week

Your Brother
E. Clark M.


*Placing a cloth soaked with turpentine on the neck was a common treatment for diphtheria. Alternately, turpentine could be mixed with tar, placed in a metal container, then held over a fire. The fumes were meant to clear the characteristic mucous from the throat. Turpentine was also mixed with lard and rubbed on the chest, as a treatment for colds.


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