Now after relating some of the happiness of others, I will go on with my story of ups and downs. The arrow of Sagittarius, my constellation, must have gone deep into the ground. In our darkest hours light breaks though now and then. This happened when my sister Mary came to see me and asked me to go to Reel's Farm with her. She had a difficult family to care for and needed a rest. We went during the middle of the week to avoid houseparties.
I had been there and enjoyed its beauty. It was lovely for a day or two but then my menstrual period came too early. Fortunately my sister had brought a hot water bag. The weather cooled and I had my usual suffering. Mary filled the bag and when she brought it to me she put her hand over my abdomen and could feel the contortions. After putting the bag on me she lay down a few minutes holding my hand. Then she said, "Lucy, I think you suffer more at these times than I did giving birth to any of my five children." We returned to St. Louis and sister Mary told her sister-in-law, Mrs. Warwick Hough, about me. A doctor who had delivered her only child was outstanding and familiar with what was called "female troubles." "Miss Lizzie," the name I had called her ever since her brother Charlie Gage had married my sister, took me to see this doctor. I liked him much better than the stupid doctor who had sent me to a deadly hospital. This doctor, whose name I can't recall, gave me medicine that eased the pain for a while. He said I should undergo a simple operation which could be done at home. I would not agree a hospital to go to a hospital so it was done at home. This was curetting. The doctor gave me a whiff of ether and it was over in a few minutes. The doctor came to see me a day or two after talking to Mrs. Hough and my sister. He brought me a certificate telling just what had been done and describing what had made this necessary. I stayed in my room a few days and then was allowed to go downstairs. I was not hungry. A strange change happened in my digestive system. One day Emma, the housemaid, asked what I wanted for lunch. I said, "Get me one of those large tomatoes from our garden." Emma said, "Why, Miss Lucy, you have not eaten tomatoes for years - not even in vegetable soup." My answer was, "It is hot today and that is all I want." She brought it and I enjoyed it. A chemical change must have occurred in my stomach.
The summer dragged on. Most of my friends were
out of town. No one had any knowledge of me. Louise Vieths was either
at Hyannisport or Lake George. Lionel Chambers had gone to a National
Guard Camp. Our family was small now - just father and mother, brother
Billie and I (or me??). My favorite uncle came to make a long visit -
Rear Admiral E. 0. Matthews, retired.