Independence Day – 1973

I had the day off since 4th is a holiday.  Louise’s birthday is the 6th so we all celebrated a day early.  Seven years old already, how did that happen? Of course, we had birthday cake and presents and altogether a pleasant day.

I worried greatly about Marge, she is still not well and runs a fever that increases during the day and falls back at night.  The next day repeats the same pattern and I don’t like it at all. She did make a return visit to the OB_GYN who operated.  He told us he couldn’t find anything wrong sith the procedure and gave her some antibiotics to take.  I really didn’t like him, the bed had more of a bedside manner than he did.

If antibiotics don’t do the trick, Marge is going to her internist who at least does lab work and some diagnostics before he comes up with an opinion. He is a partner in a small practice and I see him as well when I am ill.   At least Marge does not seem worsening. Finally she is not taking those shots in her spine.  I thought the procedure bogus as it did not seem to have any effect and I did not like the Dr.  His procedure was to have Marge strip and then lay down on a padded table for the shot.  I didn’t think it was necessary for her  to be as naked as the day she was born to have a shot in her spine.  I suspected, can’t prove that the Dr. liked to see women with attractive figures, especially their butts, and Marge fit that description, that I verify.  I always went with her and kept a sharp eye on Doc.

The girls and I go to Kutztown to see a folk festival in the afternoon.  We first moved in 1969 to a rental not far from Kutztown which is in the fringe of the PA Dutch culture. It was very interesting if you like that folksy sort of entertainment.

 Kutztown Birch Beer Still

Kutztown Birch Beer Still

 It was nicer to visit than to live there where we were definitely Uitlanders.  We went to the market to buy some accessories with a PA Dutch flair.  I recall getting some candy and what I considered an attractive piece of costume jewelry for Marge. 

The festival had a whole ox being roasted for ox sandwiches, a tinsmith, carver, etc. The girls were a bit bored as there were no activities to do, just food and stuff we probably wouldn’t look at again.  I think they did enjoy it in a low-key way. When we got home, Ingrid made and decorated the cake, I made supper, we got Louise a bicycle for her present.  All in all it was a pretty good birthday, but I did wish that Marge was well enough to join with us in the afternoon.

July 11, 1973: We were able to get an appointment with Marge’s osteopath, her primary doctor on that day, a Saturday.  He gave her some medication which really did the job on her infection.  It does seem the operation was a success but Marge had a little sinus trouble then and the stress of the operation knocked her resistance down. The sinus, just waiting for a chance, flared up again.  Things seem   under control, no thanks to the OB_GYN who performed the procedure on her.  This experience deepened my wish that I never have to depend on the medical profession for help.  So far, so good, other than minor office visits. 

We had a sad weekend.  Backing up a bit, an acquaintance of Marge, back in 1967, was moving and the place she was moving to didn’t allow pets.  She had two Siamese, a male and a female from the same litter. We never had pets but we took them. We named the male Rajah and the female Sascha.  We didn’t know then that Sascha is really a male name, but it didn’t seem to bother them.

The bad news is that Sascha experienced  a fit and started growling, spitting, and striking out at her brother.  We thought maybe he was playing too rough and kept them apart for a while and all was OK.  Then a few weeks later, she did the same thing with no provocation. This seemed strange as Rajah seemed quite confused by her behavior. I had called the vet the first time this happened, but he could offer nothing but to tell us to watch her, which of course we were already doing.

Again, a bit of history.  One day, maybe in 1971, I came home from work and Rajah was lying prostrate at the side of the road.  He had been hit, but was alive.  I carefully picked him up and told Marge what happened.  There was no vet in Coopersburg but we found one in Quakertown, about 12 miles south, who would attend as soon as we could bring Rajah down. We made him as comfortable as we could and rushed down.  The vet said his jaw had  broken, but he could wire it shut and gave us some animal antibiotics to ward off infection, as well as a shot to deal with the pain.  That worked, and we continued to see  the vet when necessary.  I am sure he was qualified, but his bedside manner was not so good. 

Back to 1973. Both cats had spent the day curled up together, which they often did.  This time Sascha had another cat fit, and this time it was for a longer time, getting worse, whatever the cause was. She calmed down Sunday  and let us hold her but growled and spit if her brother came near her. She would also growl and spit when we shut her in a  room to separate her from her brother. We made several attempts to let her out but any semblance of normal behavior failed. I decided to put her away as she was aging and I figured this affected her brain.

We talked about this and decided to do this ourselves to make her end as peaceful as possible instead of by a disinterested vet at a strange place.  I used car starting ether which then came in a spray can.  It didn’t have the additives which were necessary later as diesel cars did not exist in ’73.  This only took a short time but I felt terrible, even though we knew it was necessary. I never realized how much I liked her until she was gone.  We buried her in the back lawn, I came in and was so upset I went to bed and cried.  I will never do this again.  We all got in the car and went to the nearby town of Emmaus to see a children’s matinée.

Louise reminded me more detail of the movie and I am updating this post to include it. You mention that we all went out to a children’s matinee, but don’t mention that the movie was Charlotte’s Web, which is of course very sad about the spider Charlotte dying and of course the subtext of the piglets being fattened up to be eaten. I remember Mom telling this story afterwards that neither of you knew what the story was about when we went, but just wanted to get out of the house and get our minds off of the fact that you had just had to put Sascha to sleep and bury her in the back yard.

I did calm down but was sad and depressed the rest of the day. Rajah, the brother cat, how has no kitty companion and is insistent on sitting on or with somebody.  I really think animals can experience grief as well as humans. When vacations are over we will try to bring in a kitten in hopes he will accept it.


Lake Wallenpaupack, PA

In ’73 my employer PP&L had a power plant on Lake Wallenpaupeck in the Pocono mtns. They controlled the land around it and owned a conference hall as well as several cottages.  I was fortunate enough to get a cottage for a week in July. We returned to Coopersburg on July 23.  

We returned from our vacation having had a very nice experience.  The cabins were rustic but very nice for a week and included a fireplace as well as a dock. The girls went down daily to swim and I did once in a while. The lake is artificial in that the creek was dammed for a power plant owned by PP&L.  The cottage was in the woods and was one in a group of four, but not at all crowded.  The geography of PA is quite different from NY, in it does not have a shoreline or glacial lakes. We were fortunate in getting this cabin, especially as Marge was slowly recovering from her ill-health earlier in the month.  I really loved Marge and her health was more fragile than mine. I felt so helpless when she was sick, but did all I could to aid and make her feel a bit more comfortable. 

 That week I grilled several things on the fireplace, nothing fancy, burgers or steak. Ingrid was a big help with dishes and I believe the trip was a real vacation for Marge also.  We took two side trips.

Fort Delaware, NY

Fort Delaware, NY

 One was to Narrowsburg, NY to see Fort Delaware, a reconstructed frontier fort complete with the firing of an actual ancient cannon, girls dipping candles, etc.  It was quite interesting for all of us.

Bushkill Falls, Niagra of PA

Bushkill Falls, Niagra of PA

 We also took a trip to Bushkill Falls and spent much time walking around the falls and streams in the area.  This was situated at the Delaware  Water Gap where the river cascades down on its way to the Atlantic. It was rather steep and a bit of a stress for Marge, but she made it quite OK. I was so thankful that she could get to enjoy this side trip as well.

So, back to civilization. I weeded my flowers and as usual found more trouble than was first clear.  Some of the Iris plants looked sickly and on inspection they were infested with Iris borers, so I dug up the bad ones and destroyed them.  The Iris bed needed trimming anyway so I accomplished two tasks at the same time.  Next year I will spray in the spring to help prevent this infestation.

All in all, a good month, especially as Marge now appears healthy again, I am so thankful.




About R. F.

I am a retired Professional Engineer who spent my working life in the electric utility industry. I am now a volunteer instructor at the University Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
This entry was posted in 1970-1980, Pennsylvania and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Independence Day – 1973

  1. Louise says:

    I thought for sure you would mention about the disaster of the movie, but perhaps you are not remembering it the way I did, or at least the way I remember Mom talking about it afterwards. You mention that we all went out to a children’s matinee, but don’t mention that the movie was Charlotte’s Web, which is of course very sad about the spider Charlotte dying and of course the subtext of the piglets being fattened up to be eaten. I remember Mom telling this story afterwards that neither of you knew what the story was about when we went, but just wanted to get out of the house and get our minds off of the fact that you had just had to put Sascha to sleep and bury her in the back yard. Then you take us kids to the movie and it is about death and dying. Mom thought that Ingrid and I were going to be scarred for life by it, but actually I was too little to make the connection between what had happened in the movie and in real life. I can’t speak for Ingrid, who would have been 12 and of course a lot more aware.

    • R. Johann says:

      I thought and thought, but couldn’t remember the name of the movie and you are absolutely correct. I would have mentioned it if I remembered, but maybe lost in my subconscious for the very reason you mentioned. It was a real downer for me, not at all what I hoped for in getting away from the house. So life moves along and I wrote what I could and would have written about my feelings when I saw the movie. Now it comes back to me. I can remember a lot and old letters help trigger memories but the name of the film just eluded me. Thanks for the lengthy note, sort of an appendix to the story.

    • ingridmg2014 says:

      Yes! Charlotte’s Web. I was going to write about that being the movie of the day as well but hadn’t gotten around to it. Although older than Louise, I think I must not have been really paying attention to the movie or didn’t fully understand what was going on in the plot. I DO remember Mom talking about it later though, and saying just as Louise did about what an unintentional bad choice it turned out to be. I don’t think is “scarred me for life” but I also have no desire whatsoever to see it now that I’m an adult.

      I do remember being quite affected by what was going on with Sascha though, and being upset over her death. I even wrote a short essay on it for a homework assignment at school one time; the experience was so vivid for me.

      • R. Johann says:

        Yes, the whole experience was intended it be a loving one, not a grieving one, which in a way it was two ways, once I had no idea how upset and grieved I would be in putting our old and obviously not well cat away at home. Second was the movie, which was not beneficial, though none of us knew what it was about ,we just went expecting to view something light.So now my turn to write this sort of essay about the experience.

  2. Allan T says:

    The waterfall /river was beautiful. As far as the cat, I know we had a hard time allowing the VET do put our first cat of 18 year asleep, I don’t think I could have done it myself. Wow, I never realized that Margery had that much physical problems.

    • R. Johann says:

      The Poconos, the Catskills, and the Adirondacks are geography that I miss very much here, all that water and greenery just all around you. but I couldn’t live there anymore myself, no family and only one friend who has more health problems than I do. Marge had a lot of health problems, ending of course in the cancer that killed her. In about 1966 she had her wisdom teeth out, and was in the bed, shades drawn for days. In a world of hurt. I did what I could for her. I loved her, but I didn’t have the words to express it properly since she had a bigger vocabulary than I did. She is buried with two cats, I think I mentioned that. Always Siamese, if you please.

  3. Kathilyn Bigler says:

    I so enjoyed reading this!!! A few years ago I had to have a series of steroid back injections from a pain doc. I also had to strip down before I went in for the procedure and I felt embarrassed by it all!!! I kept going though, as the shots did help. Now I do jazzercise and it really helps to keep my lower back in line!!
    I am moved into a new home! Well, it is a foreclosure and I am buying it from the “flipper.” All is coming along and most importantly, my German Shepherd and sweet cat are adjusting!!
    Keep Writing!!
    New Address:
    952 Hollendale Dr.
    Kettering, Ohio 45429

    • R. Johann says:

      Thanks Kathi, I always enjoy hearing from you. Steroid injections were suggested but not recommended to me by my osteopathic surgeon. Physical therapy and the drug Gabapentin have been of great help, though I do have to watch my body is telling me after maybe 30 minutes or so of standing. Jazzercise sounds like fun and I am happy you are in a home that you and your furry friends like.

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