“A Stroke of Lightening”

Mar 12, 2011 | 1 comment

Suzita “Sue” Espy, 1922

     On March 9, 1915, my grandmother wrote to her eldest daughter Medora who was away at school:
     Just a line to say Sue is getting along as well as can be expected.  Dr. says we will see little change until after the crisis on seventh day.  The poor child is in constant pain – and so patient.
     I can’t realize she is so sick when just a day or two ago she was so lively.  That pneumonia is like a stroke of lightening.  Dr. says she is strong and will come thru O.K.
     And then, two days later on March 11th – exactly ninety-six years ago yesterday – she wrote again:
     Sue is quite comfortable now.  She spent a bad night and we were much depressed this morning, but a half hour ago she raised a great clot of blood and has been breathing easier and is clear-headed since.
     Dr. says we can look for no change before Sunday.
                                                            In haste,
     It was not the first time that thirteen-year-old Sue had suffered with pneumonia, nor would it be the last.   On December 27, 1932 she died in Portland, Oregon… of pneumonia.  To their everlasting regret, my grandparents were not in good enough health, financially or otherwise, to take in Sue’s two young sons.   But even though Wallace, Jr. (age 8 ) and Charles (age 4) went to Minnesota to live with their father’s relatives, Espy family contact with “Sue’s boys” remained a priority.
     My grandmother used to say that the greatest gift we had been given was our inability to see into the future.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I fully understood what she meant.  And now, these many years later, as I read her old letters with full knowledge of what is in store for her and the family, the tears do come.   

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Your grandmother was right. It would be too overwhelming to know. Better to take one day at a time and live it to the fullest. And I like Suzita’s hat!


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