Remembering (and becoming?) Mrs. Nagle

Nov 2, 2022 | 2 comments

On days like today, Mrs. Nagle moved a little more slowly and was inclined to wince now and again.  But she seldom complained.  If asked, she’d tell you that her “rheumatiz” was acting up something fierce.

Now from what the internet tells me, “rheumatiz”  is from the Late Latin rheumatismus,  and means any painful disorder of joints, muscles and, as I recall, was used by Joel Chandler in the Uncle Remus Stories.  That must be why I associate it with a Southern accent, even though Mrs. Nagle was straight from “the old country.”  Norway, I believe.

The last few days, I’ve found myself wincing and hobbling a bit more than usual and my memories of our beloved Mrs. Nagle have come flooding back.  She took care of me and the housework from 1941 to 1945 when my mother went to work as a pipefitter’s helper at General Engineering in Alameda, California.  “We couldn’t have made it through the war without her,” mom often remembered.

So why did “Nagle” (as I affectionately called her) wince especially in cold, damp weather?  And, now, why do I?  “When it is cold and damp out, changes in barometric pressure can cause an inflammatory response in the joints,” say the experts.  And that “could lead to increased joint pain, due to changes in circulation and possible nerve fiber sensitivity.”

Yes.  Nagle knew that and now, so do I.  But what to do about it?  “Dress in layers,” say the experts.  “Duh!” say I. “Isn’t that what winter’s all about?”  I have no idea what Nagle’s response would have been. “Just bring on the sunshine!” I suppose.  And meanwhile, hobble and wince…


  1. Lucille H. Pierce

    Also frozen fingers, Sydney–now we wonder why we complained about the heat–our old joints don’t like this. Just “carry on”.

    • sydney

      Hi Lucille! YES! Fingers! and Toes. And also my nose, though I don’t think it counts as a joint!
      Good to hear from you! Hope achy joints are your only complaint this chilly season.
      Much love,


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