“Entries From My Grandmother’s Diary Pertaining To My Father’s Early Inflammation”
by Marc A. Criley and Hazel L. Criley
ANNUAL DIARY 1938
Mrs. Robert “Lily” Harrison
288 S 42nd
E. Alton, Ill.
July 30, 1938:
Robbie Jr has fever again. Robert will take to Dr tomorrow.
July 31, 1938:
Robbie has cold Dr says rest and water
August 2, 1938:
Robbie awful restless. Didn’t go to sleep until 10:30 P.M.
I have a bit of cold.
got ton of coal. $4.12
August 4, 1938:
Robbie cold is worse this Morn.
washed and ironed.
Robbie wont go to sleep again tonight. Don’t know what the trouble is.
listened to radio Browns lost to senators
August 7, 1938:
Went to town. Pattern for dress Robert got work shoes.
Robbie has lump in Right gland.
August 8, 1938:
Washed. Robbie tired + cross. has fever
his gland in neck all swollen. Robert took to Dr. Geber.
Dr. says 3 yrs too young. dangerous at his age will try to suppress gave soda acid pills
August 9, 1938:
Up with Robbie last night
pretty sick boy
took him to Dr. again gave him 3 soda acid pills no other med
sponge to cool fever. breath steaming
August 10, 1938:
Robbie Fever 104 5/10° his ears running a bit with pyrotic discharge. asbestos neck guard + ear drops. Dr. brought more soda acid pills.
My throat is sore. smoke and dry fumes from Robbie’s drops. Dr. painted it while here. Robert sick too.
August 11, 1938:
Robbie stopped sweating hair crispy
pills not working Dr. Geber says. will have to initiate thermogenesis. no soda acid pills for 2 days
August 12, 1938:
Robbie wont let any one else care for him but me. Have to wear oven mitts and fire vest
listened to cardinals on radio lost 3-2. poor Mcgee
Robert rented asbestos firebox from Sauser hardware
August 13, 1938:
Robbie fever at 112°, Dr. gave him 4 red incendiaries. very heavy dose for 3 yr old. scared
vomiting flames into firebox. Smoke everywhere Robbie crying
Asked sister to take over house work for me.
August 14, 1938:
Robbie wouldnt sleep in firebox laid on rug
legs ignited set rug on fire
scooped with mitts into firebox singed hair
Robert dumped potty bucket on rug ruined it
Robbie in flames all night firebox went up to 385°
poor boy crying alone in firebox. Too hot to open
Robert has headache from fumes
my poor boy
August 15, 1938:
so tired. Robbie burned for hours sleeping now, exhausted, flames just flickering.
opened box very hot + dry
Dr. came over, thermogenesis took but should stay in firebox as precaution. gave throat salve use nosedrops for dryness
tried to nap, canned 4½ qt peaches in afternoon to get mind off while Robbie slept.
August 16, 1938:
Robbie fever still not gone. nosedrops continue use. still some embers
Grandma Estil came to visit. says Robbie has good color
August 17, 1938:
Did not see Dr. today.
Robert slept a few hours after dinner then worked night shift
took sister + Grandma home.
Robbie slight fever. out of box can hold now with mitts
August 18, 1938:
Robbie fever gone finally. salve + nose drop med left sooty rash on face + neck.
boy is awful cross + tired.
Robert feeling ok. went to work.
My throat better just tickles. Nosedrops
August 19, 1938:
Robbie slept all night. took to Dr. Geber says pyrokinecoccus colony rooted. ok should wear asbestos cloth until learns control. very relieved
I washed today. Robert returned firebox
August 22, 1938:
Canned 10 qt. beans, Robert cut bushel of grapes off vine in garden.
Robbie cross today sore throat
I’m awful tired.
August 29, 1938:
Dr. Geber took burnt tonsils + adenoids out at 8:30 A.M. Let us bring Robbie home at 8 P.M. getting along fine. no fires. ice cream
September 13, 1938:
Robbie 3½ yrs old
smoking and steamy breath
Dr. prescribed course of sulfur oil emulsions Robbie does not like it
September 23, 1938:
Headache took nap in afternoon
Robbie set chair + davenport pillow + toy bear on fire. Black as shoe dye. Just ruined everything. Robbie crying
grocery man didn’t deliver all groceries.
Robert has cough tonight from smoke in house
September 25, 1938:
Making Robbie practice in driveway. no inside fires
November 21, 1938:
Robbie done with sulfur oil
got turkey 15 pounds $4.57
November 26, 1938:
Robbie picked up leaves + grass made a pile
pointed and set it on fire. laughed
that’s my boy
Marc A. Criley avidly read fantasy and science fiction for over forty years before finally deciding to try his own hand at it. His stories have appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Galaxy’s Edge, and elsewhere. Hazel L. Criley is Marc’s late grandmother, her Depression-era diaries supplied the base text for several entries in this story. Marc and his wife “manage” a household of cats at their home in the hills of North Alabama, while he maintains a blog at kickin-the-darkness.com and noisily tweets as @That_MarcC.