M.D. Cornell, Illinols
Rural communities provide many opportunities for a good life along with the many hardships. Among these are the associations found in different church, political, fraternal and professional groups.
As to church affiliation, I am a Methodist because my mother was.
Politically, I am a member of the party that elected Lincoln, freed the slaves, put down the rebellion, re-united the States, and established our Nation's financial credit above that of any other country in the world.
Fraternally, I am a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; the Modern Woodman; the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; the Knights Templar; the Mystic Shrine; the Order of the Eastern Star; and the While Shrine of Jerusalem.
The Star and the White Shrine include both men and women in their membership. This gave my wife and me opportunity to share in our associations with its members. We served in various offices; she as Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star, and as Worthy High Priestess in the Shrine; I, as Watchman of the Shepherds.
Professionally, I am a member of the American Medical Association and of Emeritus Membership of the Illinois State Medical Society, and of the Livingston County Medical Society.
Several different summers we were able to get away on a little vacation and sightseeing tour of various parts of the United States. Our first trip was through the west. We visited the usual scenic spots of the Black Hills, Pike's Peak, the Rockies, Yellowstone Park, and a Colorado Dude Ranch. One summer we actually took that long-delayed Niagara Falls trip. From there we went on to Collaner, Ontario, to see the famous Dionne quintuplets born on my birthday. It was my privilege to visit with Mr. Dionne, with the two midwives, and with Dr. Dafoe. In later years my wife and I enjoyed several winter vacations in Florida.
The years 1936-1940, I served as coroner of Livingston County. This office brought me into contact with various local, state, and federal government leaders, all of whom I thoroughly enjoyed.
However, with these added duties to my regular practice, I began to slow down in strength, and to find myself confined more to office calls than to the active practice I had formerly preferred.
On November 13, 1940, I suffered a severe heart attack of coronary emboli. After six months as a bed patient, I began a slow partial recovery. The attack marked my last day of office practice. During the next ten years I also underwent operations for the removal of a cataract from each eye. Arthritis, too, has joined the series of physical difficulties.
With the aid of radio, contacts with colleagues, and friends, I have kept interest in the swift advance in medicine and changes in our way of life. Both have interacted to make the place of the country doctor as I had known it, passe.
World War II took many of the young physicians, and the ones available for general practice did not care to buffet the air ships of a rural practice without the services of a well equipped hospital. Few, if any, of the obstetric deliveries are made in the homes today. The wonder drugs: the sulfas and the biotic, have revolutionized the old methods of medical treatments. New and improved mechanical devices have become efficient in both diagnosis and treatment.
An almost complete hard road system through the country and the more dependable cars are a big improvement over the roads of several decades ago. I recall that in addition to our family cars, I really wore out approximately 20 autos in my rural practice. At least ten of these cars were Model T Fords. The old solid tire was among my mud-fighters, too.
Here is a good picture of the up and down type Saw Mill. This mill was established during or right after the Civil War. Water was the source of power and the saw a blade operated by a pitman. A thousand feet of lumber was considered a good day's work. Later when the water dwindled a stationary engine supplied the power. By 1920 the old mill sagged at all the corners and in the middle and was so badly worn that it refused to do any more work; so the owner engaged my father to saw what logs remained there. The old mill finally crumbled to ruins. It seems sad to think that no one thought of preserving the old historical landmark to honor these pioneers who did so much to develop this part of Wisconsin. Clarence Mirk, 2362 N. 85St., Milwaukee 10, Wis.
Recalling mud roads brings to mind a little incident to break a doctor's routine. One stormy night when I answered a knock at the door, I found a rather anxious appearing man who greeted me by asking, 'What do you charge to make a trip out to the Tom Smith's.'
I answered, 'Five dollars for a night call.'
He then asked if T could go immediately, and I told him I'd be ready in a few minutes. When I got out to my garage, I found him waiting for me. He asked if he might ride along. Always liking company on those lonely night trips, I told him I'd be glad to have him.
When we reached the Smiths, the man got our first and then handed me five dollars. In surprise, I asked, 'But where is the patient?'
He answered, 'There isn't any. I have come on an unannounced visit to see my sister, and since the taxicab would charge me ten dollars to make the trip, I thought I'd take your services instead.'