(Continued from The Box)
After I had opened the box, unwrapped the tissue paper to find my mom’s baby sister’s bonnet and removed the tissue paper, I saw a calendar at the bottom of the box.
Carefully I lifted out the Calendar from 1927 and slowly flipped the pages. When I found the month of June, there were notes on the page in my grandmother’s handwriting.
June 9: Baby born – 10 a.m. hospital – 3# 4 – Lois Evelyn
June 13: 2#s 5
June 16: I came home – left baby
June 25: Fabitis
Week of June 26: Baby gaining back
July 9: 3-4 1/2
July 15: I came home
July 16: Baby home – 3# 6
July 23: 3# 12 1/2
July 30: Same
August 1: 3# 12 1/2 oz
August 6: 4 – 3
August 13: 4 – 7
August 20: 4 – 12 1/2
August 27: 4 – 7
August 30: 4 – 5
September 3: 4 – 7
September 10: 4 – 8
September 12: cow’s milk
September 15: 4 – 13
September 17: 4 – 7
September 19: 4 – 5
September 22: SMA, 4 – 4
September 28: Back to hospital at 9 pm
September 30: Died at 5 pm
October 2: We buried our dear baby 3 months, 3 weeks
October 18: At Hospital
October 20: Operated for appendicitis & perineal op
October 22: Real ill
Lois Evelyn Johnson’s Death Certificate
Birth: June 9, 1927
Death: Sept 30, 1927 at Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio
Normal residence was in Fairfield (now part of Fairborn), Greene County, Ohio
Female, White, Single
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio
Age at Death: 3 months, 4 days (this is incorrect just based on dates)
Father: Glenn (spelling incorrect) Johnson, born Anderson, Indiana
Mother: Vesta Wilt, born Noblesville, Indiana
Informant: Glen R. Johnson, Fairfield, Ohio
Death occurred at 6 pm
Cause of Death: 7 mo. premature birth; summer diarrhea, malnutrition
Place of Burial: Fairfield Cemetery, Oct 3rd 1927
It appears – based on calendar notes – that my grandmother was very vigilant about checking Lois’ weight and even changing what type of nutrition she was receiving. Lois probably started out being breast-fed and then when she failed to gain enough, was switched to cow’s milk. She did appear to gain some weight but then started to taper off again. My grandmother then switched her to SMA Formula but that didn’t seem to help. I believe the X’s at certain dates of Lois’ life probably indicated either the beginning of diarrhea or a dr. appointment.
Talking to my mom a year ago, I discovered that Lois had been able to go home from the hospital. I was always under the impression that she had to remain there. Mom had told me that her baby sister had been put next to a heat source in order to keep her body temperature up.
Lois Evelyn didn’t remain at Fairfield Cemetery. Years later a family had lost their children in a fire (or some other calamity) and a call went out through the community for burial plots or money to help bury the children. My grandparents gave up their plots and decided to remove their baby daughter to the cemetery they had chosen would be their final resting place. Mom had told me several times the gruesome tale of how my grandmother had wanted to see her baby daughter one more time after she was disinterred and asked that her casket be opened. Apparently she was pretty well preserved until the air touched her remains. Lois was then interred – permanently – at Glen Haven Memorial Gardens in New Carlisle, Ohio. Almost 40 years after she died, her parents joined her in eternal rest (in 1984 and 1985). Now, though unfortunate, most of the family is together – lying close together in a very peaceful setting: Lois’ oldest brother and her next to oldest sister (my mother). My aunt, the oldest daughter, is buried several miles away in the community’s Catholic cemetery.
Medical technology has come such a long way since 1927. If Lois Evelyn had been born within the last 10-15 years, she would probably be well cared for and received the right nutrition. Her gastric distress was probably due to her prematurity and she may have been placed on a feeding tube or receive IV nutrients.
My grandmother spoke of Lois Evelyn often. She never stopped mourning her last born child. She had shown me one picture of the little one lying on a blanket. I’ve not seen that photo again. The picture I do have, I will not post. It is her final picture – in her casket at her funeral. A banner reading “Our Baby” is draped above her on the lid. She was very, very tiny. And for all these years, she’s been an angel.
Rest in Peace, Lois Evelyn