Anna and Rosie 5
I don’t know how I can tell you all that has been happening with us. In November Ken was rushed by ambulance from our home in Steele to the Northern Pacific Railway Hospital in Minneapolis. He has a severe illness of being exhausted all the time, a high fever and a rapid heart beat. I went along but then left him there and took Kathleen with me back to Pa’s farm.
Ken writes all the time, cheery letters mostly, although they get sadder and more depressed as time goes on.
He doesn’t know what is wrong with him, and this bothers him terribly. He doesn’t know how long he is going to be in the hospital. At first he talked about being in for several weeks, and then for several months. The doctors apparently tell him nothing.
He has a fever of 101º and cold sweats at night. He says he feels better now than when they brought him in, but still very weak. He has to lie down in bed all the time, can’t even sit up, and he gets very bored.
His appetite is quite good, and he says the food is quite acceptable. At first they had him on a soft diet and then a light one, and he said he didn’t get enough to eat. Now they put him on a diet for
anemia and he is very pleased with that as he gets huge helpings of meat and vegetables.
Money is a constant worry for him. He doesn’t know how we can plan when nobody knows how long he will be in the hospital. He asked me to write to the doctor to see if I could get some more information out of him. He said, “Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get out of here alive.”
He wrote about a box of candy that Gertrude had brought him when she came to see him. When she’d left he realized that it had been candy given to her by you, and he said, “It was store-bought candy and really good.”
He felt so bad because he couldn’t afford to get me a Christmas present. He said, “Was going to get you something but I hate to push into the twenty dollars cuz if you come down again you will always have money to get back on.”
He says his father offered him some money and he asked him for 100 dollars. “If you have a chance to sell any of our stuff for cash do it,” he wrote in his last letter. “You might run an ad offering
my sax for sale – 45 dollars. It’s worth more but it looks so dirty.”
Just shows how awful he feels. He does so love that sax.
He says I should put Kathleen on a bottle, so that I can be more independent. He wrote, “I sure want you to take good care of Kathleen. Be awful careful so she doesn’t get hurt out there and keep your eye on her all the time. Cuz Leona may try to pick her up and then drop her or hurt her back.”
Talking about that, one day I had to be pleased with the Mrs. after all. She was rocking Kathleen and her rocker tipped right over, but she never did let go of that little baby. But Pa doesn’t much
appreciate us being here. He said, “Don’t you ever leave that baby alone with me.”
Ken sure misses seeing Kathleen. He said, “The little sweetheart dolly is eight months old today. I just feel like grabbing her and hugging her every time I look at her picture. I sure would like to see you both but when we haven’t the money there’s nothing to do, I guess. It just makes me sick when I think of her growing to be a year old and I can’t enjoy her at all during that time. Some guy
that doesn’t give a damn for his kids, he can be with them all the time.”
He says he feels he won’t be out for two or three months. He wants me to go and live with his folks in Hursfield. But I don’t really want to go, as much as I hate being back at home with Pa and the Mrs. I just don’t know what to do.
March 25th, 1928
I went to Minneapolis to be with Ken because the doctors said they couldn’t do much. I don’t think I really believed that he would die. One night when I was in the room with him, March 18th it was, he
said he couldn’t get his breath so I went and opened the window wider and when I turned around he was dead. I couldn’t believe it. He was only 24, younger even than me.
We took him home for burial. His death certificate says he died from subacute bacterial endocarditis. We took him to Jamestown for his funeral and he was buried in Jamestown cemetery.
I am going to be staying with his folks now. I don’t think we really have a choice. His mother will babysit Kathleen while I teach, and in the summers I can go back to Valley City and get some more
credits on my teaching certificate and leave Kathleen with Andrew, Alice and Joan. It is nice they have a child almost the same age. And of course you do too. How is your baby John getting on?
Love from Annie and Kathleen