Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Regina and Claude Frederick Holst's wedding/honeymoon diary

My maternal grandparents, Regina and Claude Frederick Holst, were married on June 19, 1920.  He was 46, she was 24.  If you may recall, they met when Regina was the director of nursing at St. Gabriel's Hospital in Little Falls, MN and Dr. Fred ( who I will refer to as Claude hereafter) was a physician there.  I will let my grandmother take up the story from a typed two page memoir that I had in my files but had forgotten about.  As this was written many years after the wedding there are some discrepancies with names, which is to be expected.  The parentheses are Regina's, the brackets are my editorial comments.

"In 1918 I felt the nursing school was well established and some of the sisters could relieve me.  I felt it was my duty to join the Navy and give my help to Uncle Sam.  Regina White R.N. was director of Nurses in Milwaukee so I enlisted with her.  While waiting for my call I accepted a position with the Milwaukee health dept. and was assigned the East Milwaukee District as inspector of Schools.  It was at that time the Flu (Asian) became epidemic and I became very ill and had to give up my work for a time.  Peace was declared on Nov. 11th 1918 before I received a call to the Navy.

In the meantime Sr. M. Rose who was administrator of St. Francis Hospital in Breckenridge Minnesota, urged me to go to the Breckenridge Hospital and do the same work to accredidate the Hosp. as I did in Little Falls  at a salary of $100.00 and room and board. I accepted for one year only as I already had planned on getting married in June.

Foxhome Tornado in late May delayed our plans.  The storm came with fury just at supper time and word came that I, with as many nurses as could be spared, should be ready to leave at once for the stricken ones.  A special train was being run for us to take us to Foxhome.  The train was blown off the railroad tack and many passengers were injured lying in a pool of water.

We gave them temporary first aid until we could transfer them to St. Francis Hospital.  There we gave them care, cleaning and drying their wounds in the short time alloted.  Telephone calls and telegraphs kept Sr. Eliz. and me very busy.  Our only casualty was the mail clerk on the train--he was badly injured.

The Doctors and Sisters worked all night giving first aid until morning.  Now our hospital was overcrowded and we had to put two and three children in one bed.  The sisters offered their beds and worked all night and the following day.  As was to be expected there was much confusion and shortage of workers.  Sr. Elizabeth came to me and said, "You wouldn't think of leaving us now would you?"  She said to me, "If you will stay until June 15th we will serve you a lovely wedding breakfast."  I agreed to stay and help them thru the crises.

We were married June 19th at 7A.M. by Father Lambert Haugh at Breckenridge.  Matt (Werner) [Regina's brother] and Marion (Holst )[Dr. Fred's niece--eventually to be Marion Nellermoe] were our attendants.  After the service we were served a beautiful wedding breakfast by Katherine Haiebl the housekeeper.

A beautiful day and we arrived in Little Falls by 6 o'clock.  Arloine (Uncle Burton's wife and Marion's mother) welcomed us with a chicken dinner.  She had roasters still at the Freedham farms.  Cecil Beattie and Marion Holst gave us a charivari that could be heard for blocks."

I do not have a wedding picture of them, but I have their joint, handwritten diary of the wedding and their ten day honeymoon which they spent touring the upper midwest in their car named James.  It must have been quite the adventure given the state of cars and roads at the time. 

Here is a scan of the first page, which gives you some idea of how small their handwriting is and how difficult a doctor's handwriting is to read even from 90 years ago when good handwriting was taught and valued.  Regina begins the page, but Claude starts writing about halfway down:

Here is the transcribed diary as I and my friend Anne (many thanks, Anne!) have been able to decipher it.

Regina: “June 19 [1920] Left St. Francis at 6:25 for church. Mass over at 7:00. Called at the parsonage for a very good reason.

Left Father Haupt’s parsonage at 7:15 as (our) breakfast was scheduled for 7:20. Breakfast at 7:30. Served Russian fashion, with piano and vocal solo.”

Claude: “Breakfast table was very beautiful and the breakfast was the best we ever had.

Took a few Kodaks at the hospital and then we went on our way. Brides maid  and best man  accompanying us + they were very jolly company. First town Foxhall, next Fergus Falls, where we all changed clothes and bought lunch. Next town Elbow Lake, then Erdohl next Evansville, then Brandon + Matt refused to go further. Then Garfield between this and Alexandria. We ate our lunch and the girls would not sit down on account of army worms. We took a few more Kodaks here, then passed through Alexandria, next Osakis at which place Matt bought some ice cream cones and films which evidently Marion got. Our dears [?] evidently became very well acquainted by this time.

Next place Long Prairie then Pillsbury Lake + Seward Inn. Next Little Falls where we had supper and went over to the house for a few minutes. Cecil Beattie called on us + we were very afraid that we might have other callers before we got away. Arloine gave us a little little shower of rice. Next stop was St. Cloud where we stayed the first night + had breakfast. This was Sunday + we tried to go to church on our way, first at St. Cloud then at Hurlie [?] Church + then Monticello when we passed through small burgs to Anoka then Osseo + Minneapolis at which place we stop[p]ed at the Andrews Hotel + had a very pleasant room.

Matt call[ed] on us that morning + we took him to lunch with us + then down to the depot. Later we went to the movies. Next day we shopped all fore noon. Called at Morcomb sorority house but did not find Lois in. We took the river road to St. Paul where we got some gas and proceeded to Rosemount Farmington via Castle Rock + Northfield at which place we had a bum supper then to Faribault Medford + was getting dark so we pulled into Owatonna [a] beautiful town + nice Hotel. Had a thunderstorm that night almost frightened Regina to death.

6/22/20. Next morning we were gently aroused by knock at door so we got up + had an early breakfast. Next Claremount, Dodge Center, Casson, Byron + Rochester at which place we had dinner. Rather bum. Bought some postals and souvenirs. Saw the Hospital Wm Mayo’s Residence + Chas Mayo’s Hereford farm. Sent my wife for souvenirs.

Left Rochester at  ‘3 P.M. Then for Hayfield + then Blooming Prairie then Geneva, Clarksville + Albert Lea. Drove around city. Visited hospital to see Miss Kepper but she was on her vacation. Drove around Lake scenery exquisite + stopped at Albert Hotel. This was the prettiest town thus far on our trip."

Regina: "Hotel accommodations good and very reasonable.

6/23/20 Left Albert Lea at 10:00 a.m. and following the Jefferson Hiway South passed thru Glenville and Mortonsville. Roads became bum on the J.H.[Jefferson Hiway] all tourists d----[ed note: I wonder if Regina was cursing here?]the Jefferson. Northwood next, Kensett, Manley, Mason City (First pretty spot we saw in our travels thru Iowa.) Stopped at Mason City to send cards and have refreshments. Next Rockwell, Scheffield, Chapan, Hampton (where we saw a nice nursery) Iowa Falls where we debated of stopping or going on. Went on to Hubbard (no hotel) Zearing (worse) Colo same and next Nevada at which place we inquired for room and lodging. As the hotel was crowded and bum my husband refused to stop and went on to Ames.

Ames was our most pleasant stop to date. The room a corner room with bath was a beauty. The twin beds were white enamel as also the furniture. Rugs draperies and comforts were blue wallpaper, blue bird with white ceiling. Hotel was the most richly furnished of any we had visited."

Claude:  "6/24/20  Visited the University grounds and left Ames at 12 am [sic]. First town Mullvale then Huxley, Des Moines at which place we took some Kodaks. Then Prairie City, Fairmont, Monroe, Otley, Pella and Oskaloosa. At which place we stopped over night. Went to the movies. Saw Where Doctor drogery[?]. Hotel accommodations were bum.

6/25/20 Left for Eddyville thru Albia Moravia + Centerville at which place saw lot of coal mines.

Then stayed Unionville at which place we stayed over night. Our impression of Missouri is not favorable. Very many rambling roses."

Regina:  "Staples house where we stayed was a typical old Southern house large and roomy but without all of our modern conveniences. The Proprietor and his wife were very hospitable people and also their daughter Mary. For the first time during our married life we rose at 7:00 am and had breakfast at 8:00.

6/26/20 Left Unionville hotel at 9:00 a.m. and when we called at the garage for the car, it was not there. The mechanics were giving him exercise evidently. When James  came back the speedometer showed an additional 10 miles. We were charged $4.00 to have the oil cup screwed down and for the use of James. We spoke to the proprietor to have the matter adjusted but without result. We left Unionville (mad). Following the Highland trail we reached Green City and Greencastle. Here "[there seems to be a page missing in the diary]

Claude:  "County line  Libertyville, Fairfield, Pleasant [Plain], Brighton, Washington, Answorth, Muscatine and then Davenport at which place we stopped for the night at Blackhawk Hotel. The best room we have had. Saw lots of very nice territory to day + Lots of quail. All pretty tired to night. Tried to buy some cherries but could not get any so we swiped a few + finally found a lady that gave us some. But this day we had some trouble. Had a puncture at Fairfield. Then lost my pencil at a school House."

Regina:  "6/28/20  Left We had a thunderstorm at Davenport and the next morning we started out in Iowa mud. My husband refused to put on chains but was finally compelled to do so on a muddy hill, when the car refused to go any further. With chains James acted some better and about 3:00 o'clock P.M. we reached Moquoketa where we stopped for the night. We saw “The Country Cousin” which we enjoyed very much. Hotel accommodations were fair.

6/29/20 Left early for Dubuque and East Dubuque. Paid 35c toll. The first time of our travels. Passed over some hilly country into Sinsinaw, where we saw Lill’s [Regina’s sister's] college. From here we drove to Hazel Green where we stopped for luncheon. Our first meal in Wis.

We passed thru Cuba, Belmont, Kodatz, Mineral Point, and Dodgeville. Stopped at Dodgeville to see the Hospital and the Sisters. We were treated royally here and had some very large strawberries with a little lunch which Sr. Benedicta prepared. With Miss Bach added to our party we left for Madison, where we stayed for the night. As Miss Bach’s train did not leave until the following morn we urged her to stay over with us.

We went to a movie and saw ‘Houdini’ and his wonderful feats. Had dinner after the movie and walked around the Capitol. Miss Bach left early the next morning for Dodgeville without wakening us.

6/30/20 Left Madison at 11:00 A.M. and had dinner at Portage. Reached Kilbourns at 3:30 and had just 5 minutes time to buy our excursion tickets and reach the boat to take a trip through the Famous Dells of Wisconsin. The Dells were simply beautiful. Wanted to take some snapshots but forgot our Kodak when we rushed to the boat, so we bought a few at ‘Bennets’. We returned from our trip thru the Dells at 6:30 and had dinner at 7:30. Listened to three pieces of concert and then went to a movie. This was the worst movie we had met."

And there the diary ends.

Claude Frederick Holst in World War 1.

Matthias Werner

Regina Werner graduation from nursing school

Child Interest Club, Little Falls MN Jan. 1938
Front row:  Cora Longley, Grace Woodsworth, Regina Holst, Helen Gillespie, Alma Lovdahl, Minnie Moeglein
Back row:  Sally Musser, Bess Sylvester, Gene Brick, Bonnie Rossberg, Pearl Taylor,     Haatvedt, Ella Vasaly, Clara Thompson, Irene Simonet, Gladys Ryan

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Turkey Day

I am off to fly to Minneapolis to spend my first Thanksgiving outside Seattle in 30 years!  I will be with my 3 children.  I hope your Thanksgiving is filling and restful and I will talk with you when I return.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Directions

I had my weekly appointment at Seattle Cancer Care today.  The pathology results from the biopsy of the growth that was removed from my scalp indicated it was cancer.  Same kind as found in my lungs.  So my oncologist recommended that I terminate the Gemzar chemotherapy, because the tumor had grown while I was on it.  And the nodule in my neck had also increased in size.

What this means, is that I am now without a safety net.  There are no more chemotherapy drugs that could conceivably be of benefit to me and there are no other clinical trials that seem to be applicable.  So, I will continue to see my oncologist every three weeks and as issues arise we will deal with them.  Thus far, although steady, the cancer has been slow growing.  I hope that will continue to be the case.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Question of Balance

My present chemotherapy involves a drug named Gemcitabine or Gemzar.  As I've mentioned before, the side effects of this drug manifest two days after chemo and they consist of feeling like I have a very bad flu.  Lately what has happened is that I sleep for two days, Saturday and Sunday, and get nothing accomplished on the weekends.  And for the rest of the week I am more fatigued than I have been previously. I suppose losing 2/7ths of one's week is okay, as long as the treatment is extending my life.  But truly do I want an extended life if the quality is severely degraded?  Or another formulation of the question is how much quality of life am I willing to lose to keep living? 

There's no decision required immediately,  and if the chemotherapy stops working, i.e. the tumors start to grow in size again, it will be moot.  But this is like touching a live wire, it's so loaded with emotion.  We'll have to see.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In Which I do not win the Lottery, Again

The test results from Denver are back.  And I have no identifiable genetic mutations.  The good news out of this is that at least I won't be conflicted by being unable to afford to go to a clinical trial being held at another cancer center far from Seattle.  The bad news is, well, there's just no answers.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Reporting back from the Operation

Everything went well for  Monday's surgery, except the timing.  We reported promptly at 2:15 but the operation did not take place until 7:15.  That was a lot of waiting on an empty stomach (I had to cease eating by midnight and all clear liquids by 10am).  So I was a bit grumpy by the time the anesthesiologists finally showed up.  However, they didn't put me out under general anesthetic, but instead used a lighter anesthetic that they typically employ during colonoscopies (dare we say propofol?).  So one minute I was joking with the operating staff and the next moment I was waking up post surgery at 8:30 pm.  I was home by 9:15 and friends Anne and Diane kept me company while I ate some wonderful Thai takeout (thank you Anne!). 

Other news was the lump on my neck that has recently arisen to perturb me is over my jugular vein, so a potential "two for one" excision had to be scotched.  And the oncological surgeon said there was a likelihood that more lumps might show up in the future.  Just like whack a mole!!

Got up this morning and prepped  a case and participated in  a hearing in the afternoon.  Had to wear a hat to the office because I'm can't shampoo my head until tomorrow.  As a result, when I pulled off the white stocking cap and bandage from my head this morning, I could see that it was going to be a very bad hair day for me.  Luckily my vanity has been shredded over the past two years.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better hair day.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Surgery moved up to this Monday

Got to thinking that I didn't want to wait another two weeks to remove the nubbin on my noggin.  So I was very pleased when the folks at UW Hospitals readily agreed to schedule my surgery sooner.  I will report to the surgical pavilion at 2:15 Monday, November 7.  So fingers  crossed that all goes well.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Waiting Period

I've been asked by many if the test results are back from Denver yet, and the answer is no.  The tumor slides were finally received there last week and it usually takes 3 weeks for all the tests to be run.  So no news on that front yet.

The other news is that I met with an oncological surgeon today and will have the lump on my head removed surgically November 17th.  He thinks it is a tumor outgrowth  and recommended excising it.  Because it's a growth on the scalp, there's less give with that skin, so it will also require the services of a plastic surgeon.  I am meeting with him/her this coming Friday.  Then after the scalp bump is gone,  maybe next month we'll move to the one on my back.  Looks like I'll need one of those fascinator hats to  cover up the surgical incision site for a while.  How about this one?