Hamilton County NEGenWeb Project

Rambling with Rex

Page 9

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The Mystery of City Medical Field Probed by Country Lad
Doctors and Dentists in white coats were clean-fingernail types

   As a young farm lad, I knew a lot about fields because I spent many hours in them working up an appetite. In the summer when my shadow hid beneath me, I knew it was noon and I headed to the dinner table.

   I milked cows when I was 9, I shocked bundles of wheat and oats, plus I husked corn with my father in February using a team and wagon with a bang board. I also observed my father plowing, disking, and harrowing our fields near the Blue River in southern Hamilton County. He was proud of his straight lines across the field.

   I was perplexed when I discovered a "field" in the city. I'd never seen one in Aurora, but I learned that doctors and dentists labored in the medical field. What? They live in town, wear white coats and, WOW, you've never seen cleaner fingernails.

   This bright young lad still had a lot to learn. Life on the farm became a mental springboard with a whole new world of mysteries bouncing up.

   After listening to elders talk about their pains and medical visits in the city, I came to the conclusion that doctors and dentists were put on Earth to reduce the fun in living. Time spent with the white jackets for this young lad was time away from real living -- like climbing trees, jumping in the haymow, or probing for crawdaddies.

World opened up in tree-top perch

   I recall the times I spent climbing one of the giant Dutch elm trees in our backyard near the windmill. While sitting in my favorite bough, I could hear water pouring into the cow tank below. It made gurgling noises like a spring brook passing melted snow. I climbed the tree often, sometimes hiding from my brother, sometimes enjoying the cool breeze in the shade, and sometimes trying to think through life. There was much to learn. Why, I could see half a mile of the world from my tree-top perch. I was a thinker, but not necessarily a great thinker.

   As I sat there amid the swinging branches, a song came to mind that Grandma Salmon sang to my little sister Pauline and baby brother Alvin. The song really scared me, and to this day, I still wonder why anyone would threaten a baby with that song!

   It went something like: Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. Down will come baby, cradle and all." Wow! If that's not a death wish, what is it? Oh, the tune is cute but the words are morbid for sure!

   As I looked down from my perch in the tree top, I could see the brick sidewalk leading from the house to the windmill. I could only imagine something going splat after falling 35 feet. Could one of these city doctors even help then? It frightened this young lad, so I picked some cottonwood trees in the shelter belt west of the barn to climb, ones away from that cradle vision.

Pitching horseshoes brings out men talk

   I chose other topics to ponder in my tree-settings. What bothered me also were the words that I had been hearing: "Doctors and Dentists." First of all, I knew they weren't country people because I knew about country people, especially the men folk. Young maturing lads spent time with men as they talked about the weather, machinery, horses, and crops at farm sales, at a school function, or while pitching horseshoes at Bingville Community Club dinners. Women were great to have around because they came up with the most delicious salmagundis, but woman talk was another story. It would take me about another 10 years to enjoy girl talk!

   The words "going to dentist" ranked up there with tornado clouds hovering over the farm on a hot, dark, and stormy night in August. It was a fearful time. Dad was our weatherman and self-propelled siren. He would be out on the back porch searching for a funnel amid the tall elms as the lightning flashed a dozen times or so a minute. On a farm without electricity or a radio, each farmer had to be a weather forecaster and also a director of emergencies. When he sensed danger, he'd holler "Get in the cellar . . . NOW!" The little ones would be carried down sleeping.

   Many summer nights we spent hours in the cellar, which was about 10 feet from our back door. We were safely hidden 15 feet underground amid shelves of quart jars full of colorful fruit. In the far corner a bin held the potatoes we had dug up last fall. For light, we had candles or a kerosene lamp flickering while we waited for the storm to pass.

   OK, Rex, come up out of that cellar. You were telling us about going to the dentist.

   You're right! I guess I was trying to put off that dentist visit again.

Never too sick to go to the doctor

   This young farm-wise lad came up with the idea of "being too sick." If I could be too sick to go to school or climb trees, why couldn't I be too sick to go to the dentist, or the doctor? Mom said I was never that sick, especially when she insisted that doctors treat sick people. But I did know that doctors cost money, and the mighty dollar bill wasn't something that grew like sunflower pests in our cornfield. The dollar was as scarce as a hen's tooth back during World War II.

   Oh, I gotta tell ya a farm secret: Hens don't have a hen's tooth. Nope. It's a chick that sports a hen's tooth and they use it to hammer the shell to escape. The "tooth" is on the rear of the top beak next to the skull. It appears as a tiny triangle and it disappears as they mature.

   When the chick is ready to break out, it stretches its legs. The tooth strikes the shell at its weakest point - in the middle - like where you crack an egg for breakfast. Then when the legs relax, the chick turns a bit inside the shell. As it exercises its legs again, the "tooth" advances a bit and strikes the shell again.

   Between time-outs while it regains its strength, the chick keeps rotating until the shell is cut in half. The chick rolls out and gets a full breath of air. In the shell, it has a very limited amount of oxygen. How much oxygen? Peel a boiled egg, and you'll see a flat portion. That tiny space holds the total amount of oxygen that the hen adds when producing the egg.

How does oxygen get way down there inside?

   So, when someone tells you that a chick pecks its way out with its beak, it's a fairy tale. The beak is simply too soft to cut the shell and it's not in a position to peck. But I still ponder the mystery of how oxygen is piped down to the hen's daily egg production line!

   Oh, boy, first we're down in the storm cellar avoiding a tornado and then we're hatching and boiling eggs! Is there no end to procrastination, Rex?

   OK, let's go to the dentist! Oh, I just thought of something else -- with your permission of course!

   A surprise of my young life was when my brother Steve and I stayed overnight with Grandpa Tom and Grandma Salmon. Her name was Lizzie Hannah, but we fishies always called her Grandma Salmon. She said we could spell her middle name frontwards or backwards. It was the same.

   On a counter in the kitchen, I spied Grandma's teeth in a glass. Wow! I couldn't figure out how she could get 'em out. Did she push a button to release her teeth? As a farm lad, I was wise to calves and pigs popping out of unexpected places, but how could Grandma pop out her teeth? I never solved that mystery as a young farm lad, but I came up with a great idea at the time. Where was my button so I could simply hand my teeth to the dentist? That way I could avoid all of that pain. I poked my jaws until my index finger was numb, but to no avail. Did I mention that I wasn't necessarily a great thinker?

   OK, I've dallied long enough. I can still picture the dentist - Dr. John Shafer -- hovering over me like a tornado while I thought I was battling for life. Can't he kill the pain?

   As he drilled on my bottom teeth, I sank into the chair. "How low can I go?" But when he drilled on the top teeth, I kept rising until I was sure I was floating. The pain was shooting out of my little world as he calmly said "This may hurt a little bit." A LITTLE BIT? Getting my ears washed "hurt a little bit!" The Saturday night bath meant Mom would check my ears. "Son, you still got enough dirt in 'em to grow potatoes." Somehow my ears were never clean enough. I winced as it felt like she used a potato fork to dig out the crop.

   Sack the potatoes, Rex! Get back to the clean-fingernail guys.

   I guess I'm thankful that I wasn't around doctors and dentists much, but down under I was grateful that they were there when help was needed. Even 65 years later, I still wonder: Don't any of 'em have warm hands?

Martha calmed the young lad's jitters

   The medical types always seemed nice enough entering the room but underneath that smile I wondered what was lurking. What were they really thinking? Maybe, how to take a little fun out of this lad's life?

   Dr. Shafer had a nice woman named Martha Mersch to help him and to calm the jitters of little visitors. I didn't know her title, but she had a nice soothing voice that psyched me up for the arrival of that "Gentle Giant." I could hear him pop through the doorway when my mouth was properly staged for the painful event.

   Dr. Shafer's tooth shop was above the Farmer's State Bank in mid-block on the south side of the square in Aurora. Walking up the clean marble steps wasn't a problem. Even, the waiting room looked pretty normal with chairs and lamps, but beyond the closed door was a mystery yet locked to my young mind.

   When Martha announced "Rex," I just knew that I was going to be tied and tethered somehow. Upon entering inner sanctum, I spied a big metal fancy chair with leather seat and a broad back. The metal shone like polished silver. I'd never seen anything like it. WOW! Look over there to the left. What is that wire contraption towering over the chair? And there's a white spittoon with whirling water by my left arm.

   What's happening? My mind begins to whirl as I watch that stream of water flow. I realize it's a flashback. I gotta tell ya about it. We can't get there from here so we'll have to back up to the farm. Sorry, Dr. Shafer, I can't be here right now.

Nothing like a kick in the head for Crayons

   First, we have a big medical emergency to take care of: ME! Well, it was big to my parents but I didn't know what was happening.

   I got kicked in the head when I was 5 by a neighbor's horse. I don't remember the kick nor the pain, so that's good. But I remember talking to Victor and Nathan Yost as they sat on their horses at the end of our driveway. We were returning from school and my brother Steve and I had walked with them as they rode from Franklin District #12 School about half a mile away. I don't know what spooked the horses, but I got run over and kicked.

   I remember waking up in a small strange white room. It sure wasn't my bedroom. While blinking to clear my sight and mind, I realized it was my mother - Luella May Delano Salmon - leaning over me. I asked what we were doing in that room. Where are we? She got excited and popped a big smile. Mom told me I hadn't opened my eyes nor said a word for 24 hours. I was in a coma or knocked out since the accident and was rushed in Dad's Model A Ford to the Steenburg Hospital in Aurora, about 12 miles northeast of our farm. We lived in the southern part of Hamilton County but had a rural Clay County mailing address out of Harvard.

   Glancing around the room, I thought I must have been out of my mind for a long time. Maybe I missed Christmas because there were gifts in bed with me. I saw a brand new box of Crayons and a new coloring book. Wow! How did I rate a full box of unbroken Crayons all to myself?

Young lad returns to normal by spelling name

   Mom asked me if I wanted to color a picture. I did, but don't remember the scene. Then she asked me to sign my name. I did. R - E - X. It didn't take long for three letters. Then she hugged me and spread the word about my recovery to the nurses, doctors, and family. I was back to normal as normal gets, I guess. (Thanks to God for granting me full recovery. A good hard head comes in handy. Years later, I still didn't have headaches after falling out of a pickup on a gravel street, striking my head on the bottom of a pool while learning to dive, or falling headlong into a boulder. Those are other stories, but I'll spare you this time!)

   I never learned where the gifts came from because we didn't have money for that. Most likely, Grandpa Tom and Grandma Lizzie Salmon, or Grandpa Joe and Grandma Grace Delano bought them at Hested's on the north side of the square. I never asked my mother about the gifts, but it's too late now. In 2011, I'm the elder in the family and there's no one left to ask. Lesson for all: Don't put off until tomorrow what you can ask today! I have dozen of other questions I'd sure like to ask, but they're filed under "R" for Rex Regrets.

   The Steenburg Hospital - the first for the burgeoning city of Aurora -- was a big two-story converted clapboard house on the corner 13th and N Streets, a block north of the YMCA-Woodbine Building.

   I learned much later that the hospital was founded in 1914 by Dr. Edmund Arthur Steenburg, a native of Canada, who came to Aurora to open a practice after he got his MD at Chicago in 1887. He married Minnie Susan Moore in Aurora on June 20, 1889, and they had two sons, Donald Benjamin and Edmund Kenneth. The sons went by Don and Kenneth and were graduated from Aurora High and the University of Nebraska. Don got his MD at the University of Pennsylvania in 1913 and Kenneth at Harvard in 1918. They both did internships in Boston. I didn't know it at the time, but I was a patient in the first hospital.

   The next Steenburg Hospital was on the south end of 13th Street next to the Burlington Depot. In the 1930s the Steenburg family purchased the abandoned 3-story Lyons Hotel and converted it into a modern hospital. I always thought it unusual to have a hospital at one of the nosiest locations in town with all the trains screeching to a halt and then chugging away with the whistle tooting. But the building was available and it served the community for over 30 years until the ultra-modern Memorial Hospital was opened for patients on Feb. 1, 1964.

   I'm thankful that this head injury was the first and only time I was a patient in an Aurora Hospital. But it's not the end of the Steenburg doctoring for me. Stand by Dr. Shafer, just a little while longer.

Mystery abounds with doctor's cubbyholes and drawers

   I was a surgery patient in Dr. Don's office also when I was 5. As I looked around the doctor's room, I spied a stack of cubbyholes and drawers where he kept his tools of the trade. Torture tools, maybe? I couldn't guess what was in 'em and didn't want to know for sure.

   In her kitchen, Mom had cubbyholes and drawers in the big kitchen country cabinet, but they added up to some good eatin' and great times. Dad had cubbyholes and drawers in his shop. I knew what was in each, but didn't know how to use them. Most importantly, I also knew that they weren't going to be used on me.

   OK, Rex, tell us about this Dr. Don.

   You betcha! I had no idea if he put his fancy creased pants on one leg at a time, but I did notice there was no cow doo-doo splattered on his shoes. Dr. Don was one of those "people of the city" so that's where the mystery came in for me. I didn't know how men became doctors or dentists, but I did notice that they kept their fingernails clean. Dad always said "You can tell a working man by his fingernails." That must have been the country folk's point of view.

   Down on the farm, keeping fingernails clean wasn't a high priority for most. Getting the work done before the sun sank was at the top of the list. Greasing axles on wagons, hayracks, disks, elevators, sickle mowers, and trying to crank Grandpa Joe's steel-rimmed Model A John Deere kept a perpetual stain on the hands. Plus, a good farmer had calluses, scars, and maybe a shortened finger or two.

   As I aged, I was leaning toward the clean fingernail type. I couldn't stand dried mud on my hands because it chilled my spine when my dirty fingers rubbed. I'd race to a standing puddle or the horse tank to wash my hands. Ah, sweet relief!

   A little bit of dirt didn't bother me as long as it wasn't mud, but I learning to prefer the cleaner look. I remember volunteering to go to town with Mom rather than helping Dad on the farm. My older brother Steve didn't mind mud or dirty fingernails, so he fit in naturally on the farm. I recall fondly putting on my favorite tan overalls and tan shirt - hand-me-downs from a generous neighbor.

Not too much of the farm on me at one time

   With a scrubbed face and freshly parted red hair, I was ready to hit the town of Aurora any sunny summer afternoon. I don't recall what I did in town but the important aim was to be away from farm dirt for a short spell. Oh, don't get me wrong, I loved the farm, but I didn't want too much of the farm on me at one time.

   OK, Rex, what does all this fingernail talk have to do this Doctor & Dentist Yarn? Or is it YAWN? I don't know. Now you're trying to pin me down, eh? A young lad's mind wanders and wonders about life and why people do what they do.

   So, let's leave the fingernails soaking for now and let's continue with the doctors and dentist who worked over me in Aurora.

   My mother informed me that these gentlemen were friends. True, the Steenburg doctors and the only dentist that I knew were men, but I doubted the gentle part. They were friendly though.

   Another rule for doctors was that their offices had to be upstairs. There were no walk-in offices in Aurora. They were all walk ups. Dr. James Woodward's office was on the west side of square in the old tall gray stone building built by 1st National Bank in the 1890s. His door was up only half a flight.

   Dr. Jasper F. Cole, a dentist, and the Steenburg Clan of physicians had their offices in the McKee Building above the corner Bloomstrand Drugstore. It was across 12th Street from the Wagon Wheel Hotel. Speaking of friendly people, Greg Bloomstrand, the druggist, had the biggest friendly smile in town. He was a wonderful grandpa type.

   In the 1940s, Aurora used to advertise itself on Highway 34 & 2 running through town on Q Street with the sign: "Aurora, a friendly town full of friendly people. Population 2,460." Mr. Greg was my candidate for possessing the best rocking-chair-sit-on-my-lap smile. Young farm lads have the ability to detect this quality in chance meetings with clean-fingernail types.

Dad gave me confidence as I advanced to the unknown

   As Dad and I climbed the steep wooden steps, the squeaky, scary sounds of the radio mystery "Inner Sanctum" came to life. I moved closer to Dad and held his hand tighter.

   Wow! Now what's that smell? A strange aroma wafted into my young short nose and set off a mental alarm. Out in the country, there would be signs - "Danger Ahead: Bridge Out!" -- or something like that. As we got to the top of the stairs, I saw a sign pointing Dr. Donald Steenburg and Dr. Kenneth Steenburg to the right, and an arrow pointing left to Dr. Jasper R. Cole's office. His was at the north end of hall overlooking the corner of 12th and L streets.

   (In June 2009, when I last looked up the stairs through the dusty door window, the sign was still there. What memories popped up 57 years after I first trudged up the stairs to the slaughter. Yeah, as a lad, I feared a slaughter because I'd heard from my wiser brother Steve, 6, that the doctor cut something out of him a year earlier. As I glanced up the stairs, I would even bet that the strange medical aroma would still be hounding the stairs.)

   Once in the doctor's office I found out what the smell was in short shrift. But I have to tell you first why Dad and I were at the doctor.

   I drummed up enough courage to walk through the office door with Dad pulling my hand. I also got my introduction to Dr. Donald Steenburg. I don't recall shaking hands, but I can tell you that my knees were sure shaking.

   Trudging up that long flight of wooden stairs reminded me of butchering time in the fall on our farm midway between Stockham and Giltner. It was a one-way road: No turning back now! A fattened hog would be driven from his pen to a big tree where he would be hanged with a log chain to be converted into pork chops, bacon, and ham.

   Rex! Stop thinking about eating. Get back to the story with Dr. Don!

   I resigned myself to thinking "whatever's going to happen is going to happen." This trip to the doctor was a milestone growing up in the family of A F "Shorty" and Luella Salmon. Age 5 was an important time, a sign of maturing. I don't recall if more farm responsibilities came with the new status of "tonsil-less." So, now you know why I was in Dr. Don's office.

   I became different from other schoolmates because I had my tonsils out. It was like a badge of honor - something this shy lad needed to compensate for shyness, maybe! I questioned boys to find out who had their tonsils out, but I had no idea what a tonsil was, or why it was necessary to have them out. Especially at age 5. That was just the way it was and not something that a young farm lad questioned in the doctor's office just before the slaughter.

Words didn't tumble out of this shy farm lad

   OK, here I find myself standing in front of Dr. Steenburg, who was seated. He tried to make small talk with me, but I was too shy to answer. I usually didn't speak unless I was spoken to and then most of the time I didn't even speak then. Words and strangers didn't mix. I don't know how long this went on, but finally Dad picked me up and sat me on a wooden table with a stone slab. It could have been the same table in which Dad's Aunt Elsie had her appendix out in 1914 before the Dr. Don's father opened the first Aurora hospital. You'll meet her a little later.

   Dad told me to lean back. I did. And that's when I feared I was going to die. I saw the doctor pour some fluid out of a tall dark reddish-brown bottle onto a cloth. Then he handed it to Dad and he clamped the mask over my nose and mouth. I was fighting to get that stuff off my face but Dad was too strong. I couldn't breathe! I sure as heck didn't remember being told this would happen. It must have been a surprise-surprise??

   OK, so Dad didn't kill me after all. I did wake up and my throat was very sore. It turned out that Dad was the anesthesiologist who had on-the-job training for the procedure. Maybe Dad got a deduction on the bill for being the assistant? Maybe he got his training holding brother Steve down a year earlier to knock him out. I still can't imagine Dad being involved in a medical operation with a doctor. Oh, he did assist cows by pulling calves or helping mares with their foals . . . but those are different stories and they'll have to wait.

   Brother Steve blazed the tonsil trail for me. He was a year, a month and a day older - and much wiser, he insisted. Two in the family "had the operation" now.

   Remember that strange aroma in the hallway? At the tender age of 5, I'm a surgical veteran and fully understood that unusual stink. It was ether - a smell you'll never forget. It knocked me out about as fast at that kick in the head, but didn't last as long.

   Seven years later, I went up those creaking stairs again. This time Dad carried me. It was 1950 and I was having tremendous pain in my heart. I couldn't take a deep breath or move my left arm without screeching heart pain. Dad said he could feel my heart beating while seated beside me in the family car, a 1939 mostly maroon Mercury four-door.

All wired up, but found out nothing wrong

   Again, I was at the side of Dr. Donald Steenburg. I didn't know what he was doing or what the machine was, but he connected wires to my chest and other places. The machine spit out info that it recorded. Doc said it showed that I didn't have a heart attack or even heart trouble. Oh, yeah? What was that pain in my chest? He shook his head and said he didn't know.

   (I found out in 1965 what the pain was. For 15 years I had many EKGs by civilian and military doctors until a heart specialist in San Diego discovered that I had soft-tissue gout in my heart muscles. Dr. Albert Klug gave me Colchicine and the pain disappeared in a few hours. Since then I take a daily pill to keep the gout pain in my heart at bay.)

   Two years later in 1952 I walked the Steenburg Medical Steps for the third and last time. The strange aroma was still there. I was at Aurora High working in the freshmen shop class taught by Elmer Synovec. I was constructing a Chinese marble game board and had drilled a triangle of dents to hold the marbles. Then, I was attempting to fashion a border by hollowing out strips of wood on the table saw. As I cranked up the saw blade under the wood, my left thumb holding the strip in place. Oh, Oh, blood came from someplace. I raised my hand and noticed that I had ripped a seam through my thumb. Mr. Synovec told me to walk to the doctor seven blocks away to get it wrapped. I did, but never got a bill. That was the last time I saw Dr. Donald Steenburg.

   OK, Dr. Shafer, enter left stage and do your thing. You waited patiently, so show me what you've got. But . . . be gentle, Gentle Giant. You know he sure seemed tall to me.

   What was that big machine? The contraption with pulleys and belts turned out to be what powered the drill. At the beginning of the visit, I was fascinated by the whirling pulleys on several mechanical arms and by how they all worked together to twist the drill so fast.

Holes in the head and holes in the ground

   The fascination with the belts went south when Dr. Shafer announced he found some fault with my teeth. He called 'em cavities. We also had cavities on the farm: the silo, the cellar, and the cistern. We dug them and they served the farm well. The doc said my cavities had to go . . . and that's when I started to get excited.

   How was he going to get that drill machine and his hand in my little mouth? I expected the whole affair would be painful . . . and it sure was. Nothing to take the pain away? Maybe the stuff wasn't invented yet, or maybe he didn't believe in pain relief. I sure did. When the drilling hit nerve central. I rose and fell in the seat depending upon which floor of my teeth he was trying to strike oil on.

   When the ordeal was over, he handed me a nickel. My mother said I would have all of my teeth out if I got a nickel for each. I did like the nickels, but there was even a limit how far a young farm lad would bend.

   With the nickel clutched in my grubby hand, I walked a couple doors away to the Fairmount Ice Cream Parlor. I got my two dips of chocolate for the nickel. Years later I came to the conclusion that Dr. Shafer gave nickels to buy more candy and sweets to ensure future business.

   Now you know how this young farm lad came to know those who worked in the medical field. Back in the country, I still preferred our corn field, wheat field, and alfalfa field. Shucks and by golly, it was a place in the world where clean fingernails didn't count . . . and no one was the wiser.

   Oh, don't leave yet! I forgot about being born.

   Mom told me that I met Dr. Don Steenburg one other time. I wasn't unconscious but I don't remember being introduced. He probably had cold hands then, too!

Blessed event happened in grandparents' bedroom

   The setting was down on the farm, the same one where 5 years later I got kicked in the head, but this time we were in the bedroom of my Salmon grandparents' farm home. It was there that I arrived on Earth on January 24, in the same room that my father A F and his sister Agnes were born. (Dad said he was only given two letters because they were too poor to afford real names!) My brother Steve, the first-born, arrived in the old Steenburg Hospital two days before Christmas in 1936. I don't know how he rated a hospital birth, but one of the relatives must have contributed to the cause. Maybe it was one of those first-born privileges, like when Steve got new clothes and I got his hand-me-downs.

   Anyway, Dad's maiden Auntie Elsie Detamore was the midwife, something she had performed many times for relatives and neighborhood women. She lived to be 93 and told me many times that she changed my first diaper! TMI.

   Dr. Don arrived with his little black bag. We didn't have a telephone, so I don't know how he was contacted. He was filling out the state birth certificate and repeated my given name: "Rex Lester Salmon." He stopped and said "Lester? Don't you have a neighbor across the section, Luella, with the name Lester and doesn't he have red hair?"

   I was told there was some chuckling in the room when the answer was yes. Dad's hair was pitch black and Mom's was auburn. Dad's father Tom had reddish-brown hair and his father, Alexander Franklin Salmon from Scotland, had red hair and was known as Sandie. So, you see I officially got red hair from the family gene pool.

No beans left as verbal baggage is spilled

   There, I've spilled all the beans about the doctored status of a farm lad named Rex Lester Salmon, but did I mention that I also have a twin brother? Born on January 24, he was named Danny Marvin Salmon. OK, the word twin should be written "twin." Sister Pauline Arnita and brother Alvin Joe were born between us. Danny and I were called the Five-Year Twins. Through the years, we've wished each other a Happy Birthday over a single chocolate cake!

   Thanks to the Steenburgs for choosing Aurora to doctor in way back in the 1800s when Hamilton County itself was a snot-nose kid. Through the years, other Steenburg children came back as physicians and the clan spanked many babies as they arrived on Earth to give their first "cheer" as Nebraska Huskers.

   My first cry sounded a little bit like "Go Big Red." Mom's not around to deny it. Besides, this is my story!

©, 2011 : Rex L. Salmon - Exrayfish@cox.net

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