Sunday, September 8, 2013

Carmela's Ordeal

Here is a tragic story from Before Vaccines:
Carmela Carrano was born on September 2, 1912, in a six-family tenement house at 60 Kingsland Avenue in Brooklyn that was gas lit and where an airless hallway bathroom was shared with another family. She was the 7th of 11 children born to Maria Carrano between 1898-1925. The sisters – there were five at the time – all slept together in a large bed. Carmela was severely bow legged and had difficulty walking, but in spite of that difficulty and the teasing other children subjected her to, she was a sweet, kind-hearted girl.
Peter says: “She looked out for her younger sister, my grandmother, and always worried if my grandmother had her school supplies and would make sure my grandmother was ready for school.  She was also devoted to her mother, even though she was small.” Peter’s grandmother was 2 years and 13 days younger than Carmela, and the two were very close. Peter’s grandmother would walk to school with Carmela every day; she was always sad when kids at school taunted Carmela over her bowed legs. The kids would tease Carmela about her “bandy legs.” But aside from her legs the kind, gentle child had no serious health problems.
“Then,” says Peter, “on August 25, 1922, she had been playing with a cousin all day, when she suddenly was stricken with high fevers and lancing headaches. The neighborhood doctor was summoned to the house, where he diagnosed her malady as viral meningitis.” (Read more.)

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