Out of the Past~~one of Torie's Travels
Torie travels to 1891 and inhabits the body of her great-grandaunt Mahala Wyman
Dr. Jacob Krout and family
The times in Grandma Rose’s house were always special. I was just blown away, walking through the rooms, preparing and having meals with the family, evenings sitting outside in warm weather and all the family talking about their days as well as news from town. Watching it all unfold as they carved out their place in Fremont during a century and a half of living.
But then one warp—the fun ended, and it got a little too real. I had no mirror, but by looking at the young, un-marred skin of my hands and the dark-brown locks that hung over my chest, I knew. I was my great-grandaunt Mahala Wyman who shared a headstone with Judson and Rose. She died at twenty-one of heart failure, known as dropsy back then.
I warped in, arriving in the back bedroom, facing the barn. I was in bed, and my pillows propped me up so I could see out the window. It was the same window that I had a photograph of with the barn and draft team. That was my other clue. I knew from other times there, that this was Mahala’s bedroom.
This was also very unsettling. This was what my mom had died of six years ago. I knew now part of what my mom had endured. I felt ill. I could feel the illness in my body. I was weak and dizzy. I was in a long-sleeved cotton nightgown with blue blossoms and I was bedridden. Although I was covered only with a light sheet, my legs felt heavy and immovable, as if a heavy comforter or something was over them. The air was cool. I could hear birds singing outside. A light breeze ruffled the curtains at the window.I seemed to observe all this in a split second because then I became aware of the weight, as a person sat down beside me and I looked over to see a man dressed in a black suit. He put a stethoscope in his ears, unbuttoned my gown and placed the disc over my chest, listening to my heart. He was Dr. Jacob Krout. He had been the doctor in Fremont for more than forty-three years. He looked young, and was probably in his early thirties. I had seen several photographs of him which people had added to his online memorial. He was buried in Cedar with his family. His wife Mary Alice was a Dinsmore.
He quietly listened to my heart as I studied his kind face.
“Take a deep breath Mahala,” he requested. “And another. Good.” He smiled kindly at me and buttoned my gown. “I will be making the rounds to see your sister Ivy when I leave here. She and Joshua are sure looking forward to that little one. I don’t think I have ever seen a couple more anxious for a child.”
The doctor looked from me, to some point at my left and I became aware that someone was holding my hand. My great-great-grandma Rose was sitting beside me, in a chair.
“We are all looking forward to that new grand baby,” Rose said, patting my hand. “I think Mahala more than anyone. How is your family, Dr. Krout? Mary Alice and little Erma,”
“Everyone is just fine. Erma will be going on ten years next month.”
The doctor looked back to me and smiled. “I will stop again tomorrow.” He assured, rising and taking his stethoscope from his neck to place it into his medical bag on the floor beside him.
“I’ll see you out, Doctor,” Rose offered.
“I can see myself out, Rose.” He patted her shoulder and walked to the door. “Until tomorrow,”
Rose turned her attention back to me as the bedroom door closed softy and I noticed she had a bible open in her lap. She began reading to me from some chapter. I have no idea what chapter it was. The good book wasn’t one of those on my book shelf. I hadn’t cracked a bible since I was confirmed at thirteen years old. Rose finished the passage and then lifted my hand and kissed the back gently.
“Mahala, you are the light of my life, sweetheart. I want you to know that. I love you so much. We will read and pray every day until you are well. I have faith in God. You need to have faith and believe.”
“I will, Mother. Mother, what day is it?”
“Friday, April 10.”
She looked at me as though fearing I was having a fit or something. She touched my forehead gently, searching for fever. I was almost certain I knew the year because the doctor mentioned Ivy being anxious to deliver Katie, but I just wanted it confirmed.
“Eighteen ninety-one, sweet,”
Mahala Wyman died on April 11, 1891