So as time went by Lucy tried to be a mother to the children (children of Pat’s brother) and they haven’t lost their love for her. She tells Percy Fay that she put a lot of diapers on him and told him that his hips were so small she had a time trying to fasten them so they would stay put. Sometimes she would look and his diapers would be down around his ankles and she would have to do the job over and that was the way it went for the rest of that year. Then my brother and children moved in the house with his father-in-law and wife. They lived together until fall and then my brother married Mrs. Nell O’Neal. Finally the day came and on Easter Sunday, April 23, 1916 Opal was born.
Mother was still living with us and that fall my brother-in-law brought my sister Ira and her three children to our house and left them. So me and my brother Mike went to town and rented a house for her.
The next year which was 1917, I was planning to buy us a horse and buggy. My uncle Richard McDonough came down and he had heard about my plans and told me it sure would cost to keep a horse and he would sell me his 1914 T Model car for $225.00. So I bought it. That was on a Wednesday and my brother, Ed ask me to take him and his wife to the Dallas State Fair. I said okay. So me and Lucy and him and his wife went down on Saturday. Back then there wasn’t no stop signs and red lights and very few cars. We spent the day at the fair and stayed a little late. We started home and went sailing down a hill and the bridge had a little jump up and the floor board jumped up under my clutch and brake but I didn’t know it until we went up a hill and a road turned to the right and I started to turn and my brother yelled and said straight ahead so I cut the gas and tried to use the clutch and the brake but couldn’t because that board was under them. By that time the motor was dead and the lights had went out. There we were going down the hill backwards and it was pitch dark. All I could do was sit there and wonder what would be next. I soon found out and I will never forget what my brother said and he yelled out and said ‘ ‘my God Pat where are we going” and about that time we rolled off in the ditch and broke a wheel down. So a man came along going to Paris and he took us home so I spend enough on that one repair job that I could have fed a horse several days.
Well here it is a year that I will never forget. It was the fall of 1918 when that bad flu broke out and I took it first and the doctor didn’t know hardly know how to doctor it. The doctor told me to stay in bed for four days after my fever had broke and so I did. So I got out of bed before- the house got warm and stayed up all day and was so weak I couldn’t hardly sit up. So the next morning my fever had come back up and I stayed in bed all together 42 days and most of the women that were pregnant was dying and Lucy was pregnant at that time. Dr. Maynard told us as soon as she thought she was taking it to call him at once. She got up and had a pretty bad fever and it was raining and had been raining all night. There were no phones so after a while our neighbor Sam came by and Lucy went to the door and told him to call Dr. Maynard so he did and the Doctor didn’t get there until way in the night and our yard had so much water that Dr. Maynard had to ride up to the porch and the poor ole feller had been in the rain all day. He told Lucy what to do and she did, but we just couldn’t eat. When one did get where we thought we might eat a little, Ed’s stepdaughter came to try and fix us something to eat.
The day before Lucy got sick she put some turpentine and some coal oil and some salve in a pie pan and put it on the stove to warm. Then she would take a flaming cloth and dip it in the stuff and would put it on the baby’s chest to break up the cold. In the meantime, she had left the pan on the back of the stove. This girl was going to cook us some biscuits and she put them in that pan and I could smell coal oil before she got to my bed and I sure didn’t want anything to eat then. We finally got well but there was so many dying they buried four out here in the Wylie cemetery one day. It rained most of the winter and besides there wasn’t enough well people to take care of the sick.
Well, I have got one year ahead of time so I will go back to the fall and winter of the year 1917. Opal was a little over one year old and this happened on a Sunday. Lucy and I were walking and had her by the hand and she had on a pair of new slippers. The road was dusty and when some of it got on her slippers she would stop and wipe the dust off and little did we know what would happen the next day. We got up that morning and I went on to work and Lucy was going to wash that morning and Opal had been sleeping pretty late every morning but she waked up pretty early that morning crying. Lucy went to take her up and she couldn’t stand on her feet so when I came in for dinner Lucy told me what had happened so we had Dr. Maynard out there to see her and that was when he give us the bad news. He said she had paralysis and it began to spread all over her body and finally she was paralyzed all over. She couldn’t move hand or foot and she couldn’t swallow and the only nourishment we could give her was liquids and we would put them in her mouth and let it run down her throat. She got so bad that Dr. Maynard didn’t have much hope for her to get well. So we called Lucy’s father and he came up. He knew where Dr. Maynard lived so he went to his house and asked the doctor how she was. He said he was fixing to go out and see her but didn’t know whether he would find her alive. He came out and said she wasn’t any better. So long in the evening fleam was about to choke her to death and Ruth Housewright had her up in her lap working and trying to get some of it out of her throat. I went and mixed some lemon juice and grape juice and put a few teaspoons full in her mouth and let it run down her throat and she began to get better. It was six weeks before she ever moved, as far as we know, so my brother and wife came over to spend the day with us. His wife told Lucy she would watch Opal while Lucy cooked dinner and while she was watching her, Opal turned one of her hands over. It was two more weeks before she moved again and we had her in a cradle right beside our bed and every time she made a racket we would rock the cradle until she would get quite. We had to take time about rocking the cradle and after working in the field all day I would be so tired I would drop off to sleep and Lucy would say rock her and I believe a lot of the times I rocked her in my sleep. So she finally began to improve but it sure was slow and she was under the care of the doctor for a year. She had to learn to walk again and we were thankful that it didn’t leave her a cripple.
Note: The Pat Housewright farm was located in Collin County near the northeast Dallas County line.