Sorry this is long, bear with me. I haven’t been on here for a bit.
For those of you that don’t know, I grew up in a little town in southern Indiana, just east of Evansville, Indiana, called Newburgh. Though I haven’t lived out there in years and I have lived more of my life in Evansville, I still feel like I am going home, when I drive out there.
It is a nice quiet town to grow up in. There isn’t a ton there, but enough, and it is next to a decent size city. Over all, I had no complaints growing up in Newburgh. If you ask me where I am from, I most likely will say Newburgh, IN….(unless I am talking to another west sider, then I keep that stuff quiet haha!)
So, to get to it. I grew up off Ferstel Road. It is a long thin road, just off the highway, lined on one side with tall swaying trees that in the fall will take your breath away and the other side quant homes. It has a doozy of a hill, especially when you are 12 and on your bike, that slopes up to a flattened hill and back down, it was a challenge to get up and over it. As a kid it was a great accomplishment once you could conquer it and not have to walk your bike. This is where my home was, on the flat landing in-between the hill. This road to this day makes my heart happy. My memory is the worst, but Ferstel is home.
We moved there before I started kindergarten, we lived in the first house on the corner off Ferstel on a dead end street, it was awesome. The house seemed like a mansion when we moved in. I should state I was 5ish, had no siblings yet and it was much bigger than our previous home. I wonder how it would feel now?
If you have never been to southern Indiana, I am sorry. It is for sure not a vacation destination, but we have beautiful weather at least once a year and on that one day it is amazing…I am kidding. We have killer humidity (sorry Fl, you got nothing on the crockpot of the midwest). We have mosquitoes by the swarms. We have snow and ice…am I selling it? Are you ready to come??? Ok, we have humming birds and lightening bugs, we have festivals and carnivals and street fairs and parades (when there isn’t a pandemic)…..we have the southern life, in the north. It truly is a beautiful place, if you can see past the imperfections that everywhere has.
Why am I telling you this? Where is this going? Well, the other night I had a very vivid dream about a little old crippled man who use to deliver eggs and popcorn, on his tractor, around our neighborhood when I was a kid – Mr. Ferstel. Mr. Ferstel’s family had owned the land and sold it off in sections over the years. A family of farmers through and through. Mr. Ferstel had never been married, walked with a limp, and kept one arm curled up to his side. Now days if I saw him, I’d probably think he’d had a stroke. He’d give you hell if you hadn’t saved your egg cartons or milk jugs for him and he smelled of death. Really, the smell is a memory I wish I could forget. I recall when my mom would let him into our front door, in our entryway, how his smell would linger long after he was gone. He would want to stand and talk, our dog wasn’t too sure of him, and as a grown women I realize this man was lonely. Very lonely.
We always knew he was coming, you could hear his tractor making it’s way up the road from far away. Mr. Ferstel was making his rounds and getting social. His 1980s version of FB.
So, my dream was mainly about the memory of how Mr. Ferstel had had polio as a child. This is something I very much remember about him. They didn’t think he was going to walk again and he is a farmer. It is not like he talked about it continuously, but it came up and the story was intriguing. In the 1980’s there were grown adults that had suffered polio, but you rarely heard about it – know why?? A vaccine. Oh, crud, did I loose a few of you there? Sorry, I am going this way. Give me just a minute and let me explain why. Please.
Have you read about Bailynn on here??? So, it is August 2020 and I am sorry Covid is the topic of choice. We keep hearing all this stuff on the news and people we love and know are getting it, some get better, some die. This is reality. Bai, well, if she gets it, we don’t know what will happen, but her kidneys are junk, her heart has tubers, her lungs are compromised, and her body is not strong enough for this. So, we are shuttered in. No one in, daddy out for work. We have maintained doctors appointments when we can, virtual if possible. We have made a few runs for groceries, but most are delivered. We have been home for months! (feels like years). We badly miss our people. I miss my nieces and nephews jumping in the pool, spending the night, family dinners, family hang outs, family anything…..but we are making this choice, because of Bai, and we are ok with that.
Mr. Ferstel – I popped out of bed the other morning and immediately googled this man that I have not seen in years, wondering what happened to him. His name, John Henry Ferstel. I couldn’t find his obit, but I found him on findagrave.com. If you have never went to this site, it is really cool to find family members and trace back.
Mr. Ferstel had died in 1999 at the age of 77. This blew me away. When I was little I literally thought this man was 100 years old. He was really around the age my parents are now and I do not feel like they are old! Kid brain. His tombstone is simple, says loving brother, his name and date of birth to death. This is all that is left of this man that is so ingrained in my childhood memories. The farmer who had survived polio. He had survived, but he had lasting markers, lasting reminders.
My vaccine rant, but just a little I promise. Do you know anyone with polio? Scarlet fever? Smallpox? Measles? Mumps? Polio, I do, but they are not in my age group, or my kids. What about chickenpox? When was the last time you heard a class of kids out from that? Guess what, vaccine. Do you think that all the adults, still suffering the side effects of polio wish they had had the opportunity to take a vaccine? I would suspect yes, and I will also say that their disabilities do not define them and may have even made them better human beings, but none-the-less, if I could take Tuberous Sclerosis and kill it forever for Bailynn and people like her – I WOULD! I bet polio survives felt a great victory the day that vaccine was made and began to be distributed to children.
So, when there is a safe a viable vaccine, for covid, in the world (cough, not from Russia). When it is proven effective. When it is proven safe. My family will be in line for it and I hope that other people’s families will too. Not because I want you to go get chipped or the mark of the beast or whatever other nonsense you believe, because there are people out there in the world like Bailynn, and us, holed up and waiting. We are protecting our most precious member of our family. The one who can’t protect herself. We want to be carefree and live life, but can’t. I want to run errands and not worry about how I touch things, that I need to shower when I get home, if I should wear a mask around Bai in my house. I want to go on vacation again, and I think anyone doing that now is crazy, but you don’t live in my home and I get that. You are blessed if no one in your home has medical issues. You are more than lucky if no one in your family has compromised health. I am jealous of you. Just so you know. I truly am.
For people like Bailynn, listen to doctors and listen to scientist. Talk to your doctor, talk to real people in the professions that this effects. Please help squelch the political take on this crisis.
We all want it to be over.
for her. (and everyone like her that needs people to protect them)