Far From The Strongest

I never got the influenza, though I am far from the strongest in my family.

That would be Pa, and then Brother Jim.

I recall that one day they was both sneezing and the next day Doc took them and Ma to the Consolidated School where they’d set up the hospital.

They took the sick folks to the gym where they had rows of cots set up.

When they got worse they’d take them upstairs to die in Mrs. Lee’s third-grade room.

The cafeteria was the morgue, long tables set out.

I doubt I’ll ever go back to that school.

Friday Fictioneers

The 1918 Spanish flu strain killed its victims with a swiftness never seen before. In the United States stories abounded of people waking up sick and dying on their way to work. The symptoms were gruesome: Sufferers would develop a fever and become short of breath. Lack of oxygen meant their faces appeared tinged with blue. Hemorrhages filled the lungs with blood and caused catastrophic vomiting and nosebleeds, with victims drowning in their own fluids. Unlike so many strains of influenza before it, Spanish flu attacked not only the very young and the very old, but also healthy adults between the ages of 20 and 40.