1953 January-December still in Seville managing both churches.
Mark is still having seizures and ear infections as well getting a penicillin shot, having running eyes. Dad is worried about the future and gets a physical exam to get 3K more life insurance. “Mark had a pretty bad day today, two seizures but drunk w/ sedative & unable to walk.” He improves slightly with an adjustment to phenobarb (with dilantin, milontin). This makes periodic blood work important and they do that at the hospital. I would have to investigate when they start doing blood levels of anti epilepsy drugs but mom always talked about Mark’s demise being from too much of the medication. But of course without that he was having severe seizures..risks benefits. But I don’t remember anything scientific about his blood levels. When dad gets a wagon and builds it up, Mark claims it as his own suggesting personality development. Dad took him for bike rides. He is mostly “unsteady and “doped” these days, not good at all, very poor, getting worse .” He’s not been getting milontin (out of it-waiting for Boston to send it) & toda M cut his phenabarb. “But he just lies on couch twitching (& vomiting) much of the time”. Got some new medicine for Mark in May. Finally by May 18, 1953 they take Mark to Babies & Childrens Hospital in Cleveland (mom stays with him) to the tune of $192/week). (note, after meeting w/ Mr. Stewart, they lowered the charge rate to $5/day-total 55$) There, he gets “pretty well sedated with shots of phenobarb.” For what the doctor suspects has been status epilepticus for the past time period. But he is discharged after 11 days later, still having a few seizures a day but walking again on less medication. “his chief ailment was (I guess) too much medicine.” Dad seems pleased that the doctors “take a great interest in Mark”
Dad might be at the car garage for half a day ending up just getting a new battery, mowing lawn endlessly, getting the emergency brake unstuck, getting the car washed and greased, ordering a ball bearing motor for the lawnmower (29$) which he installed, and within a month he had to rebuild the lawn mower, buying a heavy duty wagon for $5, which of course needed new sides and ends to be crafted. Then, of course this wagon needed to be pulled so dad got a new bike tire for “my bike”, gerry-rigged a trailer hitch on the bike and pulled the kids around in it to the point of his own exhaustion. He had specific ideas about how things should be arranged, supposedly for efficiency. But I think he enjoyed puzzling and analyzing so much, that was the purpose. But some ideas stuck (stubborn, permanent, John Harnish ideas). The wash machine should be in the kitchen. All paper should be files with a number index. Leasing cars is better (i.e. cheaper) than buying. Bathroom cleaning should pass the ‘finger wiped along the window sill’ test. And Technocracy was fast becoming the best answer for the world to follow. He was often deep in thought either about carpentry fixes or theology. He did not ascribe to literalism about the bible or to fundamentalism of any sort or rejection of slices of humanity. When Mark gets worse, the most fundamentalist aunt Jo and uncle Ralph (who accompanied mom/dad on their honeymoon) wanted them to have Mark “prayed for” by an evangelist. “We said No” He would manage someone else’s problems along with his own, like taking people’s machines and cars in for the level of care dad envisioned correct for all machines. There is also the Superman move throughout his life, of changing clothes. The rougher ones were called “work clothes” He also is getting his own battery charged and generator adjusted. Or just “glueing” And picking up a saw he had sharpened and “building a furnace fire” Im not sure what that entailed. And he is still crafting toys for the kids (putting seat and foot rests on a horse that is a desk), The coal has to be unloaded periodically. He can’t find his blue pen but then got a truck and hauled ashes and found the pen in the ashes.
Mom deals with the childhood infections, staying home with the kids who were exposed to mumps and measles. At one point she is sick and dad takes the children for a day w/ Aunt Chubby but then there is a call from her because Mark has a seizure while they are with her, which for Chubby is frightening. Dad describes spending the day at the house getting things for M.that day, but then “by night she is some better.” She goes to the neighbors to get her hair “done” (permanent and wash and set). Wesley is running a temp the next month. She also does the school functions (style show in March). She gets her hair done and her dresses fitted by Virginia Mason next door. In 1953 mom goes to a mother-dgter banquet presumably with Marci Jo.
The neighbors or almost anyone in need gets attention from mom/dad. He ran into a family (4 adults 2 children) at the hospital who had an accident and drove them home to Cleveland and then checked up on them a week later.. Mom the next day had a man come who was hitchhiking to Cleveland and gave him supper & $5 and Bob Mason took him to Medina. He convinces the board to keep a fund so dad can help “transients” Another older couple who support them are the Helen and Frank Sassmanhauzen who seem to be well off living in a large brick house in Cleveland. The senior Gannet couple are in Ohio, and he takes John to a Father Son banquet. The Gannett’s were going to take a trip to Penn and will use mom/dad’s car (Hudson) instead of their own DeSoto with poor brakes. Dad certainly comments that he likes his own Hudson better for handling & riding. . Of course he keeps up with any and all needed repairs. There is bartering all the time, including dad putting a hot water tank which took all day, and the owner transporting coal to m/d house. The owners of the grocery store frequently send them home with bags of groceries.
Mom and dad sit in the evening listening to the radio. There is a picture of them doing this with mom 9 months pregnant. Saturday night (and sometimes Sunday early) are always about sermons. Once written, they want to relax. “Finish at 1, sat up till 230, everyone in bed finally at 3”. A week later “Didn’t really get started on the sermon till after supper. Worked till 330 AM.” It was rare for mom and dad to argue.. But there is one time documented where they did and she got out of the car uptown “rather than go on to Chippewa Lake w/ me.” We do not learn the outcome of that.
There are of course new babysitters flowing in and out the house now that they are settled in Ohio. Beverly Kinsinger can stay with Mark which of course would require special skills or tolerance for seizure activity. Mary Lou stays with all of them. Barbara Leslie is a very familiar name so she must have lasted into my life, 1953 on.
The extended family is still blending and come and go without planning. “Pete, Audrey, Scott & Terry Sukey came for dinner” The next day M went & got Mom, EJ, Bonita and the children who watched the Harnish kids while mom/dad went to meetings. Dad & Aunt Chub came for supper but dad & he spent most of the day looking at cars at the Hudson garage & trying one out. Dad takes Pinky for the Father-daughter dinner and then stayed till after Bonita got home from work. Bonney, dad’s sister has their 5th child Penelopi closest in age to Bonney Harnish (me). Of course that generates a migration first to grandma’s where Aunt Hazel was, then to Bay View Hospital where Bonney had just had Penelopi and then home by 8 for meetings. Here’s one, in April 1953: Marci and the kids went to Oberlin w/ dad (for classes). Then they went to Aunt Hazel’s (not home) back to grandma’s for lunch, drop off MJ (don’t pick her up for 8 days after which grandma comes to Seville for a week). Then to New London but went back 8 miles to grandma’s to leave EJs hat. EJ at this point is living at grandma’s and working. Then they left Wesley w/ Aunt Chubby (don’t pick him up for 3 days), back to Seville for meetings (got Beverly. Kinsinger) to stay w/ Mark. This is the first mention of a name that is familiar “Stormy” and Pauline. (the Storms in Wadsworth) but I don’t know why. So then the very next day with Mark in tow, they went to Dick & Elaine Brights for supper and overnight (Mark slept with D/E). Dick is a physician and is advocating and arranging for Mark to be seen at Western Reserve’s Medical School Lakeside Hosp. This is in April and Mark’s seizures are not controlled. They then saw dad’s sister and new baby Penny at hospital and went to other meetings. One day Marci, Mark & dad went & got MJ, Wesley & Pinky from Elyria and brought them all to Seville.
Dad continues to fill in for mom “M took Wesley to doctor (still has infection), while I stayed w/ Mark -in for his nap- I studied”. Helped M clean house. Dad “has a backache so putting heating pad on it & resting” He wakes up one spring morning with larengitis and had to cancel appointments so he could remain in bed “part of day” and “still can’t talk” the next day as well.
The Bonney dynasty centers in Lorain and Huron. The Harnish Gremore dynasty centers in Elyria and New London. In April 1953 he refers to Elyria Home for the Aged. Seville choir sang there, Wesley got baptized by Rev. McAlpine there. I think that is where Bonney Belle and mom went to the 3 year nursing school. AND that is where dad insisted and arranged at length for grandma to go once staying with us or alone was not feasible. It is based in the Methodist Church as well.. So the history of that institution really impacted our family.
Career planning continues. During a few months, dad begins to plan to take on another church in his circuit (Poe) and begins to discuss it with church leaders. The Seville salary went from 2000 to 2500 and Chippewa raised his salary at &120. Over the two years of Mark’s illness there is a total of 275$ that comes in from groups, and churches.