Elizabeth Sophia Masen has everything a woman of her time could want; A loving husband, a son she adores and a easy lifestyle in Chicago. Yet the Fall of 1918 threatens what she holds most dear: Her son Edward The Last few days of Edwards life through the eyes of his mother. "Sequel" to 1918 Now UP! For More of Elizabeth and a vampire Edward turn into "Returning to Chicago" ASAP!
4. 27th September 1918
Rating 3.8/5 Word Count 2051 Review this Chapter
September 27th 1918
254 Cherry Ln.Chicago Ill.
I fear we will never be able to have a normal dinner conversation again. The silence of the 25th’s dinner rolled into yesterdays, only Edward was the one who seemed to be silent, as in deep thought. “Edward, how was school?” I asked. “It was alright mother, but I won’t be going tomorrow, the board’s closed it due to illness.” I was shocked. What sort of illness could cause a school board to close it’s doors? Then I remembered probably the same illness that would cause an orphanage to do so as well. “Quiet a few in my class have been ill, Quincy was sick this afternoon, I had to walk him back to his house.”
“There have been a lot of sickness going around,” Mr. Masen replied gravely from the head of the table. “My sister, your Aunt Catherine telephoned the office today. Apparently your grandmother is ill with a form of flu.”
“Oh Eddie,” I gasped. His mother is a strong woman, that’s for sure but is any elderly person strong enough to battle influenza? “Well, it’s nothing too bad, very contagious though from the sounds of it, half her neighbor hood seems to have fallen ill somehow. I’m going to check up on her tomorrow during lunch Lizzie; Edward if you’d like to come your more then welcome, seeing how tomorrow for you is empty.” A smile finally flickered on Edward’s face. “Sure father, does that mean I can come to the office with you?” I cringed inside, realizing that this meant that I would most likely be spending the day at home alone again. Mr. Masen smiled responding positively so I too played a smile.
“You two are to not fall sick,” I instructed them, “I can’t have my men both ill, your both positively irritable when so.” I joked, although it is the honest truth. Edward is as irritable as a bear for the first few hours before falling into a sickly sleep, something that he doesn’t get from my side of the family... Mr. Masen did appear a slight shade of pale, I think he may be developing the illness but nothing to worry about, this is My Eddie, he can take anything.
Dinner seemed to pick up from there. We did the dishes as a family due to Sherrie’s absence, Which resulted in all three of us being covered head to toe in soap suds and water. My boys can be so much like little children if opportunity presents itself, and heaven’s knows it brings laughter into my life.
The evening was spent in a peaceful manor. Edward got out a record and Eddie and I danced to a few of the show tunes. Oh how I love being held in his arms! It was so funny though, we where trying this new step in which he dips me but he did to quickly which landed both of us on the floor holding on to each other laughing the laughter that I love. Oh to know that my Edward will find a girl that will make him laugh like his father makes me will be the highlight of my life. But I always seem to find myself thinking will someone ever be worthy enough of my son? Oh poppycot that’s the thought of every mother isn’t it? As long as he loves her and she him—there isn’t anything I can do. Edward fell asleep on the couch reading from Oedipus Rex for school, while Eddie and I sat in the rooftop gardens.
The gardens have to be my favorite part of the house next to Edward’s Piano room. The roses are giving their last bloom and Mr. Masen and I sat up there looking at the stars and while doing so just simply taking time to be together and literally smell the roses. Oh Eddie... sorry typewriter, that’s just my husband for you. He is a romantic. He tucked a daisy behind my ear (he knows its one of my favorite flowers) and then started to sing softly into the night. He’d never admit it but he has a very lovely music voice. Oh how I love my husband. I don’t know what I would do without him. He’s been this form of a romantic as long as I have met him. Some women are lucky when they marry, they marry a kind gentlemen which I did, only I have a kind, and loving one. My dearest Eddie. He seemed rather clammy though while we where on the roof, I begged him to go down but he is stubborn, a trait that I see our son has developed all too well. Nevertheless, all is well with that.
So this morning at 7, Mr. Masen and Edward headed off to the office. It is quarter after five now, and they should be home within a few hours. Before he left though, Mr. Masen left a fresh vase of daisies downstairs for me with a note for when he and Edward will be home. I’m so lucky to have married such a man aren’t i? The Opera is at 7 this evening and I am both looking forward to it while dreading it. Looking forward because the opera is Carmen one of my favorites while dreading telling Edward about his papers. I spent all yesterday afternoon talking to Edna and she doesn’t have the foggiest idea of Quincy’s enlistment, it took all I had not to tell her. The house is all but silent, except for the sounds of ragtime playing on the gramophone.
Oh, Sherrie is coughing again. I hope she’ll be all right tonight, I’m having Emily, Edna’s usual companion come over to watch her tonight. I’ll go check on her and make sure she is all right. Good bye for now my little typewriter... don’t tell Mr. Masen, but you’re not as big of a menace as I first believed. Maybe this newfound technology will help me in life—don’t tell him I said that, remember.
I looked at the paper smiling. It was true. For an iron device that I was sure at first was an instrument of torture, it was growing on me. Especially the little ring sound it made when I took a paper out, For some reason or another it made me smile.
Still smiling I walked down the hallway to Sherrie’s room where she had now stopped coughing. The poor girl had been abed for two days now, she was coughing and sweating horribly , burning with fever.
“Sherrie dear how are you doing?” I asked as I wiped her face with a damp cloth, trying to cool her down.
“Mrs. Masen, I feel horrible,” she replied, her voice hoarse. “ The heat is unbearable, could you open another window?” she asked, looking towards the bay windows.
“Sherrie, they’re all already open, I opened the last one while you where sleeping,” I answered, dabbing the cloth in more water and repeating my treatment.
Her eyes filled with horror, “No, there has to be more windows,” she was panicked. “Are you sure?”
“Relax Sherrie,” I soothed. This illness must be horrid whatever it was, I looked at my young friend who’s face was pale except shades of red fever in her cheeks burning like fires. Her blue eyes where icy and sharp as they searched the room for anyway to cool her, stop the sweating that had her red curly hair sticking to her skin.
“Mrs. Masen, I don’t think I’m going to make this,” she said, gripping my hand tightly.
“That’s ridiculous Sherrie, of course you—“
“No, Mrs. Masen you don’t understand. When I was asleep I dreamt of my Mother and father. They where waiting for me in our old home in Ireland, as though they where waiting for me to come home from school. Mother was making my favorite dish while Da was sitting in the front room reading the paper. Even my little sister Lettice was there, and she died of Cholera before we left Ireland as well as my brother Tommy. I’m not going to make it through this illness.” Each word she spoke was full of assured confidence, strangely met with peace on her face.
“By the time you all return from the Opera this evening, I will be back with my parents and my siblings, and I’m alright with that Mrs. Masen. You and your family have taken good care of me, and I appreciate that. You all have been the family I’ve lost and I know my Ma and Pa appreciate it more then I could say. Would you please tell Master Edward that I’ve loved his piano playing throughout my illness? It has sorta made dying more pleasant—”
“There will be no more of this feverish talk Sherrie, you are going to make this,” I said trying to hide my worry and tears behind equal confidence. “Emily is going to stay here while we are away tonight and take care of you if you need anything. I want you to take two of these pills, they’ll help you get some rest, I’ll call Dr. Morris and see if he can stop by but Sherrie Kathryn Keely you are going to survive this illness, you are not dying and you can tell Edward yourself once you get better.” I said squeezing her hand as I got up and left the room.
I flew down the stairs to the kitchen, ringing the phone for our family Doctor. Doctor Morris was old in years but had nursed me back to health after all my pregnancies and throughout Edward’s childhood and teenage years.
“Doctor Morris Please,” I spoke when the receptionist answered the phone. “Dr. Morris isn’t in at the moment, may I take a message?”
“Yes, this is Elizabeth Masen, I’ve been with Dr. Morris for many years, will you tell him I called?” I asked then an idea popping into my head. “Wait a minute, you may be able to help me. I have a maid here who has been experiencing coughing and sweating Spells. I’ve been giving her some Aspirin and sleeping pills, is there anything else I should do? Do you know what this is?”
Silence came from the other end, “Mrs. Masen, I would advise that you take your maid to the Hospital immediately, she fits all symptoms of the Influenza that has been sweeping the city.”
I stood aback, “That is ridiculous, there is no influenza sweeping the city, if there was there surly would be some report in the papers.” I thought to myself, have I read the papers lately? “ In addition, its not the influenza, or she would have thrown up already,”
I was turning sharp. I wasn’t sure if it was the uncertainty of Sherrie’s illness or not wanting to believe that she needed to go to the hospital. “I’m sorry to have wasted your time. Please Tell Dr. Morris that I would appreciate his diagnosis of the illness immediately.” With that I rudely hung up the phone.
What, I thought, is going on? Suddenly the phone rang again. That was quick Dr. Morris, I thought, picking up the phone.
“Masen’s Residence, Mrs. Masen speaking,” I answered politely.
“Mom.” It was Edward, his voice frazzled, instantly putting me in worry,
“Edward, what’s wrong? Are you and your father all right? Where are you?”
“We’re at Grandmothers, and I’m fine, but father,” he’s voice trailed as though he was worried, “What is it Edward,” I could feel my heart racing in my chest.
“Mom you need to meet it us at the Hospital, father’s collapsed.”
It passes at its own rate. It cannot be accelerated or decelerated just by the begging of a broken heart. Time will not permit itself to be turned back, no matter the pain running through the soul. It passes, as it was doing for me. With each passing second I could feel my heart racing while thoughts of my husband collapsed on the floor filled my troubled mind.
I can’t remember what happened next. I only looked at the bushel of daisies that Eddie had left on the cupboard with his note, blood pounding in my ears, I ran out the door.
- Kait Hobbit
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