Susan and Mr Otterson

Ken, Susan, and Lucy

Ken, Susan, and Lucy

Some stories should be told, but aren’t. They’re too painful. Lucy lost the most important person in her life, her daughter, to what then was an incurable disease. Today Wilm’s tumor is highly treatable. Not so in 1950. Lucy didn’t like to share the memories of her little girl traveling to Rochester’s Mayo Clinic where the doctors told them to go home and make peace with God. I surprised her when I took a job in that same town after graduating college. We now live just blocks from the hospital where Susan was unsuccessfully treated. Lucy came to grips with her daughter living in Rochester. Lucy even spent the last ten years of her life here. She never got used to telling the story about Susan. We know very little of that little girl’s life. Can you sense the reticence in Lucy’s telling of this story? She talks around the edges, but we never get to hear what really happened. Never.

Lucy writes:

Susan + Friend Mr Otterson – She blamed him for everything she did wrong. What a relief it was to be back home. We bought a few new things like curtains – end tables and a brand new bedroom set – a crib and then began making diapers. No “disposables” then, flannel gowns. Oh such excitement. Susan Lynn was born on the 11th of June. She had tight curls on her head – big brown eyes and we all loved her so much. She was so good – as my mother said once “That child is too beautiful and is loved by every one.” Guess she was right. Pat’s son Mike was a year older and became a part of Susan’s life. He would come over in the morning – go home for lunch and come back after Susan’s nap. When I was out in California last winter we talked about Susan. Mike has had so many honors placed upon him for his work with under privileged and fatally ill children. Even from Ronald Reagan – and he said “It was my love for and loss of Susan that has been responsible for my work. I can really relate to people with dying children and have helped many people because of my loss. We went through a very hard time Susan and all of us. Ken was in an accident while Susan was ill and remained in the hospital from November until Xmas Eve. Even yet – I tear up when I think about it. We all loved her so. That beautiful child.

Lucy Letter 030