So Long Ago

It seemed that I was in the bottom of the sea. The water was a deep, pretty green and swimming all around were many wiggling things. They were really quite beautiful because as they swan you would catch a glimmer of gold on their scales. It was a pretty place but I felt uncomfortable all over, and my throat hurt.

Then I felt a hand softly placed on my forehead. I heard a voice say: “Wake up little one, I don’t like to do this because it will hurt. You have been very sick and this will help to make you well. That will make us all happy” The voice was that of my father, Dr. R. I. Bromley. I was in the midst of a severe case of scarlet fever. Both mother and father had spent several intermittent sleepless nights watching over me. Dad had heard of a new serum being used so he telegraphed to San Francisco and had it sent as soon as possible. I looked up and saw that my dad had a glass tube in his hand filled with liquid. It had a long needle in it. When he was ready I grabbed both sides of the large crib I was in and held on tight as he put the needle in my hip. It was over soon, but this had to be repeated for several days.

Gradually I began to improve and I realized the “Voyage” I had to the “Bottom of the Sea” was caused by the impression the wallpaper in that room caused on my feverish mind. Mr. Hartvig who had a paint shop across the street form our home put it on mother’s wall. I never did like that wallpaper. Mr. Hartvig was a good craftsman but it wasn’t his fault I didn’t like it, because he didn’t choose it.

When I became ill my brother and sister were taken over to our Grandfather and Grandmother Mansfield’s place in Columbia. I had the only case of scarlet fever in the county at that time. My folks thought I might have contracted it while going to Columbia on the stage. If there were quite a number of people going at one time it was a pretty tight fit.

It was wonderful getting well again. My first solid food was scrambled eggs. I still like scrambled eggs.

I was feeling much stronger when Grandmother said “the Circus has come to town and today is Parade Day”. They put blankets and pillows around me in a big soft stuffed chair by the window. Since our house was on Washington street and the parade passed right in front of it, I still can see the bright red and gold trimmed uniforms of the band and the colorful scenes on the much decorated calliope. To a little girl calliope music was different and delightful. There were tigers, bears, big monkeys and wolves all in gorgeously decorated and gilded cages on wheels pulled by pretty white horses. Beautiful ladies wearing colorful costumes accented with dyed ostrich feathers were riding other fine horses or elephants with bizarre ornamental trappings. Camels, llamas and zebras were also in the parade besides many funny clowns on stilts.

You might wonder why such a fine circus would come to Sonora. At that time Modesto and many of the valley towns were much smaller that Sonora and did not have enough people to attract circuses or cultural events.

After the parade was over Mother came in – “back to bed now, after all the excitement you must be tired”. I was, but soon I had beautiful dreams in technicolor while riding on my own beautiful white pony.

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