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Autobiography of Henry O. Little, Sr.


On the first of June 1929 at the graduation exercises of Manitoba Medical College in the Old Walker Theater in Winnipeg, I was handed my diploma in M.D. making me a qualified Medical Doctor. After graduating I thought I might get started in practice in Winnipeg. Dr. Bill Creighton (the brother of Jim the man who had his own hospital in Estivan) and also a Dr. Bedford, a skin specialist, let me use his rooms in off hours. I saw a few patients. I could give anesthetics at the Misericordia. I also became a resident intern in the Military Hospital at Deer Lodge. I mainly just slept there and was on duty at night.

I had sold my old 1923 T Model Ford for $75.00. My brother and sister chipped in and we acquired 1929 two door Ford with glass windows which was quite a new thing in those days. It enabled me to drive into the city and see patients at the offices mentioned and also to get to the Misericordia. I also acquired a patient. Her name was Effie Waugh. Her father had been the mayor of Winnipeg and was the man who established the aqueduct which supplies Winnipeg with the finest water. She was suffering from chronic tuberculosis.

One evening I drove a couple of nurses from the hospital into the city to do private duty at the home of Sir John Odler who lived in a mansion in a very rich suburb. Sir John was the brother of Sir William, the famous father of modern medicine. When we arrived at his mansion in an exclusive neighborhood, a butler came dashing down the stairs shouting "is Dr. Little there?" I replied, "yes, I am Dr. Little". He informed me that they had had an urgent call from Effie Waugh's home to go out their immediately. After a fast trip I found that Effie had just died. I had called at Effie's the house just before I had gone into the city and she remarked that her kittens were worse that evening. By "kittens" she meant the bronchitis, a word that she had heard so many time since she had had lung problems since she was a little girl.

I continued to stay at the Deer Lodge Military Hospital as a resident intern. In the mornings I would drive into the city to see private patients in Dr. Creighton's and Dr. Bedford's office and also to give anesthetics and to answer emergency calls at Miseria Cordia Hospital.

By December the first I wasn't making very much and there didn't seem much chance of getting established in the city so I arranged to purchase a doctor's practice in the village of Manitou, a very prosperous village about one hundred and twenty miles south and west of Winnipeg a few miles from the border of North Dakota. I rented a couple of rooms from the local dentist for practicing in and I boarded at Mrs. McNamara's home. She had a fairly active Irish sense of humor and I remember one of her stories about a young man who went to church one day and upon returning the folks asked him what was the subject of the minister's sermon. He replied "floating kidneys". They said "well that's ridiculous, you don't have a sermon on floating kidneys". He then said" yes that's right, oh, pardon me, no, "loose livers".

I did not have an overly active practice but in my six months in the village we helped five or six pairs of twins into this world. The dentist (where I had my rooms) had three or four year old daughter and some people were talking about someone having a baby and she remarked "they should have gone to Dr. Little, he'd have got you twins".

The young fellow who owned the drug store was also musical. He taught music at the normal school, led the band, and he played the pipe organ in the United Church where I sang (although I'm not a singer).

It was quite a progressive village and they decided that they should have a skating rink. They had a meeting in the village hall one afternoon and they announced that the rink would cost about $12,000. One of the local farmers (I guess he must have been fairly prosperous) stood up and said "I think I'll take a couple of shares, my wife can take a share for $6,000 and I'll take $6,000. Before spring arrived they had a full sized hockey rink.

In January, we had a real Manitoba blizzard. When it was over there was a lot of drifting snow. The other doctor in town had an emergency call to go twenty five miles right down to the border of North Dakota for a little child who apparently had an obstruction of the bowel. It was a baby about six months old. I volunteered to go. The livery man had lived in that area and fortunately knew the way. The roads were obliterated by the drifting snow and some places we drove over snow that was forty or fifty feet deep. We finally arrived at the place (the trip had taken us twelve hours). There was no possibility of getting the little fellow to a hospital. It was forty below zero and the roads were blocked so I under took to do a an abdominal operation. The operation went fine. He had what they called an intussusception, that is the bowel sort of enveloped itself like turning a sock inside out. I straightened the bowel out and it seemed to look viable however he died a few days later.

One of the features of western Canada is the intensity of the sunshine. It was five hundred miles north of the latitude of Hudson, New York so that the days are longer and the low humidity is the result of the prevailing westerly winds which come from the other side of the Rocky Mountains off the Pacific Ocean where the water in warm due to the Japan Current. The high humidity air is forced upward over the mountains so that it precipitates giving British Columbia a hundred inches and along the coast range up to a hundred and sixty inches of precipitation a year. When that air descends down upon Alberta, Saskatchewan and then Manitoba it has very little humidity so that snow melts very rapidly when the sun does shine.

That March I took off a few days and was home in Winnipeg. I thought that I might be able to get our new car back out to Manitou in spite of the fact that out on the prairie south of Winnipeg the snow was six to eight feet deep. However they kept the main road to Minneapolis open with huge snow plows with a propeller on the side that blew the snow away. The grade of the road was perhaps six feet high and the snow on each side was just as high as the bottom of the propeller that blew it (there was a lot of snow!). The land was absolutely flat from Winnipeg to the American border and about every mile or two they had dug two ditches going to the west. They dig a ditch about twenty feet wide and throw the dirt on the north side and hundred feet or more south of that another ditch where they throw the dirt on the south side. That makes a channel between the two banks of dirt perhaps two hundred feet or more wide to carry off the spring runoff. When I went down on the first of April there was at least seven feet of snow on the level prairie. Ten days later when I came back I didn't have to travel on the main highway because the roads on the prairie had opened and the farmers had a lot of their wheat planted. It is extremely rich soil, being the bottom of ancient Lake Aggazzi so that the topsoil was perhaps four feet thick.

My practice in Manitou was still pretty slow. My mother had spilled some water on our kitchen floor and she had thrown a newspaper on it to dry it up. She noticed a "doctor wanted" advertisement. She sent me a clipping of it and it seemed interesting. It was an add for a municipal doctor in Saskatchewan. A "municipality" in Saskatchewan is 324 square miles. A municipality could hire a doctor on a salary to take care of all of the people in the area. I accepted this job in the municipality of Emerald number 277 which is about one hundred miles north of Regina. The name of the town was Wishart.

The summer before that, Wishart was nothing but a pin in a map on the branch line running from Foam Lake. Two enterprising Englishmen, Ben Jeal (who operated village store just made of clapboard with lean-to on it which acted as a post office) and Herman Collingwood (who operated the new lumber yard) bought about ten acres from Alec Kowalski who owned that land and laid out a townsite beside the railroad line which had just been completed in 1928. They sold lots to other businessmen and residents and a new village was born.

At that time the Village was 20 miles south of the Canadian Pacific Railroad and 20 miles north of the Canadian National. Not more than 10-15% of the land had been plowed with the remainder being beautiful rolling prairie park land. There were thousands of grassy ponds called sloughs surrounded by small white poplar and willow trees. Alec Kowalski estimated that before the arrival of the white man a square mile of land contained 240 acres of water and 400 acres of some of the worlds finest food producing land. When I visited the area in 1978 for Wishart's 50th anniversary, literally every square mile of dry land was under cultivation. The number and size of the sloughs had been greatly reduced as the farmers cultivated them to the edge of the water during the dry summers. The sloughs tended to shrink as the cultivation of land was extended.

In those days, however, It was really pioneer country. The roads left much to be desired. There had never been any modern road equipment so the roads were prairie trails and where you had to cross a slough was just a black dirt grade which became axle deep mud whenever it rained. I soon discovered that pioneer people are a different type of person. No matter what their race or religion they were just one big brotherhood and would do anything for each other. In all the hundreds of times that farmers pulled my car out of the mud with their horses, or got me out of snowbanks in the winter, would they ever accept a penny. When the roads were especially bad there was no lack of volunteers for fellows to come along in a car to pull me out if we got stuck.

I made a trip by train to the village of Elfros near the municipality. When I arrived there was no place for me to practice but they did have five new big grain elevators. In those days, before electricity, each elevator had to have a powerhouse (which also served as the office) to operate the machinery. One of the elevator operators named Olson arranged to let me use his engine room next to the elevator as my office. This was not very convenient. There was no running water and the only furniture was a table and chair. Despite this, I was able to take care of people. Somehow you can make things do. It was a brand new building, it was clean, with a desk where Oly did his book keeping right beside the big one cylinder gasoline engine that drove the machinery of the grain elevator. There actually was not a great deal of need for a fully equipped doctor's office since most of my work was making house calls around the 325 square miles of the municipality. My salary for a 24 hour day (7 days a week) was $12.50, or $4,500.00 per year which in those days seemed like quite a handsome salary.

One morning I was called upon to do a little surgery in my newly acquired "office". An 11 year old girl form a family of 15 children brought her four year old brother to see me. A horse had kicked the little fellow in the face and had opened up a big gash on his cheeks so that you could see his back teeth through the wound. I had a pail of water and a wash basin and I washed the manure and debris from the wound. Now this little Ukrainian fellow was just four years old and without anesthetics. He allowed the doctor to put eleven sutures in that wound and he didn't bat an eyelash. He cooperated completely. Four days later I saw him again and the wound was quite healed. There was a very slight (not at all disfiguring) scar left. These children lived in the rough. They were a part of family of fifteen children.

Sam Webb, the municipal Reeve, James Meakes, the secretary, and six counselors arranged to have the old meeting house moved from the prairie and placed on the main street in the new village. They arranged to sell me the lot on which it was placed. They also sold me two additional 50 foot lots on either side of the building. It was just a rough building about eighteen feet square with a pot bellied stove. The building did not lend itself very well to being a doctor's office so I had a house-office combination constructed to the rear of the meeting house. I used the meeting house as a waiting room.

I practiced in Whishart for six years. From the first day I was quite busy delivering babies. During that time the birth rate was so high that half of the population was under the age of 15. I was required to periodically examine over 2000 children, keep them vaccinated and inoculated with diphtheria antitoxin. During a cold spell one winter a case of smallpox occurred in the next municipality requiring I had to do a rush job in getting all of the children and others vaccinated. One afternoon I visited a two room country school. There were 86 pupils in one room and 35 in the other. I vaccinated a total of 120 children. Two seventh grade girls swabbed arms with alcohol while the doctor vaccinated and injected the diphtheria antitoxin. The whole job took an hour flat. I had to work fast while my teamster, Spence, kept the horses moving in the 40 below zero weather. There was no barn in which to put the horses for shelter.

Among the more than 700 babies born I only once took a patient to the hospital at Saskatoon for a Caesarean section. During the six years that I practiced in Wishart, I did not encounter a single patient with diabetes. I also encountered very few cases of any kind of cancer or heart disease. In the 700 child births not a singe mother developed a temperature or any other signs of infection, and none had thrombosis. This led me to believe that good health might be associated with nutrition. Practically everyone in that rural region drank unpasteurized milk (which contains natural vitamin B producing bacteria). Their bread was made from the world's best wheat and their beef cattle were fed from the products of the same rich land.

At first deliverying babies in those conditions seemed rather quite out of place, that is, I had been used to working in a modern hospital and to have to go through the same process in a log house with a dirt floor and a low feather tick bed with a doubtful supply of water and nobody to help me but an old lady who couldn't speak English. Besides that, in most houses there were bed bugs crawling all over the ceiling. However, I soon got used to it. It is wonderful what you can do if you have to.

I encountered several cases of convulsions that occurred during the later months of winter, usually in little boys about a year old. They all responded, within a few minutes, to an administration of cod liver oil, which is the best source of vitamin D in the winter. The boys were suffering from rickets which is caused by a lack of calcium. Calcium cannot be utilized by the body without the presence of vitamin D in the bloodstream. The ultimate source of all vitamin D is the ultraviolet light of the sun (or ultraviolet lamps). During the long winter the boys had not been out in the sun and therefore they had developed a vitamin D deficiency.

Hospital facilities were not actually the best. Thirty five miles to the north across the Greasy Mud Flats, between Great Quill Lake and Lesser Quill Lake was the village of Wadena where Dr. Rollins was the surgeon and (as I have mentioned previously) that was where I fainted while Dr. Rollins was removing some tonsils, however, he had a wonderful personality. Otherwise we could sent patients by train one hundred miles to the east to Yorkton on the Canadian Pacific (twenty miles to the north) or we could take them twenty miles to the south to the Canadian National where is was one hundred miles to Melville. Another hospital was Regina one hundred miles to the south but there was no railroad connection that way, so you could only get there in the summertime. One hundred and eighty miles to the northwest was Saskatoon reached by the Canadian National to the south (a non-stop express train) or on the Canadian Pacific to the north, (a local train).

We got along quite well despite these deficiencies. We did, however, have a few desperate cases. One forty below zero night I was called to see Tommy Christie about twenty miles southwest of town who I had never seen before. He was in very bad shape so we phoned the dispatcher on the Canadian National and told him that we would like to board his train. He said that the train would have to stop at Touchwood siding to get water at three o'clock in the morning and we could put him aboard the baggage car there. We drove the fifteen or twenty miles in a sleigh with Tommy. Getting him into the baggage car was quite a proposition since the grade was about twenty feet high. We had him on a stretcher, in that 40 below zero weather, and managed to get him into the baggage car. I climbed in to go along with him. This train was an express that only stopped at divisional points and it did stop when need be at Touchwood because the water was so good. One of the problems in running steam locomotives on the prairie is that the water is so full of alkali which clogs up the tubes in the boilers of the trains. The baggage man on that car had been on duty, I believe, ever since that railroad had been built in 1908. He traveled all the way from Halifax to Vancouver. It was amazing to me how he could tell where he was with the train going ninety miles an hour with the windows frosted up with an inch of hore frost that you couldn't see out. I would ask him "where are we?" He would say something like "in a minute or two we will be going through Nokomas. So in a minute or two we would hear clickity click zing boom and that would be the switches of Nokomas. He could do the same at every village on the line. We got Tommy to the hospital but he died on the table. He was full of cancer. His widow wrote to me and we corresponded for years after that.

On another occasion I was called to Lestock on the Canadian National twenty miles south of Wishart because a lady was having a lot of bleeding. I found that she had what is called a placenta previa, that is the afterbirth came first and the bleeding was such that is was soaking through the mattress and was trickling out into the living room because the floor wasn't too level. The woman was unconscious. I revived her with an intravenous shot of adrenalin and pituitrin. It was almost a fatal dose but it revived her. I proceeded to deliver this baby. I had to tear open her cervix of the uterus with my hands and plunge my hand through the placenta and reach up to the region of the woman's liver and grab hold of the baby's foot and drag his leg down which then acted as a cork. I did deliver a ten pound little boy right through the placenta which I removed afterwards. I gave the woman medication and put tight dressings on and left her. She seemed to be alright. About a week later, however, I had a desperate call in the middle of the night that the woman was bleeding again. I drove my Ford down that prairie trail and they were amazed at how quickly I got their. I had just pulled a pair of work pants over my pajamas and I had bare feet with bedroom slippers. We decided that we would have to send her to Regina to the Hospital because this time she was really out. Again, I did revive her on adrenalin and pituitrin. At about four o'clock in the morning, I called a man named Alec Hamilton, a grain elevator operator in Wishart, and I said "Alec, get out your 1928 Chevrolet and remove the right front seat so that we can put a stretcher there and get down to Lestock as fast as you can". "OK Doc", which was his usual answer and, by golly, he got there in very short order because he had to come from ten miles beyond Wishart, that is, he had a thirty mile drive. When he got there I said "Alec, we're taking this girl to Regina and we want you to stop every fifteen minutes so that we can give her another shot of petuitrin". "OK Doc". So we went to Regina and he never asked who was going to be paying for the gas or his time. Anybody in my municipality would have done the same. When we got to the hospital they were unable to find the vein where I had given the injections before because the petuitrin and the adrenalin had squeezed practically all of her blood just into her heart and lungs. However, the woman still kept saying "what are you bothering for, I'm all right". Eventually we managed to cut down on the vein and her big French Canadian brother came along and gave her three pints of blood which didn't cause him to bat an eyelash. She revived and got along. However, here I was in a big fancy hospital with my pants pulled over my pajamas and bare feet and bedroom slippers but nobody paid much attention.

I managed to drive the hundred miles home. But when I was two or three miles from home there was a muddy grade across a slough so I decided that I would slam bang through the slough. Everything went fine, I heard a kind of a crash but I stopped at the other side to see what was the matter and the car wouldn't start because a bolder in the slough had knocked the battery off the car so I had to walk home and get another battery. I had to go out again to see a little boy who was coughing a lot, about twelve miles south of town. When I got their, I found that the little eight year old boy had died. It is awfully hard when you are just their with few things in your bag to diagnosis what a fellow died from, however, the mother said that this other little boy is coughing just the same. I took a look at him. I had interned in the diphtheria hospital at one time and so I recognized it as diphtheria. I got him in to my car and dashed off for Regina and got him where they could put a laringo scope down and dilate his larynx so that he wouldn't choke. I got back to the farm where the little boy had had the diphtheria, a patient dropped in with a daughter who had an appendix. I drove her one hundred miles east to the Yorkton. The mother rode in the back seat and was car sick all of the way vomiting all over the place. We finally got her their and got the appendix out.

The doctor in Yorkton was named Dr. Houston. He had grown up on a farm. You may not know it but before the white man came 85% of the ducks that flew the skies of North America were hatched around those millions of sloughs in Saskatchewan. This was in the fall of the year. We got to Yorkton in the afternoon and Dr. Houston said "I probably won't be back by the time that you leave because we are going duck hunting". However, we sat and talked to his Icelandic wife around the breakfast table and we were rather slow in getting out and Clarence arrived with 140 mallard ducks that he had shot.

On another occasion (when I hadn't been to bed for three days) I had taken an emergency case to Regina and they talked me into going to the fairgrounds to watch a show. On the way home I had fifty miles of modern graded gravel road but when I turned off I had fifty miles of prairie trails before I reached Wishart and believe it or not I must have slept the whole fifty miles. I had at that time a mongrel dog that was only a pup. He was half Chesapeake and half Irish Setter. He was a one man dog and he knew my car when it was coming. I was arriving home at about three in the morning and his barking woke me up just before I drove through the front gate. I opened the gate and I fell asleep again and nearly drove through the end of the garage.

On another occasion we had a very desperate case. A neighbor named John Dick rushed into my place while I was having a late breakfast on a Sunday morning at about half past nine. He said that Mary, his wife, was terribly sick and that I should come over right away. I asked if I could finish my coffee and he replied that I had better come right away. I did go and there was Mary and I diagnosed a ruptured ectopic. That means that she had become pregnant and the fetus had become attached to some organ in her body (possibly the liver) without reaching the uterus. It had ruptured. It meant that her life expectancy was not more that ten or twelve hours unless she got operated on. It was one of those winter mornings with a strong northwest wind, not snowing, but forty below zero. This girl had to have an operation or she was a gone goose. In those days there were no airplane routes or airports, however I took a chance and I called Dr. Alexander in Saskatoon who was a famous surgeon. I said "now here's this girl with a ruptured ectopic and we've got to get her to the hospital somehow, is it possible that there is an airplane around Saskatoon?" And he says "son of a gun there was a fellow named Campbell here last night, he's a bush pilot, and he came to Saskatoon because he was exhausted from chasing the Mad Trapper". This trapper had murdered his buddy and was running off with his dog team. He traveled two thousand miles with his team before they eventually got him. The pilot was just resting up that Sunday in Saskatoon. I said "do you think you might be able to get him?" and he says "I'll through on a coat and go into town and look around the bars and see if I can find him. And believe it or not, inside of a half an hour, he had Campbell the pilot on the phone. I told how we had a girl here who would die if she wasn't operated upon within ten hours and asked him if it would be possible for him to come down and get her. He asked "whereabouts are you?" "Well, we are about one hundred and eighty miles to the east and slightly south and you follow the Canadian Pacific Railroad east until you see a large lake to the north, that's Quill Lake, and you angle south for about twenty to twenty five miles until you see our five elevators projecting up through the ground blizzard". Although it wasn't snowing, when it is forty below zero in a strong wind, it was like a ground blizzard. He said "do you have a landing field there?" Well I said there is ten acres....", he said "that's no good". I then said Mike Dobranski has a hundred and sixty acre field just east of the village just north of the railroad line and you can land there and there is a sleigh trail there running across the field and we will be waiting for you there at two o'clock". I asked him how much it would cost. He said that it was one hundred and eighty miles and that he charged twenty five cents per mile and that therefore it would be ninety dollars. I said "alright, we'll have it for you when you get here". I then phoned Herman Collingwood in the lumber yard and Don Lai Sue the Chinaman in the restaurant and Arnie Jacobson who owned the hardware store. In 1932-33 money wasn't plentiful and I told Herman that we needed ninety dollars when this fellow got here with his plane. He says "OK Doc". It wasn't long before Herman calls back and says "everything is fine Doc, we've got the ninety". That fellow soon landed on this skies right near that sleigh road across the field. That little plane you could practically put in your living room, you would think that it was home made with canvas wings. The fuselage looked as if it had been made from the plywood that radio sets were shipped in. The plane had a rough plank floor and little stick in the front for guiding the plane. The dashboard consisted of a piece of hay wire with a loop on the end sticking through the front. It didn't look altogether airworthy. Anyway, these bush pilots are famous for their safety and I asked him if nurse Watson could go along. She had just arrived the day before from training in the hospital and driven twenty miles in that cold weather to see her mother. She volunteered to go along. The pilot said "well, I guess she can go, we burned quite a bit of gas coming down but I think we can make it. So Mary, the patient, and Nelly Watson just laid on blankets on that plane floor and away they went. I heard that they had managed to land their plane by a street in Saskatoon where they had arranged for an ambulance to be. Dr. Alexander operated and he said that there had been five quarts of free blood in her abdomen and she lived. The sequel to this story is that about a year or so later, in the summer time, Mary apparently developed a ruptured ectopic (this time on the other side). That time, I bundled her into the back seat of my Ford car and drove her across the mud to Wadina where Dr. Rollins took care of her. In the front of the hospital there was a flight of steps. Mary weight about one hundred and forty or fifty pounds but I managed to lift her and carry her up the steps. The nurse on the main floor said "her bed is upstairs". So without hesitating, I carried her up the stairs and laid her on the bed, and the nurse, in a husky voice, says "what a man".

About six months after my arrival in Wishart arranged to join Elfros' Masonic Lodge, number 145. That was a town about twenty miles north on the Canadian Pacific. We arranged for a farmer named Hughie Cossar to instruct me. The three of us (Spence, my driver, Hughie, and I) rode the sleigh on a moonlit night with it forty below zero in January to Elfros to take my first degree. Because of the low humidity, the moon is a factor in your social life. There is very seldom a cloud in the sky and the moonlight is particularly bright. As a result, the Masons always had their lodge on the Monday on or before the full moon. I got my second degree in February. It was also forty below zero on a clear moonlight night. It was amazing that even in that weather practically every member of the lodge was present to see me get my degree. The third degree was given to me in April and Hughie and I got there in my Ford. Not long after that Hughie died from complications of a gall bladder condition. His widow Mary corresponded with me until she died a few years ago. His daughter Edna called me the other day from Indian Head Saskatchewan where she is now living. She was born, I believe, in about 1913. We are good friends and that is all. Her mother had a sister, Mrs. Gillespi, who had one daughter named Margaret who at the age of five, no bigger than a two or three year old, she was what you call a cretin, caused by a lack of some vitamin, and when this was given to her, she, all of a sudden, grew into a normal sized young lady. When her aunt Edna called me recently she said that Margaret was a grandmother and was doing just fine.

Jim Neely acquired his homestead in 1882. One 100 years later, in 1982, his great great grandchildren reaped 55 bushels to the acre of the world's finest wheat. No chemical fertilizers had been used. They do, however, use some herbicides and nitrogen.

While driving in the winter, the doctor on several occasions drove past a group of wild horses, their hair about 10 inches long. The horses subsisted on whatever they could nibble from the prairie by digging down through 3 or 4 feet of snow with their hooves. They looked perfectly healthy with no signs of malnutrition. This led me to believe that malnutrition is one of the great causes of ill health among humans.

My salary of $4,500 per year by today's standards seems like a fairly small income for a doctor taking care of 4000 people. Most people believe that the great depression of the 1930's was the result of the market crash in October 1929. It actually did the opposite by bringing in a period of deflation whereby the value of the dollar increased and the price of everything was reduced. The fact is that the purchasing power of the dollar was the greatest it ever had been or ever would be. The biggest reason for calling it a depression was the simultaneous occurrence of the dust bowl era involving most of the farmland in the western United States extending northward into Saskatchewan to about 50 miles south of Wishart. Money and jobs were, of course, scarce but one could buy the finest stall fed beef for 15 cents a pound. Lumber and all other commodities could also be purchased a very low price. The depression actually began in March of 1934 when President Roosevelt introduced inflation. He took the United States off of the gold standard and reduced the value of the dollar to 60 cents by increasing the value of an ounce of gold from $20.00 to $35.00. In other words, he began robbing the treasury. When Roosevelt became president in 1933, the American national debt was three billion dollars. At present it is two trillion dollars (i.e. 2000 billion) and still increasing. When you consider that the purchasing power of a dollar is about 10% of what it was when I was in Saskatchewan, the purchasing power of my $4,500 per year would be equal to $45,000 today. This explains why I was able to keep my head above water financially while sending $100.00 home each month to help my bother Robert go through medical college.

There was not much social life in those days. I did keep company, however, with a quite a pretty doctor's daughter named Marjorie who lived in a village about forty miles away. We more or less went steady for about five years while I was practicing as a municipal doctor in the Whishart area. We were just friends.

Majorie and I started going together pretty much by chance. One evening in December 1930 I was busy with a maternity case on the southern edge of my territory. There was about a foot of snow on the ground. This family lived very primitively. Their name was Falster. This lady was the daughter of Mrs. Eddy Mckay who had twenty four children. One of her daughters, Mrs. Matthews, had sixteen children and another sister had fifteen, and this was Mrs. Falster's fourteenth baby. The delivery was not going well. I decided to give her an injection of pituitan to hurry things along. I required a small inch and a half long needle but the one that I had was plugged up. Being as how I was only fifteen miles north of the village where Marjorie's doctor father lived, I decided to drive down there to see if he had a inch and a half long needle which he did. While I was there I stayed a little while and got acquanted with Marjorie. She played the piano and I sang a little bit. She was a lovely young lady of seventeen. So, for the next five years, Marjorie was my girl friend.

There wasn't much you could go to. We'd go to country dances, go over to her place and sing a few songs, drive around the country in my car, and that sort of thing.

On June 3, 1936 my brother Bob had graduated from Manitoba Medical College. I had been sending him a little bit of money each month get him through. Now that he was out of medical college and was going in to be an intern in Winnapeg I didn't have to send as much money home so I resigned. Marjorie and I did not have any definite understanding about our future or concerning possible marriage. All I wanted to do was to get away from the country so I went to Winnapeg and tried to get started in practice there. Later that summer, I left for England where I planned to study ophthalmology.

After I left Whishart Marjorie went away to Vancouver to be a nurse. I happened to be able to go back to Wishart sometime that summer before I went to England and I thought that we might get married and she could go to London with me, but she had already gone to Vancouver so nothing happened.

I had been thinking about taking post graduate work in eyes for several years. I had been doing refractions in Whishart and I thought that I knew something about eyes. When I did get to London, however, I found out how really ignorant I had been.

During June, July, and August I became an intern for private patients at Winnipeg General Hospital. The leading surgeon at that time was Dr. Neal John McClean. His assistant was Paul T.H. Thalikson, an Icelander. Also they had Art Hay and Bert Stuart, who graduated a year ahead of me working with them. I often used to assist them. Once or twice Dr. Thalikson would remark that if I became proficient in eye work I might come and work with them. However, when I got back from England two and a half years later I got stopped in Manhattan where I remained. I didn't know that Dr. Thalikson by that time had a pretty active clinic, that is, his clinic consisted of building with eleven floors, very modern, and maybe one hundred and fifty or two hundred expert doctors (he only took the best from London) working in his clinic. I didn't see him again for some years until the centennial of the medical college when he was the chairman for a group of doctor graduates from Manitoba that had graduated prior to 1932. He was almost ninety and he didn't look a day older than when I had last seen him fifty years earlier.

The summer of 1936 was unusually hot. From July 3rd to the 13th the temperature was over 100 degrees each day. On July 11th of that year thirty-six very healthy young men died of heat prostration. It was during that summer that I applied for and was accepted for the study of ophthalmology at Moorfield's Hospital in London England.

My mother and I took the Canadian Pacific train from Winnapeg on the 15th of September, 1936 for Montreal at 6:30 in the evening. We arrived in Montreal at 11 o'clock on the morning of the 17th of September where we boarded the Canadian Pacific liner the Dutchess of York for our trip to England.