Monday, August 25, 2014

Remembering "Dr. Fred" (August 25, 2014)



I have written  before about my maternal grandmother's older sister, Helen (Cooke) Roberts and her husband, Dr. Frederick A. Roberts, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. See the post here for example.

This past weekend while visiting my parents in New Hope, Pennsylvania, my mother found and gave to me a little newspaper clipping from the Pittsfield Eagle, addressed "To the Editor" and titled The Best Medicine. It was written by Rena Hudelston, who at the time of the letter was residing at 62 Riverview West in Pittsfield. The date of the publication is unknown, however, from the content of the letter it was after the death of "Dr. Fred" who died in 1935 at age 76.

"Dr. Fred" and his wife, Helen (who was herself a nurse), were big influences on my mother.  My mother later became an R.N. and served as a Director of Nursing at a hospital in New Jersey during her long nursing career across several states (RI, OH, CT, MA, NH and NJ).

The quality of the clipping shown above is not as good as it might be and so my best attempt at an accurate transcription is provided below.

          The best medicine        

          To the Editor of THE EAGLE: --

                  I wish to answer Dr. Franklin
               Paddock's column in Wednesday's
               Eagle, in which he lists the usual
               contents of the doctor's "black bag"
               back in the days when physicians
               made house calls.
                  There are two very important in-
               gredients he forgot that were
               brought along by our family doctor.
               They were a deep-seated love and
               trust that would confound the med-
               ics who do not make house calls.
                  Our family physician was the late
               Dr. Fred Roberts. When we ap-
               proached the house and saw the car
               parked out front with license No. 19,
               we never got excited. I think that is
               why I always remembered that a
               calm and cheerful outlook was a ne-
               cessity in a sickroom. The strange
               part is that we never seemed to
               have any illnesses we didn't feel
               confident he could cure. To me, the
               trust you have in your doctor is
               three-quarters of the cure.
                  He delivered me at birth and two
               of my four children before his de-
               mise. I will always hold a deep re-
               spect and love for this gentle and
               dedicated doctor. He was like a
               member of the family.
                                      RENA HUDELSTON
               62 Riverview West
               Pittsfield

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Scan from an original newspaper clipping in the collection of the author.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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