April 10, 1923 letter to Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne from Nancy Brown

April 10, 1923

To: Ethan Keith & Hannah Towne, Kalamazoo, MI

From: Nancy Brown, Chicago, IL

Bess has been suffering from a bad infection in her teeth and went to a specialist. He had to remove her bridge, extract some teeth, and then the bone had to be scraped and cleansed. Lela is cleaning house getting it ready to have boarders. Nancy feels bad that she can’t help more; she can make beds, do dishes and get meals, but anything more would be too much for her to do.

Tuesday morning

April 10 1923

Dear brother and sister.

Enclosed find money order for eggs. If its plesent will send crate this afternoon. Yesterday it snowed so hard and was so wet Martha[1] could not go to station with it. Cant put any more boxes in if we send candy which we are doing. Bess[2] is having an awful time with her teeth, suffered so night and day most all last week but worked and made no fuss. Sat she went to the dentist. He took her to a specialists years ago. She had a gold bidge, reached from one tooth to an other, three roots believe. They have ulcerated. Had to have bridge cut off, then the teeth that suported the bidge extracted. She said the roots had pus sacks as large as the end of her little finger, the roots all covered with smaller ones. The stench was terible. Then the flesh had to be opened and bone scraped, cleansed and sewed up. Took four stitches. She was in chair one hour, then the nurse took her for an hour and quarter. Kept her face covered with hot applications and swabed out her mouth. She and the Dr both said they could not understand how she has stood it and going through her system as it had she cant help haveing most any thing. I went down and stayed Sunday. Yesterday she had two stitches taken out. Cant have the other two for a few days as its not healing very fast. Then she has three more that has to go through the same, only they are not so bad, but she will have to waite till she gets over this. Wont make candy before Tuesday any way. Have quite a good deal on hand. Lela[3] is cleaning house, washed the kitchen walls and ceiling (they are painted) yesterday. It looks dandy, but she is lame all over, but is going in living room to work this moring. It makes me feel so nervus and bad not to be able to help her. One hour of it would lay me up. I can get meals, make beds and do dishes. She ought to have a good strong person to help or go ahead. She cant let it go for she has to get house in shape to rent rooms as soon as possible. Its a big house to go over. Girls[4] not gone, may any time. Have two or three places in view. Are you going to keep the calf. Hope this finds you usually well.

Wish I could go home[5] for a few days or at least over Sunday. Would if I lived in Kzoo.[6]

Love Nan

Dont know what we will call our candy.[7] Crate goes to night. Bess will send money this P.M. No one home to see to it. Lou[8] all to pieces. Will be better after he has a sleep.


[1] Martha Lueder, who was living temporarily with Lela and Lou

[2] Nancy’s daughter, Bess (Brown) Recoschewitz

[3] Nancy’s daughter, Lela (Brown) Mueller

[4] Edith and Hedwig Sissle, who were renting a room from Lela

[5] Many of the family, even though they lived elsewhere, referred to the Keith family farm where Ethan and Hannah lived, as “home”

[6] Kalamazoo, Michigan

[7] Originally the name of the business was Nancy Lee Candies but it was changed to Nancy Keith Candies

[8] Lela’s husband, Louis Mueller. Lou had previously been hit by a streetcar and sustained a brain injury. As a result he would have seizures. Lela was able to care for him at home in the beginning but later had to admit him to Elgin State Hospital where he remained until his death in 1942

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