Danny’s Mastoid Surgery
Dad blew smoke in Danny’s aching ear. A neighbor
noticed the swelling. The Dexter doctor said to take
our four-year-old to Des Moines. Dad and Danny
boarded the train while Mom and the rest of us
stayed home. My twelve-year-old brother cried.
Dad came home alone. He’d watched them
cut away bone to drain the mastoid. No visiting
for ten days, the nurses had warned, so Danny
wouldn’t cry to go home. But Mom ‘phoned the nurses
every day until they said we could come get him.
Our hearts were hopeful when we chugged all the way
to the big-city hospital in our Model-T. Danny,
his head all bandaged and toenails polished by the nurses,
spied Mom’s hat. He laughed and cried all at once.
He reached out for her, spilling crayons everywhere.
This episode is one of the first chapters in Leora’s Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression.