in my own words...

Patterson MonroeIt seems like such a long time ago when I was just a little boy playing out in the yard while my mother was inside baking cookies.  Some of the happiest times of my entire life were when I was a child.  We lived in Minnesota at the time.  Father was a very successful doctor.  I always thought that his patients were some of the most prominent people in town.  We were happy then, but  I just didn't know  it wasn't going to last.

Father volunteered some of his time at a hospital downtown.  It was always low on money, yet high on patients, and often found itself being forced to cut back on services.  Father believed that everyone deserved to have access to medical attention and so he began to volunteer his time there.  It was such a good cause with such frightening consequences.

The hospital was located in a neighborhood that had to have been the worst in town.  There always seemed to be police cars all over the place for some reason or another.  Dad treated his fair share of gunshot victims, mugging victims, and assorted other people who came into the hospital.  One night a little boy, Father said he was about my age, came in after being hit by a car.  He was very hurt and Father did everything that he could do to same him, but it was no use.  The little boy died and my father was devastated.  I had never seen him so upset over loosing a patient, but I guess that since the boy was my age he felt almost as if he'd lost me.  That's when the troubles started.

It turns out that the boy was the son of the leader of a local crime syndicate.  He had been an only child and the pride and joy of his father.  The man was distraught and somehow believed that my father was responsible for his son's death.  I know that consciously my father knew there had been nothing he could have done, but inside he felt as if he were responsible.  My father believed that good doctors were supposed to save people's lives.  Sure, he had lost patients before.  That part of his job was inevitable.  I just don't think he had ever lost a child.

Then, the threats started happening.  The boy's father was out for revenge and he began to send threatening letters.  A few times he even sent men to rough up my father.  Mother was so scared, but she kept telling me that everything was going to be alright.  Little did I know what that man had in store.  He believed that since he had lost his son, my father should loose his as well.  I still remember that night when those men came into my room.  I screamed for my father, but he couldn't get there in time.    The following days were sort of a blur.  I remember a barren little room with brick walls and a lumpy old bed.  I'm not sure how long I was there.  The men that watched over me kept telling me that if I caused trouble for them, then I would regret it.  The never told me what they were going to do, but I knew that I was going to die.  You can only imagine how happy I was when the police came with my father not far behind them.  I never did find out how they found me.  The bad guys went to jail and we went home, but things just weren't the same.

Every little noise made Mother jump out of her skin and Father stopped volunteering his services at the hospital downtown.  Suddenly, there were tons of new locks on the doors and bars on the windows.  I over heard them fighting one night.  Momma said that she could live in fear any more.  Father took her in his arms and told her that we were all going far away.  We were going somewhere that no one would ever find us.  Not long after that we sold our house and moved to Albanyville.

Suddenly, everything was just like it had been.  I was out playing in the yard again while mother baked cookies.  Father's practice quickly grew and soon he was one of the most highly regarded doctors in town.  When Momma told us that she was going to have another baby, we were both very excited.  I'd always wanted a little brother or sister.

When Todd was born, Father insisted that Momma have help around the house.  Mrs. Oliver came to live with us and she quickly became part of the family.  I soon grew up and decided that I wanted to be a doctor just like my father.  Then our whole world fell apart.

It was the first semester of my freshman year.  Mom and Dad announced that we were going to go to a family reunion back in Minnesota.  I couldn't wait to go.  I hadn't seen my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins in so long.  Father told us that we were going to fly.  He had always had a love for flying and often went to the airstrip right outside of town to take a plane out.  We rented a small plane and were all set to go when I discovered that I had a research paper due in just a few days.  There was no way I could go and get the paper done in time.  Father insisted that I stay behind and finish it.  He said there would always be other reunions.  I was disappointed, but I agreed.  Todd had been coming down with a cold, so he stayed home with me, too.  We stood on the airfield and watched Momma waving from the plane before it took off.  As the plane disappeared into the clouds, I didn't realize that it would be the last time I'd ever see them.

I was  working on the paper when we got the phone call.  Mom and Dad's plane had gone down in a field.  There were no survivors.  We never did learn exactly why the plane went down,  all we knew was that our parents were dead.  I was left alone to take care of Todd.  Sure, various aunts and uncles wanted to take him in, but I refused to allow it.  He was all I had left.  Our parents had left us both sizable trust funds in their wills and the money allowed me to remain in school and to also keep Mrs. Oliver on as our housekeeper.  She's been such a big help taking care of Todd while I'm in class.  I have to become a doctor so I can carry on where my father left of.  And I have to take care of Todd.  He's all I have left in the world.

March, 1935