Lessons from a Kansas graveyard: What a 1903 outbreak of diphtheria can teach us today

There is a huge debate in our country about vaccinations. I don’t think we would if we saw first-hand what devastations these diseases cause. I just hope and pray that it doesn’t take an outbreak and large casualties before people wake up.

Diana Staresinic-Deane

In a shady corner of St. Mary’s Cemetery, a curious collection of little headstones, all of the same size and age, surround a large hooded monument. Unassuming and unadorned, the large family headstone does not prepare you for what you will read. This little cemetery just south of Hartford, Kansas is the final resting place for the “Children of James & Anna O’Marra,” eight of whom died in 1903.

James and Anna O’Marra and their nine children, ranging in age from six months to 21 years, lived seven miles south of Hartford. Their family was in mourning for James’ brother John, who had died of pneumonia on March 30, 1903. The newspapers are not clear as to exactly what happened next, but John O’Marra’s funeral may be a clue, as family members from outside the area came to Lyon County to pay their respects.

According to the Neosho Valley Times

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Better take down Christmas before Easter gets here!

o christmas tree

The girls went down for their nap at 1, and that’s when I looked around and decided to take down Christmas decorations.  I have to admit, I’m pretty proud that it’s only February and the decorations are coming down!  Last year, I realized Santa was still sitting out on the mantel.  In August!  If I had waited just a couple more months, I wouldn’t have had to move him at all!

This year we didn’t put up a Christmas tree, figuring the two toddlers would manage to knock it over, or try to climb it.  Instead, we put garland with lights on our mantel.  We just hung our ornaments right on the garland!  The girls love it!  Every morning, the girls would come out and ask us to turn on the Christmas lights.

Every year when I was growing up, my Mom would buy us an ornament, and put the year on them.  That way, when we got married or moved to a house on our own, we would already have ornaments for our tree.  Now, every year, I have fun remembering the past Christmases as I look at all the different ornaments.

I have my 101 Dalmatians ornament, (I must have watched that movie a hundred times), the ones from school that you glued your school photo to, even the ones made in Kindergarten.

We started this for our girls too. We tried finding Elmo ornaments for this year since they LOVE Elmo, but couldn’t find any.  Wonder what the girls will be into next year?  It will be fun as they get in to school and start making ornaments in class.

Last year they just sat under the tree in their bouncer chairs.  This year, Katherine woke up from her nap before her sister, so she is helping me put the ornaments into our box.  Who knew taking down ornaments could be such fun?

Let the memories begin!

5 Tips to Get Out of the House Easier


(Notice I didn’t say on time…we’re still working on that!)

  1. Keep an on-going “To-Pack” and To-Do” lists.   Add to it as you think of things.  I keep lists online for when we go certain places, like the zoo, or my parents house for the weekend.
  2. Pack your car in advance, so all you have to do when the time comes to leave is get the kids ready to go, and in the car.  This works well if you are leaving in the afternoon, and you can pack throughout the day.  If you are leaving in the morning, pack the night before.
  3. Keep the diaper bag packed.  There’s nothing worse than getting to a place and realizing you have a kid with a poopy diaper and no baby wipes, or no diaper! (I think we’ve all done this one at least once.)
  4. Keep the kids’ shoes right by the door in a box so you always know where to find them.  When you come home, take them off and put them back in the box.  It keeps you from having to dig through their toy baskets looking for that last shoe.
  5. Pick good times to leave.  You know your children, and you know their routines.  Leave when they are going to be happiest.  For example, don’t try and leave at snack time, or you’ll have meltdowns galore!

(And go with the flow!  Rarely will things go smoothly, or as planned.)