Roy Cottril in Hospital, Christmas 1913

As we rush around, our attention consumed by the getting and spending and hurry of this current season, we pause to remember those who, like Roy Cottril, are not having the happiest of holidays.  Perhaps things might improve for them with a little help from their friends, as we see from this example in the January 8, 1914 edition of the Skidmore New Era (Skidmore, Missouri), page 1:

Christmas in the Hahneman Hospital, Chicago.

Chicago, Ill., Dec. 29, 1913.

Dear Editor and Friends:

As every one does not have the pleasure (?) of spending Christmas in a hospital I will describe as best I can how Christmas eve and day were spent here.

Christmas eve came without any snow and the weather was so moderate it hardly seemed like Christmas time, but the calendar said it was, a nice large Christmas tree was placed and decorated with red and white in the parlor at the nurses home, which is just across Groveland avenue, east of the hospital.  The day nurses were off duty at 7:15 p.m., then began their Christmas.

Their crowd consisted of all the nurses, except those on special cases and one night nurse for each floor in the hospital, the four intern doctors and all the children in the hospital who were able to leave.  One of the internes acted as Santa and did the job well.

The presents consisted of everything from curious toys to nice presents.  The internes being specially favored with tin horns and toy drums.  The children were well remembered by relatives, friends, nurses and doctors, none of them being forgotten.  The children who were not able to go to the tree had their presents brought to them.  Needless to say they were all happy to think that good old Santa Claus had found the hospital chimney.

After the presents were distributed a class room was cleared in the basement and a hen dance was held to the music of a piano assisted by the intern band with their tin horns and toy drums.

On Christmas day each nurse was given a half day off duty.  As for the patients they all tried to join in the Christmas spirit and feel better for at least one day.  The doctors all called in the forenoon, with a relaxed look on their faces and cheery Merry Christmas for all.

At noon the patients, who could eat regular meals, were served with turkey and mince pie beside the regular dinner.  the afternoon was very quiet the time being spent visiting with friends and relatives who came in to see the patients.

As for myself, I spent the time in writing letters in answer to cards and letters received on Wednesday.  The mail service was covered up with letters and packages, so I did not get much mail Thursday, but Friday morning the nurses brought in letters, cards and packages by the handful and yet this morning (Monday) the letters and cards are still coming.  I have given up in despair of answering each one so I take this opportunity to thank the many kind friends who have helped to make the holidays more home like by a few friendly words.  I can truly boast of receiving more mail matter in the past week than any other patient in the hospital.

One of my cards came wrapped in heavy paper by parcel post, marked “from Mrs. G. C. Ashbrook, Skidmore, Mo.”  Upon opening it there was a whole Christmas dinner, second to none.  There were no directions or written instructions in the box, but I could see the imaginary words “eat ye all of it,” which I proceeded to do, but not all at one meal.

The hospital served a very good dinner, but it was nothing to compare with Mrs. Ashbrook’s cooking.

It is very warm here for the time of year.  I have the radiator shut off and the window well up.

I am very much better at this time and hope to be with home folks and friends before the ducks are called north again.

Best wishes to all and a happy and prosperous New Year to you.

Roy E. Cottril.

P. S.  If after you read this and you have space for it and think it won’t damage your subscription list you may print it.