Saturday, February 10, 2018

Edna Muriel "Peach" (Pierce) Wright (1897-1968), Diabetic, 52 Ancestors # 6

The sixth ancestor in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project is my maternal great-grandmother, Edna Muriel "Peach" (Pierce) Wright (1897-1968).  She was known by her nickname of "Peach", presumably given to her by her father.

As I've researched her life, it's been relatively easy to document the major milestones of her life.  Previously, I've written about the facts of her life in an Exploratory Data post.  The stories that have been passed down have given a picture of a farm wife who was strong-willed and enjoyed everything from gardening to watching wrestling on television.

Peach with huge cabbage

Grandma Peach was also a diabetic. Being a diabetic means a restricted diet, and especially back in the 1950s it must have been interesting to manage.  According to my mother, Peach used to carry her own food when she went anywhere.

Peach's concerns about her health and the health of others in the family caused some strange behavior. 

One story that was passed down from her grandchildren was that she used to test the boy's urine to measure blood sugar levels before allowing them an ice cream treat.

Sweets were limited in the house, but Grandpa Virgil did manage to keep chocolate covered ice cream bars in the freezer, so he could sneak them without Peach finding out.  Being a diabetic himself, this was a no-no.

Some incidents of what might seem like peculiar behavior by Grandma Peach are actually grounded in her life experiences.  While lifestyle and diet can contribute to diabetes, there are also genetic factors.

Peach's mother had died of diabetic coma in 1906 (at age 37) when Peach was just 9 years old.  I'm sure that the loss of her mother to the disease weighed on her mind as she later dealt with her own diabetes and that of her husband, Virgil.

I've tracked some mentions of her being in the hospital at various times, shortly before her death, but treatment reasons were not generally mentioned in the hospital notes.

She died at Community Hospital in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana on March 3, 1968.  The official cause of death was pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure, but a contributing cause listed was diabetes melittus.

Edna Muriel Wright, death certificate, 1968

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge was created by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small blog.  The premise is to write once a week about a specific ancestor - whether it be a story, a biography, a photograph or a research problem.

No comments: