Letter to Violet from her Mother, Annetta Cunha Boulden
(24 November 1957)

Letter from Annetta Cunha Boulden to her daughter Violet Boulden Wardle recalling the conditions of Violet's birth, her reaction to them. William Barton Boulden and his mother Matilda Caroline Curtis are mentioned.

Violet Dear,

So this Sunday morning is your 52nd birthday my 55th wedding day & your fathers 80th birthday. My mind goes back to both 55 years ago and to 52 years ago. 3 years after I was amazed when you were born.

It had been such a cold rainy spell, started off the middle of November, and the little dirt roof cabin where we lived started leaking, and one morning when we woke up, the bed was warm & steamy from the rain that had leaked on the bed, we had moved it to where we thought it would be a dry spot. But there was no dry spots.

Our bedding was meager and I had been getting stuff together to make a quilt. That meant cording the wool & piercing the top as I remember the lining was [unknown word] flannel. I had our quilting frames so I laid the lining on the floor and crawled on the floor laying all the little lats overlaying each other on it. And there I proceed to sit on the floor & quilt it. I never remember of having any help; it was 4 or 5 days. But when finished it was a lovely warm comforter, I thought. I did not have it bound yet, and I did not dream the first use it would be put to.

I guess all of this was to much for me on top of the strain we had 2 months before, we we lost Zella our darling little 2 yr old girl with meningitis. I was inconsolable after she died. You were not due till the xmas holidays. But you always up & coming and you decided to join us for Thanksgiving although it almost cost you your life. After birth you showed no sign of life so Dr. La Mar asked them to bring pans of both hot & cold water. He then took you by the heels, all 5 lbs of you, and then threw you back and forth over his shoulders. Then he would stop and dip you from the hot and cold water. All without any peeps from you.

They knew nothing of [unknown word] in those years. Be he said you would have to be kept at a very warm steady temperature. So the little pot bellied heater that was set in the corner of the room had just room to put the rocking chair behind it and like the [unknown word] & beads I had made you a nice rest of the the little warm quilt. The doctor called your father outside and said he did not think you could possibly live. Dad said he did not know whether I could take that on top of the death of the other baby & the death of my mother 4 years before. The doctor said "Well tell her the baby probably will be better off if it don't live as it is a hopeless cripple."

Later when your father came in and your grandmother was rubbing you with sweet oil he said Dr. La Mar said you would not live. My heart sank and I raised you up in the bed & started to scream & cry. Your grandmother, bless her heart said "Will Boulden, you shut your mouth! This little baby's body is perfect and she is not going to die." She placed you back in the rest and I laid there and listened to your uneasy breathing and when I couldn't hear you I would hold my breath in fear, afraid they would find you died. Night and day they kept a fire at even temperature and so ended the first day of your life. Doctor said afterward that he wouldn't have given you a 25% chance of living. And what a blessing you have been and joy to all of us.

(Signed)...Mother brothers & sister husband & children.