Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - January 18, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, January 18, 1975 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 People of the south By Chris Stewart The doctor they could count on! THE VOICE OF ONE Dr. Frank S. Morley If champions were named for beating the stork and over- coming obstacles local physi- cian Jesse K. Bigelow would most certainly be a winner. He's trudged through thigh deep drifts, following as his only landmarks dotted fence posts piercing the snow, driyen through axle deep mud, tied his bags to his sad- dle and set off through knee deep water to his destination. Following his mercy missions he has nursed frozen hands and skinned feet for days, not to earn money, because there was very little in Southern Alberta when he began his practice, but because of his dedication. To Jesse Bigelow ministering to the sick was a calling, not motivated by a price but by a love for mankind. Among the hundreds of babies he delivered in Southern Alberta was the first New Year's infant born south of Purple Springs on January 1, 1927. He would warn settlers en route to keep a team of horses handy to help haul him out of snow drifts and pot holes but no matter how hazardous were travell- ing conditions Jesse Bigelow always made it. There was a bitter November blizzard blowing the morning he left the Dallas hotel at a.m. en route to Barnwell to deliver Mrs. Leith Johnson's baby. When his car became ditched near the Taber Mines he walked through blowing snow all the way back to Taber to procure another car and this time drove to Barnwell on the wrong side of the road to avoid a similar ex- perience. Luckily he arrived in time for the birth but had no. sooner delivered the healthy infant when he was summon- ed to Cranford to deliver Mrs. Johnson's sister in law's baby. By now the snow had piled so deep the doctor had to abandon his car and walk the railway tracks from Barnwell. His mission ac- complished and finally ready at noon the next day to return to Taber he met the accom- modating Cranford station agent who flagged a freight train that got him back in time for his afternoon office appointments. When in the summer of 1928 an excited father notifying him to come gave him inac- curate directions to his farm north of Vauxhall, the young doctor ended up not at the farm but at the Little Bow River. Realizing there was an error and retracing his steps, he noticed a welcoming light on the horizon and instinctive- ly drove towards it to find, to his relief, it was the house to which he had been summoned. Called again to a farm north of Vauxhall, this time in blizzard conditions which had blocked the road for four days, he parked his car and hiked through drifts. Arriving exhausted he was faced with a breach presentation. Quickly using the kitchen table as a delivery table and using kerosene lanterns for light, he performed a successful operation. With mother and baby doing well he decided to try to make 4t back to Taber before nightfall but by the time he reached Vauxhall darkness was falling. Seeing only one lone light in the dis- tance he decided to head for it, hoping to be able to stop to warm up before continuing his frigid journey. He'll never forget the welcome he receiv- ed from Jim Howe who prepared him a hot meal and a warm bed. He- credits Jim with saving his life that night and he and this octogenarian (now a resident of Calgary) have been fast friends every since. He sloshed through mud from Taber to Barnwell to at- tend the late Lynn Bullock, who was suffering from acute appendicitis. Finding his patient requiring hospitaliza- tion he bundled him into a Model A sitting in the garage and mistook the forward gear for reverse, driving the cur- tained car through the end of the garage before lifting Lynn onto his back and packing him to the Lethbridge bound train he managed to flag down at Barnwell. He was on a similar mercy errand accom- modating a man with broken ankles the day that he suf- fered a broken arm when his car was hit by a Lethbridge tram. Anxious that his patient not be left to take the street car from 'St. Michael's hospital to his downtown hotel Dr. Bigelow had offered to drive him. His resulting in- jury curtailed the doctor's hospital- operations for the next three months. On another occasion he was bogged down 10 miles south of'Grassy Lake en route to another delivery when an obliging farmer named McKilligan loaned him a team and sleigh to cover the remaining distance and he and Tom Snowden humped his Model A over a series of potholes on the way to another delivery. Blowing snow and deep drifts made his work difficult in winter but mud and rain slowed him down just as much in summer. It would take him three hours to drive through mud from Taber to Lethbridge. On one occasion he lay down to sleep in his Star 6 in the middle of a corn field only to waken and find himself surrounded by antelope. He went as long as 56 hours without sleep, work- ed a 20 hour day for 10 long years and frequently slept with his clothes on to be ready at a moment's notice. He'd never turned a case down. He'd get there by hook or by crook! He took along his own surgical equipment, trusted kerosene lamps for adequate lighting and substituted kitchen tables for delivery beds, Dr. Bigelow had first come to New Dayton in 1922 to work in the Murray farms harvest fields. Returning to Southern Alberta in 1925, with a medical degree, he had a mere and no equipment when invited to the area by his Taber friend Bill Leland, formerly of Illinois, who then operated a Taber coal mine. There hadn't been a crop for seven long years when the graduate from Queen's University arrived and it didn't appear there would be one in the forseeable future. Settlers couldn't afford food, let alone medical service so the chances of the young doc- tor making good seemed slim at best. Arrangements were made for him to use promi- nent sheep rancher George- Miller's office and as an add- ed inducement for him to stay Mr. Leland gave him the use of a chauffeured car until he could purchase his own. Had it not been that the young doctor had lost 35 pounds during his internship at Brooklyn's St. John's Hospital and friends were worried about his health, it is doubtful he would have ever come to Southern Alberta. His opportunities for a big city practice were excellent. Training under Dr. Edward L. Keyes, who with Sir Thomas Walker of London, was recognized as the world's leading urologist, had distin- quished his internship. He subsequently trained at Bellevue Hospital, New York, at a time when insulin had just been discovered. "I was lucky to be in the right place at the right he reminisces. But specialists expected a lot from interns, he found. Dr. Keyes, for instance, expected interns to have patients on the table and anaethesized before he walked into the operating room. "If you didn't God help he recalls. But after three, months' surveillance the world renowned doctor informed Jessie Bigelow he wouldn't have to consult him further. "I'll accept your he said, whereupon his young protege breathed a relaxed sigh. But the demanding pace called for round the clock duty with the budding physician given only one night off a week. There. was no remuneration during his one year internship at Bellevue and in order to meet expenses he got a job as night supervisor at the U.S. Marine Hospital in New York at monthly. The pace almost ruined his health and his weight dropped from 175 to 135 pounds. He had enlisted in Queen's university's 46th Battery at age 19, at the outbreak of the First World War, was wound- ed at Monochy on August 29, 1918, after serving at Vimy Ridge, Amiens, Hill 70 and Passchendaele and then returning on crutches to take his first three years of medicine at Queen's, the only Canadian university offering a five year medical course for veterans. Recovered from his injury he played hockey and football during his final two years and while serving as manager of the Assault at Arms team led them to vic- tory after 20 years of defeat. He regularly ran five miles before working out in the university gym and credits this rigorous training for his capacity to cope with the rigors of Southern Alberta life. Born in Wales, Ontario he attended school there and in Cornwall, assembled tents in summer for the chautaqua and was first interested in medicine by Dr. Alfred Feader, McGill gold medalist, who forfeited a glowing big city practice for rural life along the St. Lawrence. Dr. Bigelow remembers as a boy standing patiently by the road- side watching for Dr. Feader's democrat to come by and the kindly doctor, sighting his anxious wave, stop by to attend his ill mother. "He knew he wouldn't get five cents for the call but he came he said ad- miringly. "He was a brilliant, promising, dedicated doctor who preferred country calls to a swank, city office. He used his free time to counsel and help young boys and taught rne to ride when my legs were still too short to reach the stirrups." Jesse Bigelow never forgot the deep impres- sion he made on him. Dr. Bigelow returned an- nually to New York to take refresher courses during his first Alberta years but gradually the prairie's magic took over and he went less fre- quently. He sold his Taber practice to the late Dr. T. E. Brown in 1929 and established a Lethbridge office above the former Lethbridge Herald building on 6th Street South but delayed opening the office for three weeks while he organized the city's downtown Kiwanis club of which he, Leighton Moore and Fred Robins are the sole remaining charter members. In 1931 he formed a partnership with the late Dr. D. B.' Fowler of Magrath in the Hull block on 3rd Avenue and 7th Street where his day started at 7 a.m. and he had his lunch delivered in order to save time. The two doctors signed a contract with the Lethbridge miners and their families and the Bigelow Fowler clinic was born. The late F. C. Russell was named business manager. A new Medical Dental clinic, with the Bigelow Fowler Clinic occupy- ing the first floor was built in 1947 and in 1963 when larger premises were required the present clinic on 9th Avenue South was built. It houses 12 doctors, business manager, clerical staff of seven, six registered nurses and a qualified laboratory and x-ray technician, Dr. Bigelow who annually donates a trophy at the Kiwanis Musical festival in memory of his late mother, Mrs. Mary Bigelow, who died at age 92, has served in numerous Kiwanis offices from local president to inter- national vice president. Dr. Bigelow has entered horses in various cham- pionships and has ridden his own horse, Red Rascal in the Edmonton show, cutting figure eights with perfection and winning the reserve championship. He believes much about teaching humans can be learned from training horses. "An undisciplined child is like an unbridled he says. When in his youth Archdeacon Carson said he would never make a doctor lit- tle did he realize the tenacity of this determined physician whose urging has resulted in the establishment of a urologist residency at Edmon- ton's University Hospital with local doctor James Metcalfe the first to benefit from its es- tablishment. Is it any wonder his lifelong friend Red Robins (now 97 and residing at the Southland Nursing" Home) who announced to fellow Kiwanians, "If you elect Jesse Bigelow president you'll wreck the club" changed his mind about his capacities so that four years later he declared, "If you don't elect him president I'll resign. His leadership had become so valuable by 1933 he was named Western Canada direc- tor. Upon Dr. Bigelow's 1925 arrival in Taber Mrs. Bill Leland had advised, "Jesse, you can pitch a tent on a desert and if you've got what it takes they'll find you." Jesse Bigelow followed her advice and saw her prediction materialize. This 77 year old physician, who is the only local doctor to visit his hospital patients seven days a week, is still patronized by his first patients he treated 50 years ago. They wouldn't think of going to anyone else because to them philanthropic Jesse Bigelow is the only doc- tor they know! Groenan Dr. J. K. Bigelow Book Reviews Highly recommended best seller "All Things Bright and Beautiful" by James Herriot (Collier Macmillan Canada Ltd., 378 Some books make the best seller lists through promotion; this book by James Herriot reached the top on merit alone. Only rare- ly do writers of such consum- mate skill as James Herriot emerge to bring-pleasure to readers of almost every age and any background. The stories in this book are autobiographical, coming out of the experiences of a veterinarian practising in the Yorkshire dales of England in the 1930s. While the author figures in all the stories, he tends to take a muted role behind the parts played by his associates, his clients and the animals to whom he ministers. The character studies emerging in the stories are so well done that the reader feels he knows the people. I read this book with mounting enthusiasm and commend it without reser- vation. The writing is warm, witty and wonderful. Happily, James Herriot appears to be launched on a protracted scheme of writing his memoirs in the form of stories. This book is a sequel to an earlier collection titled All Creatures Great and Small. At the end of All Things Bright and Beautiful, where he leaves his practice for ser- vice in the Second World War, he says, "I wish I had known then that it was not the end of everything. I wish I had known that it was only the beginning." That suggests to me that we will be hearing about those years as well and maybe about the post-war years too. Having been induced to read the earlier book because of the splendid story telling en- countered in All Things Bright and Beautiful, I am of the opi- nion that James Herriot's style is improving. The stories in the first book, good as they are, lack the sparkle characteristic of those in the second. DOUG WALKER Early furniture makers "Country Furniture" by Aldren A. Watson (Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 274 pages, distributed by Fitzhenry and Whitesidc Are you interested in buying antique American furniture or in building furniture that will last a lifetime? Then Aldren A. Watson's book should interest you. The book sketches the background of the early furniture craftsmen in the New England states, the tools, woods and construc- tion methods they used. Many were only part-time furniture builders whose main income came from farming or other rural occupation. They were skilled artisans from Europe who were persuaded into join- ing adventurous groups founding settlements in the new world. Their skills were sorely needed' because few settlers brought more than the basic kitchen and farming necessities. Furniture was a luxury that could be acquired later. Intertwined with the history of the craftsman is the history of his tools, complete with ex- cellent line drawings of many that are now seldom found on the cabinet-maker's bench. The illustrated descriptions of some finer points used by these craftsmen such as spiral turning, fluting and reeding will be of particular interest to the contemporary builder or antique restorer. Even a recipe for the glue used js supplied. Anyone interested in an- tique collecting will improve his ability to recognize the genuine article after reading this book. The last chapter is an illustrated glossary of terms related to country !m- niture. The skilled drawings that adorn almost every page of this volume leave no doubt about the author's talent as an illustrator. The text, although a little dry, shows that he researched his subject thoroughly. F. R. HARPER Intelligent life on earth? The late Bernard Shaw described the earth as an insane asylum for the other planets. Possibly, however, intelligence is not man's major deficiency. An old Jewish story tells of a wealthy man who went to a marriage broker for a wife. The broker offered a girl who had much money. The man scoffed, "1 have plenty of money." He then advanced the attractions of a beautiful girl. The client replied, "1 do not need beauty." Next the broker produced a girl who was exceptionally learned and intelligent. "I do hot need learn- ing and said the client, "I have enough of my own." As one girl after another was rejected the broker cried out despairingly, "What dp you The client replied, "Goodness." This may be a parable of our world. Thirty years ago an atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima in one second destroyed people. The hydrogen bomb seven years later was capable of a thousand times greater destructiveness. A modern bomb has times greater strength than the second bomb! Scientists have pointed out that nuclear power has enormous potential for good, sea water could be desalted, the desert transformed, mountains moved, cheap electric power provided, and the benefits for man unlimited, yet despite all the investment of time, money, and energy, nuclear technology has barely begun to be converted to peacetime industrial and social needs.-Dr. Bruno Bettleheim, professor of psychology and psychiatry in Chicago University, a sur- vivor of Dachau and Buchenwald concentra- tion camps, says that the despair and frustra- tion of youth today comes from the conviction that "youth has no future." A young American construction worker, moved by his government from Vietnam to Zaire, says that he misses most "the TV, the good food, and the night without a thought for the libraries, the theatre, the vast cultural opportunities of modern society. Perhaps he was caught in the chaos of the inner city which is leading to its aban- donment, the rat infested houses, the crime, the race conflicts, the air pollution, the transportation problem, the waste removal headache, and the over-crowding. Think of the frustration from one factor alone: in 1907 horse-drawn vehicles in New York moved at .an average speed of 11.5 miles an hour; today automobiles capable of over 100 miles an hour move at a daytime speed of six miles an hour! Possibly he has been driven to despair by a society dominated by a blinding greed for money and power. When Lewis Mumford began his study of "Megalopolis" in the thir- ties he out his analysis in a form which he called A Brief Outline of Hell. Now he says that his section on this theme is out-dated because its worst anticipations have been verified! The brilliant Konrad Lorenz contends that a genetic decay is taking place evidenced in the progressive infantilism and increasing juvenile delinquency, leading to a social parasitism in youth. There is a good deal of truth in this, but it does not take into account the frustration and despair of youth over contemporary society. What does it mean that billions are spent in trips to the moon and a third of mankind is starving? What does it mean that man has climbed to the moon and now regards it primarily as a storage place for retaliatory nuclear weapons, invulnerable to attacks from the world's .weaponry? What does it mean that a computer scientist, Professor J. Forrestor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology fed into computers in- formation regarding this age and the predic- tion came back that civilization had only one generation to survive. Even more devastating to man's mind is the robot society, a technological complex controlled by "a tentacular in which a house is "a machine for living" and human beings are statistics, robbed of per- sonality and consequently inflicted with a self despising which, as Horney said, is pro- jected upon'society. Thus society has a state of disorganization in society and individual "the disorganized dust of individuals" what Durkheim and Hobbes before him saw as a war of all against all, man the predator of man, destructive of all values, traditions. The sickness of society'is spewed up from the sickness in human nature and society cannot transcend human nature. It is also true that there is a retroactive relationship so'that human nature is con- ditioned and shaped by its cultural habitat. Without a redemptive faith the future of this generation is hopeless. The University of Lelhbritlge APERTURE Dr. J, Cousins Changing a name Dr. James Cousins is professor emeritus at the University of Lethbridge. A well known educator and historian, Dr. Cousins came to Canada from Wales in 1921. He received his BA and MA from the University of Alberta, and in 1973, was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Lethbridge. Dr. Cousins served as chairman of the university section of the former Lethbridge Junior College, and laler as chairman of the U of L history department. He is an acknowledged expert on the history of Alberta, particularly the early settlement in the southern part of the province. When- the University of Lethbridge purchased the site west of the river in Lethbridge, many people associated with the institution were astonished to find that the land titles indicated that the site was along the banks of the Belly River. Many early documents refer to the Belly River at Lethbridge but for many years now it has been the Oldman River. A little research and much assistance from the Secretariat of Geographic Names in Ottawa and the Heritage Sites Services of Alberta has made it possible to put the story into concrete form. In the first place every effort was made to keep either the Indian name or its translation for any geographic site. Then, also, when different geographers went up different tributaries names would tend to be confused, "but these names are part of Canadian history and should be preserved" said the old Geographic Board of Canada. Certainly, both the Belly and the Oldman have a long historic tradition. David Thompson gave the name "Stunnuk" to the most easterly branch of what he called the Bow or Bad River in 1813. Obviously, "Stomach" was what he intended. This map remained the standard until 1858 although a map in 1831 showed the' Blackfoot "Moocoowans" which still means Palliser accepted the stream as Belly River in 1858. Peter Fidler in 1792-93 came soufh of the Highwood to what he called the Nawpewootchetaycots River and translated it as meaning "the place where the old man played the ring and arrow game." It was shown as a quarter inch stream heading nowhere in the Arrowsmith map of 1803. When the Palliser expedition came through, Blakiston called the present Oldman the Belly, and the Little Bow the Arrow or Old Man. The boundary survey corrected this and when the Mounted Police came, they accepted that the Old Man's River ran into the Belly. The Geographic Board of Canada accepted this when Dr. George Dawson described the Old Man's as the "place where the old man If the name Mokowan or some other spell- ing had been retained probably that would have ended the matter. Just as Waskana is much less offensive than "Pile of Bones" so Mokowan would have jarred on delicate ears much less than Even though the editor of the Lethbridge News in 1886 referred -to the "historic and euphoniously named Belly other people in this town did not think so. Ever since the bowdlerizing tendencies of the early part of the century a large number of words were considered and "belly" was one of them. (Some expurgators even took "belly" along with "grunt" out of the Even in 1886 letters of complaint reached Ot- tawa requesting a change. Nothing happened further until Lethbridge became a booming city. On June the board of trade sent a letter to the geographic board suggesting that the Belly be renamed the Alberta River. When this request was re- jected another letter from Lethbridge stated in part "Our real objective was, and is, to get the present name of the river here, namely the Belly, changed to almost anything else." The matter was then referred to the Alberta government and in due time (in 1915 or five years) the premier advised the board of trade that he had no objection to a change of name, but did object to the name "Alber- He suggested they might call it the Lethbridge River. Many meetings and much correspondence later, still sticking to its historical principles, the Geographic Board of Canada decided that as the Oldman had 50 to 75 per cent more water than the Belly at the junction then it was really the main stream and that the name Belly would be removed from that point to its junction with the Bow River. So, on October 7, 1915, the change was made to soothe the aristocratic pretensions of the gentlefolk of Lethbridge. The name Belly remained on the tributary so that history was not outraged either. Most favored person By Dong Walker The fellows in the composing room don't exactly fall over themselves to take on the assignment of making up the editorial pages. I don't know whether this is because I have halitosis or am hard to get along with or it is especially boring to work on these pages. One day when I asked George Goldie who would be doing my page he looked around and gave Jack Marshall the assignment. "Lucky I exclaimed. said John McKenna, "he's just low man on the totem pole."