by: Robert Stokes
It was Wednesday, January 7, 1931, that Robert Cecil was born, the third child of Ollie and Howell Lee Stokes. The other two children were Marice Virginia who was born in 1918 and Merle Lea, born in 1926.
He was born in Pascagoula, Jackson, Mississippi, United States on January 7, 1931, here at the Jackson County Hospital. With the strong support of Dr. McIlwain, Jackson County now has the new state-of-the-art Singing River Hospital located in Pascagoula.
I remember that Mother drove up that sand drive, under the porte-cochére where we got out. It was the summer of 1940 and I was to have my tonsils removed. This was something that happened to everyone. You reach a certain age and out they come. Oh, yes, ice cream afterwards.
No one believes me but this story is true. I know there were three doctors in the area; there may have been more:
There was Dr. McIlwain but Daddy would now allow us to go to him. Why? I don't know. I do know that his office was in the Palace Pharmacy there on Delmas Avenue. But this was a "drug store," not a pharmacy. It had bar stools in front of the soda fountain where sandwiches and fountain drinks were served. I am not sure that many people in Pascagoula knew what a "pharmacy" was.
Dr. McIlwain's office was back behind the soda fountain. People had to go to the back of the drug store to get to his office.
And up between Pascagoula and Escatawba was Moss Point where Dr. Eley was. He was our regular doctor and for years I thought I had been named after him, "Robert Eley." But I know that Dr. Eley did not take my tonsils out.
That left Dr. Keller. His office was on Pascagoula Street a couple of blocks from the Ritz Theater with its seven cent Saturday wild west movie. That's later. Right now I want to record what happened when I had my tonsils taken out.
I walked in and from what I remember, I walked into the operating room. Hospital gown? No! Removed my clothes? No! I don't even remember taking off my shoes. I remember being helped up on the operating table and just before I was sedated, I looked over on the counter to my right. There on the counter were the tonsils of the girl who had had hers removed just a few minutes before me. I don't mean that the tonsils were in a jar of alcohol or anything. They were on the counter.
That's the truth.
Entering a hospital today, there is a hand dispensor just inside the entrance. As a person walks down the hall, there are dispensors at every door and if that person steps inside a patient's room there is one on the wall near the wash basin and one in the rest room. There is no excuse for not having sanitized hands. And it's the truth; that was not the way it was in 1940.
We'll have to look around and see what happened when I met "Teensie" way back in 1935.