Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #301
…The white father shakes A.O.’s hand like it is covered with slime, offering the doc only a limp and halfhearted appendage. “No one can find out about this, you understand?…
“Oh, my dear, sweet, glorious Lord, have mercy on this ol’ man. You have given us so much, blessed us ‘seedinly, but it still ain’t enough. I have to help out those poor young girls that is wit child and no accounts for boyfriends or husbands. An’ there’s some bad ones out there callin’ theyselves doctors that’ll be butcherin’ them girls. They be best off wit someone who can care proper for ‘em.
“Now I ain’t askin’ for any trouble. I’ma goin’ to need your devine pretectin’. There is folks that would love to visit me in jail.”
It had been a long day at the hospital for Alpha Campbell. There has been a big run of the flu making it rounds through Tallahassee’s 1952 growing population. It isn’t the killer variety that killed millions back in 1918, but it transmits very well, too well and he has all he can do to make it back in time to meet a late night patient at his clinic. He is tired and hungry, but there is an extremely anxious father in his waiting room, with an equally nervous daughter, soundly pregnant, in tow.
“You are goin’ to graduate high school, Missy and that’s that. There ain’t a man, well a good one anyhow, in Duval County who’d marry a whore with a baby.”
That last phrase was uncalled for. There are many girls in the South who do not complete their secondary education; most of the time, people of the town neither notice nor care. Women stay home, raise a family, while their husbands go out and win the bacon.
At least that was what it was like before the Second World War. ‘It is hard to keep them in the home, once they’ve built a battleship’. Missy’s mother was one of those women in the shipyards of Jacksonville. Missy’s father, having lived through that, will not have his little girl doomed to factory work. She is going to have an abortion, finish high school and hopefully marry a good man who will take care of her, so she can raise him handfuls of grandchildren… someday.
“I’ll need to keep Milicent four days.”
“It’s Missy, doctor.” He is getting names mixed up. Milicent was the name of his first abortion patient, years ago.
“Oh yes, Missy. So, come back on Thursday, you can take her home then.”
“Thank you, doctor.” The white father shakes A.O.’s hand like it is covered with slime, offering the doc only a limp and halfhearted appendage. “No one can find out about this, you understand?”
The common threads that tie every one of these illegal procedures together: ‘No one can find about this.’ ‘Bring your affairs to Doc Campbell in Tallahassee and he will keep things private.’ Sure, that claim is not exclusive to abortion, not with venereal disease and mastectomies out there, but when a white girl shows up at the back door of LBMH, odds are that she is pregnant, though not for long.
“Oh, yessir, you can count on that.” A.O. has no intentions sharing nature of his less-than-legal sideline with anyone, including family. Only his nurses, like Lilly Chevis, know the extent of the doctor’s circumnavigation of the laws of the state of Florida and she is none too comfortable with her involvement. She and Lettie Golden will continue to help out, driven by their loyalty to a truly good man.