Alpha Omega M.D. – Final Episode

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Final Episode

…Alpha O. Campbell, M.D. deserved a better fate. Gwendolyn Hoff has given it to him. Thank you for the privilege of writing this story.

A.O., God rest your soul. It has been one wild ride!…

When We Last Left

In chapters 8 and 9 we are introduced to suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who is an admitted sidetrack. Company Town-001The company town Blountstown is the Calhoun County seat, but it is mere fodder for the overall story. Company towns can really be like Blountstown.

All the above, as in Episode #333, is a lead-up to our late involvement in WWI, where we meet Sir James KISS FOR CINDERELLA-001Matthew Barrie, the prolific playwright and cousin to John Ferrell. John Ferrell’s supply ship, the Panama City, never sailed, was not sunk by U-Boat submarines, though the elder Ferrell did indeed die in 1916; such a blue-blooded way to Pearson Eastman Journal-001die, helping your Scottish ancestors through a tough time.

Chapters 10 and 11 encompass that bloody 1st world war, along with the deadly influenza that started inPearson Eastman Journal-001 Europe and traveled back to the US. 30 million people died worldwide and that is about the time that Alpha Omega Campbell began practicing medicine.

After the doctor and Maggie wed in 1918, they both had affairs that produced Maggie Lou-001children. Maggie’s dalliance produced middle daughter, Laura. That little child was so fair-skinned, right banker Lewis? Alpha, for his part, did father a child; it’s just that whether it was with Camille Diaz is buried amongst the Careless Whispers. Camille is fictional.

Alice Paul did argue for the cause of the right for women to vote, which was a hard fought and contentious lead-up to the Roaring Twenties, but is window dressing for my purposes.

Those Roaring years of flappers and debauchery are bypassed here, as is the Great Depression. It Image result for r.i.pseems the author (me) does not deal well with hard times, which resurface in the closing chapters, a.k.a. the happy, or rather, calm ending. So From the Ashes emerges the mid-1930’s. We lose great characters Harv Pearson, Herbert Love and Phoebe. We’ve already left the Endlichoffer’s behind and the elder Ferrells.

James Ferrell LawyerJames Ferrell becomes the Dr.’s lawyer and we are (re)introduced to Carolyn Hanes (Constance Caraway – Private Eye) and her lover Sara Fenwick (Fanny Constance Caraway P.I.-001Renwick). Like the incest episode between James and Agnes, this Lesbian relationship is a glimpse into life in the South, as well as real life. This statement is not meant to offend, it’s just that things happen down there that are “different”, perhaps more frequently or just a figment of fertile fancy.

Newt Swakhammer-001       Chapters, Hospitable, Inhospitable fly us to Area 51 and an alien contact. Good ol’ Newt Swakhammer, what a guy? The government calls him a crank. But the year 1947 harbors UFO’s, as well as the brick & mortar of Laura Bell Memorial Hospital… born of Alpha O. Campbell’s spirit, the building itself is one large lightning rod; meant for good, yet attracting an LBMH-001onslaught of controversy and hardship.

We look back at Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, along 434f7-disneylandwith the world of Cinderella. And then we are bounced ahead to Michael Rennie and Walt Disney; what an odyssey of entertainment.

 

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latobsd3-001As for the remainder of THE LIFE & TIMES, not so many pages back, your imagination isLATOBSD4-001 the king. My imagination has splattered the backdrop of history from way-back 1896, all the way up to the dawn of John Fitzgerald Kennedy… Just the dawn, mind you, then you are reeled back to 1955.

Isn’t that rude? But look at the payoff. Instead of an old man in jail, we LBMHhappen upon a Laura Bell Memorial Hospital with a future. What a shame that this was not the ending to the saga of one of the first Black doctors in gwenFlorida. In my rosy reality, we all have access to Alice’s Wonderful Looking Glass.

Alpha O. Campbell, M.D. deserved a better fate. Gwendolyn Hoff has given it to him. Thank you for the privilege of writing this story.

 A.O., God rest your soul. It has been one wild ride! 

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Copyright © 2020 by Gwendolyn K Hoff   All Rights Reserved


Alpha Omega M.D.

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– Final Episode

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #331

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #331

…A double barrel dose of help: Kenty Johnson has money saved up and Kenty Jr. has the fresh blood of knowledge…

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A.O. is taking his new lease on life in, in the spirit in which it is presented. Even as he watches familiar landmarks pass by as they ease up to his Virginia Street address. He is thinking about the future.

Maggie is waiting on the front steps of their house. What a welcome sight. There too are daughters Alpha, Laura and Zillah and their families. Maggie is seated in a wheelchair, one and all waving a hearty ‘welcome home’.

“Thank you, gracious Lord,” he proclaims tearfully.

But that isn’t all. There are other familiar faces.

“What’s Kenty Johnson doin’ here?”  Dr. J. Kenty Johnson is with his son, himself a newly minted doctor.

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“I needed a reliable source of information about your situation and Kenty came to mind. He filled in the particulars of your life, practice and such. AND he mentioned that his son was looking to make a difference in the Tallahassee community. And did we say that he fresh from medical double-barrelschool? A double barrel dose of help: Kenty has money saved up and Kenty Jr. has the fresh blood of knowledge.” Carolyn Hanes has placed a neat, pretty bow on a once dire circumstance.

One month ago, Alpha Campbell would have been bloated full of irrational pride, having suffered in silence for the better part of a decade. He was determined to find a way out of their money struggles and did not need outside help.

We all know what path that led him down.

“Well boys, don’t you think it is time we roll up our sleeves?”

Upon hearing Dr. Alpha O. Campbell utter that inclusive statement, his nurses who were hiding in LBMH for fear of their lives, come sprinting out the front door.

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LBMHSomehow, Laura Bell Memorial Hospital looked whiter than normal that day… From down the street, a car streaks to the emergency side entrance, a man screams out, “My wife’s water just broke! Please help!”

“Scrub up, you Johnsons; we have a baby to deliver… Edwina will get you gowns and get her to the second floor…”

… The LBMH wing for whites.

(The End of the Beginning)


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #331


page 311 (end Ch. 19)

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #315

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 315

… Equity, in the hot summer of ‘55, comes on the form of a distressed young woman, with $200 dollars in hand and a suspected dead fetus lingering in her womb…

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Is there a fairy tale character like Peter Pan flitting around Laura Bell Memorial Hospital these days?

braceT LFT          As blissful and carefree things are for the Fords, the opposite is true for Alpha Omega Campbell. He is actually blissfully ignorant and seemingly carefree to the point of carelessness. Things on Virginia Street are falling into serious disrepair and the doctor’s Image result for peter pan gifcash flow has slowed to the equivalent of the leaky bathroom faucet in his and Maggie Lou’s master bedroom.

To survive these lean days of the summer of 1955, one property after another is sold at less than market value. Demand for the land that Maggie had inherited from John Ferrell, has slowed in the wake of the Korean War.      Now, post-World War II was a very different climate. Returning GI’s were snapping up parcels in cities like Tallahassee, no matter what the cost. But that was when A.O. was in the midst of his heyday and in no need of real estate equity.

Equity, in the hot summer of ‘55, comes on the form of a distressed young woman, with $200 dollars in hand and a suspected dead fetus lingering in her womb. She is hardly Tinkerbell spreading pixie dust at the back door of LBMH. Instead, a massive cloud of dank dust rises into the Frenchtown air.

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“I’ve hired this musician to play a sad melody while I give you a sob story why I didn’t do my homework. It’s actually quite effective!”

  “I was bein’ treated at Havana. The doctor there gave me some awful tasting-stuff to settle my stomach. I’d been with child for four months and the mornin’ sickness was getting’ to me. My mother suggested I visit Dr. Wright, I don’t know why. He wasn’t my baby doctor; guess that he was away on holiday or such.”

          “When did you notice that somethin’ wasn’t right?” Campbell had put his stethoscope to her lower belly earlier and came to an early conclusion. He wants to peel away the layers of her previous treatment. “And why did you come to me, ‘stead of Doc Wright?”

          “Well, he said that you had a reputation for helpin’ girls like me.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Sob Story by Schernego Roman

Episode # 315


page 297

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #310

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #310

…They’ve been after what we got for years, given up by now I ‘spect, seein’ they got the other Negro doctors to turn they backs on my hospital…

LBMHLettie goes to the back storage rooms and basically spends the ensuing half-hour praying, pretending like she was having difficulty. She tries the patience of the men in the lobby.appointment-book-001

          “Do you need help? I know a little about filing.” Essington will do anything to get his hands on the evidence. “What’s in that box?” He turns it around to see 1952 written on the side.

          “Well I’ll be switched! I’ve gone by that box a hunred times.”

          The book in question is not on top, but not on the bottom either. If he would have sniffed January 24, the smell of a fresh pink eraser lingers, as well as the warmth of brand-new fingerprints hidden from the human eye.

          “This is it, officer. We can go.”

          Lettie Golden has done her job.

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Sinclair Clavitt is doing his, laying out the facts and ramifications of consistently breaking the law. “You white-onlyare going to have to stop these abortions. They are going to watch you like a hungry gator watches a bullfrog.
And you will not treat white folk without havin’ a white wing in that hospital of yours. They have been lookin’ the other way, I swear, but with this flap about the Sanders girl, that will stop. I know enough about your, well, for the lack of another word, enemies, that if they smell blood, your blood, you best check your back.”

They’ve been after what we got for years, given up by now I ‘spect, seein’ they got the other Negro doctors to turn they backs on my hospital.

“That might be true, about some, but some others that you actually trust, may be quietly working against you.”

“What you talkin’ about?”

“Have you seen your son-in-law lately?”

“You mean, Franklin, no? But Laura says he’s been really busy.”

“Word has it that he’s been selling off your property.”

“We’ve got to pay some back taxes, not to mention you and Mr. Moore, keepin’ you busy too.”

“If you’re working at keepin’ us busy, now’s a good time to stop,” sound advice from Sinclair Clavitt. He has taken to the 65-year-old, doing his level best to make the doctor’s last years golden. His senior partner, R. Worth Moore, specializes in courtroom action, leaving the foot-soldierly duties to the younger man. But a day like today, he could do without. “Okay, Alpha, I’m going to trust you on this. You know what’s at stake. Just make sure you look both ways when crossing the street.”

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Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #310


page 291

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #303

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #303

“Curtis, is that you? What did you see?” Curtis did not answer the doctor’s question because he did not know what he saw…

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It is not long before Curtis pulls up on Virginia Street. Rather than trying to raise the older woman to her feet, he runs to the front entrance, but he finds the door locked. He peers through the only window that does not have a drawn shade. There is no one at the front desk. There is always someone at the front desk.

“Don’t you be fretting’ Miss Edwina, I’ll go around back.” Curtis knows these grounds like the back of his hand and he knows Doc never locks the back door while somebody is in the building. He happens upon nurse Lilly, who is wrapping something in a small bag. Doc Campbell pokes his head out of the door.

lbmh3-001 “Put that in the cooler with the others fetuses. We’ll take care of them tomorrow.” He is startled by a glimpse of his driver, just ten feet away. “Curtis, is that you? What did you see?”

“Miss Edwina Stevens is out front, she hurt her leg bad.” Curtis did not answer the doctor’s question because he did not know what he saw.

“I’ll be out there quick.” A.O. turns to whisper to Lilly, “You finish packing Missy, oh and unlock the front door.” He then runs to the front of the clinic, bloodstained white lab coat and all.

“Help me get her a wheel chair, Curtis; it looks like her ankle is broke.”

“The door is locked, Doc,” he says while A.O. proves him wrong.ball-chain-001

“Take her Room 2, Curtis; she will be spendin’ the night.” He turns edgily toward his wife’s friend, whose brittle old bones are giving out one after another.  “I will be in to put a splint on your ankle in a minute, Edwina. Take two of these for now.”

The doctor heads down the hall toward the back. His other patient is waiting for the final touches to the procedure that ended her baby’s short life. The grief she is beginning to feel, will shift to unwelcome baggage, uncomfortable feelings that she will carry around, like a ball and chain for the rest of her life.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #303


page 285

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #301

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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?…

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braceT LFT“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.”

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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.

“I don’t want to lose my baby, daddy. Can’t I raise it at home?  Okay, I’ll get a job then and findmy_little_girl1 a place of my own.”

“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 http://www.dreamstime.com/-image2615801about 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.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #301


page 283

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #296

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #296

…The Negro community in Florida will look back at what A.O. Campbell has done with great pride, and the promise that success is there for all who are willing to work hard…

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New Jersey was memorable for A.O. Campbell, after making the longest house call in his career. He delivered a healthy baby girl for his daughter Angela and it was nice seeing Camille Diaz again. She was so happy to be a grandmother, a tailor-made fit for a loving woman. It makes him wonder what it would have been like if she had been a part of his life. One thing for sure, she would make do with a lot less than Maggie Lou.

   He returns to Florida with a dark cloud overhead. His hospital has turned into a money pit and he has lost perhaps his greatest asset, his lawyer and friend, James Ferrell. His wife, Abbey and sister Agnes were with James to the end, trying to get him to pull through, but the antibiotics were no match for lungs filled with mucous. He used some of his last conscious moments to write a note to A.O. Campbell.Image result for watching you

Scribbled on a scrap of hospital paper, the one line read:

Be careful, Alpha. I think they are watching you. Call R. Worth Moore, he knows.

Shortly after that, the Ferrell legacy fell into the lap of the Ferrell women. Neither James nor Cyril Odz were able to produce a child and the Ferrell grocery chain, the pride of father John, was bought out by Food Fair a more national company. Why is it that a good longtime family like the Ferrells dies on the vine and the stinkers like the Lewis and Wilson clans reproduce like vermin?

The Campbells are hanging in there, but again without a male heir. With A.O. into his sixties, his empire an extension of John Ferrell – via Maggie Lou, there is a perceivable end to a historic dynasty. The Negro community in Florida will look back at what A.O. Campbell has done with great pride, and the promise that success is there for all who are willing to work hard.

LBMH-001 Success does come with a price tag. That and .75 cents gets you a ride on the bus to Panama City. That and $252.50 gets you a mortgage on a hospital. Unless he lives to be 88 years old, he probably will not see that debt retired. The plan was to pay it off in ten years, but that was contingent on other doctors, black or otherwise, working out of it.

And that did not happen. So on January 23rd of 1951, at the age of 62, when some lucky Americans retire with a pension, Mr. J.L. Lewis recommends Doctor A.O. Campbell for active staff appointment at A&M Hospital. His family simply needed the money. Vacant lots and run down houses do not pay the bills. Even the lots on Campbell Lake go unsold. Real estate taxes are gobbling up rental revenue.

Communist witch-hunts, yet another foreign war, blatant racism and back-stabbing friends, can be summed up with one word: inhospitable.


Alpha Omega M.D.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR

Episode #296


page 278 (end ch. 16)