Bethel, April 7th 1889
Dear Coz. Nell,
I am going to answer your letter, but don't know as I can find anything to write about. First: How are Uncle and Auntie? I have thought about them so much since receiving your letter. How did they get along when they were sick and you with your hands so full of work? I hope this will find them well again. Isn't Auntie going to be able to come up this spring? I thought she would be commencing to think about it by this time. You wrote as if she expected me to come down, but if she isn't sick so it is necessary for me to come, I rather not for I cannot bear to visit with such a little baby, they are never as well as they are at home.
She is getting as she is real cute isn't near the care, notices things and is growing fat. I wish I was downstairs with her. She hasn't been down yet. I want to clean the bedroom downstairs and move down there with her. I think I can now pretty quick. I am real smart as well as ever, do my washing for baby, and work the same as usual only as I am upstairs, I cannot help about the cooking and work as I would like to.
Had a letter from Maggie the other day, will send it for Auntie to read I guess, for it is quite newsy and lengthy and would busy her. I think Kittie and Frankie have the whooping cough fast enough, but do not think they are going to have it hard, Kittie has had a spasmodic cough for a long time and Will and the rest laughed at me because I called it whooping cough but Mrs. Fillow says she whooped twice in the night last night. Kittie sleeps over to Mrs. Fillow's with Cora now. Mr. Fillow (Frank's father) has gone to the hotel to board until after the expected arrival. Mrs. Fillow expects her confinement next month. I haven't said anything about it for she was so afraid it would be a false alarm as it was once before that she didn't dare tell her expectations. I wish you could see her, still she is real smart, has been over here today and upstairs where I am.
Lewie and Cora have just started out to evening meeting. Mina has gone down to go with Nealie, Julie and Addie Mansfield together. Frank Fillow has taken Kittie to Danbury. Papa, Maggie and the boys are home with me. Lewie has been to New Haven to attend the funeral of Aunt Flora's sister's husband. He went on a Tuesday and back Saturday, the daughter sent me a nice bundle of clothes her little girl had outgrown for Kittie. Lewie stays with Uncle George yet. They all think lots of him over there and was so afraid he would stay in New Haven. Did you go to N.Y. and how did you find all? Write me all the news soon. I cannot see to write and will close for this time. Remember me to Mrs. Rundecker and all I know at your house. I forget names. - Grandfield.
Love to all, Dell
Read this Wikipedia page about Pertussis to see why Dell was so consumed by this child killing disease. The first vaccine for whooping cough didn't appear until 1926. Aspirin wasn't even invented until 1897. Different blood types weren't discovered until 1901. You can feel Dell's isolation, fear and desire to be downstairs yet at the same time her determination to protect her new baby. 120 years ago but still so close to home. Dell knew what we still know today. Keeping children away from germs before they are vaccinated (in Dell's case vaccination didn't exist) is the only way to truly protect against pertussis. This video aired yesterday - May 4, 2012. Get your child vaccinated.