Spirit Lake News

Remembering past disasters and epidemics


The Spirit Lake Presbyterian Church is holding drive up services at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday. Services are broadcast on FM 88.1 and streamed live on Facebook. The Rev. Dick Poppen will speak at 9:35 a.m. Sunday on AM KWAT radio. The confirmation class meets at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at Spirit Lake Church. Session meeting at Spirit Lake Church was held on Monday.

Duane Poppen of Aberdeen took his parents, Cork and Illdena, to Sioux Falls Thursday for doctor appointments.


Disasters and epidemics have been plentiful over the years. My husband and I can remember some of them. The dirty thirties were devastating for all, especially farmers. During that time there was no rain and crops were gone. There was no feed for livestock and no market for them, so they were destroyed. I remember tall sunflowers, grasshoppers and thistles. My husband remembers that his dad stacked thistles to feed milk cows. His sister helped stomp them down and received a lot of scratches on her legs.

Diphtheria struck my family in the thirties. My sister was 10 days old when she got the disease, and we were quarantined for six weeks. Then a high school girl who stayed with us got it, so we were quarantined again. Both of them survived. We were living in town at that time, and our grocer delivered groceries to the door.

Polio was another epidemic. Four cousins who were about my age contracted it, and two of them died. Two others survived but were severely disabled. They gave Helen Buchanan and Huron Hospital praise for their service to the polio patients. My husband had relatives also who got it, and many others in the area did as well.

Over the many years, I’m sure older generations can remember other epidemics such as scarlet fever, small pox and influenza. We are thankful for vaccines that have controlled them, and we hope for a vaccine to end this COVID-19 virus soon.

The weather has been very warm these days. Stay cool!


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