Sylvia Moultray

Pandemic Influenza Storybook

Storyteller: Teresa McGivern

Location: Oregon

Illustration of a wrapped gift box with ribbon

I was born April 18, 1915 into a wonderful family of six in Park Place, Oregon. My father worked at the Crown–Zellarbach paper mill in Oregon City.

In the fall of 1918, at the age of 3 1/2, I became very sick with the flu. I was very weak with a severe fever and unable to even lift myself out of bed. My mother kept me in a separate room and hung sheets over the doorway soaked in Lysol® and wouldn′t let my siblings into the room. None of my sisters or my brother were infected. When my father came home from work, he would come into my room with a little present, it might be candy, money, or some other little gift. I waited for him every day. The doctor and my mother were talking and I heard the doctor say: “I can′t do any more for her, just keep giving her the medicine.” I′m not sure what medicine it was, but I do remember receiving some type of medicine by mouth.

No one else in my family got sick. In some cases, whole families died. I don′t know why my family was spared. At my age now of 93, I can say that I never get sick with any type of flu since that time. Years later, after my illness, the little girl up the street and my aunt caught polio, but that is another epidemic.