Elmer Kretzschmar

Pandemic Influenza Storybook

Storyteller: Elmer Kretzschmar

Location: Iowa

Illustration of violin

I am now 95 years old and I currently reside in San Antonio, Texas. In 1918, I was 6 years old and living in Strawberry Point, Iowa, with my parents and my 7–year–old brother, Clarence. My father Otto Kretzschmar owned a shoe store, and my mother, Minnie, was a homemaker. My father was also a violinist, and one of my fondest memories is that of listening to him play during Christmas programs at the church. Later that year, I was home from school because I had an earache. My father was at home, too, because he was sick with the flu. A registered nurse, from Charles City, Iowa, came to live in our home to help care for my father. The nurse was with us for 2 weeks and then she left; my father died the next day. No one else in the family got sick with the flu.