Bio: Tompkins, Rose (Broken Hip - 1954)

Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon


Surnames: Tompkins, Gerhardt, Strebing, Flynn

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI.) May 27, 1954 

Tompkins, Rose (Broken Hip –1954) 

Mrs. Rose Tompkins, 110 E. Division Street, Neillsville is undergoing surgery in Marshfield to reduce a fracture of her left hip.  She was alone in her home throughout the night following the fracture. 

That something had happened to Mrs. Tompkins was the fear of two near neighbors when the morning broke last Thursday, Mrs. Willard Gerhardt looked from the east to the bedroom widows and saw that the shades were up; contrary to custom.  Mrs. Ray Strebing looked across Division Street and saw that the shade was up at the north window.  She hurried over to the Gerhardt house, and the two women went to the front porch of the Tompkins and looked through the windows into the dining room.  There Mrs. Tompkins sat, in a chair at the dining table.  She made them understand through the window glass that something had gone amiss and that she wanted her daughter Aline summoned from Black River Falls, where she was working. 

Doors Were Locked: The word quickly went to the daughter, and Ray Strebing sought the help of her grandson, Tom Flynn, second door to the east, to help get into the house. The front door was fastened with a Yale lock.  The back door into the kitchen was fastened with a key of skeleton type, but the key was turned in the lock and could not be pushed out. Contrary to the usual custom the door into the wood shed at the rear had not been closed and hooked. 

A step ladder from the wood shed gave height from which Mr. Flynn could break the east kitchen window and from there he reached to the key in the kitchen door.  

The gathering neighbors found that early the previous evening Mrs. Tompkins had been sprinkling clothes at the kitchen table.  She was standing without support, but her trusty cane, used to help her arthritic right knee, was close at hand.  She turned from the table; slipped, probably on the wet floor; fell heavily upon her left side. 

She Dragged Herself: Mrs. Tompkins could not get to her feet.  Her left leg was useless.  She slowly dragged herself through the kitchen door into the dining room, a distance of eight or ten feet. She pulled herself up on a chair - how she did it is beyond the understanding of those who were with her.  

Then Mrs. Tompkins tried to get help.  The telephone was on a table at the north end of the room, about 10 feet from her, but she had exhausted her strength and could not get to it.  She called out, but nobody heard her. She pounded on the dining table with her cane, but still she could get no response.  Late in the evening she saw Mrs. Strebing come out and pump gas in front of the store.  She renewed her calls and her pounding, but she saw Mrs. Strebing, unable to hear, turn from the pumps and go back into the store.  

So she remained there through the night.  She dozed some, and the pain was not excruciating except when she moved.  So she kept quiet until the neighbors came to her help in the early morning.  The time from her accident until her discovery was not far from 12 hours.  She was remarkably calm and self-possessed when the neighbors reached her. 

The watchfulness of the neighbors over the welfare of Mrs. Tompkins has been entirely voluntary on their part.  She is an independent soul quite capable, she has felt, to manage on her own.  She has been accustomed to live alone at times because of the necessary absences of her daughter, who is called to various Wisconsin municipalities as a specialist in reassessments.  The daughter quickly responded to the call, upon receiving word of the accident. 



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