Eagle Archives, April 1, 1963: Frostbite victim works on tax returns | Story


On the night of February 8, when the mercury was 18 below zero, 66-year-old Herman H. Day had the misfortune of falling outside his home at 68 Glenwood Ave. Unnoticed, he spent the night in the snow before being found and taken to Pittsfield General Hospital.

When they brought him in, he had a temperature of 71.5, one of the lowest on record. PGH gradually raised his temperature with a new device called the hypothermia machine. Through intense and careful management, PGH staff restored Mr. Day to his usual good health and morale. He lost parts of some fingers to frostbite, but it’s speculated that even that might not have happened had he been wearing gloves.

Anyway, Mr Day was discovered today sitting in his hospital room, with a bottle of beer, a large cigar and a twinkle in his eye. He was working on someone’s income tax.

Mr. Day is an accountant. He worked for South Street Motors for a long time and in recent years has gone freelance, doing the books for a number of companies. Stacked on his hospital table were various ledgers and numerous income tax forms.

Can he get up and walk?

“Oh yes,” he said.

How does he feel?

“Very well,” he said. “I sleep well, and as far as food goes, I can pretty much order anything I want.”

Mr. Day attributes the main credit for his presence in this world to his chief medical officer, Dr. J. Ryder Neary. “I give him all the credit he deserves,” he says. “He’s a wonderful man.”

Mr. Day is a short, thin man – 5ft 4 tall, weighing 112lbs. He is a 66 year old young man. He has all his hair and no gray in it. He even reads the newspapers without glasses.

He is slightly disabled in that he has lost most of his fingers on his right hand. “They have my right hand tied to my stomach,” he pointed out. This involves performing a skin graft on the finger stumps. He’s also lost the little finger on his left hand, but that already seems healed, and Mr. Day is becoming a pretty good left-handed writer.

Holding up a crossword puzzle, he said with a smile, “Here’s a sample of my left-handed printout.”

Mr. Day was born in England and served in the First World War with the King’s Own Yorkshire Infantry. In the thirties, when all it took to shake the world was whether King Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson were going to reunite, the Eagle asked Mr Day, as a genuine Englishman, what he thought of the situation. As a prophet, he struck 1,000. The first paragraph of this story, still in Mr. Day’s file at The Eagle, states:

“‘King Edward VIII will marry Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson regardless,’ says Herman H. Day of this town…”

This story within a story is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

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