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The Doctor Was In

I was up at the Marias Heritage Center here in Shelby last night (Tuesday), thoroughly enjoying reading Montana History to some of the residents. Thanks again to Marie Ostrem for filling in for me the past couple of weeks. We’re enjoying “Pioneer Doctor-The Story of a Woman’s Work” written by Mari Grana and it’s the true story of a Montana lady doctor, set in the Helena area back in the 1890′s. She’s Dr. Mary (Mollie) Babcock (Moore) and she’s just gotten a new (handle) last name…it’s Atwater. Ben Atwater has proposed to her and they have just tied the old knot. This lady doctor has some strong opinions and she is definitely NOT a type B personality. I guess one couldn’t be, being a WOMAN in the wild and wooly old west. She split from her first husband 10 years prior and ran away to Montana when he didn’t live up to her expectations, wants, needs and desires. Last evening in the book, the new man in the barrel, Ben Atwater, an accountant, suggested they move to Helena as Marysville (where she was currently practicing and he was running his accountant office) was “drying up”. Much of the mining had gone sour and Helena was beginning to boom. Mollie didn’t want to move and I wish Ben the best of luck. I have a feeling with Dr. Mollie, that it’s “her way or the highway”…in this case, make the highway the “stagecoach” as this is 1890′s Montana with no real highways to speak of. All in all, it’s a fascinating read and an eye opener as far as how things USED to be for women. When this book takes place, women were not even allowed to vote, and practicing medicine was a herculean effort indeed. I’m already looking forward to NEXT Tuesday evening at the Heritage and the adventures of this pioneer lady physician. In the meantime, I wish poor Ben the best. It ain’t easy being easy Ben!

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