All Mom Remembered Was the Smell of Unguentine

@Corbin5 (116530)
United States
March 27, 2017 3:26pm CST
I remember my mother telling me that my great-grandparents were killed by lightening. One young daughter was sitting on my great-grandfather's lap and the other daughter was sitting on my great-grandmother's lap in a storm cellar created by my grandfather. My great-grandparents were killed instantly by lightening, but their daughters were not killed, but both did suffer burns. Of course, the injured girls were rushed to the home of their brother, my grandfather, and my grandparents cared for the girls until they were grown. My mother said all she remembered of that tragedy was the smell of Unguentine, the salve used to treat the burns suffered by the girls. My mother never went into detail regarding this horrific event, but I ran across a newspaper article that explained what happened. "May 22, 1925, M.D. KESTERSON, 49, and his wife, Laura, 46, were instantly killed when lightning struck their home; their daughter, Fae, 9, was severely burned and shocked and another daughter, Myrtle, 15, was slightly burned and shocked. Fearful of storms, Kesterson, following the date of the visit of the recent tornado to Southern Illinois, constructed an improvised cellar beneath the family home. It was a small affair, and last night. as the storm approached, the family crowded into the cellar. The bolt struck the chimney of the house passing through the structure to the cellar occupied by the four. The girls are expected to recover. Roofs were torn off houses, trees were blown down, and much other damage resulted from a severe wind and hail storm that swept through a section ten to 15 miles north of here last night, according to reports reaching this city today."
23 people like this
20 responses
@Juliaacv (33411)
• Canada
27 Mar 17
What a tragic story, they were lucky to have lived.
7 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
Yes, it is amazing the parents were killed, but not the daughters who were sitting on the laps of their parents.
5 people like this
27 Mar 17
Such a sad tale. Those poor girls.
4 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
I know my mother loved her young aunts. But, I bet it really was a struggle taking on two additional children for my grandparents to raise.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40201)
• United States
27 Mar 17
Oh wow - how scary! That's so sad about your great-grandparents, but how extremely fortunate that their daughters did survive the incident.
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
Yes, and I found it interesting that my great-grandfather fear storms to such a degree that he built a cellar and his fear proved to be tragically valid.
2 people like this
@much2say (40201)
• United States
27 Mar 17
@Corbin5 I don't know about engineering such structures, but I guess it was not lightning proof .
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
28 Mar 17
@much2say Yes, back in 1925, I suppose information regarding the construction of a safe storm cellar was hard to find or the knowledge of how to do it properly was not plentiful.
1 person likes this
@ShifaLk (8477)
• India
27 Mar 17
O my GOD. I've heard that lightening can kill but i never thought it was real I'm really sad to hear about your great grandparents. Really painful
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
I imagine it was an awful time for my mother's family. Luckily, the girls were cared for by family who loved them.
2 people like this
@ShifaLk (8477)
• India
29 Mar 17
@Corbin5 Yes! We thank GOD!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (134903)
• Bunbury, Australia
28 Mar 17
This is so tragic and after going to such efforts to be safe from storms.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
28 Mar 17
He did have such a strong fear of storms, but it is a comfort that the lives of the girls were spared.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (134903)
• Bunbury, Australia
29 Mar 17
@Corbin5 It's almost as if he knew something.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
29 Mar 17
@JudyEv It really seems that way to me too.
1 person likes this
@bluesa (15115)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
27 Mar 17
@Corbin5 , that is horrific, so sorry this happened to your great grandparents. I can imagine your Mom not wanting to remember too much about it.
2 people like this
@bluesa (15115)
• Johannesburg, South Africa
28 Mar 17
@Corbin5 thank goodness they were there for each other.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
28 Mar 17
@bluesa Yes, sure does put a great emphasis on family coming to the aid of family members. During the Great Depression, I know it was probably a challenge to add two more children to the two my grandparents already had, but they made do.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Mar 17
I looked up that salve and I guess it is no longer made so I could not find anything about it
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
I did find it online, but not sure if it is the same as the 1925 brand.
Free Shipping. Buy Unguentine Ointment Original 1 oz at Walmart.com
2 people like this
• United States
27 Mar 17
@Corbin5 now see how great you are to afford me the opportunity to check this out on your time, Ah I luv ya ! and thanks and most likely it is far from what was available in 1025 just based on pharmaceutical intrusion since then
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
2 people like this
@DianneN (85356)
• United States
27 Mar 17
What a horror story, especially since your great grandfather thought he'd outsmart the storms. Such a shame! I hope the girls grew up well.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
The girls were cared for by their brother, my grandfather, and his wife, my grandmother. My mother loved the aunts because they were not that much older than she was. Since it was 1925, Mom was in awe of those "older" girls and their clothes and their makeup as the years went by. On Halloween, Mom made me a flapper outfit, and I know her aunts probably donned that outfit every once in a while.
2 people like this
@DianneN (85356)
• United States
27 Mar 17
@Corbin5 That's so sweet. I'm sure they had lots of love from everyone.
2 people like this
@louievill (19725)
• Philippines
27 Mar 17
That's a very interesting piece of family history. It's important to put groundings on structures to disperse high electrical charges caused by lightning
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
Yes, since it happened in 1925, I bet my great-grandfather did not know about groundings.
2 people like this
@louievill (19725)
• Philippines
27 Mar 17
@Corbin5 they may have known but the artcle said improvised shelter, no more time to build that one and I guess no one could guess that lightning would hit there, it was a very unfortunate incident.
2 people like this
@OreoBrownie (3649)
• Elberton, Georgia
28 Mar 17
That was tragic. I guess there were no burn centers way back then.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
28 Mar 17
I suppose that the doctor came to the house to treat the girls since it was 1925. My great-grandfather did try so hard to protect his family, but at least, the girls were spared.
@Gillygirl (17373)
• Sutton, England
27 Mar 17
How tragic. It is amazing how the little girls survived. It must have been very traumatic for them.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
Yes, both parents killed by lightening, but not the girls. A sad time it had to be for all.
2 people like this
@bunnybon7 (37461)
• Holiday, Florida
27 Mar 17
OMG, they went to a safe place only to be taken out anyway. obviously it really was their time. hard to comprehend them going together
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
27 Mar 17
Yes, just the parents were killed, but not the girls. My mother did love her aunts being raised with her, but I am sure it was a struggle to support them all.
2 people like this
@TheSojourner (17304)
• United States
3 Apr 17
How tragic for your grandmother and grand (great) aunt. These are the stories that most of us only know as stories that happen to others, not to those we know or to whom we are related.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Apr 17
@Corbin5 Yes...I understand. What a traumatic time.
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
28 Mar 17
Weird that they constructed the storm shelter to be safe and that didn't keep the adults save at all. I didn't know that lightening could hurt even traveling through brick or walls. It makes me curious whether that chimney went all the way down into the basement/cellar or what, but probably no one would know at this late date. I'm wondering whether your mom's family is similar to my mom's where my mom is the same age as her first cousins which are the children of her two oldest sisters. Her two oldest sisters are probably at least fifteen to eighteen years older that her if not more. Otherwise, it sounds like the two girls are your great aunts if they are your grandfather's sisters. It doesn't make sense to me that your mom would have been around back then. I was thinking your mom would have to be quite a bit older than they were, but it's your grandfather that was quite a bit older, and he already had kids and grandkids by the time those two girls were around?
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
28 Mar 17
Well, my mom would have been only 5 years old when the 9-year-old and the 15-year-old sisters of her father came to live with them. Also, my mother's grandmother had a child after my mother was born, so my mother was older than her uncle. Strange but true. Never saw the home my great-grandparents lived in and come to think of it, Mom never offered to show us the home, perhaps because the home may have been destroyed or torn down.
1 person likes this
• Midland, Michigan
28 Mar 17
@Corbin5 Well, my mom is aunt to those the same age as her, so it's about the same thing. When I saw your title, I thought that word defined the smell of the electricity going through the house which I thought to be quite odd. It makes more sense that it's from the ointment used to treat the burns, although I've not heard that term before.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Mar 17
That is a horrible thing to have happened to your family members! Especially so as they were taking care to protect themselves from the storm.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
28 Mar 17
Yes, great-grandfather did try to protect his family, but the only comfort was the lives of the girls were spared.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 17
@Corbin5 And that was quite a miracle too. But what a horrible thing to have to witness.
1 person likes this
@sjvg1976 (18404)
• Delhi, India
28 Mar 17
Oh ...what a tragic story about your great grand parents..
1 person likes this
@allknowing (69539)
• India
28 Mar 17
What is more noteworthy is that you have such an old newspaper cutting to narrate the story from.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
28 Mar 17
I know. I was doing research, and on the site, Find-A-Grave, the newspaper article was posted there.
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (26237)
• United States
28 Mar 17
It's a miracle that the girls survived . What a sad story.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
28 Mar 17
I think it a miracle too that the girls were not also killed. The lightening had to go through my great-grandparents had to have hit the girls too as they were on the laps of my great-grandparents.
@paigea (22484)
• Canada
28 Mar 17
What a horror that must have been. How lucky they were to have family to bring them up.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (116530)
• United States
28 Mar 17
Yes, their older brother, my grandfather, and my grandfather cared for the girls.
1 person likes this
@TRBRocks420 (82970)
• Banks, Oregon
27 Mar 17
Very sad story my friend and, sorry to hear this.
1 person likes this