Mom's Malaise, part one
The events that took place in a remote area of New Mexico about 230 miles south of Los Alamos during the predawn hours of July 16, 1945 forever changed the world. In the early morning darkness the incredible destructive powers of the atom bomb, code-named "Trinity", were first unleashed, and what had been merely theoretical became reality. Said General Groves, head of the Manhattan project, "We were reaching into the unknown and we did not know what might come of it". Some feared the consequences of radio-active fallout on civilian populations surrounding the test site. Observers were sent to surrounding towns to monitor the results of the blast and medical teams were kept on alert. But the hope and the focus was on the feeling that we now had the means to ensure a speedy conclusion to the war and save thousands of American lives.
A bit over 400 miles north, north east of the blast on that early morning in July, in a
small Panhandle farm, a girl of 17 rose, as was her daily custom, to milk the cows by
hand, she being the youngest child and only girl of second-generation Polish immigrants who made their living by raising maize and wheat, cows and chickens and selling their milk and eggs in the small town nearby. But less than a month after the July 16th test of the atomic bomb, this otherwise seemingly healthy girl fell into such a malaise that she could not even get out of bed much less carry on with her assigned chores on the farm. She was brought to a hospital in Amarillo and eventually discharged with no diagnosis other than she must have had a nervous breakdown due to some kind of female hysteria. She was sent away to a convent to recuperate but no one, least of all her parents, ever really knew what could have caused her sudden “nervous breakdown” that took place downwind and less than a day’s drive from that first historic explosion of the atomic bomb.