Some memories about shell shock
Sara E. Reynolds' Dec. 13 letter to the editor ("Don't forget shell shock from WWII") brought to mind that shell shock was first named such during World War I.
My father, Ziba G. Ashcraft, a veteran of the first world war, was gassed, had one arm nearly mangled by machine gun fire and later developed TB as a result of all this. He was diagnosed after the war as being shell shocked and was sent to an Army hospital for treatment. Most of this treatment was physical therapy and probable mental therapy to help him return to being himself. He was in and out of the hospital periodically for several years.
While in the hospital, one therapy for his mangled arm was to make a small Indian style beaded handbag – this seemed to have worked well for he eventually regained the use of the arm enough that he could drive, hold a hammer, saw, etc. He gave the handbag to a niece. She passed it on to me a few years ago and I have it encased and hanging on my wall.
As a result of his contracting TB, his doctor sent him to the desert to improve his health. We lived in Ogilby and Yuma for three years, until he returned to Missouri, to be near his whole family, before his passing.
This is how we discovered Yuma and returned to make it our home in 1952. Once a Desert Rat, always a Desert Rat, it seems.
Modine P. Uribe