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Chapter I

The Lady Who Was Turning To Stone


Disaster often overtakes us like a cat that steals upon its prey. For Florence Evans, 29, 

organist and choir director for the Toddesville Methodist Church on that chill November evening in 

1937, the cat was about to spring.

She paused as she started up the church steps. There were only three of them, and yet her 

knees seemed to buckle a little and there was a strange shortness of breath accompanied by 

profuse perspiration in the palms of her hands. "I must be coming down with the flu again," she 


thought and swung the heavy door open with an effort.

Sunday's service was an ordeal for her. She was hardly able to play the hymns, the special 

anthem seemed to her to drag interminably, and the postlude was agony. At the end of the service 

she was aching throughout her body, perspiring, and near collapse. She managed to get herself 

out to her parents' Ford parked at the side of the church, and there she stayed until they came out 

to find her.


They rushed her home to the little house on Maple Street and put her to bed. She was so 

hot inside, she complained. And she wanted some aspirin!

After a day, when she was still in bed and had not improved, Dr. Harold Maddox was called 

in. He was certain, he said, that Florence had the flu. "Let her drink plenty of liquids, keep her in 

bed, and have her take the medicine I'll send around."


Every day she tried to get up; but the unrelenting ache engulfed her now, and she would 

fall back exhausted into bed.

Christmas came and went, and still she grew no better. Ten days before Christmas, she 

noticed an odd hardening of the flesh on her hips. "It's because I'm lying around so much," she 

thought. "I'm getting bedsores."

But the hardening grew worse. One day, she found that her flesh was hard throughout her 


body from her hips down to her knees.

By now, she had been examined by three doctors, all of whom were baffled by her 

symptoms.

Like a fresh breeze was her Aunt Stacy who lived in another town close by and who was 

her mother's sister. She was a tall, independent-minded soul who had married rather late in life 


and was not at all apologetic about it. Now she came swooping in upon the scene with a firm 

hand.

"Cara," said Aunt Stacy to her mother, "you are to get some sleep. You will let me make 

some of the decisions, and you are to let me help you with the housework. And, of course, I can











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