by: Maureen Wlodarczyk
When I was five years old, we moved from Jersey City to Union Beach, a place where my parents could afford to purchase a small ranch house with carport. For many years after, I spent two to three weeks each summer back in Jersey City, visiting my maternal grandparents at their apartment on Rose Avenue in Greenville. I loved staying with them and being the center of my grandmotherâ€™s attention. My grandparents never owned a car so my grandmother and I would take the bus to Journal Square to shop or see a movie. One summer I unexpectedly came down sick, very sick. My grandmother tucked me in up to my chin in her own bed and called for the familyâ€™s faithful physician, Dr. Front. He was what used to be called a (very) â€œtall drink of water,â€ and had to duck his head when coming through the doorways of the apartment. When he appeared at my bedside, I am told that my eyes opened wide like saucers. No doubt. Looking up from my sickbed to take in the whole of him was quite an experience. His diagnosis: the grippe.
Today, the word grippe, coming from a French word meaning â€œseize suddenly,â€ has been replaced by the modern term â€œinfluenza,â€ the two words being essentially synonymous. For decades before that summer I took sick in Jersey City, Hudson County residents had been stricken by periodic grippe outbreaks including in 1889 and 1892. The most serious of those was the 1918 â€œSpanishâ€ influenza pandemic that first broke out in Europe and killed thousands of soldiers on the battlefields of World War I before making its way to the United States. Â Â Continue reading Hudson Then . . . Again- INFLUENZA