Say Their Names!

Edna Ainsworth was just seventeen years old on August 13th of 1920. The young women had recently had a fight with her sweetheart. She likely felt stupid, and now there was no one she could tell about the life that grew in her belly. She couldn’t tell her mom at home, near Fruita with her brothers, dad wasn’t in the picture. She needed a break from playing mom, to her younger brothers while her mother tries to put food on the table. She just needed space to think.

So, Edna went to the, by comparison, bustling city of Grand Junction, staying at the home of Mrs. J. F. Farmer on 124 Rood Ave. In the heart of ‘little Italy’ and close to the brothels that populated the ‘Barbary Coast.’ Maybe she asked a working girl for some advice but on the evening of the 12th she bought two-ounces of Lysol and a Hammer, from the Drug Store.

Edna tried to find a way out of this conundrum. At some point on the afternoon of the 13th, she ate the Lysol. She returned to the Farmer’s home and put a record on the “phonograph” and about a half hour later announced that she was “very sick” and laid down on a bed. She died a few minutes later.

Edna wasn’t the first. Nor would she be the last.

On a cold Denver night in October of 1894 Miss Ida Jefferies, pushed open a door, and emerged on to a busy downtown street. She was mostly undressed, and blood flowed down both of her legs, she frantically begged passers-by for help, claiming that Dr. Price and his nurse were trying to kill her.

Ida was a schoolteacher in Grand Junction, and she was well liked. She knew that any hope of a decent life would be ruined if her error in judgment were known. That’s why she went to Denver. When she finally did get help, she gave a fake name, and she almost died first of blood loss then again for blood poisoning.

In 1922, Mrs. Lucile Mayers was 26 years old. Her husband had been in California sending fewer and fewer letters and less and less money for over a year now. But that was the problem, she was pregnant. She lived in her mother’s house near De Beque and could notice her long looks at her swelling belly. She suspects, but she doesn’t ‘know.’ Lucile meant to keep it that way. But something went wrong, and Lucile never awoke from a strong dose of poison.

Today is a sad day. There are almost no words.

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