In 1918 America was celebrating the end of “the war to end all wars” even as Spanish influenza ravaged the U.S. One of the stricken was a woman in the little town of Monmouth, IL…a woman named Nelle Reagan. In his first book, Ronald Reagan vividly recalled his mother’s brush with death.
Nelle got the flu—as did hundreds of others in the neighborhood—but she survived. I have always attributed her almost miraculous recovery…not as much to the candles that my father paid for in the church as to a primitive use of yet-undiscovered penicillin. A gruff old family-type doctor, after doing all he could for her, gave this magic advice, ‘Keep her stuffed to the gills with old green cheese, the moldier the better.’ (Reagan, Ronald & Richard Hubeler, (1965). Where’s the Rest of Me?, New York: Duell, Sloan, & Pearce.p. 13)