Joanne Jean Couto
1934 – 2005
My Sister Walked Because of Him
Dr. King came from Hyde Park to retire in Adamsville, but he never really retired. He was a wonderful doctor. His fee was only two dollars per visit, and if you were a favorite, sometimes it was nothing. I have given him oysters many times for payment. No appointments. You just went there and waited in the front vestibule for your turn. A housekeeper lived in that house with him, and his sister, and she would greet you at the door. You never had to go to a drug store, because Dr. King also had all the medicines right there. And you went out with it at the same fee of $2 per visit.
Dr. King wasn’t young either, but he was quite a man. He made house calls for the same fee, everything. The fact is, my sister walked because of him. He took her to Boston Children’s Hospital, and he used to take my mother to visit her. She had a paralytic club foot. She had a partial spinal bifida, born with that. I brought home whooping cough, from school. I was a carrier. I didn’t have it, but I brought it home to her, and she had it very bad, and it weakened her legs so that she couldn’t walk. So Dr. King made arrangements for her to go to Boston. They operated on her foot and she was in a brace—oh, God, for years, with high shoes. But she walked.
Based on an oral history interview with Florence Jean Letourneau.
First published in “Remembering Adamsville” by the Little Compton Historical Society, 2013.