My Mother wrote this story in 1984. We visited WI when I was four and six. I too remember climbing up those up those stairs for  my first dental exams. Fortunately for me no cavities where found.

“Do what you know you must do as soon as you can” was a favorite quote of my Mother. She never quite put it in these words but nevertheless I always got that message.

One of the things I knew I must do was visit the dentist. Now the dentist happened to be my uncle. Whenever he came to our house to visit he’d examine my teeth for cavities. It seemed he  ALWAYS found cavities. He’d tell my Mom  (his sister) that I was to come to Campbellsport and spend a few days in town with him and his family.  He’d work me into his schedule between paying patients. What this meant was I could play with my cousins everyday and when he had some free office time he’d telephone and I was to come to his office.  I had to walk about 6 blocks from his home to his office which was above the village bank.

Dentistry hurt in the days before the high speed drills so you can imagine how I hated going to get my teeth fixed.  I could smell the disinfectant and can to this day.  How I wanted to run down those steps and go somewhere else -anywhere else! Eventually I was ushered into his office where clung to the arms of the dental chair, wound my legs in a knot and prepared myself for the hurting I knew was coming.

Fortunately, I knew my uncle to be a kind soft-hearted man.  Deep down inside I knew he could not prevent all the pain the dental work caused if he was to fix the deep cavities I had. I made the trip 3 or 4 consecutive days. Then I would happily go home again.

Lucky for me my Mother made me do what I had to do because today I still have all my teeth and think of that as a gift form my uncle.

Many times during my lifetime when I’ve found something I must do that I’d rather not do, I imagine myself as a young girl climbing the steps to the dentist office because after all, “It was something that had to be done.

A wise woman – my Mother.

Leo Uelmen my Mother's uncle and dentist. l

Leo Uelmen my Mother’s uncle nd her dentist.


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