Thankful November

Sleeping with the Flu

collage of photos of a family

“When I was about eleven years old and others in my family and I were in bed with the flu, the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School nurse came from Gatlinburg to see us. As the nurse stood by my bed she cautioned my little sister not to touch me or the bed. The little sister piped up with, “Why, I’ve been sleeping with her!”

—Gladys Trentham Russell – “Call Me Hillbilly”


Today’s Thankful November giveaway is a copy of Russell’s book “Call Me Hillbilly.” To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends November 6, 2019.


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  • Reply
    December 4, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Love the mountain music!! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Sarah Carter
    November 30, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    I love your site and all the information

    Sarah Carter.

  • Reply
    Patricia Small
    November 4, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Proud to be called hillbilly!


  • Reply
    November 3, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Get those flu shots.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Love being a hillbilly or hill Billie-ette being a female. Mountain folk can adapt in so many ways and never bat an eye. Good healthy eating and living make us “billies” a Healthier Breed.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    This sounds like an interesting book! Would love to win!!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2019 at 10:19 am

    My mom often told the story of how she and her three sisters shared a bed (and her brothers shared a bed) until one by one they married and left the house. They had no choice; it was all Grandma and Grandpa had. Come summer, they’d sleep outside, under the trees.

  • Reply
    Barbara Gantt
    November 2, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    I had the flu when I was pregnant with my second child. I coughed so hard that she dropped six weeks early.
    It was Christmas. My Mother n law came to visit and took the flu the next day.. We all ended up in bed.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    No ones likes the flu, so when it hits we have no other choice but to deal with it. My brothers and i had the flu. We all slept in the same bed and the reason why was so we could stay warm. We only had a wood stove, (downstairs) and we slept upstairs. 2 yrs ago i caught the flu, when i did get to feeling better i wouldn’t go no where without a mask. I made my whole family wear one. Even to church. The flu was so bad , i didnt want to take any chances. Tipper, i love reading and im your Hillbilly 100% .

  • Reply
    November 2, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    I don’t recall sharing the flu among siblings but we all four had the chicken pox at the same time. My cousins shared a bed and when my sister and I spent the night we four girls shared a bed.
    Not hillbillies though; we prefer term “mountain folk”

  • Reply
    November 2, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Love this post and found all the comments so very interesting. Sometimes if I get on too early I miss the comments. I spent years as a Home Health nurse, and I can really relate to this story about the nurse trying to teach safety precautions. I had many a humorous moment, and I could write a book on just funny happenings. I found out early to keep my nursing bag zipped and my car windows up so I didn’t have to contend with the family kitty. Once a curious goat had to be shooed off the front of my vehicle! The job required going into some really remote areas to visit some people I would describe as “the salt of the earth.” They were 99.9% true hillbillies just like me. Many could not let you leave without trying to give you a cup of coffee, a jar of homemade jelly, or just something. So giving they were that if you weren’t careful it would be yourself being helped. They also used a lot of the old remedies such as Vicks salve for chest colds and flu.
    When Anthony Bourdain traveled to McDowell County, WV for his show he was very impressed by the wonderful people he met there. They have retained a lot of the old culture and the old ways. I will miss them forever.

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry, Sr.
    November 2, 2019 at 10:50 am

    l grew up in a cotton mill village in Belmont, NC where all of the houses were on streets that circled the mill itself. They called people who worked in the mill “lintheads”. This was because of all of the cotton fibers floating in the air and settling on peoples head and clothing. The mills recruited people from the mountains of Western NC and they were called hillbillies. My grandparents and my mom came to work in the mills from the Bryson City, NC area and were linthead-hillbillies. I say that with extreme pride.

  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    November 2, 2019 at 10:43 am

    I didn’t have siblings, but I caught and brought home every bug going around when I was a girl in school. I remember chicken pox and measles vividly to this day.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2019 at 10:38 am

    I never remember having the flu as a child. I had it once as an adult. My husband had it first, then myself. I made it to the doctor in time to get a dose of Tamiflu, which really helped and I was better in few days. I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t get warm, so I slept in my sweatsuit. After that year, my husband and I always got the flu vaccine.

  • Reply
    Angela Cato
    November 2, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Interesting that the nurse would say that. I guess they didn’t know back then that the flu is contagious whether you touch someone one not. And yes, most people shared beds with siblings! I know I did even though we each had our own bed!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    November 2, 2019 at 9:20 am

    I don’t remember ever having the flu as a child. I did get measles, mumps and hooping cough. My brother got chicken pox at the same time I had measles and I never got chicken pox and he never got measles. I also have been called hillbilly more that once. I consider it an honor. I think hillbillies have more fun.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 2, 2019 at 9:15 am

    As I was growing up I had the flu several times. In the Flu Pandemic of 1918 my Maternal Great Grandmother and her two youngest children died within days of each other, almost all of the rest of the family had the had the Flu but survived it.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    November 2, 2019 at 9:02 am

    My sister and I slept in the same bed until I was about 16 then we got twin beds but in the same room.
    I really appreciate and enjoy your blog.

  • Reply
    Jon Tremain
    November 2, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Mom and Dad didn’t make my sister and I sleep together, but we slept in the same room for a number of years. My wife, being from a third world country, slept with her siblings on the floor. Our first two kids slept together.
    A few monthes ago we had family visit and I commandeered my oldest granddaughters bedroom (they live with us) for the guests. I suggested she just sleep with one of her sisters and all three baulked at the idea. She slept on the floor in her sisters room, but not in the bed. Somehow, the hard wood floor was better than sharing a bed. Go figure.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 2, 2019 at 8:13 am

    My brother and I only ever had one bed. We never thought about it one way or the other. Only after he was gone to the Army did I have the bed to myself.

  • Reply
    Kay Paul
    November 2, 2019 at 8:12 am

    I love BP&A so much! I read it every morning so it feels like you’re almost family! I’ve also purchased several pieces of your daughter’s jewelry and get compliments every time I wear a necklace or bracelet. I wore one of her creek rock necklaces yesterday….I think it’s my favorite.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    November 2, 2019 at 8:07 am

    About 45 yrs. ago my Wife and I had two different flus back to back. While I had one kind she had another kind. As we were getting better I took the one she had and she took the one I had. We got so weak we were crawling to the bathroom or the kitchen. Being young at the time we finally got better. I suppose that would kill us today.
    Sleeping together was very common years ago. Brothers with brother and sisters with sisters. I don’t remember sleeping separate of my brother regardless which one of us was sick.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2019 at 7:58 am

    If only they knew about Elderberry, many lives might have been saved from the flu pandemic back in the early 1900’s.

    • Reply
      Colleen Holmes
      November 2, 2019 at 8:09 am

      Yikes, the flu is terrible. Good advice, stay away and don’t touch things around them. God Bless.

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    November 2, 2019 at 7:48 am

    I slept with my older brother until I was ten.

  • Reply
    William P Dotson
    November 2, 2019 at 7:41 am

    Thanks for the entry Tipper, I am an old hillbilly.

  • Reply
    sheryl paul
    November 2, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Funny how unrealistic the advice we get sometimes.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2019 at 6:52 am

    Well call me a hillbilly then. When I was growing up with a younger and older sister, we all three slept in the same bed many years. I hated being “the middle” child because they all decided that meant I should always be in the middle. Both of them kicked and flailed their arms and I got the squeeze. I figured out it was easier to sleep upside down with my feet near their faces (Since I was the tallest) and that put an end to me in the middle!

  • Reply
    Carol Melanson
    November 2, 2019 at 6:46 am

    That’s cute … I love ready these stories

  • Reply
    Amanda burts
    November 2, 2019 at 6:36 am

    I always enjoy your blog, and favorites are videos of the gang singing!

    • Reply
      November 2, 2019 at 8:47 am

      Gonna go get some elderberry today before this flu season gets started! It really does help. 🙂 your blog blesses all of us in so many ways…makes me smile.

      • Reply
        November 2, 2019 at 4:36 pm

        Ms Sherry I’m firm believer in elderberry, google the studies of tamiflu vs elderberry very intersting read, I take it everyday even during summer, haven’t even had a common cold in years.

  • Reply
    carol roy
    November 2, 2019 at 6:35 am

    Hi Tipper…enjoy all your writings each and every one….also the girls with their singing…my how they are doing well. Happy November from Canada!

  • Reply
    marshall reagan
    November 2, 2019 at 6:35 am

    I don,t remember ever having the flu when I grew up because our house was not tight enough
    for the flu to have a chance to survive. if any of us (10) kids complained about not feeling good
    mom would give all of a dose of castor oil to clean us out . I had graduated from school & was
    on my own before I ever had the flu.

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