Tag Archives: Kimberly Duncan

Not Our First Case of Malaria

Malaria[Stephanie]: We inaugurated our time there [Ben Lippen High School] by getting malaria the first week of school.

[Marcia]: Mhmm.

[Voices]: Awwww!

[Kimberly]: That was the other thing we had gotten there. But then I didn’t have any US diseases or colds or anything until the chicken pox came around. So, yeah, we did better between malaria and chicken pox.



[Marcia]: I know. I think the school was in an uproar because they had this one, you know, Stephanie came down with malaria and they, the pharmacist filled the prescriptions incorrectly, so they gave her too much of one kind of medicine for her body weight. She had a reaction to it. She was a mess. But I had talked to the doctor on the phone and said, “You know”—they wanted to give them quinine—I said, “We never give them quinine.”

She said, “I have to give them quinine according to the CDC protocol.

[Kimberly]: Was Dad [Steve] . . . ?

[Stephanie]: Dad was still in Brazil.

[Marcia]: Dad had not come back yet. He took. .  . .

[Stephanie]: He had gone to Brazil for a conference.

[Marcia]: OK. So you [Steve] were going to come and meet up with us, but you weren’t back yet. I came down and put the kids, put them into school and went over and was at Elizabeth’s house while that, during that initial time. Anyway. . . .

[Stephanie]: We were also not supposed to be leaving school during the first month. That was part of the complication. My mom wasn’t there initially because we weren’t supposed to leave school or see our parents for the first month, oh and leave campus.

[Marcia]: Anyway, I talked to the doctor on the phone, but she told me she had to give them quinine. I just felt that that would be problematic. But anyway, the medicine also was, because it was switched around, it was the wrong amount. So she ended up in the hospital.

I told them, “You know, we’re not used into going in the hospital for malaria. It would really be better if she could just stay at the school and not be in the hospital, but she ended up in the hospital. So then I ended up going over there and staying with her in the hospital.

And then Kimberly got up one morning and had a headache. She went to the nurse and she said, . . .

[Kimberly]: “I’ve got malaria.”

[Marcia]: “I’ve got malaria.”

So the nurse said, “A-ha! We’re not taking you in to that hospital!”

The hospital in Columbia was a teaching hospital, so Stephanie had had every intern in the place come down to see this rare case of malaria.

So the nurse, who had lived overseas and knew a little bit about malaria, said, “OK. We’re going to take your blood first. We’re going to get it tested.” Sure enough, she had it, but by then they’d figured out how to give the dosage right. And didn’t you stay in the dorm and get better?

[Kimberly]: I stayed in the dorm.

[Marcia]: Took your medication and got better.

[Kimberly]: I got better. I still had the ear ringing and [can’t hear].

[Marcia]: Anyway.

[Kimberly]: Anyway, I was over it in, like, a week or less. Steph was sick for about two weeks and had a worse case than I had.

[Marcia]: So it was not our first case of malaria. We had had malaria a lot in Angola.

[Heidi]: That’s the shortest malaria.

[Kimberly]: Well, no, I mean I got really good at it in Jamba. I could diagnose it quick, right. This was the whole thing. I could have diagnosed Stephanie and treated her myself and she would have been fine.

[Heidi]: Better off.



[Kimberly]: We didn’t have any Fansidar around. We didn’t have Dad around, so that didn’t work out.

[Marcia]: Well, and I remember that your house-parents had said to me something about you having. . . .

[Stephanie]: They were trying to dose me with blueberries [? word unclear].

[Marcia]: And I said to her, I said to the house-parents, I said, “If she’s not better by Monday”—or whatever—“you have to start thinking malaria.” Because we knew the symptoms.

[Kimberly]: Because [can’t hear] we got home, right? Wasn’t it right after we got home?

[Dawn]: It was hardly two weeks.

[Mary Lynn]: Were you a few hours away that you couldn’t go to them?

[Marcia]: I don’t remember why I didn’t drive over there and take things into hand. I don’t know.

[Stephanie]: Well, I think initially it was kind of like a question of whatever. I mean maybe the house-parents were questioning what I was sick with. And there was this whole rule about not seeing your parents for the first month. I think they were just trying to help students, like, get through that rough patch.

[Marcia]: Because it was a . . . yeah.

[Stephanie]: School hadn’t really officially started yet. Kim and I were there because they were having an MK program for MKs. School hadn’t started. It was a dorm for us and the house-parents. There was a lot of back-and-forth. Part of it was [unclear].

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife), Kimberly, and Stephanie (Steve’s daughters) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with interjections from Dawn and Heidi (Steve’s daughters) and Mary Lynn (Lee’s daughter-in-law); transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • What were those house-parents’ names?
  • Where was the malaria-knowledgeable nurse when Stephanie got it? Why didn’t she intervene then?
  • What was the conference in Brazil about?
  • What weird diseases have you had in your travels? Where and why were you traveling? What happened?
  • Anybody remember the childhood diseases stories for the eight? Dad? Lee? Betty?

They’re Twins, They’re Girls, They’re Identical

We came back and we lived in Waltham [Mass.] for a year. Steve a year of internship at what was then Waltham Hospital [now Boston Children’s at Waltham]. Then he did residency at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, where he had done that externship.

It was during that time that I got pregnant again, and so we were pretty sure that—we found out we were going to have twins. That was kind of unexpected. It did come from my grandmother; [she] always used to tell me that she had a miscarriage that would have been twins if she had carried them to term. My aunt always wanted to have twins and never had them, but my cousin did have twins. She had fraternal twins and our twins are identical. They say that that isn’t so much a part of your heritage as fraternal twins are. At any rate, we followed the twin tradition.

My mother thought we should have a boy in the mix, so when Steve announced—and we thought we would, just because that was most—statistically that was most common. Then we had two girls [Kimberly and Stephanie]. He called up my mother and said, “Guess what? We have two girls!” And she said, “Oh, no!”

[Dawn]: Did she?

[Heidi]: Yeah.

[Dawn]: I love it because she came outside and she said, “Your mom had two girls.” And I said, “Oh, no! I wanted a brother.” And she scolded me!

[Stephanie?]: She had done it herself.

Anyway, so then we moved. When Dawn and Heidi. . . .

[Victoria]: How many years between you [Dawn and the twins]?

[Dawn]: Six.

Dawn is six years older than the twins and Heidi is two years older than the twins. The twins were 14 months and Dawn was in second grade—is that right?—when we moved out to South Dakota?

Steve Duncan Girls, 1982

Heidi, Dawn, Kimberly, Stephanie, Christmastime, 1982

[Dawn]: Yup.

Heidi was. . . .

[Heidi]: Toddling.

Not in school yet. And we lived in South Dakota for five years [1977–1982] and then we came back to the East Coast, raised our support and went to Angola. Dawn was in seventh grade and Heidi was in third grade and the twins were in first grade when we went to Angola [1983].

Then gradually they all—I homeschooled them in Angola. Dawn left in tenth grade to go to Ben Lippen School and Heidi wanted to go sooner because she didn’t want to do all the work that Dawn was doing in school.

[Heidi]: She had to do homeschool in ninth grade and it was just like uuuggghhh.

[Stephanie]: That was back when homeschooling was in its infancy and you had no options except the University of Nebraska.

We had University of Nebraska, a high school course from the University of Nebraska.

[Stephanie]: GED, basically a GED course.

Heidi went off when she was in ninth grade to Ben Lippen. Then we came home on furlough and lived in Sumter, South Carolina, for four months in a colleague’s house when the twins entered school. They weren’t too keen on being at Ben Lippen, but we said, “Try it.”

[Kimberly?]: [can’t hear] We were like kicking and screaming.

We said, “Try it.” We were on furlough. We stayed there until Christmastime and then they came home with us for Christmas break. Then they went back and stayed.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with interjections from Kimberly, Dawn, Heidi, and Stephanie (Steve’s daughters) and Victoria TJ Ramey’s wife; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

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  • Which grandmother was it who had the miscarriage?
  • I’m thinking Heidi went to Ben Lippen in 1988 and Kim and Steph went in 1990. Is that right?

Steve Falters on Dermatology, Kids Contract Chicken Pox

Steve Wearing Laurel Wreath at Medical School Graduation, 1974, courtesy of Marcia Duncan

Steve Wearing Laurel Wreath at Medical School Graduation, 1974, Harley Smith and Marcia Duncan also pictured, courtesy of Marcia Duncan

All his exams were oral and his graduation was also a combination of a—he had to represent his dissertation to a panel of medical doctors. And you could invite all your friends to come. Uncle Harley came over from France for his graduation.

So he sits at a table with this horseshoe of professors and he has to answer questions on his dissertation. Then they pronounced him with his medical degree. Then friends of ours brought a big laurel wreath, Italian friends, and put it around him. We probably have some pictures with us.

[Heidi]: Then they kicked him out of medical school.

Steve Being Booted Out of Medical School, 1974

Steve Being Booted Out of Medical School, 1974

Yes, that’s right. They had a tradition of all your friends line up in two rows and you run down between them and they kick you out of medical school.

Dawn, actually, was about three then, three and a half, and Heidi had just been born. Heidi was supposed to be born after he finished his final exams, but Heidi came a few days early. Heidi was born at something like, what, two o’clock in the morning? Then he had, that morning, he had—was it a pharmacology exam?

[Steve]: Dermatology.

A dermatology exam. So he walks into his examination and the professor asked him, “What happened to you?” because he’d been up most of the night. He said, “I just had a baby!”

Heidi was—basically we had to wait a month before we could fly home, in terms of her age.

We went home via France to visit Harley and Betty one more time.

[Dawn]: We got to stay there extra long.

We got to stay there extra long because one morning we woke up and Dawn had a pock on her face. Lo and behold, she had broken out with chicken pox, so we had to wait until she was no longer contagious before we could get on the flight.

[Stephanie]: Way to go, Dawn.

[TJ]: You all know that you’re eligible for shingles later on?

[Dawn]: I know it. My mother-in-law. . . .

[Stephanie]: Looking forward to it.

[TJ]: Patti had shingles and before it she had chicken pox. When she did, they kept me away from them. I didn’t have chicken pox.

[Victoria]: Maybe you did.

[Virginia?]: I never have had any.

Heidi, at a month old, eventually had one little pock on her face, so I don’t know if that means she had chicken pox or not. Kimberly and Stephanie got it in [Ben Lippen] high school.

[Stephanie]: Our junior year. We both came down with the chicken pox.

[Virginia?]: Ohhhhh. At the same time, huh?

[Stephanie]: Well, we had house-parents and their kids had chicken pox. I babysat for them. I think that’s how it all went down. It’s a little confusing because there were a bunch of people who came down at the same time with it. I was babysitting for them. Also a friend of mine. It was going around the school. It was the only thing I ever came down with in high school. I never even had a cold all through the years we were there. But it came through this particular set of house parents and their children. A bunch of us got it at the same time, but it was right before our final exams our junior year. I just remember that because I was in agony trying to study and we got it bad.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with interjections from Steve, Dawn, Heidi, and Stephanie (Steve’s daughters), Virginia Gorman (Lee’s daughter), TJ Ramey (Kathryn’s son), and Victoria his wife; transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • Any other Smith and Steve Duncan family stories from the “extra long” stay in France?
  • Anyone else have chicken pox or other childhood/epidemic diseases stories?
  • Any other stories from the trip home?
  • Mom and Dad/Marcia and Steve, can you send digital copies of the laurel wreath and kicking out photos for this story? Thanks.

Steve Suggests He’s Caesar

CeasarI started with my father Taylor Albert Duncan. It was senior. He was, I was the last child, his last child, and I was an unexpected child.

And so there’s Virginia, my mother, at age 18 or 17. Something like that. [Shows photograph.]

[Someone Else]: Nineteen?

Nineteen? This is her, yes. Pretty, wasn’t she?

So they—my mother Virginia White Duncan—they were twelve years separated in age. When I was born, she was forty years old. I was sort of unexpected. In fact the doctor had told her that I would not, that she would not have any more children. I’m not sure what I am. [Laughter].

[Someone Else]: You kinda opened yourself up there for suggestions.

Right. I was born and I was born by cesarean, which is something. . . .

[Someone Else]: Are you saying you’re from the Dark Ages?

[Kimberly]: Emperor of Rome is what he’s trying to suggest.

Cesarean was first done, or at least historically, by Caesar or his mother’s doctor. Or somebody.

[Somebody Else]: Are you making this up?

No. No. No. That’s true. That’s why it’s called a Caesar.

Anyway, I was the last of six of Virginia’s children.

[Heidi]: Virginia was told at the beginning that shouldn’t have kids, right? And then she just kept having them?

[Other Voices]: I don’t remember hearing that.

[Heidi]: Am I wrong in that or was it just you?

She never told me that, but I should never have—she just told me I should never have been born.

story told by Steve to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014; recorded and transcribed by Dawn [Steve’s daughter]

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