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Doctor Margie: Country Physician

Doctor Margie: Country Physician

Автором Don Roper

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Doctor Margie: Country Physician

Автором Don Roper

3/5 (1 оценка)
124 pages
1 hour
Mar 29, 2013


Marjorie Ferrell was always a bit precocious. She could count to a hundred before she was three, and when she showed up for the first grade it only took the authorities a day or two to recognize that she belonged in the second. She completed college in three years and was accepted as one of three women in the medical school class of 1943, which she completed in another three (aided by wartime acceleration of the program).
When she opened a medical practice in her hometown of Bullard, Texas, folks could only think of her as the little girl they remembered riding her bicycle down Main Street. However, they soon realized they had a hero in the making and quickly dubbed her "Dr. Margie." This is her story.
Mar 29, 2013

Об авторе

Dan Roper had the opportunity to observe his mother in action and was initially repelled by the sacrifices inherent in a medical career. After graduating from Bullard High School he attended the U. S. Air Force Academy, but his goal of becoming an Air Force Pilot was thwarted by poor eyesight. He compensated by attending his mother's medical school and becoming an ophthalmologist. He had to wait for his mother to retire before he could do likewise, but keeps active with locum tennens and volunteer work. His first novel, "The Eye of the Hurricane" did not permit him to quit his day job. He and his wife, Ann, reside in Fort Walton Beach, Florida when they are not visiting Bullard or grandchildren on both coasts.

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Doctor Margie - Don Roper


© 2013 by Dan Roper. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Published by AuthorHouse 03/27/2013

ISBN: 978-1-4817-2238-4 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4817-2242-1 (e)

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
























I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to Jane Pirtle, Professor of History at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville for her extensive interviews with Dr. Margie, which provided much of the background material for this book. Also, many thanks go to Gail Moore for faithfully transcribing the audio tapes into a usable, written format.

Additional thanks go to Harriet (Roper) Page for arranging the transcription and editorial assistance; to Richard Roper for proof reading and obtaining professional review; and to Tom Roper for administrative assistance and photo editing.

Additional photographic and textual editing was provided by Amy (Roper) McKeethan and Jan Berry.


When Oran Ferrell stepped out into the bright, spring noontime, he had no inkling he was about to alter the course of history in his small corner of East Texas. A young graduate from Northwestern University School of Pharmacy, Oran had only recently secured a position at Irion Drug on Tyler’s picturesque central square. Still reeling from the death of his young wife from influenza, complicated by pneumonia, and having to send his seven year-old daughter, Dorothy, to live with her grandparents, he was hoping for a fresh start and he considered himself lucky to have found work in a stagnant, post WWI economy.

It had been a busy morning; measuring and pouring various elixirs from large, apothecary jars into smaller vials, rolling and counting pills, along with other various and sundry tasks required of a pharmacist in the year 1919. Having only a half-hour break, he briskly paced the few blocks to a nearby luncheonette. Even though the hour was getting late, the crowd was slow to dissipate, leaving only a single vacant stool at the counter. As he awkwardly maneuvered onto it, he managed to upset the water glass belonging to a young lady who was just starting to eat her sandwich. While profusely apologizing, he inwardly congratulated himself for having created a clever introductory tactic once he recognized how attractive she really was. She did not seem at all offended, rather attempted to excuse his clumsiness by suggesting that the counter stools were unusually closely spaced. He managed a brief comment regarding the beautiful spring weather they were experiencing while she finished her meal, and then rushed off to her class.

Oran was unfamiliar with schools in the immediate area, but the waitress informed him that Tyler Commercial College was nearby; and that students and faculty frequently dropped in for a quick bite between classes. The Chatterbox Café quickly became his favorite lunch spot, not so much for the food but he yearned for another encounter with the girl in the wet dress. He had managed to spot her on occasion, but the timing was never right; she would be leaving as he was entering or vice versa. Ultimately, at one of these chance meetings, he summoned the courage to ask if he might join her at lunch sometime. She said her name was Harriett Self, called Hattie by her friends, then briefly outlined her class schedule and set a time for the next day.

Oran was ecstatic; he spent the remainder of the afternoon and into the evening preparing papers of powdered medicaments and rolled an ample supply of pills that would enable him to escape on time the following morning for his lunch date. He arrived at the Chatterbox early in order to secure a table at the rear of the dining room. Before Harriet arrived, he ordered for both of them to maximize the time available for conversation. He eventually learned that she had come to TCC with the intent of becoming a telegraph operator. However, with the advent of radio and telephonic communications, the demand for telegraphers had fallen off drastically, therefore she had switched her fields of study to typing and bookkeeping. She had just recently completed her formal training but was significantly proficient that she was asked to remain as an instructor.

Hattie was equally fascinated with his tales of pharmacy school in the Windy City of Chicago. The 1893 Columbian Exposition was still fresh on Chicagoan’s collective memory and Oran regaled her with little known but interesting facts concerning Cracker Jack snacks, spray paint, electric lighting, Ferris wheels and other firsts that had been introduced at this world’s fair.

These luncheons became more frequent and eventually progressed to the next level; evening movies at the nearby Liberty, Arcadia, and Tyler theaters. Oran struggled with how to explain the facts concerning his previous marriage and the daughter now living with relatives in Gilmer. When he finally broached this delicate topic he was stunned by her reply, That’s wonderful I was wondering how to tell you that I am, likewise, widowed and also have a son, Robert, living with his grandparents, in Honey Grove, Texas.

These combined revelations cemented their relationship and the ensuing whirlwind romance cumulated with their official union on May 20, 1920. The happy couple, with their newly blended family, prospered with the acquisition of a pair of drug stores and a railroad foreman’s four-room section house in the nearby town of Bullard, twelve miles to the south. Events in Bullard moved rather quickly with the consolidation of both stores into the building situated just across the alleyway from the house on West Emma Street. Things settled down just in time for the arrival of their first child together, delivered by Dr. Chambers in the southeast bedroom on June 7, 1921. Weighing in at 12 ½ pounds, Marjorie Carolyn, named after Hattie’s deceased, older sister, would set the standard for large babies in the decades to come.

Oran Luther Ferrell (Papa) (1884-1966), Marjorie’s Father

Harriet Holmes Self (1894-1976), Marjorie’s Mother

Dorothy in 1921 attending to her baby sister, Marjorie

Little has been recorded of Marjorie’s first year except that Hattie became pregnant again and, slightly more than a year later, gave birth to a boy on September 6, 1922. Oran Ferrell, Jr., affectionately called Buddie became Marjorie’s constant companion and playmate. The other two siblings, almost a decade older, were already in school, leaving Marjorie ample opportunity to instruct Buddie on the finer points of healing the myriad ailments rampant in her growing doll collection. Buddie was OK with the care and feeding of Marjorie’s dolls, but drew the line when it came to getting his hands dirty, a necessary evil in the preparation of mud pies required for the dolls’ nutrition.

Marjorie became a bit

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  • (3/5)
    Giving this 3 stars, not because it's so well written (which it isn't), but because it's about the life of an extraordinary woman who lives in a small East Texas town 5 miles south of my house, who I have had the privilege of knowing for the past 12 years.Dr. Marjorie Roper practiced general medicine in Bullard, Texas from 1945 to 2006 and is still today, at age 93, volunteering her time at the Mission House clinic of the Methodist church in Bullard. This book, written by her son, is often amateurish in its pose, but the story of Dr. Margie is the story of an exceptional woman who was years ahead of her time.