I have a couple of long flights ahead, so there are three new novels on the Kindle--that should certainly be enough. Plus if I don't like any of them I can reread some old favorites. It is so pleasant to have a whole library in my purse! I do prefer real books in the hand and on the lap; there's nothing like the feeling of a real book. But I learned while donating and throwing out hundreds of them after Patrick died and I was moving, that there is both physical and emotional weight to real books. I don't want my family to feel guilty when I die with a house full of them (and heaven knows there are still enough in this house.) There's no weight at all to abandoning a Kindle.
Then, on to the stitching project. I'm working on a piece for HERstory about Frances Oldham Kelsey, the woman who prevented Thalidomide from being sold in the US. A brilliant Canadian scholar (Ph.D., M.D.), she was a new employee at the FDA in 1960, assigned to vet and approve this new drug that treated morning sickness and insomnia in pregnant women. As it had been marketed in over 40 countries since 1956 and was available over the counter in Europe, approval was assumed by the drug companies and her superiors thought this would be an easy first assignment. Dr. Kelsey noted very limited documentation of testing of the drug and requested more information. Manufacturers insisted this was unnecessary and unavailable, applying pressure at higher levels in the administration but Kelsey persisted. In the meantime, physicians in Germany and Australia documented a link between a cluster of babies born with unusual, severe birth defects and the use of Thalidomide by their mothers during pregnancy.. Thousands of children were born with defects in arms, hands, legs and feet; some were born without ears. Many died in infancy. Once the connection was made in 1961, Kelsey became a hero; the tragedy lead directly to passage of the Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments of 1962, providing strong regulation for the introduction of new drugs in the United States. Dr. Kelsey received many awards and remained with the FDA for the next 45 years, retiring in 2005 at the age of 90. She died at 101 in her daughter's home in Canada.
I wanted to use the text of the Drug Amendments of 1962, as this is the true legacy of Dr. Kelsey's strong stand. Lots of stitching in perle cotton, with stamps of hands and feet.
I plan to take the piece with me to Denmark, probably finishing the stitching while I'm there. Then facing and labeling when I get home to the sewing machine.
This is a photo of Frances Kelsey in her younger years, about when she was dealing with the Thalidomide controversy. The photographer is unknown. I love the purposeful look in her eyes.