Good Morning Doctor! - Chapter 28
A towheaded little boy of four, whose parents kept a store in the same block as our office, ran a big sliver into his finger one day and came up to the office where Mrs. Rohlf cared for him. Then and there the boy and Mrs. Rohlf became friends, and it wasn't long before she was Aunt Lottie and I was Uncle Doctor.
That was in the horse and buggy days and the lad took delight in going with me to make my calls. We used to have long talks about things in general and "doctoring" in particular. By the time my little friend was old enough to start kindergarten he had decided that he was going to be a doctor. And faithful to that idea he continued to accompany me on calls; when I got my first car he went with me as before.
Herbert went through the grades and was graduated from high school. In all that time there were few days that he didn't stoat our home or our office for a little while. Every Sunday afternoon, even through his high school days, he came to visit with Mrs. Rohlf.
By the time he was graduated from high school he and I had dreamed for many years that we would some day be partners. But the war came and interrupted our plans. He joined the navy, making seventeen trips across the Atlantic on a ship which convoyed American troops. After the war was over and he was honorably discharged we took up where we had left off. He entered the college of medicine at the State University of Iowa, my Alma Mater.
In 1925 he was graduated and became an interne at the General Hospital in Montreal, Canada, completing his internship there. Before he left Montreal for a few weeks of study in New York City, he and his lovely sweetheart of college days were married in an historic cathedral there. So the trip to New York was their honeymoon, too. After its conclusion they came to Waverly to make their home and Herbert became my assistant.
It was the first of January, 1930, that our dream of the years came true. No longer doctor and assistant, we became partners. I shall never forget the day that I ordered our new office stationery: "Dr. W. A. Rohlf, surgeon. Dr. H. W. Rathe, physician."
I have long since ceased to be Uncle Doctor. I had in turn become "Doctor" and then "W. A." But I am "Uncle Bill" to Herbert's three children, and once a year I get letters from them addressed to "Uncle Santa."
Photograph of Herbert Rathe, age 4, from the Rathe Family Archive