Key West is a ghost town. Today, without question. Coronavirus responsible.
A ghost town in another regard. Many ghost stories involving Key West. The Conchs believe them, as do those who have lived in Key West for many years.
Some ghosts good, some bad. One of the best, if not the best, is Mother Gustens. Her full name Maria Valdez de Gustens.
Though not a doctor, and I believe not even a nurse, Maria ran Mercedes Hospital in Key West. The hospital was located at 1209 Virginia Street.
Named Mercedes after Eduardo H. Gato who built and donated the building. Gato was a very successful cigar maker. Employed hundreds. He built his family home on what is now Bayview Park.
At some point in time, he decided to move the house to 1209 Virginia Street. It became and still is known as the Gato House, except when referred to as Mercedes Hospital.
Gato donated the building to be used as a hospital. The one condition being that it was to be named after his wife Mercedes. Thus Mercedes Hospital was born.
During the hospital’s life, Maria was recognized as a caring person. The patients loved her.
Mercedes Hospital closed at the beginning of World War II. It became an apartment house. Closed as an apartment building thereafter and left deserted for years. The building became run down, windows shattered, etc.
The only life were the cock fights that were frequently held in the back yard.
The building was reopened as an apartment house. Again, the name Gato House.
A female tenant was living in one of the apartments with her boy friend. She was not sleeping well.
It was the middle of the night when she woke. A woman was holding her wrist. She appeared to be taking the woman’s temperature.
She was stout and short. Hair in a bun. Wore a gray dress with long sleeves and a high collar.
It is assumed the woman was Maria/Mother Gustens. She disappeared as soon as the woman woke.
Thus was born the ghost story involving Mother Gustens and the Gato House.
It is said Mother Gustens walks the building today seeking out those who might be ill.
This past week, I made a new friend. Her name Cathy. From Seattle. She was in Fort Lauderdale visiting. We “sort of” met via skype. Sloan set me up with skype last sunday. Something to keep me busy while quarantined.
Cathy tried to reach me via skype. We never met before. Have not yet. Not even by skype. I kept getting screwed up at my end. However, we did talk via phone.
Cathy is an administrator at a Seattle hospital.
She told me she used to live in Key West in 1987. At the Gato House.
It was November and Cathy was not feeling well. She had a heavy cold. Felt miserable.
She was asleep when she felt someone touching her arm. She swears it was Mother Gustens. She was not afraid. The woman smiled and left.
Sloan worked with me early this morning one computer to another. She refuses to get near me. She is still working full time. Out there with all the germs.
We appear to have corrected the skype problem. I have not been able to use it yet. The only person I have with a skype address is Cathy. She is on a plane back to Seattle at the moment. Can’t wait till tomorrow.
Today is day 23 of my self quarantine. Left my house for the first time at 7 this morning. Merely to walk to my car and start it. Concerned about the battery. Then to check the mail. My mail box is a short par 3 300 feet away.
I anticipated the box would be full. I was surprised. Three pieces of mail and a Winn Dixie grocery advertisement. Made sense. Few working anywhere. Even mail has to stop.
Some Key West news.
The Green Parrot and the Bourbon Street Pub announced that when they reopen, smoking will not be permitted. I’m glad I had to stop smoking because of my pancreatitis attack back when. The “no smoking” at these 2 establishments will not bother me.
Amy Culver is one of the best known and loved women in Key West. Loves Africa. A frequent visitor.
Amy was not feeling well. Tested. Yes, she had coronavirus. She is doing home confinement.
Amy one tough lady. No stranger to tragedy. She will handle it. I wish her well.
The statistics continue creeping up. Coronavirus was a low number last week. Now, 33 confirmed cases in Monroe County. Sixteen of them in Key West. And 1 dead. Horrible!
The authorities provided little information. Thus far all that has been revealed is the person was a 55 year old male who had an underlying problem. Where he lived within the County not yet provided the public.
The Key West bus system closes down tonight at 8. Will remain closed till further notice.
I have never ridden a Key West bus. A dear friend has been driving one for years. She drives bus and works part time for the Key West Citizen. Sheila Cullen. I hope the unemployment checks move rapidly. As well as the stimulus dollars. Other wise, Sheila could end up sleeping on my couch.
Now for some coronavirus occurrences.
Read an article about New York City paramedics this morning. Sad. The job has become mentally unbearable.
The sick and their families know the relative is going “to die” when removed from the home. The “hospitals are totally full.” The patients know they will probably die. Without family around them. In pain because of lack of necessary equipment.
One paramedic described the hospitals as “war zones.”
Captain Brett Crozier has been “relieved of duty.” The reason “poor judgment.” The Captain was the Commanding Officer of the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. A crew of 5,000.
Coronavirus aboard. The numbers small. However, increasing.
The Captain did not believe “news” of the Roosevelt’s problem was being properly attended to. He went “public.”
That is why he lost his job.
This is a situation where I believe the result might be proper. The Captain should have handled the matter in house. He could have yelled and screamed. Stepped on toes.
The result would have been the same, however. Relieved of duty!
We are not always rewarded for doing the right thing.
The numbers came out yesterday. Unemployment requests last week 6.6 million. The week before in excess of 3 million.
They will receive checks. The system provides for it and in effect the government guarantees payment.
My concern is where does the money come from? The answer is simple. The government prints what it needs. Technically, the Fed adds a few zeroes here and there and the money appears! As someone once said, out of the wind, out of nowhere.
Our society is collapsing. Nothing we can do about it. First, we have to get the virus behind us. Then deal with the economic problems which will be hugh.
As the song suggests, the fiddler must be paid.
Our health care systems and hospitals are getting killed financially. All that business! Who is paying the tab, however?
Trump say don’t worry. Insurance companies forgiving deductibles. No one cared for in a hospital for the virus will be charged.
Pie in the sky!
The health care systems though having more business than ever are losing money daily in big numbers. Too many coronavirus patients. Too many cancelled visits by those with other medical problems.
Staff is being reduced. Hours cut. Clinics and outpatient facilities closing.
We are in a war! The enemy is tough!
The sun is shining. Look up and smile. This too shall pass.
Enjoy your day!