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Mountains of Memories - Dr. Edward Northrop

By Janie Ford Lank - momthepoet@yahoo.com

Doctor Edward J. Northrop was born Feb. 3, 1950 in Frankfort to George and Lillian Northrop. He was the brother between two sisters.

“I grew up east of Geetingsville and started school at Owen,” he said. “They kept changing the dividing line, and I then had to go to Forest and then Michigantown. I graduated at Clinton Central with the class of 1968.

From the seventh grade, Northrop knew he wanted to be a veterinarian.

“Grandma had dairy cows and Dad raised hogs,” he said. “We had a horse and other animals. I loved them and wanted to help them. I went to Purdue with a double major. I received a bachelor’s degree in 1972 and Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine in 1975. I did an internship with Doctor Hendrickson, while still in Vet school. After graduation I worked for Doctor Hendrickson a few months. I then opened my own practice on a farm outside Mulberry, taking care of large animals.

“Later I opened a practice near Geetingsville for a year or two,” he added. “At that time, Doctor Hendrickson asked me to come work with him again. I agreed and worked with the farm animals while he did pets. I am still in the same building we had back then. Doctor Hendrickson decided to be a minister and he sold the business to me.”

Dr. Northrop married Susa Schroeder in 1990, and they raised a son and a daughter.

“We are still enjoying married life,” he said. “I feel lucky and blessed. Sometimes we create our own luck by making the right decisions. That is how I was able to do my dream job. Many go to a job they hate every day. My advice to others is to go for your dream, get good grades, go for scholarships. Don’t put money in anything until you are sure what you want.”

Dr. Northrop shared an “unusual” memory from a cold night in January of 1980.

“I received a call to come to the Floyd Curtis farm to help him deliver a calf from a cow that had been in labor all day,” he said. “At first, I thought the calf was in the right position. The front feet were out, and I could feel one nose. I thought, maybe the calf is upside down.

“When I tried to pull it out head first, I felt another head,” he continued. “Well, thinking this was twins, I tried to find the other body but to no avail. I said, ‘Floyd, you’re not going to believe this, but this calf has two heads.’ It was quite a shock. We then proceeded to deliver the calf by Cesarean section. The calf did have two heads. It was dead and could not have survived as it had a cleft palate on both sides. It had two skulls fused at the back. The two noses were separate, and the calf had a third ear on the forehead where the skulls were joined. This is a very rare occurrence.”

Dr. Northrop says that he did not sow any wild oats in his youth.

“However, as I got older, I sometimes liked to play practical jokes,” he said. “There was a company out by junction 47 and 39 that made horse feed. They called it ‘Do More Horse Feed.’ We fed it to our horses and my cousin fed it to his horses and his chickens. Early one morning, my girlfriend and I went to my cousin’s house. I took along a goose egg, and I slipped into his chicken house and placed it in the nest of one of the setting hens. We then went in to his house to have breakfast with him. I knew he would go out to gather fresh eggs for our breakfast. I kept a straight face when he came in with that goose egg and a surprise look on his face. He was sure that Do More Horse Feed had caused this chicken to lay this big egg. Later that day, he told me he had called Purdue about the horse feed’s ability to make chickens lay big eggs. Purdue was coming out to his house, so I had to confess my prank.”

Dr. Northrop was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.

“If I had went to the doctor when I first had symptoms the outcome would have been much better for me,” he said. “Please do not wait when things are not right. However, when sickness hits, attitude goes a long way to help your survival chances. Keep positive, exercise and practice good nutrition.

“Do things you enjoy,” he added. “Once a year I go to Saint Mathew preschool, and we do four programs a week, showing the preschoolers how to treat animals. We teach them about food, water and how to be kind. When we can find a baby lamb, we take it along with a gentle dog. I look forward to this event every year. I have a hobby of wood working. I have made many urns for animals and wood tool boxes.

“Retirement is coming my way. I may be forced to retire, for my health. However, I will work as long as possible, for I am still doing my dream job.”