On the night of Feb. 8, when the mercury was at 18 below zero, Herman H. Day, 66, had the hard luck to fall down outside his house at 68 Glenwood Ave. Unnoticed, he spent the night in the snow before he was found and taken to Pittsfield General Hospital.
When they brought him in, he had a temperature of 71.5, one of the lowest ever recorded. PGH brought his temperature up gradually with a new device called the hypothermia machine. With intense and careful management, the PGH staff has brought Mr. Day back to his usual good health and spirits. He lost parts of some fingers from frostbite, but it's conjectured that even that might not have happened if he'd been wearing gloves.
At any rate, Mr. Day was discovered today sitting in his hospital room, complete with a bottle of beer, a big cigar, and a twinkle in his eye. He was working on somebody's income tax.
Mr. Day is an accountant. He worked for a long time for South Street Motors and in recent years has free-lanced, taking care of the books for a number of firms. Piled on his hospital table were various ledgers, and plenty of income tax forms.
Can he get up and walk around?
"Oh yes," he said.
How does he feel?
"Very good," he said. "I sleep good, and as far as food is concerned I can practically order anything I want."
Mr. Day gives the major credit for his still being part of this world to his chief physician, Dr. J. Ryder Neary. "I give him all the credit that's due," he says. "He's a wonderful man."
Mr. Day is a short, slight man — 5 feet 4 in height, weighing 112 pounds. He is a young 66. He has all his hair and no gray in it. He reads even newspapers without glasses.
He is slightly handicapped in that he's lost most of his fingers of his right hand. "They've got my right hand strapped to my stomach," he pointed out. This is to effect a skin graft over the finger stumps. He also lost the little finger of his left hand, but that seems to have already healed, and Mr. Day is becoming quite a good left-handed writer.
Holding up a crossword puzzle, he said, smiling, "Here's a sample of my left-handed printing."
Mr. Day was born in England and served during World War I in the King's Own Yorkshire Infantry. Back in the thirties, when all it took to shake the world was whether King Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson would get together, The Eagle asked Mr. Day, as an authentic Englishman, what he thought of the situation. As a prophet, he batted 1,000. The lead paragraph of that story, still in Mr. Day's file at The Eagle, states:
"'King Edward VIII will marry Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson in spite of everything,' says Herman H. Day of this city …"