It's also especially sad to know that what happened to Mariam still happens to people today. The isolationism effect still exists in a lot of countries where leprosy cures are not as readily available and its contagiousness is considered dangerous.
Secondly, I found this sentence scary "She was thirty-two, old enough to be grandmother..." Woah! I kind of freaked out when I read that! And then I reread it. Thirty-two and old enough to be a grandmother... man times have really changed. 32 is pretty much normal for motherhood to begin, let alone grandmotherhood. I mean, I know that this was the case throughout history, since life was so much shorter, and usually women has children at much earlier ages, but. It is still kind of ridiculous don't you think?
I wonder, did the age in which women became grandmother go up gradually as life expectancy went up? Or were their other factors that affected the change in age?