Thursday, February 02, 2006

DECISIONS

Story contd

The boy’s visit had unsettled me and I started to plan the future. Deciding on nursing for a career, Gran and I did some research and discovered that there was a famous Sick Children’s Hospital in a nearby city, which had an excellent training school. One of her ‘babies ‘had trained there.

I planned to take School Certificate and leave school at sixteen. I wanted to get out and engage with the real world as soon as possible. The snag was you had to be at least seventeen and a half. Most students were eighteen and you couldn’t take State Finals until you were twenty –one.

After correspondence with the hospital Mum and I were invited for an interview. I was physically examined by a young doctor in front of Mum and Home Sister – he was as embarrassed as I was – and than we went in the lion’s den to meet Matron. After a barrage of questions she said provided I got School Cert. – and the school had told her this was virtually a certainty – I would be accepted and could choose to go to the Convalescent Home, belonging to the Hospital, as soon as I left school. It was situated at the sea-side forty miles from home. We were shown round the hospital and I revelled at the room I, eventually, would have all to myself.

Whoopee! Mum and I celebrated with coffee and Fuller’s Iced Walnut Cake in a café and then saw Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in ‘Brief Encounter’ How we wept!

‘You see Mum after I’ve got my RSCN at twenty-one – that knocks a year off my SRN training and then I can do Midwifery.’ The Government had a Five Year Plan – why not me?
First things first – I didn’t share the school’s confidence in my academic ability and I quailed at the thought of being examined on four years study of eight subjects. Chemistry was all Greek to me. My parents never nagged me to work. Rather Mum would say.
‘Come on Pat- you’ve done enough!’ And I would groan inwardly – God if only she knew!
For the next few months my head was buried in a book – often ‘Gone with the Wind’ but also school tomes.

By now Evan had completed the hat-trick and joined me at school but of course he was a mere Lower Third-er. There was a bit of a Hoo –Ha when Dad received a letter from Paul Gray asking for Maddie’s hand in marriage. He was being repatriated from India and sent out to Japan. Maddie would only be eighteen but as Mum was the same age when she married Dad they couldn’t take the moral high ground and in any case if Maddie made up her mind to do something…I relished the thought of being a bridesmaid – for the third time.

Finally the exams were over and the aunts took Maddie and me to Dunoon where we sailed the lochs by day and danced our socks off by night Now I was about to embark on my own career - which Maddie knew nothing about- she treated me with more respect. The results were good – I even matriculated – and there was great relief all round. Dad bought me a second –hand tin trunk which he painted and Mum made me linen bags out of calico on which she embroidered my name and the Hospital initials in a scarlet chain stitch.
I would never live at home again.

17 comments:

AndrewM said...

Good work Pi.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Nursing, eh? Monica Dickens or Sue Barton? ;-))

PI said...

AndrewM: Thank you.

Zinnia: Can't say. I haven't read Sue Barton or Monica Dickens since she used to write for 'Woman's Own' an age ago. I'm fairly sure Monica was General trained which is a world away from Sick Kids. A famous Matron said she would rather have her mother nursed by an RSCN than her child nursed by an SRN. I couldn't posibly comment.

Growing Up said...

The thought of leaving home must have been exciting and scarey at the same time. Did you enjoy nursing?

PI said...

I loved it. Nothing ever gave me quite the same satisfaction although it was scary at times.

fjl said...

Did you know when you left that it would be final?
x

PI said...

FJL: Not really. I didn't think about it too deeply - I was too full of anticipation and I knew I would see them every week on my day off. I don't think it occurred to any of us that I would never live at home again.

Carolyn said...

Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

Interesting story-- coincidentally, my youngest step-son's name is Evan :)

PI said...

Caroline: Life's full of coincidences. My husband is a Scorpio like you.

PI said...

CAROLYN: Forgive me.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You're certainly strong in the head. Good girl.

PI said...

Hoss: That was then.
Strong in the head = weak in the ?

Universal Soldier said...

My Gran was one of five sisters who all nursed at the same hospital. Loving the tale Pat and so glad you decided to start writing this.

PI said...

US: Five sisters! That must have been some household. I found one a handful.

Guyana-Gyal said...

My cousin Nan went to nursing school in Jamaica while I went to university so I hung out with a bunch of nurses. It was fun!

R. Sherman said...

Thanks for allowing a link to yours. I posted someting at Musings.

Cheers.

PI said...

GG: Yes I can affirm; nurses and fun go together.