Monday, March 16, 1959
Elbert Nichols Jr.’s 41st birthday
Longstreet Church (Methodist which is still at the same place, was a wonderful joy and consolation) Bill and I went to S. School regularly and prayer meetings. Our first S. school teacher was Mrs. C. B. Hilderfraud. This was Miss Emmie Bowe, Mr. Finley Holmes and his wife we called Mrs. Willie, their 4 sons, Harrison, Finley V. Jr., Francis, and James Elmore who is the only one that survives. He is known as Dr. Jimmy Holmes in Memphis. His grandparents were Mr. & Mrs. Francis Holmes. He had an Aunt Agnes Holmes, who was S.S. teacher and organist. The Holmes family were wonderful and good people. Mr. Finley was S. School Supt. for more than 45 years. He was one of the people I know too along life’s journey as one who taught me and all who knew him that God was good and there was no other God. The story was told of him that when he was a boy 14 years of age, he heard a sermon on family prayer and when he got home with his father, Francis Holmes, he
Tuesday, March 17, 1959
said, “Father, can’t we have family prayer in or home”? His father was a fine gentleman and agreed, Mr. Finley said you read the bible and I’ll pray. He was the oldest of a big family. He had two other sisters, one who was mother of Irene Beasley, long time radio singer for years. His brothers, Herbert, John Elmore, I think there maybe has another but the years have let me lose recollection of that – But Jim thankful for all the wonderful and good people, I knew through those young years. Rev. Hassell and his family, his oldest daughter Avis who married Eber Meek. I always treasured from earliest girl hood to this day there were teachers so good so kind to me. Mr. Jim Hale, Mr. George Hale, Miss Ethel Hale, I could go on for memories of them are dear and precious to me.
Williford Bland of Millington lived with his Aunt Ora Hassell and went to Tip Top School. He was a wonderful friend and a friendship I’ll always treasure for me is still a christian until the end of time.
Wednesday, March 18, 1959
I thought I was in love just after I was 16 with a cousin of Mrs. Ellen Hams, Grady Camp – but I really wasn’t. he wasn’t trustworthy and I quit going with him, the last letter he wrote me, was after I had entered John Gaston Hospital as a student nurse in 1911. He knew for I told him I never wanted to go with any one who wasn’t to be trusted, but I prayed to meet some day – one, whom I could trust with my life and soul. The words he wrote were, “Your name shall always be written in my heart, with golden letters, for you are a pure and wonderful girl”. I was glad to end it with good will.
Walter had curly hair and he just hated to get his hair combed. Bill and I had a time getting him to comb his curly hair. Bill was always steady. Walter was ?????? by paper. Mamma thought Bill was wonderful, as for me after Grandma had gone, no one treated me badly, I was the only girl so I really was treated fine.
Thursday, March 19, 1959
Papa wanted me to go to normal and teach school. Normal is Memphis State University now. Mr. E. W. Hale’s father, Mr. Jim Hale, and Papa planned I’d teach in White Haven school but I didn’t want to teach. I taught for a while for Miss Nolly who had J. B. and wasn’t ever able to return to school. So, having my brother in the room was enough teaching for me. Las, I found teaching is a word that has much meaning, you teach any where you are but young lives take shape and most every time are molded into good or bad form – each child is an individual and each is a personality all its own so you need to study the children you find with one… He or she strictly have to be made to do some only kind and gentle reasoning. I believe most of all you need to be a living example of what you teach, for actions speak terribly loud and have a great influence even from your mouth you speak other ???? you must be trusted and depended
Friday, March 20, 1959
on for truth and honor so it was I decided to enter training as a nurse. Mamma, of course, was so sorry for me to leave but Papa said, “you can go, but I don’t think you’ll stay,” I wasn’t yet 18 yrs old. Cousin Elisie who married Capt. John Couch, was with the Memphis Police dept. he knew Mr. Tate the Supt. of the hospital and I entered, it was there, I saw the mayor of Memphis on occasions when he would come out to see that things were in order. The mayor was tall, a red head, erect and proud. His name was Mayor Edd Crump. The hospital was certainly a new experience for me. I found for the first time in my life you must really be careful not to make friends with the wrong kind of people. I remember well, how often my family and friends had told me this was true. I found that if a girl conducts herself properly that would be very few men so low as to disrespect her so it was I chose to go out with a male companion and only my roommate, Mattie Ragen and Ruby Connors whose sister was married to Dr. Exus (?)
Saturday, March 21, 1959
in Memphis, Mattie Roger’s family lived at Bolivar, Tenn. there were others too, but these two mostly and Dr. Robert Miller and Dr. Ben Schoalfield were friends. I went with an intern. Dr. Floyd Webb and later with Dr. Granville Tabb and Dr. Cecil Warde, all were gentlemen. I found fun and lots of work too. I found the operating rooms my favorite place and I was head floor nurse and night superintendent too, during those days. I graduated May 8, 1913, with 13 in class. We were the first nursed to graduate in the Medical College, and our head nurse, Miss Spencer, who later married Dr. Lyman Chapman gave this charge to the class – “When the night has come and the candles burn low and now you are alone with your patient and only God is present then think to do for that patient just what you would want done to you, if you were the patient.
Sunday, March 22, 1959
Dr. Henry Radner Sr. and Jack Witherington both graduated the same month I did.
The charging I’ll say meant a guide to me all through my life. I remember once when we weer terribly rushed in the operating rooms one doctor, who was an assistant to Dr. Frank Ward Siny (?) the said just leave that undone. It was a charity case, I said, “doctor, if you don’t mind I want to do for this patient what should be done, I may sometime be a charity case and I sure would want the right thing done for me”. He was so kind and humble and said, “Do what you know you should”.
I had met your dad long before I graduated – he was usually with some girl who was out for fun and I hadn’t given any thought to him, another doctor, who most of the family knew, Dr. S. S. Erous (?), I knew him from his earliest years in medical school. He was quiet and serious always in his manners. I attended the First Baptist Church in Memphis during my hospital
Monday, March 23, 1959
training. Dr. Boone was pastor. His first wife was my S. school teacher. She had a large class of girls and every week some of those girls visited us who attended church there. She sometimes had wonderful parties as I remember we had over 100 girls in her class. Dr. Boone’s son, Will, was ordained to preach during those days. We had some wonderful staff doctors. Dr. Willis Campbell that is now the Campbell Clinic, but in those days Dr. Campbell, had an old car, with back-end out of it. He was quite a large man. We had special gowns for him to wear in operating rooms due to his size. He was experimenting in orthopedic surgery. I helped him many times, one case who spent about 2 years as a patient, a boy about 8 or 9 years old, had been hit accidentally in back and was paralyzed from the head down. He could move only his head. His family were very poor and were not a healthy family either. The boy’s name was Charley.
Tuesday, March 24, 1959
Charley was known by everyone, even by people who brought him many things. There wasn’t much charity in Memphis in those days and most people just seemed to get by. They all knew they had to work and they worked to live and support their families. Well any way, Charley was one that was remembered. His family had gone to Arizona and he was alone so he was well cared for. Dr. Campbell worked and worked till at the end of 2 yrs or more, Charley walked and was able to join his people. Dr. Campbell started from the bottom and made his way. All the interns walked out of John Gaston Hospital once due to a superintendents unjust authority. Interns won their place by competent examination. A doctor, from the north and who hadn’t ever taken an exam was made house doctor. We nurses wanted to walk out too, but the staff doctors persuaded us for
Wednesday, March 25, 1959
humanity’s sake not to —
Dr. Henry Hill volunteered to come help out and he was just with Dr. Campbell and Dr. Campbell helped Dr. Hill to be a surgeon too. Dr. Max Goltman, who had several sons, who later made doctors was the first doctor in Memphis to sew a heart and patient live. He was a tall mulatto negro had been stabbed. To us all it was a miracle. Dr. George Linermoore, Dr. Battle Malone, Dr. Robin Mason, Dr. J. L. Andrews, Dr. Percy Toonbro (?), Dr. Eugene Johnson, Dr. J.A. Crusher Sr., Dr. W. T. Black Sr., Oh, here were so many fine doctors. Dr. Likely Simpson and Dr. A. C. Lewis were eye and throat specialists.
Nancy, I didn’t tell you of my first days there so I’ll try — The first two weeks were terrible. I had never been away from home among all strangers. I visited Aunt Mary Cotton and cousin Elisie Couch – Papa’s aunt and niece right often.