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This conversation with Lucille Riddell Genevan, took place at her home inLewiston, Idaho on November 11, 1975. The interviewer is Sam Schrager.
SS: When did you first think you were interested in becoming a nurse?
LD: Oh, I always wanted to be a nurse, from the time I was a little girl. Welived close to a hospital in Warren, Minnesota. And my mother said I use to follow those nurses down the street every chance I got. I guess I admired their uniforms, that's what I liked. So I always wanted to be a nurse, as long as I can remember Isanted to be a nurse. Well, I wanted to go to Minneapolis and take my training, because Ithought I'd have so many more advantages, bigger schoola and everything. But my mother didn't want me to be a nurse. She wanted me to be a teacher. And I told her I didn't think I was smart enough to be a teacher. See, I only had one year of high school, that's all I had. And she said,"Well, you can go on to school and be a teacher." You know, nurses aren't thought much of. So, my older sister, who was 17 years older than I, she was just like a mother said, "Why don't I take her?? 'Cause I as only 16."Why don't I take her with me and take care of her?" And she only lived two blocks from this small hospital. I got very good training there, and then I had by last 6 months in Chicago.
SS: You trained at the hospital?
LD: Yes. that was at flowbridge, South Dakota, where my sister lived. And thenmy last six months I had at Washington Boulavard Hospital in Chicago, that was good. Then I came from there to Bovill.
SS: What was the basis for your mother thinking that nurses were...
LD: I don't think that years ago thfet people thought too much of nurses,I really don't think so. The idea of them having to bathe men and all. My mother didn't like it. She was a person that didn't go along with that at all. And she thought it would be so much nicer if I would be a teacher. I would be looked up to so much more if I were a teacher. She said, another thing, I was awfully hard work, which it was. hard work and she just didn't want me to be a nurse. She thought that I could do better than being a nurse. I look at the wages the nurses make now. Course, we didn t uhen I look back and think how we worked, rtally took care of the patients and now the nurses don't do a damn thing and get all that money and I can't understand it. You got to a hospital now, and if you have any kind of an oneration, they expect you the next day to get up and take care yourself. So this one nurse said to me,"Better for you. Okay, if it's better for you, why don't they let the patients go home instead of keeping 'em in the hospital, if you're going to take care of yourself. Why can't you go home then, why should you run up that big bill? And you know, those patients that have had abdominal surgery, major operations, they're up the next day, taking care of themselves and going to the bathroom and taking their own baths and everything like that. What if they faint or something like that? Nobody to look after 'em. those nurses don't pay any attention to 'em.
SS: Your mother changed her mind and let you go.
LD: Well, yes, but she didn't really want me to, but she did let me go. BecauseI was going with my sister who was 17 years older than I. And she put me through training and bought all my clothes and everything. I was about the best dressed nurse there.
SS: Your sister or your mother?
LD: No, my sister. My mother didn't want anything to do with it. She didn'tstop me from going, but she certainly wasn't happy about me going.
SS: What was your sister doing?
LD: She was married, and had a husband with plenty of money.
SS: She helped support you?
LD: Yeah. She put me through my years of training. Bought all my clotheS.I had anything I wanted. 'Cause she never had any kids of her own. So I really was like her daughter. And her husband liked me real well. Anything that she wanted to do for me, why that was fine with him. I know one time I saw a hat downtown that I wanted. And it was twelve dollars and a half. And Ijust mentioned it, that's all I did, just mention it, how pretty it was wasn't very long, couple of days, and I had my hat. So. She had a really lovely home and she was a person that entertained a lot. Instead of entertaining couples and everything like that, her husband had a clothing store, she would have these parties like on Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's for the young men around town that didn't have homes. And she'd fix these big dinners for them. Have her table stretched out in her dining room. Gosh, Idon't know how many she could sit at it. And/nost all the time, f I was available so I could help her, I did. If I couldn't help her, most of the time she did it herself. just she and her husband. She'd do all that cooking for all those people. Wonderful cook, marvelous cook.
SS: What were the men doing?
LD: Railroad men.
SS: She was doing that as a kindness.
LD: Yeah. Absolutely. Now, that big vase there, my brother-in-law won that ata carnival and he gave me two of 'em and my sister had 'em packed in different boxes up in her garage and of course, those days nobody thought about in their garage or in their house or anything. And then all my nurses books were in a box there too, I just left 'em when I went to Chicago. And I told her'probably I would need a book or so, but I'd what I thought I needed. I needed a book and I sent to her for it so she went out in the garage to look for it. All my nurses book, somebody had stolen them anc stole one of the boxes with the vase in it, so I only have the one. See. And I didn't have it for a long time 'cause there waBn't a way to get it to me. Finally I got to Mowbfidge and was able to bring it back with me.
SS: What was the training like learning how to be a nurse?
LD: Well, I suppose like it is now. See, we had three months probation period.And now I think it's six months. We only had three months. And of course, the first three months, we did mostly all the dirty work that nobody else wanted to do, why we did. And then when we had been there three months, we got caps and we got our cuffs to our uniform. We got different aprons and different uniforms. We got the striped uniforms then. And before we just plain, blue uniforms. White aprons. And we had to furnish them ourselves. But the hospital gave us our jniforms. Caps and bibs and everything.
SS: Did you learn from thu older nurses?
LD: Oh no. We had instructions, we had teachers and everything. We went toclass every day. And we hadbooks. Our anatomy, probably that thick a book. And we had to study, just like going to school.
SS: You studied at the same time you worked in the hospital?
LD: Sure we did. We had classes everyddy. Course, not in the summertime, but wedid all through thetefcrm we did, just like anybody else. And we had doctors and we had our haad nurse.
SS: Was Mowbridge actually a college?
LD: Oh no, it was just a small hospital. Very small hospital. We had a coupleof doctors, though there. The second doctor, he taught a lot of our classes, and our superintendent taught the classes too. Course, I don't suppose we were probably as well educated. We were more dong things instead of being so book smart. We was more practical work with us. But of course, we had to take a state board and everything like that so we had to know something about it.
SS: Did it come easy to you?
LD: Oh yeah. I loved bit of it. And I would love to go back and do it overagain. I've heard a lot of purses say,"Not me." Well I enjoyed every bit of it. It's always been awful hard for me to understand how people can work and not be happy with their jobs. I don't see how you could. I would thinkt that you'd have to like your work to be happy and to make everybody else happy that you were taking care of and everything like that. If you hated your work, how could you be a very kind nurse? I can't conceive of anything like that.But I've heard a lot of people say,"I just have to drive myself to work." I said,jeepers, why don't you get a different job? You're not in the right thing. That's one thing I do think about the kids nowadays. They just don't know what they want to do. I think in our time, we, all of us pretty much knew,
LD: course, were all striving to get ahead, and everybody was. Where now iftriving to get ahead, you can usually make apretty good go of it 'cause there's too many people that don't want to. They don't want to make anything of their live., I guess, Idon't know what they want to do. But I knew all my life what I wanted to do and like I say I never was sorry for it.
When you say those days everybody was striving to get ahead...
Did that make it more difficult?
You bet it did! Because everybody was trying as hard as you were. And wherenow Ithink if you really wanted to get ahead, you wouldn't have too much trouble, 'cause there's too many people that don't care about what they do or if they do anything or not. Do you this many people in those days were doing the kind of work they wanted to do?
I think so, 'cause ithink they knew what they wanted to do. Ireally do.And my older sister, who was 7years older than I, she uiabfcbd to be amusic teacher. She was very talented. She played the piano beautifully! And my mother sent her to the conservatory in Minneapolis. It cost her six dollars alesson then, and that was years ago, it was probably about 1916 and '17. That girl practiced six hours aday! So that she could get everything, 'cause she realized it was hard for my mother to pay that much. And my younger sister, she really didn't want to do anything and she never did do anything. When she got out of high school, she made high school in three years, in fact, she was the only one in our family that graduated from high school. And there was seven of us. Course, my older brother,my mother's first baby died whan he was just 9 months old. But the rest of us all went to hU;h school, but none oFpus finished, except Florence and she made it in three years. But she got married, she didn't do anything with her education at all.
SS: The girl that went to the conservatory, was she able to use that?
LD: Yes, she played in church, she played for the shows and she musiclessons and she did everything. And then when she got married, she got a man that had a lot of money, she didn't get married young.She waited til she was 28 years old. And he bought her a baby grand piano.
SS: Is this the sister you stayed with?
LD: No. But my older sister was a schoolteacher. And thats why mother thoughtshould be a schoolteacher. She was teaching school out of the eighth grade.
SS: Your older sister, her idea wbs you should do what you want to do?
LD: Yeah.Absolutely. And she talked to mother and she said,"You're going tomake a terrible mistake if you don't let Lucille do what she wants to do, because all her life she's wanted to be a n irse. And she's crazy about the hospitals and the nurses and the uniforms and the whole business. You couldn't take her out of that and give her anything else. She wouldn't be happy." And I don't think I would've.
SS: It seems like a lot of women got married.
LD: My mother wasn't married too young. She was 18 when she was married. Butshe said a lot of girls she knew got married at 15 and 16 years old.Never had any high school, they were lucky if they had the sighth grade. But I cq«3 along a little bit later than that and I always wanted to get married, as far as that goes, but I certainly waited to be able to have something t to do. Course, my mother always told us, my dad died when I was 10 years old, my mother never r emarried, and my mother always told us,"I'11 put you through hich school, but when you get through high school, you're on your own. You've got to make a way for yourselves.And decide what you want to do and what you want to be."
SS: In your family, there was more of a stress of making a living for yourself.
LD: Absolutely. I don't know if more so in my family than in any other family,though because everybody went along the same line and their kids were all smart kids and they went away to school/and everything and all made something out of themselves. Mostly teachers. I went with a kid, I went with him all through school. He wa nted to be a doctor and I always said I aanted to be a nurse. And I said, when we get through, I really didn't think about marrying him, but Isaid, maybe Ican come work for you. He said,"You bet you can come work for me." But of course, Inever happened to be where he was. He was about three years older than I. And but we jst knew that that's what we wanted to do,and he had to leave college, I don't koow if he was out one year or two years to make enough money to go on and finish college and go to medical school. Because in those days our parents just didn't have that kind of money. People now, their kids can do pretty much what they want to do, as far as money's concerned. But in those days it wasn't so easy. And that's why I say, the kids all had to work and make their own way.
SS: Wher, you went to Chicago, was that the first time you'd gone to abig city?
LD: Yeah, I'll say! It was.
SS: What did Chicago seem like to you?Idon't know. Iwas so cock-eyed busy when Iwas there that Ireally didn't have much time to really go an awful lot. And I didn't go a lot because if you didn't have an escort you just didn't go out in Chicago, that's all there is to it. And they just simply told us that we had to be awful careful Wh,n we did have dates, that was alright, but if we didn't have a date, why, we used to go over on Michigan Avenue where there was Chinese resturant and we spent all of our money over there, that's what we did. And that was a lot of fun, but we'd go with a of girls. And then when I did graduate, this superintendent, she said,"Well Miss Riddell, Icertainly am suprised at you." Iwas always alittle bit scared of her, Idon't know. I was always a little bit on my guard, not that I didn't do my work and everything but Iwas just alittle bit le«ry of her and Iwas awful afraid of the head doctor too. And I met him one time in the hall way and he said "Miss Riddell, I want to ask you something," Isaid alright. He said,"Everytime I meet you you act like yoaire scared to death of me." I said I am. He said,"Why are you scared of me?" I said I don't know, you just scare me, you're so gruff and everything. And he laughed. So one time, Ihad gotten out of surgery andon focrth floor, they called for Miss Riddell to come surgery.
To help out, they were having a brain operation-and quite aless up there, so soon as Icome in the door he says to me,"Miss Riddell, do you know how to wipe up blood?" And Isaid Isure do."Okay, get busy around here and clean up this mess for us."That's the kind of man he was. But then after that we got to be real good friends. He told me he felt awful bad when Iwas going to leave because he said,"You are agood nurse and we'd like to keep you here." Isaid, you're awful slow asking me. And that's jhat I told f,liss Buckly, our superintendent. I said, I didn't know you re interested in me. But,she said,"If I would have any idea that you were planning on leaving, I would have asked you to stay."I said, why do you think Iwould-be looking for something to do if you didn't mention it to me? I thought probably that you weren't satisfied with my work. Oh yes, very satisfied with it. She said," We just hate to lose you." Isaid, I'm sorry ,but I've made other arrangements now. There's nothing Ican dc about it. I might come back and work for you sometime. I did go back to Chicago, but I back to Washington Boulavard. My friend and Iwent to Contagious, we worked out of Contagious in Chicago, where there were nothing but children. And once in awhile we'd have adults, but not very often. It was scarlet fever and diptheria. We worked out there for a long time. It was just like staying in a big hotel. 0ur dining room was just massive. We had the most wonderful meals! They just treated us royal. Because, of course, it was hard to get nurses to work in those contagious places. Some of 'em were afraid, some of 'em didn't want to. It was a county institution You know how kids are. All kids are nice. I just loved it there. But I did, I always liked my work and I don't -.now, I love my home and I love to work in my home and it's hard for me to understand women that really can't do anything and do a good job of it. I can't understand why there wouldn't be one thing that theydo and do it good. But you'd be surprised, they can't.
SS: At Washington Boulevard, you were still in training?
LD: Urn huh. I was senior nurse, uf course. We were senior nurses in our lastyear. We had a little bit of preference. And not only that, when I went to Chicago, we got 15 dollars a month, and that was just about like what a hundred dollars a month would be now. Because that was a lot of money, because we got our board and room and everything. And of course, I got money from hor.e all the time. And so I just was living life of Riley, that's all there was to it. We worked awfully hard.
SS: Was there,how much and what kind of work?
LD: We worked 10 hours a day.We worked hard too, we really worked hard. We hada lot of patients to look after. They had to be bathed and taken care of and their beds had to be made, and brother, I'm telling you, we had no coffee breaks or nothing like that. We worked. And we worked our full ten hours, too.Night duty, we got two hours off at night there. Of course, I didn't when I was in we worked straight 12 hours at night.But when we went to Chicago, you got two hours off at night.And sometimes, if we weren't too busy, it was really nice, maybe you'd get 5 to 7 off in the morning.You could go home and sleep for a little while, then ycu coui ' go out and have a good time, the rest of the time, see.
SS: Is there a lot of difference in work between a nurse in training and a fullfledoed nurse?
LD: Of course, it would depend on what you were doing. Now nurses, after theyget through training, they go into a doctor's office or they like to be head nurses or they like to be special Turses, or maybe they want to work in surgery, surgical nurses or something like that. What I wanted to be was a surgical nurse. And I wanted to go to Cook County, Chicago and take a six months coursd. But I felt like I should work a while. And that was bad for me, I should have gone right from training to Cook County and taken my six months, and then I could have had a real good job. Course, I never really had much trouble getting a job. I was always able to work. I never had any trouble like that, because nurses were always in demand then and they are now and always will be, probably, long as they have people anyway.
SS: Did you live with the other nurses, like in a dormitory?
LD: Yeah, and my sister, she'd call me up and she'd say,"What hours are yougoing to have off?" I'd say maybe 1 to 3, to 4, something. ."Come down, I've got something for you." I'd go down there, and maybe she'd baked a cake. Maybe she had sandwiches made for me, or something like that. She was afraid I waBn't going to get enough to eat, and lord, they fed us so good. I didn't have a chance to get fat 'cause I worked too hard, to get fat.
SS: She was living in Chicago too?
LD: No, that was in Mowbridge. She lived two blocks from the hospital. When IWBnt to Chicago I didnt know anybody. Nobody. But of course, I got in with the girls, it was a 100 bed hospital and there were quite a few nurses in training. We got along wonderful.
SS: Was there much difference in your social life in the two places?
LD: Of course yes, there was quite ab bit of difference because we went toa dance in Mowbiidge, you were very popular because there weren't that many girls. When you got to Chicago, there were all kinds of girls. But we didn't really go and dance too much in Chicago. We went to roller skating rinks. We used to skate a lot. And in the wintertime we ice skated and every thing. I never really did dance too much because we just didn't do it. I suppose some of the nurses did, but the bunch that I traveled around with, we liketo roller skate and ice skate, things like that.
SS: Did they have big facilities?
LD: Oh lord, I should say they did. Those skating rinks were just really big.And of course, when I came to Bovill, I think there were about three of us girls, and of course, there were all kinds of lumberjacks there. Jeepers, nothing to go to a dance and have 8 and 10 and 12 dances ahead. It was really fun, raally popular. I never lacked for fellows, I always had plenty of fellows I didn't ever lack for them.
SS: Eight and twelve dances ahead. You'd have to keep track?
LD: Yeah, but of course the guys, they pretty much kept track too. But sometimesof course, they were program dances. Lot's of time they weren't. But of course, lot of times I wasn't able to go, although friend of mine, who I worked with, and she also graduated same hospital I did in Mowbridge, but she graduated a year before I did. Well, then she decided to go to Chicago, and take, she was only a two year girl and I was three years. But she decided to go bo Cook County. I wanted her to wait til I could go, but she wouldn't do it. She went and took her six months course. Well, we were together quite a bit, and s! e came to Bovill with me. And she really didn't care about dancing, she was quite a bit older than I. She didn't like dance, so most of the time I got to go, unless there was some emergency or something that I couldn't get away.
SS: Were the dances in Bovill full of more men than women?
LD: Oh yes. I should say. Always a lot of fellows.Not very many girls. Course,if the weather was good, the girls came from Elk River and other places to Bovill. Butfin the wintertime it was pretty hard to get around. BS: Did more of the lumberjacks not from Bovill, did they come too?
LD: Yeah, and young men, not really from around Bovill, from other places, allover the country, as far as that goes, and came there to work in the woods. They were nice fellows. When they went out any place, they always looked nice.
SS: When you were at Chicago, did you see the different immigrant groups?
LD: Well, I'll tell you, where I was, this hospital was on Washington Boulavardand the nurses home was on Warren Avenue. We had an awful lot of Jewish people. Terrible lot of Jewish people. And of course, I suppose we had other people too, butawful lot of Jews and we had some colored people too 'cause there were quite a few colored people in that district too. But I do think probably in those days, people didn't really go to the hospital and it isn't like it is now. Where they have medicare and all this and that. But in those days it was really expensive to go to a hospital. And you just didn't go unless you absolutely had to go. Course, like our baby cases and everything like that, we had a lot of things like that, and of course, we had a lot of surgery too. And another thing we had was an awful lot of ulcer patients. Dr. Sippy, I suppose he's been gone many years now, Idon't know how long he's been gone, but he was an ulcer doctor and we had practically one floor of nothing in the world but pationts. aut like 1 say, you just didn't go to the hospital for everyti little thing like they do nowadays.
SS: Did you ever have contact oith the immigrants?
LD: I suppose we did. Idon't remember that it was anything out of the ordinarythough. It was just regular run of people. But you want to remember, that goes back a long time and I can't remember all that stuff!
SS: You remember quite a bit, really.
LD: I just, because Ihad contact with too many people and Icouldn'tthem all. Like the other nigbt I went to a card party over at Clarkston, this lady said to me was talking to one of your patients said one of my patients? She saidyes." Isaid, was it aman or awoman. She said, 11 ft was a woman!' And she said,"She told me what a good nurse you were. I said who in the world was it? She said,I can't remember her name," but she pointed her out to me. She was awoman that I'd taken care of in Bovill. She'd had a bad hand.'And she showed me how you fixed her hand up. I said, Edith has always felt like I really did something wonderful for her. Because I did things fiat no other nurse would do because they didn't have a doctor. And I would do tell those things. And really, God was good to me because I never got in any kind of a mess. And 1 used to worry a lot about it too. Because I thought I did that and maybe I shouldn't have. But I couldn't tell you how what Edith did to her hand. Iknow it was quite a while and Itook care of it and everything. I don't rememberk I took any stitches or not. It's in this thumb, I tniak, on the right hand. It is, it's almost a perfect junvp .She showed me the other night. Ihad to go, after she told this woman, Iwalked over to her then, Isaid, Edith, you're still bragging about me, aren't you? She said,"Ya, every chance I get, Lucille." I said let me see that thumb of yours. So she showed to me. Isaid, it does look like a pretty good job. She said,"I'd ,sy so, I'd say it Gas areal good job." But then another thin, it was hard to work in a place like Bovill too.Because they didn't have adoctor, and they thought just because you were anurse that you should know as much as adoctor. And if you didn't know as much as adoctor you just weren't very smart now, I'm telling youl Because they just expected as much of you as they did of a doctor.
SS: What time period was it when there wasn't any doctor?
LD: Good god, there was alot of times that we didn't have a doctor. In fact,practically from the time my kids were growing up. When my daughter was born, that was '26, and we didn't ha«e adoctor then, Ihad to go to Potlatch when she was born, and Iwas gone from home pret'near amonth! Waiting for her, and then after she was born. And then when my son, my yvjngest son was born, he was born in '30, we did have adoctor from Chicago and his wife, who was anurse, and they were afine team. So Igot to stay home for that delivery. Itold my husband I'm just not going to go to the hospital 'cause I'm not going to leave those two kids. Ihad agirl and aboy. Isaid,I'm just not going to go. And he said you better go,'cause you'll be so particular, if everything isn't done right around the house it'll worry you to death and Isaid, no, I'm not g-inr to go, I'm going to have Dr., I don't know for sure what his name was. Idon't know if it was Raylius or what it was. But anyway, hejuas some kind of aforeigner Ithink, of some sort. But they came to the house and the baby was delivered. And then, off and on, we had doctors, but there was an awful lot of the time that we didn't have any doctors. Bovill had been without a doctor now for many, many years. I don't know if tey even have a nurse up there any more. I don't know.
SS: In all the years that there was no doctor there you were...
LD: First Aid nurse for Potlatch for many, many years.
SS: Were you, the people were supposed to go down to Potlatch if there wasanything at all?
LD: Sure they had to go if they had to have surgery and things like that. ButI used to take care of a lot of 'em. I only delivered one baby. I was fortunate only get myself in one mess. Come through that alright, but I tell you, I worried myself ,iick for fear everything wouldn't go alright. But it did and finally the doctor got there before I had to cut the cord and oh lord, I thought, Iknow how to do it and everything, but Idon't know if I can do it or not. I was just so worried, cause I thought, my land, i hat if anything."happened to that baby or that mother? I'd never forgive myself.
SS: Was it an unexpected delivery?
LD: No, but she was alittle bit early. And when they called me her lab-r wasso far advanced and I called the doctor right away. He had to come Moscow. And I said, you're going to come right away,and he said,"Yes, I'm going to come right away." Isaid I'm really worried about cutting that cord and he said, no, really it should be about 45 minutes before you cut it anyway, so don't worry about that. So, but nevertheless, it didn't help matters then. I did, I really worried. But there probably are some people around Bovill that would tell, and I'm not saying this to be smart or anything like that, 'cause like Iaay, I did do a lot of things and I awfully good luck with anything that I did. And they would tell you that really I was an awfully good nurse. Because I did things for them and I didn't charge for 'em cause nobody had any money! And I did all this gratis, you know. And when I did get paid, and of .ourse, when we got this one...
(End of side A)
SS: This was a guy that worked at Potlatch?
LD: Yeah. The superintendent of the Potlatch.
SS: He said you were gonna get paid for it?
LD: I did after he came, I didn't. And he said I had to buy my own supplies andeverything. He said,"I want you to give me a list of every thing that you need." I said,listen, is this just going to be for the people in Bovill, work for the Potlatch, or is it going to be for everybody? He said no, pret'near everybody in Bovill is Potlatch anyway. And he said,"uD,I want you to give me a list of everything that you need and then anytime you come down and take care of, when they stop by and you give a shot or anything like that, the ambulance stops at your house, I want you to be paid for it. You worked for nothing long enough. From here on out you're not working for nothing anymore." But all the time I was married, I was married in '21, we left Bovill in '53, I did all the nursing in that town from then til I left. Course, I did have Doc White there. He was a veti-narian. But he had taken medicine and he did intend to be a doctor, but he decided it was going to be too long, so then he decided to be a vetrinarian and he was good at that, but he was also pretty good M.D. too. But he would help me out, and he would say, I'd say you do it and he'd Jean't because they could come back on me. But they couldn't come back on you. So you don't have to be afraid to do it. I'll tell you what to do. He said,''You do it." So that's the way it was. But I sure liked Kenney White, he was wonderful.And then another thing, I really had good thing established with the doctors in Moscow. They knew I was reliable, and Lhey always let me have narcotics, of course in a bad emergency like that, you had to have moroohine, things like that. So I never had any trouble having that. And I got along well with all the doctors in Moscow. I worked with all of 'em. Everybody didn't have 'he same doctor in Bovill and one would have this one and one would have the other one. Then they'd say if they needed shots or anything, well, this up and give it to Mrs. Denevan, she'll do it for you. I gave a lot of penicillin and stuff like that. People that had allergies and stuff like that, gave 'em shots and everything.I'd like to have a nickel for every hypo I've given. Be a rich woman.
SS: Sounds like you did that as an expense to yourself if you were actuallyhaving to put in supplies.
LD: Yeah, well another thing, in the meantime, I was raising my family andhelping my husband too and well, Iwas just busy all the time. Yeah, just all the time. But I never felt like I had to really neglect my family because I couldn't go and take care of people 'cause I had all I could do at home. But in the case of emergency I alsays did go and help out. In fact, one time I went to help a friend of mine, her son was having convulsions, and I had sent my daughter home, we just lived a little ways and Helen was Ja little girl. And I told her, Helen, you go home and pick up some chips for mother, and then when I come home I can Euild a fire. Do you know what she did? She went out there in the wood shed and grabbed up the axe, she was gonna make some kindling and she was probably S years old. And cut her finger clear through, right through there, still carries' the scar. Here was her mother taking care of somebody else. And so then she come over and she was crying of course, and blood all over everything and Louise didn't dare tell me because she was affcaid it would upset me so had and of course, her son was so bad, the doctor sas there and everything. But she came in and I said, what's going on out there? Who's that crying? Sounds like Helen. She said,"It is." I said what's the matter with her? She said she cut her finger a little bit. She didn't dare tell me how much she cut it.It was things that youKhad to do, that's all. I just automatically had to do them. I don't think I ever turned anybody down that came to me and needed help And lots of time I'd take care of people maybe two and three weeks. I know one man, he hurt his hand awful bad trying to chop presto. log and cut his hand real bad. I probably took care of his hand for two or three weeks.I never got any money out of it. I never even got a thank you out of it.
SS: When you worked with the vet, what would he give you suggestions on how todo?
LD: Well, one time there was a real good friend of mine, she came and she hadcut her finger And the darn thing wouldn't heal. And it wouldn't heal. I called Doc White and said could you come over, I've got Louise McDonald here and she's got a bad finger andwon't seem to heal. And she had cut it like this. A. dthere was quite a piece of skin on the back. I just ue like that and thought it would heal alright. But it didn't, he said,"Do you know what's the matter? You're going to have to cut that piece of skin off because the blood supply is gone." Isaid Icouldn't do that. At that time I don't think I had morophine like I did later on. I wouldn't have a thing to give her. And she said,"I can stand it. Ican't afford to go to the doctor. I can stand it." So Isterilized my scissors and cut it off and the darn thing healed up and filled in just fine. But that's what he told me. I didn't know that. He said,"You're going to have to cut that chunk of skin off." I wanted him to do it, but he wouldn't do it. And then another time I had this funny religion beople. They were from Elk River. And they brought this girl and her hand was cut awful bad. Oh lord, Iknew she'd have to have alot of stitches. Isaid the only thing Ican do for you is give you first aid. You're geing to have to take this girl to the doctor.No, they wouldn't take her to the doctor. Isaid she's going to have to have those fingers fixed, that's all there is to it. Then they told me that they belonged to this religion and they didn't believe in doctors. I said, well, I don't know what to tell you because there's nothing Ican do but wrap the girl's hand. That's what I did, wrap it up. 'Cause like Isay, Ialways had bandages and stuff like that. And I don't know what they did wf.th her, I really don't know wheter they took her on home to Elk River or if they did decide to take her to a doctor, but I said, she's going to have to have stitches in that hand because if you don't it just won't heal, that's all.
Do you remember what religious group that was?I don't know. Seems like it was Rose of something or kind of a funny religion, I don't know. An unusual one. Yeah, unhuh. Nothing that you really hear about too often. How is it that you decideto come to Bovill in the first place? Well because Igot this job offered to me. Seattle was the head of the Milwaukee hospitals. He cams to Chicago and he was looking for a nurse, in fact, he was looing for two nurses to go to Bovill. So they told him, or he knew about it. Maybe Doctor Gibson told him, maybe he knew about it, I don't know how he knew about it. Anyway, Dr. Bufler talked to rae and asked me if I'd like to go to Bovill and work. Course, I thought it wauld be wonderful to have a job. I guess I thought I wouldn't get one. And so I told him ya. Then on my way coming out to Idaho, I stopped in Mowbridge to see my sister and her husband and they 'bout had a fit. "Why don't you come back to Mowbridge? You know there's all kinds, of work her for you. There were two hospitals there in Mowbridge. And I said I don't know. I kinda wanted to go out west and see what it was like. I said I'll work long enough to make enough money to come home and then I'll come home. Didn't do it. They weren't very happy about it either.
SS: This doctor was a Seattle doctor?
LD: Uh huh, Dr. Bufler who was head of the hospitals. He was Milwaukee HospitalAssociation. And of course, this hospital at Mowbridge, and then there was one at Three Forks, Montana and then there was one at Orofino and then of course, we were affiliated with the hospital in Chicago. That's how we got to take our last six months there, which was really nice coming from such a small hospital.But I don't know how they found out, that's too long ago, I can't remember but I know that I came out here and worked at Bovill, anyway.
SS: When you first got out to Bovill and saw it...
LD: I don't know, I just fell in. When you go to Rome you have to do as... We didn'thave any lights at night and we were on call at night. Worked all day andat night we were on call. We had the patients pretty well, course if there was somebody real sick it was different, but most of the patients didn't need anything at night. If the patients were real sick, maybe we could have some folks stay, with them, and they would call us if they needed us. Maybe they needed a shot or something like that, then we would have to get up and do it.
SS: What was the hospital in Bovill like?
LD: They had everything. Ycu kn„w where that hospital is, at Hall's Apartmentsthat was our hospital. As you go into the hospital on your left en the second floor was our operating room. We had a real nice operating room. We had a sterilizing room and everything. And doctor had his office down stairs. He had a little place off where he had all his medicine. He would dispense that medicine as people needed it. And of course, we also had apharmicistjat that time in Bovill too. One time Bovill was quite atown. And, we would assist doctor just like adoctor aould. 'Cause we had to. And we got along fine. Ican't think of anybody ever dying from neglect or anything like that. We had one man die and I thinker. Gibson waited too long to operate on him. And he died on the operating table. Who am Ito say? Because he was a very conscientious man. He was a doctor. By golly, when he diagnosed a case knew what was wrong with that patient. He went in, he found out what he said it was too. dQann sight more than the doctors know nowadays. They guess at an awful lot and they have much better facilities and averything. And tha what Ican't understand. Why these doctors don't know what's wrong with these people any more. Now my son, they doctored him for two years for ulcers. And Inever did think he had ulcers. Ithought that he either had gallstones or he had kidney stones. Well he finally got so sick and so his doctor called in another doctor.And they did an exploratory on him. And Jack had all the symptoms of gall bladder. And I couldn't see why that doctor couldn't see it. He was so jaundiced and every thing. But they said the x-rays didn't show any gallstones 'cause he didn't have stones, just the gravel which was in the gall duct and causiuig that terrific pain.
And the sweat would just pour off him. Well, they did thisexploratory. And they found out that he had this gravel in the gall bladder duct, so of course, they removed his gall bladder and he felt fine. So I said to this boctor Barnes who was our surgeon and that's about all he does did you find any evidence of ulcers? And he said,no. But he said,"You don't get gall b-der overnight either. But I couldn't understand it because I knew that that boy either had to have gall bladder or he had to have kidney stones, one of the two. Because he had this terrific pain and he had all of the symptoms. If Iwould know that, why wouldn't those doctors know that? And another case was my husband. He was in the hospital and he was very sick and I said to his doctor, did you take an x-ray of his chest? And he sold no, should I? Isaid, Idon't know, but Ithink he's probably got emphysima. And he said okay we'll take an x-ray of his chest then. They did and he showed Merle the x-ray. And he told Merle that there was a small area in his lungs. So then the next time Berle wont to the doctor, he wasn't feeling very good, so I thought I should go along with him in case something happened. So Iwent with him. And he said to me, "Do you want to see that x~ra of your husband's lungs?" He didn't know that I was a nurse 'cause Merle said he never told him and I certainly didn't toll him I was a nurse. I said, I probably wouldn't know anything about it and he said, "'Jell I'll show it to you." I said I thought you told my husband it was just a small area. It looks to me like that's a pretty big area He looked at me so funny, he said,"You suppose that man could have pnumonia?" I said I wouldn't know. So he put him on antibiotics, and he did, he got better. He said, "I can only leave you on that for a week." Merle went right back into a slump again. Then he had to give him to, I don't know for a week, but a few days. There was that nut, and I said to my doctor in Moscow, shouldn't have that doctor known that that man had pnuemonia when nt look that x-ray? And of course, doctors never run the other guy down and besides my doctor and this doctor were very good friends, anyway, in fact, he'd recommended this doctor down here. He said,"I would think so."
SS: Dr. Gibson, you feel he was better than most doctors?
LD: You're damn right I figure. I figure that he was a lot better than theaverage doctor nowadays. Because he knew...
SS: I mean in those days.He was a brilliant man. He knew exactly what he was doing all the time. Another thing, he had his intern ship at Cook County in Chicago. Which you really got to be right up there 'mongst the best of 'em to do your intern at Cook County, now I'm telling you. 'Cause you get every thing imaginable there. his wife was a nurse, that helped him too. She used to help us. She used to come and give the anesthetics. And one time she was pregnant and she gave these anesthetics all the time I guess, while she was pregnant. And she had an awful time with this baby. He just sirnoly oion't get along. In fact, I think .he died before he was too old. I don't know, I couldn't prove it, but that's what they said,'cause she gave that, those anesthetics, she shouldn't have given 'em. Put I don't know whether there's any truth to that or not, I really don't know.
SS: I've heard people talk about Dr. Gibson in a mixed way. Said he was a gooddoctor, but he could also be rather touchy with a patient.
LD: He was an awful cranky thing, yes he was. And lots of times he wasn't verynice to his patients. That's the truth. And you know Or. Gibson, when he died, and I had this man tell me and it was nobody in the world but Dr. Dupree from Palouse and he told me that Dr. Gibson told him, he saio,"You know I'm going to have terrible, terrible lot to account for." He said,"Really I'm afraid to die." Dr. Dupree said to him,"I think you better call in your minister and talk to him." And he had a ' of cancer and that's what he died of.Cancer. But he was, he was pretty gruff and everything and he was a man that you really had to put him in his place. You really did. I told him °m time; to go to hell. I said, I don't know, Dr. Gibson, we just can't please you. When the hospital is full, you're so mean and ornery and when it isn't full you're mean and ornery and wedon't know how to please you, that's all there is to it.
We don't know what to do. I 3aid,as far as I'm concerned, you can go to hell. I said, I have worked myself to death since I've been here and I don't have to work for you. There's other places that I can go. I S3id I'm going to. He gave me the devil 'cause this woman, who had had a gall bladder operation, her folks came and it was probabL y a week after she was operated on, but she wasn t a very young woman. Older woman. And they brought her some, I don't know what kind of pie it was. I believe it was bannana cream pie or something. But they didn't give her very much, but it did make her awful sick. Dr. Gibson told me I should have known better., I said I didn't know. Had I known that they brought that pie, I wouldn't have let 'em give it to her. But I didn't know it. I said, we can't watch the people all the time,'cause we have too much to do.So then he come down kind of, off his high horse. I said, you expect so much of us doctor. It isn't humanly possible to do all that we do and all that we should do. You can't do it, 'cause there isn't time. enough in a day to do it. And then I did, I told him I was gonna leave and I did leave, too. I went back to Chicago again.That's when I went to Contagious and worked. And they wanted me to stay there, too, but I was kinda of one of these peoole, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I wanted to get around and see things. Then I came back to Spokane, I worked in Spokane, I was in charge of Edgecliff for a year and a half and,not the Edgecliff, just the men's floor at Edgecliff. I had 36 men on my floor and only five patients. And I had one orderly and one nurse's aid to help me. So you can imagine how we worked to take care of those people. In the morning they either had to have egg nogs or some cock-eyed thing and in the afternoon they had to . And I just worked myself to death there. And finally Fr. Gibson came to see me. He wanted toe to come badk to Bovill. And when he saw me he had a fit."How much weight have you lost?" I said, quite a bit and not only that, I've developed a cough too. I don't know whether it's a sympathetic cough or it really is a tb cough. He said,"I'm telling you one thing. You better get out of here while you're. able to get out." So I left Edgarliff then and I came back to Bovill to work for him.
SS: Edgecliff sounds extremely rugged compared to these other places.
LD: Course, there was a lot of 'em that wasn't awfully sick. But there werea lot of 'em that were sick and needad a lot of care and everything. And another thing, it was so hard to keep other charts because :hey were on four hour temp and all that. You had to take their temperatures every four hours. There were so much to it, so much book work and everything. Gosh, I look back now, I think, how in the name of gosh did I do it.And that's what I'm telling you, all the nurses, not only me,but every nurse worked hard then.We just went along with it, we knew we had to work herd. We had to work, that's all there was to it to get done and do what they expected us to do, course, they were awful good to their nurses. We got wonderful food there and we had a wonderful place to stay at Edgecliff. And everybody was lovely to us. When I was there Dr. Miller was there. And our superin tendent of nurses was Mrs., no it was Miss Hahn. She's probably been dead for years, I don't know. I don't know whether Dr. Miller isA alive or not. I really don't know. He was a pretty young man when I was there. He probably is still alive, I don't know.
SS: What was the course of T.B. like? It seemed so prevelant then.
LD: So many people died with T.B. you know. Well of course, they had to becareful with their sputum and we, I can't remember whether we had kleenex there, or what we had for them. I don't know, maybe we had little squares of gauze for theip, I don't remember. That's too long ago, I can't remember about that. But I remember that everybody had a sack on their bed. And we didn't handle 'em. The patients themselves had to put those little squares or whatever we used, in those paper sacks. And then of course, everything was burned up. We had a man that came along and collected those sacks and everything and we would put clean ones on their beds. And so we didn't contaminate ourselves. And we werecareful. When we taking care of real sick patients, why, we wore masks and things so that they wouldn't be coughing in our faces and so forth. But they were nice bunch of, I always rather take care of men than women. I like to take care of men. Seemed like I got along with 'em better, and you know women, there's always something wrong with 'em, they're hard to please and everything, but I always preferred to take care of men. That's why could have been in the children's ward but I said no, I thought I'd go along with the men. And they said well, they,rather that I would because it was easier to get a nurse that wanted to be with children. And I said no, I thought I would be happier taking care of them. And I was. And like I say, had a really nice orderly and my nurse was very good and they were just like everybody else.They worked hard too. And the three of us did manage it. But I don't know how we did.
SS: Was there any hope for most of the people that had T.B.?
LD: Oh yes, oh indeed there wasl Sure, we lost 'em too, but not too many deaths.Because they were taken good care of and they got good food and everything you know, and got good care. That's all it took you know. And then lots of times we'd push 'em from their rooms out into these porches, itt was colder than the devil you know. . in fresh air, you know. And then they'd be out so long, then they'd have to be pulled back in. But of course, when they were hemorrhaging, everybody rushed then, and it was really emergency. And in fact, in the afternoons when we had our time off from two to four, probably not, it was probably one to three that we had off. Why then they had an emergency bell and there were always men then ambulatory patientscould let us know, they'd ring the emergency bell. Course, everybody'd fly over then. And of course, then the doctor would come and take care of 'em when they were havinghemorrhages. I don't know what we did for 'em, I don't remember. Too many other things happened to me. But like I say, I enjoyed my work there too. But I diai, I got awful thin anddeveloped this cough, and I don't know whether it was strictly bad cough and there was danger of me getting T.B. or whether it wasjja sympathetic cough and was just coughing because everybody elce did maybe. I don't know. But I, like I say, I never did any that Ididn't like. Ijust loved it.Every bit of it. No matter hou dirty or how nice it was. I just fell into it just wonderful.
SS: All that weight that you lost, did you realize that?
LD: Well, Iknew that I was working terribly hard. But Ithought, well workwon't hurt anybody if you're born to bear the load, why work isn't going to hurt you. But it did. Like Isay, not long ago Ihad alittle bit of trouble with my heart and Isaid well I've always been aperson that's taken good care of myself. Isaid, I've never drank, I've never smoked and 1said, Ican't soe why there'd be anything wrong with my heart. And he said,"The only thing that's wrong with your heart is.you always have worked so hard.Thafs probably what's done it." And that could be the only thing, because Ihaven't.but my heart's alright, my doctor wasn't worried about it. But he said it was missing abeat and that they wou" have to get it regulated. So then I went to another doctor because Igot poisoned and was awfully sick last summer, and was sick for month and my daughter insisted that Igo to somebody else, so Idid. And he said, Well yeah, your heart is missing abeat, but that's alright.»he said. He said, I'm not going to give you anything for it, it'll be alright.-It'll work itself out alright. But Ithink you should slow doon alittle bit."But you know, Iwas married, well, we had our 50th wedding anniversary in '71. And my husband passed away 17 months ago.And so you see, Iwas married quite awhile. And Iwas never sick. Ialways felt wonderful and everything. I always worked like ahorse when the time Iwas married, and of course, I worked like a horse before Iwas married too. But I don't think,hard work hurts anybody,if you've got astrong enough back.I really don't think so. It never hurt me, but like I say, Ialways took pretty good care of myself too. Took as good acare as Icould. Uhen Iwas working at Edgecliff, I realized that Iwas probably working too hard there, but Ithought well, it won't hurt me.
SS: Sounds like when you were working, you weren't trying to get the best payingjob.
LD: Ialways wondered if maybe Iwas earning the money that Iwas getting. Ifelt like maybe Iwasn't.And jeepers, when we left the, see, we had the Latah Mursing Home when it was first built. And like Isay, I wouldn't have been more surprised if they'd asked me if Iwanted to be the mayor of Moscow. Wouldn't have been a bit more surprised.But all the time we were there I worked hard too. My husband and I only got 650 a month, the two of us. And then they brought these other nuts in and they got a month, didn't do a damn thing. That's gratitude for you.
SS: When you decided to go back to Bovill, even though you didn't leave thebest of friends....
LD: No, but Dr. Gibson, now like Isay, I'm not saying this to be smart oranything, but Dr. Gibson realized after Iwas gone, what agood nurse I was.And he wanted to get me back if he could. And when he came to Spokane and knew that Iwas at Edgecliff, the superintendent of nurses at Sacred Heart recommended me for the job out at Edgecliff. She said,"I think it would be wonderful for you, Miss Riddell."And I said,I don't know if I could handle it or not."Sure you could handle it, why couldn't you handle it?" I said,well I don't know. I'm little bit afraid. And she said,"NO,you can do it.You do it too. I hate to lose youfcbut it's a good job for you. It'll be good for you." And so I went out there and I had no trouble getting a job at all. Course, like I say, she had recommended me. But, and like when we were recommended for this job,' people that we really didn't know too well recommended us for this job. And I am sure if you ask anybody in Moscow, while we were there for six years, there was never any talk about the nursing home at all.W because everybody did their job and they had no turn over of help. We had girls work for their team the first day we were there and they were there when we left. We just didn't have any turnover of help at all. Everybody enjoyed their work. And wanted to work.
SS: When you were in Sacred Heart, Spokane was altogether a different city thanChicago.
LD: When I was at Sacred Heart, the only thing I did was special. Oust specialcases. Like operatives and things like that. I didn't work general duty or anything like that. I just specia]when I was there. I lived about two blocks from the hospital, so it was real nice for I didn't work there too long because this job came up and §ister Bernice recommended me for it.
SS: You must have liked Bovill pretty well to go back there.
LD: Yeah I guess so. And of course, I'm one of these kind of people, I forgetpretty quick. People can hurt me, but I don't hold a grudge. I forget and of course, like I say, we just never said anything to doctors like that and I was really surprised at myself when I come out and told Dr. Gibson he could go to hell.
SS: When you went back to work for him, were you still on a pretty...?
LD: Oh yeah. Yeah, he knew that I oasn't going to take anything off him. 'CauseI gave him to understand, the only way I was going to come back and work for him was if I didn't have to work myself to death. I said, if I'm working myself to death here why coming and working for you isn't going to help matters any. But if the attitude around there is good, why then your work is easy. And Dr. Gibson, but of course, he's quite a bit like me too. He'd get mad at things if everything didn't go just so. He was a person that was very meticulous about everything. Everything had to be just so. Dr. Gibson would never have an infection because he was just such a clean person, and that hospital had to be so clean and everybhing, why, staph infection and anything like that would have been the last thing we would ever,thought of. 'Cause we kept things cleBn, we had to. Dr. Gibson, when you went to work for him, he told you,"I'll tell you once and I might tell you the second time, but I'm not going to tell you the third time what I expect of you." Said,"You're going to know by that time."
We sure did know by that time, too.But of course, I'm pretty much like thatmyself. And things have got to be just so or I.can't stand it.That sall there is to it. And this other nurse, like we had a cook working for us. And she said to me one day,"I want to ask you something, Miss Riddell." And isaid,okay, what do you want to ask me?"I want to ask you why in the world you always look like you stepped out of. And Miss Hennesy, her uniform is always dirty and her apron's dirty and everything and you both do the same work?" Isaid, it's just because we're different people. Icould work and I wouldn't get dirty. But she, it just seemed like she couldn't do anythingfshe was all messed up. And that was the way Dr. Gibson was. Everything in the surgery had to be just so and if it wasn't just so, why you were told about it. And he said,"I expect my instruments to be kept just so because in case of emergency they just simply have..."
(End of side B)
SS: When Italk to the old time loggers, they remember some really bad accidents.Did many cf those case wind up in Bovill for first aid?
LD: Well yes, like arms off and legs off. like that.Ida had, now Merleworked with aman that got his arm off. But Idon't think we had ahospital in Bovill when he got hurt. But I remember giving him the shot and everything. Sending him down to Potlatch. We had bad accidents. But Idon't know, I can't remember those really. Those really awful bad accidents. And if we did have them, and like I say, got along alright, course, I suppose we lost some of the men.But not too many I don't think. This man that died on the operating table,I always will think that Dr. Gibson neglected him. I don't know why he did it because he wasn't a man like that, but I felt like if would have operated on him in the morning instead of waitingat night to do it that he would have saved the man.
SS: What was wrong?
LD: Well he'd been hit by a log or something and I think he was injuredinternally. Probably bleedirig.But I can't remember all those things, I just can't remember them because like I say, there've been too many things happen in my life. Personally, I've done too many things myself. That I just can't remember all those things. I just can't. I couldn't help you out too much on those bad accidents, but as I remember, we didn't lose too many patients there. The doctor did really advanced surgery. Did a lot of hysterectomies,gall bladders and, plus appendix cases. It just seems like they got along just marvelous for Dr.Gibson,'cause I think his technique was so good, there just wasn't any danger of anything. And like I say,he to assist himworked with us nurses. He didn't have another doctor. He had to do it all himself. I think, I don't care even if Dr. Gibson and I had trouble and everything, I never would say that he wasn't a wonderful doctor. 'Cause he was, he was a wonderful doctor. I think a lot more of him than I do now of the doctors, 'cause I don't know. I think these doctors nowadays let a lot of people die that they don't know what's wrong with them and I can't understand it. I just can't.
SS: You told me that there was another doctor and a guy was on ether.
LD: That Dr. Visser. And Itold his wife, if you don't send your husband downto Potlatch, he's going to die.And I said, for heaven sakes, don't let Dr. Visser hear that. Or tell him anytbiig about it.So then they just told him that they decided that they wanted to send him down to Dr. Gibson. He did die.That was Frank Mosher.
SS: Is that when you'd triced to get him to look at the guy and he'd been out?
LD: Yeah. Course, that was after I was married too. I was up to the hospitaltaking care of him.
SS: Uid you know he'd been on ether until then?
LD: No, I didn't know it. 'Cause I wasn't up there, I didn't know anything aboutit.
SS: You weren't actually working?
LD: No.I just help out when they get busy at the hospital or maybe some realsick patient and I'd help out.And then I did I went down to Potlatch and took care of this man too, but I didn't take care of him very long 'cause he didn't live. His wifeiis still in Lewiston. I see her once in awhile. Not too often.
SS: How did you meet your husband?
LD: I met him in Bovill. Ialways said it was going to marry a farmer, 'causeI wanted to live on a farm. I loved farmed. I guess I should have stayed in Minnesota. Course, there weren't too many farmers out here where I was anyway still looking for my farmer, by the way, if you know any rich farmers.(laughs) I don't think I could do very good on a farm anymore though. I just can't work like I used to work, that's all there is to it. I just can't do it. Course, I can put in a pretty good days work too.But course, I don't know, the farms are so modern now I guess they don't have to work very hard out there.
SS: That's true on most farms. What was Mr. Denevan doing?
LD: He was a lumberjack. And then after he'd been a lumberjack for years, hewent in a store up Bovill. We were in the store for 18 years.It's too bad that Merle couldn't have an education. He was a smart man. And he should have gone to college. He could do about anything. He was a pretty good carpenter, good businessman and when he was at Latah nursing home, he really did a good job out there too.Good with books, and figures and things like that. Run it very economical. Course he knew, having been in a store, he knew how to buy. And that was one reason why we got the job was because I was a nurse and Merle had been in business and they knew that he would know how to buy. And he certainly did.Then they got that kid in, just because he was a college graduate and he didn't know anything and he left them 50,000 dollars in debt when he left. But they probably thought more of him than they did of Merle.
SS: I they could in looking back.
LD: Like I say, I don't think you would finda anybody in Moscow that would saythat we didn't do a cjood job when we were out there. Never any trouble or anything and the commisioraers,we got along wonderful with them and they all liked us and the doctors liked us. It was just because we belonged to the wrong party. We wereemocrats and old Smiley was aRepublican and he didn't like us, and his old sister, she looked like an old sport instead of anurse, and she didn't like us. Hope you're not recording all this. Icouldn't prove that she was, Isaid she looked like one.(chuckles)She might not have been one, but she looked like one.
When you were doing the nursing in Bovill, what was the story about theguy's badly cut lip?
I don't know. I sewed his lip up, and I thoughtprobably lose my job. Dr.Gibson told me he couldn't have done any better himself. But you know, I had an unlimited amount fnothing in the world but guts. That's the only thing that you could say. Icould no more do those things now then Icould fly to Guinea. It just seemed like, Idon't know. Ididn't want to, I tried to tell that man that I couldn't do it, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. And Hennesy, she was egging me on. She said,"Sew it up for him as long as he wants it sewed up." I said, oh no, I'm afraid Dr. Gibson would can me:' No said'he won't can youj Isaid, well, he'll be back tomorrow maybe, if I don't but the stitches in right, maybe he can take it out and fix it. We'll put you to sleep and fix you up.So I said, you be sure and come in tomorrow. He did.Like I say, I sewed up legs and things like that. No more should have done it than anything, but I don't know. I just thought Icould do anything and %J.t. Like Isay, the Lord was good to me and I never had any trouble. Course, I was so darn clean with everything, I couldn't have any infections, that's for sure. But then I didn't always think that maybe I dii the right thing. I'd worry all night about it. My husband'd say to me,"Why do you worry about it? You always get along alright." And said Iknow it but what if something would happen and I'd be the cause of somebody's death or something like that. That always worried me.
SS: When you sewed the lip, had you done that kind of stitching?
LD: We had everything there to work with. Needles and suture and everything.Hemostats and foreceps and anything that you'd want. So I just took the doctor's tools and fixed him up. But of course, I realize that it's probably hard for you to believe that, but then you can ask the people in Bovill about it and they'll tell you that I did.
SS: I had the strong feeling that you must have been a very competent nurse.Considering the situation you were in, the town was very lucky to have some nurse, with no doctor.
LD: Yeah. Well and like I say, I had an unusual amount of confidence in myself.I would have to have it. Because if I hadn't have, I couldn't have done those things. No way could you do 'em. 'Causeyou going to do something if you think that you can't do it. And I'd say to these people, well,I'll do the best that I can and then they'd say,"Well, that's all anybody can do." Like I say, everything always turned out alright. I don't know why it did, because I think I had the ability to do it alright, but I don't think I was that smart. But I don't know. Everything just worked out alright and I just go in there, rough shod and do it, no matter what it was. Seem like it, oh, I had people come to me with all kinds of troubles. And you know, it would just surprise you. I remember one time I had a woman come to me, a young woman and she said to me,"You know, I think I must be rotten on the inside." I laughed at her and she said,"Well I am. I just smell terrible." I said, what have you done, why would you think there's anything wrong with you? I don't know, seems like she had a correctment or something. I can't remember. But I can remember that I found that sponge in her and it was just absolutely rotten. Absolutely rotten! That doctor had left that sponge in there. And I took it out for her. She got along alright afterwards. But I don't know what would have happened to her if we just left it in there.Course, the doctor didn't do it on purpose or anything like that. Those things happen.
SS: You told me that somebody's foot got gashed with an axe.
LD: Not a foot, a leg. a young fellow, he got the back of his leg cut.His friend was walking behind him with an axe, a real sharp axe and cut his leg wide open, see. And of course, I couldn't do anything, 'cause it had to be stitched. 1K . first aid for the doctor and sewed it up. But that's when my youngest boy was, when he was, things iike that always made him so sick. When they brought that man in the yard, he just went,, in the yard he just rolled, . He was so sick as he could be. Oust the sight of blood and he said he's still that way too. He drives truck and he said,"Mom, if I ever come out of a bad accident where there was a lot of blood, I don't think I'd be any good. I couldn't do a thing." I said well Oack, it's like this: you can do lots of things when you have to. You just probably think you couldn't but if you did you probably could do things that you think you could. Course, now my older boy is different. I don't think anything like that would boter him. But Oack was always that way.
SS: Never bothered you?
LD: Oh no. And that's what I say. You couldn'not be a nurse, if things likethat bothered you, you just absolutely couldn't make a nurse, that's all there is to it. You may as well not try, you better go into something else. I know my granddaughter, she kind of thought she'd like to be a nurse. I said, Karen, you couldn't be a nurse. The sight of blood makes you sick. She said,"Yeah I know it." So she decided to be a medical technician. So she's in Spokane going to Kinmans. And she's going to be a medical technician.
SS: You told me about your first kid that Dr. Gibson was not....
LD: Very nice to me.
SS: You were trying to get in a hospital?
LD: He wasn't going to take me in. But then I still don't hold that againsthim as being a good doctor. Like I say, he was nasty and hard to, overbearing and hard to get along with, he really was. But I think that he was such a conscientious man and he wasn't well at that time, he was having trouble with sinus and averything and of course, I don't know whether I got the infection from him or not. I didn't get along very good, in fact, I was terrible sick. I lost 30 pounds of my own weight when Bob was born.
SS: Was that your first?
LD: Un huh.
SS: Did you go to Potlatch for that?
LD: No, he was in Bovill then. But i went home and then I was only home acouple days and had to go back to the hospital. I was in the hospital for quite a while then. But I got along alright, but like I say, I was Iwtys awfully strong and had a good, I guess I came from good stock, I must have. I think I was one of the stronger ones in my family because I bad a sister who wasn't too strong and my mother wasn't too stlwng either, but I think when she was young she was strong. But I've always worked hard, and like I say, you could ask my Nids, and my daughter especially, she'll tell you. ,"Mother, I can never remember of you being sick when I was growing up and I can never remember of you that you were ever tired. I never can remember you saying that." I said I can believe that because I wasn't sick and I didn't get tired either. I seem like I can work, and that's what some of the girls would say to me in Chicago. "I don't see how in the world you can do it. YDu work all day and come home and take a bath and you're ready to go.all night." I said, yeah, I guess so. But I just was, I was really storng. Like I say, I was happy all the time with my work. It drag on me or anything, I loved every bit of it. I would love to be able to take about forty years off my life and back to it, I sure would.
SS: Do you remember the depression very well?
LD: Oh yes. I should say I do. And that's when I did a lot of nursing and nobodyhad any money. I didn't have any and nobody else did either, so I did what I could for people and if people could pay me, they did. Lots of times people brought me things. You've heard about 'em bringing to doctors. And they'd bring you chicken or they'd bring you eggs or they'd bring you stuff like that.But I don't know, I always had plenty to eat,place to live and everything so I wasn't too bad off, I guess.And my husband had a job and one of the better jobs too.He was a toploader and a good one, too. So we got along pretty good. And then, like I say, I had a couple sisters who were pretty well fixed and they could help out. My sister, seven years older than I, she sent me a lot of clothes for the children and a lot of clothes for myself. I'm sure that we didn't have it tough as a lot of people did. Then of course, when the flu came along that was bad.
SS: The one after WWI?
LD: Uh huh.
SS: What was that like?
LD: What was it like? No nurses, no nothing to do anything. And in Bovill,see, I came to bovill in 1919. And we had flu that year too. We lost 7 young men that year, with the flu. The oldest man I think was 45 and then the rest of 'em were all just young fellows. Lumberjacks from the camps. This one man came in with a temperature, I think it was 107 and I told Dr. Gibson about it. He said," Oh it can't be." I said alright, you go and check on him.'He said,"You're right.''Did you know that man came in in a lumberwagsn?" Course, he wasn't there the next morning either. But that's about the only death1 really remember. Seven young men that we lost with the flu. That was when I was going to go to Boise and take my state boasd. And didn't get to. That was a bad thing, really bad. If I had it to do over again, I don't know how I could though , I couldn't go and leave those sick people. But it was bad for me. Because it was just like if you go to a college for four years and probably miss that last month or something and get that old sheepskin, it doesn't do you a bit of good, and that was the way with me. IKnever considered a good nurse 'cause I wasn't an RN Course, ,J worked at Gritman in Moscow, I told the superintendent. She said,"That doesn't make any difference. Iknow what kind of a nurse you are. We need your kind." I said, I just thought I'd tell you. You can do what you want to do.
SS: Did most of the women in Bovill have their children in home?
LD: No, I don't think so, I think that most of them went to the hospital.Because we had a hospital in Bovill and when we didn't have a hospital in Bovill they either went to Potlatch or someplace. I don't think there were too many women, Course, I suppose there were some too. I think Dr. Gibson used to go to the homes, but of course, oe didn't go with him the nurses didn't go with him. Oust the family. Or they'd have some woman maybe that was experienced, not really a midwife, but somebody who'd done those things and knew how to go ahead. Of course, we couldn't leave the hospital to go and help him. But I didn go one night out in the country with Dr. Gibson to deliver a baby. But I guess, probably there wasn't very many in the hospital, but I know I did go with him one time. I could get away.
SS: How many beds were there in the hospital?
LD: Probably 25 beds. 20 or 25 beds. We had about probably two or three privaterooms and that's all and the rest weretwo bed wards or three bed wards. We had a chart room and a surgery on second floor and probably about three private rooms. And upstairs we had a six bed ward and then we had another little room, in fact we had two rooms where could put patients, if we needed them. But this six bed ward, we'd put these lumberjacks that were recuperating. Maybe had a broken leg or some little minor surgery, we put Kem there. There was a bathroom and everything up there for them. We had a lot of patients, and just think those patients only paid a dollar a month.
SS: To the Potlatch?
LD: Yeah. Was a dollar taken out of their checks for hospital. Course, therewere an awful lot of people who never went to the hospital at all. Never had to go.
SS: 50 Potlatch, this wasn't exactly Potlatch's hospital?
LD: It was the Milwaukee hospital. The Railroad hospital. But of course, thePotlatch brooght all their patients there. And all this money that was taken from every one of these men, went into the hospital fund. And I don't know, we never had any problem. We always had plenty to eat, plenty to do with and everything. So, must have had plenty of money. But of course, these patients paS. for it too, these private patients. Always had a lot of them. Surgery patients and everything. They had to pay their hospital bills. Which wasn't too much, but the maternity cases were $4.50 a day and the others were 14.00 a day. I guess they charged 50 cents to take care of the baby.(chuckELes)
SS: Did you treat many women in the hospital?
LD: Mostly men. But of course, every once in awhile you'd have a surgical patient.We4d have babies there, and we had some women of course. Mostly men. But I can't reallyNremember of having a patient that was really disagreeable or anything like that. We didn't have too much trouble lie that. The lumberjacks, they weren't hard to please, they were men that weren't used to a lot..Weren't hard at all to take care of.
SS: What about alcoholism?
LD: We didn't have much of that. No smoking. Women didn't smoke then, you know.I think it must be terrible now to work in nursing homes.Old ladies smoking cigarettes. Merle used to say,"Lu, what do we do when we have old ladies that smoke?" And -£Tsaid,I don't know, I hope I'm not here. I guess I won't be.
SS: I was thinking of the lumberjacks. Some of them I know drank a lot whenthey could. But they never wound up in the hospital?
LD: No. We didn't have any trouble like that. No, there wasn't enough drinkinggoing on then. Course, we had quite a time with the men. They wanted to smoke. Dr. Gibson wouldn't let 'em smoke. Course, I think they did when he wasn't around. And but we had signs all over the hospital that they couldn't smoke. Course, I think Or Gibson really didn't mind if they smoked so bad, other than that he was afraid they'd set the place on fire.
SS: Aftereleft, did another guy replace him or was there nobody there? He wentto Potlatch didn't he?
LD: He went to Potlatch and I don't exactly know when he went either. I can'tremember when he went Yeah, we had doctors off and on, like I said, for quite a spell after Dr. Gibson left. But then for years and years they just didntt have any. These doctors would come and stay a uhileThey'd leave.
SS: Why do you think that was? There wasn't enough for a practice for a doctorthere?
LD: toes. And then, you know how the wives are. They don't like to settle inthose little towns, there isn't much for them to do. They say now that's the trouble too, these small towns don't have doctors, not because the doctors wouldn't go to these towns, but their wives won't go. They just don't want to golive in those little towns. It's pretty hard to get an old fashioned doctor any more. That'll go out on calls and things like that. Won'il' do it. Dr. Thompson, my doctor in Clarkston, he would go out on calls. We told me,"If you ever need me," like when my husband was so sick,"you call me and I'll come." Course, I had sense enough to I wouldn't call a doctor in the middle of thdnight unless it was absolutely urgent. I realized they got to have their rest. Some people are calling 'em up all the time for some little old silly thing.
SS: do you think in the early days there were a lot of people who believedin home remedy?
LD: I thinkrso. But like I say, I don't believe that people had az muchtrouble as they do nowadays. Through dope and alcoholism and all this crap that they have now. And another thing, course, young people, they don't really have much trouble. And then you've got so many older people live so much longer than they used to live. Of course, ohen you get older everything wears out. Has to be taken care of. In those days, if you lived to be 60, golly, you were old. Now my mother was 2 when she died and my older sister, course, my oldest sister next to me was only 52. She died of a stroke. But my older sister, she died New Year's Eve and she would have been 73 in March. My mother died the day after Christmas, the 26th of December, she would have been 73 in August. So of course, that's been a long time ago too. My mother's been gone since '34. So she was really old.
SS: As a nurse, did you have much belief in the effectiveness of home...
LD: Absolutely. I think that there are a lot of things, like they used to putmustard plasters on when people had bad colds and everything,pneumonia and all this a nd that. Oeepers, wfren we had the flu, we used to mix that mustard plasters up in great, big pans iiike that and put 'em on our patients. So they wouldn't get pneumonia. And another thing, it kept »em from coughing and it took the pain out of their chests and everything and I firmly believed in them. And we used to mix 'em up and put 'em on them patients two and three times a day. Back and chest. And of course, as long as I can remember, we've always had iodine. Things like that to keep things clean. And I would say that I don't believe that you found as many dirty people years ago as you find now. I really don't think so. Their homes were pretty clean and they had clean things to do with. And had to wash on the board. Now the women got everything to do with and they can't even get along with what they got, to do with now.
And that's why I sayyoung people, I don't know what's the matter with, I've got a couple young people over here and I never see that man doing anything outside. The yard needs to be raked and this needs to be done and everything, and he's a teacher, he's not working that hard. And I'll bet you that I could put him to shame. I bet that I can work harder than he can. I never see him outside doing anything. I can't understand that. Because you've got a home there's so many things to be done. And I think it's pretty good when the man expects his wife to do everything. After all, she's got two kids to take care of and a house and everything. If there's ever any leaves to rake or anything, I see her outside doing it. Mowing the lawn and stuff like that. Once in a while I'd see him in the summer mowing the lawn, but most of the time she took care of it. I don't know what the he does. Sit in the house probably and don't do anything. Probably isn't too good a teacher either, because I don't sie how he could be and not have any more ambition than he's got. I just don't see how he could be. And you know, things outside bother me. Now Saturday I got out there and raked and had the lawn looking so nice. Next morning they uere all over. I oouldn't do it because I got so dizzy the other day out there doing that, I thought, I'm not going to mow or rake those old leaves. Some kids don't come along, I'm just going to let 'em go.
SS: Do you think that you were demanding of the people who were under youas a head nurse?
LD: Nope, I wasn't. I just absolutely not, because I was one of these kindof people, I would rather do it myself than ask somebody else to do it. I really was. Course, I get awfully disgusted with people because it seems like they can't do anything. But like I say, when we had charge of that hospital, I didn't really have much to say about the girls. I told Merle, that's going to be your job. You can deal with women probably better than I can. And so that was his job. But like I say, we had such good help that we~ trouble. Everybody did there work whether we were there or not.They still did their work and they enjoyed their work. And Merle did get as much money as he pessibly...
(End of side C)
LD: ...fit down there on the floor like that china closet there. And thisthing was in her finger real deep. I told her, she was just a young girl and I said, well, I don't know, it's just like this, I could probably get it out, but I'm afraid I'll hurt you awful bad. Because I'd have to slit that nail. I said, I don't have anything to give you really. And she said"I don't care. I cannot go to the doctor. We don't have any money and I can't go to a doctor, I've no way to get to Moscow. If you think you can do it I know I can stand it." I think it was harder on her than it was on me. But I pinched that finger until, I don't think she had any feeling in it and I slit that nail, I always had a good pair of scissors and tweezers and stuff like that, the sliver come out just as slick as a whistle. Course, she lost the nail, come back and never knew anything about it. She said it really/didn't hurt too bad. I said, I don't know how you stood it, because your fingers are so sensitive. Like your toes, many nerves in 'em.
SS: So you pinched the finger, did you have a foreceps you used?
LD: Uh huh. Course now a days, where you have ice, would have packed thatfinger, practically froze it in ice. Course, we didn't have ice then. Got" in chunks, if you were lucky enough to have an icebox. But I just pinched that finger real, long as I could. And then I had her grab ahold of her finger, I said you think it'll make you sick? And she said,"I don't think so." I said, pinch that finger as hard as you can pinch it 'cause course I had to have both hands to work. I said, don't look at it, don't look at me, that might make you sick. Look the other way. So she did. I just clit that nail down there, grabbed that sliver and it just came out perfect. Good size sliver, too. But it was sore afterwards I think. But she had a lot of guts too.It seems like when my kids got hurt, they were never babies, I don't know why. I guess I didn't make babies out of 'em. But I remember Helen got a bad sliver in her underneath her nail and I told her, Helen, I can't take it out for you I just got to call your dad. And she said,"Oh Mamma!" And I said I can't I just know how bad it'd hurt you. It hurt me worse than it would hurt you. So her dcid came home. He took it out for her.
SS: You couldn't take it out?
LD: Not for her
LD: I don't know, I just felt sorry for her, I guess.I didn't want to hurther.But I don't know, I pretty much made my kids tow the mark. My daughter had told me since, she said,"Mamma, I used to think you were awful strict with me." I said,I think I was Helou. Not that I was mean or anything like that to 'em, but I expected a lot of my kids. And I wanted 'em to grow up so I could be proud of 'em.Boy I can be proud of 'em too. She said, "Mother, I can understand it since I've had kids of my own. I know what you had to go through. I'm just the same way." I said yes, I wanted you to grow up so I could be proud of you. She said,"I want my girls to grow up so I can be proud of them." I said the only way, you could be too mean to children was be to beat 'em to death. But you've got to have discipline. She said,"I know that with five kids to move out if I would have let each kid have their own way."
SS: What was your idea of being strict?
LD: I told my kids what they had to do and what I expected of 'em. And theydid it.She's got a boy who's going to be sinteen in March and I think he's a marvelous kid, I told her, Helen, you really should be proud of Pat. He'd tell his mother he was going to go this place or that place and I'm going to be home at such and such a timej and he would be there. I said, that is wonderful. Because nowadays, the kids, they just run all over locse and where they are or what they're doing or anything. Brother, she wouldn't let her girls date until they were sixteen years old and very limited. I just wouldn't let Helen either. In a little town we didn't have much trouble, just school functions most of the time and just mother and dad kthere too. But I remember one night her dad went after her.teas about ten o'clock, and he went after her. There were a whole bunch of kids out in a car, but just went after her. And told her she was supposed to be home. He didn't do anything to her or anything like that. We never did whip our kids or anything like that. Her dad gave her a licking one time. She was fighting with our youngest boy and we had talked to 'em and talked to 'em and they didn't pay any attention to us. He took a light cord and hit both of the kids, but not very hard, but then they both bawled anyway. But she said,"Mother, I can see it now, but of course I couldn't see it then." And I said well I pretty much let you do things I thought you should do elen. I said I wanted you to be a nice girl and we wanted to be broud of you. And we sure were and she got a nice husband and everything. He's a wonderful man, we just love him. By the way, his folks are coming tonight. The other grandparents.
SS: Did you quit working as a nurse when you got married?
LD: Uh huh. Well quit working, yeah. But then of course, I always filledin and helped out whenever I could. I never left nursing til I moved down here and that was 1966 I think, '66 or '67. Then I been away nursing since then, but never from the time I started in until then was I ever away from it.
SS: Did you feel when you were getting married that it was a conflict for youto have to quit nursing and stop doing it as a full time job?
LD: No, because like I say, I was interested in my home and interested in myhusband.,, although I was only married a short when I went down to Deary to take care of a woman. And Merle was so mad when he come home because his mother had talked me into going and oh, this woman was so nasty to me. And she was made because she had to stay home and she didn't get to the hospital to have that baby. Well, that wasn't my fault, I couldn't help it that she couldn't get . But it wasn't very easy to get somebody to take care of you and I had just been married. But Merle's mother she just thought I ought to go. iierle was so mad at her. "You don't tell her what she's going to do now. Let her do what she wants to do." So I stayed down there for ten days, but I think that's the longest I ever was, because after I had the kids, I just couldn't go away and let somebody else take care of 'em. They were mine and I wanted to take care of 'em.
SS: This lady that you were nursing, she was nasty?
LD: Oh, she was so nasty and mean. Nothing pleased her and they baby was aw/Wcranky and everything.I worked so hard when I was down there and I guess sha didn't think I done enough. Lord, we use to do the washing, not the family washing,the baby washing and oh gosh, Idon't know what people eEpect of them. If you'd ask a nurse now to wash out a diaper or anything she'd think you were plumb crazy. I went down on two cases at Deary and took care of two women down there. other woman was real nice, but she had a gall bladder attack after the baby was born and she was awful sick. But that husband was really good to me.He was so nice and he helped me all he could and we got along fine. But this other woman, she.and the doctor said she was nasty to him when he came there; Deary. She wanted to go to Potlatch to Dr. Gibson. And she wanted to be in the hospital when her baby was born. She waited too long andgot caught at home, and of course, she wasn't ready for it either. It was too bad, but there was noting any of us could do about it. I was wishing to God she could have gond to the hospital. Gone anyplace. Anyway, when I presented the bill to the husband, why I can't remember,probably wasn't very much. He had kind of a fit about it and I said, well if I really charged you what it was worth to take care of that wife of yours, you souldn't be able to pay it. He says, "She was kind of bad, wasn't she?" I said she sure was.(chuckles)
SS: When you worked in the Bovill hospital, what was the main work you didas far as nursing, what were the main responsibilities the nurses had?
LD: To take care of the patients. They had to be bathed every day and takencare of Cleaned up, the rooms cleaned up and we had to clean the bath rooms and we did all the cleaning along with everything else. We didn't have to do the halls but we had to do the patients' rooms. We didn't have to mop 'em or anything like that, butKdust mop 'em and keep the rooms up nice. Oust like any other nurse, there were shots to give and to give and treatment sometimes. They had to have hot dressings and all that stuff. We had to just like anybody else would do.And we didn't have the things to do with now they have like hot pads and things like that. They got those things now to use. But we didn't. We had to wring these things out of boiling water and pretty near blister your hands. Its a wonder I've got any hands left. They had to have turpentine dressings. And a lot of things. And we took such wonderful care of our mothers. Lord, we worried to death about our mothers for five days and now they're up and home by five days. Took their temperatures four timea a day and Lord, afraid of infection and everything.I don't know. Kept 'em in bed for ten days.
SS: Was that a good idea?
LD: I don't know why it wasn't. Lot of women that's still living that stayedin bed for ten days, that's the only rest they ever got. Now these mothers home and start into work and everything. I don't know what's going to happen to 'em in years to come. We'll have to wait til that time comes to see how they turn out and I probably won't be here to see. Because those things all have to go back in place after you've had a baby and everything and if you get up and work and everything, course I know a lot of people did it and it didn't seem to hurt 'em. I don't know. But...
SS: What happened to people who couldn't afford to pay back a hospital? Didn'tthat happen?
LD: I suppose it did, but I had nothing to do with that. I suppose everyhospital lo ses money on patients. And now of course it's pretty much, and even in my time you had to pay for your maternity case before you ever went into the hospital. Sign in doctor's office,"All maternity cases must pay in advance." 'Cause after the baby wao born you couldn't very well take it away from »em. I don't know who'd want 'em anyway.
SS: That sounds awfully bad to me that the doctor would say that you can'tgo in the hospital, they don't have room for you as a nurse.
LD: And after I'd worked that hard for that man. He did, he really did, that'sthe truth. Idon't know if Icould have anybody verify that anymore.?" husband's gone, but he could sure tell you. He was so mad. Ithink he just really would have cleaned up on that man. Anyway his wife came,"Why you can't do that Frank! 0f fiourse she's going to come in the hospital. She's planning on it for six months, she can't stay home. She's not ready to stay home. She hasn't got anything ready to be home." "We haven't got any place to put her." "Well you'll have to find a place."
SS: Did your husband talk to him too?
LD: Oh yeah. He went up to see him. He told him,"Lucille's in labor." "Wellshe'll just have to stay home,'cause the hospital's full, we haven't got a place Sor her." "Oh no, she's not staying home. She's not prepared to stay at home. Bhe doesn't have anything ready to stay at home. And you're going to take care of her." So,but Idon't know what would have happened. I don't know what Iwould have done. See, Bob was born'the 21st of October. I might have been able to gotten to Moscow, but of course the roads were terrible then and I went into labor in the evening. He wasn't born until 6:30 the next morning. Iprobably could have gotten quite aways any way. But of course, he was alright. And my husband said to him, "Bdlieve me, when you get her in that hospital, you better be nice to her. If you don't, you're going to have trouble with me!" So of course Dr. Gibson was alright. But he was, he was sick, he had this sinus trouble and the next morning after he delivered me he had to go to Spokane. To be taken care of.
SS: S0 you tnink it might have been all the pressure he felt?
SS: Was there awide difference in the hospital, sometimes it would be full...
LD: Sure. Sometimes there wouldn't be hardlanybody in it. Then sometimes,just like every other hospital. Usually on holidays and everything it all slows down because people want to go home. And then as soon's the holiday's over then it's all full again. People coming in that need surgery and sick and what have you.
SS: Was the Bovill hospital considered as good as the Potlatch one?
LD: I don't know why, we had the same doctor and nurses and stuff, I don'tknow why it wasn't.
SS: You had about the same facilities?
LD: Uh huh. Of course, the facilities were better in Potlatch because thesurgery was larger and the sterilizing room was larger and there was room for more patients.lt was nicer alright, but I don't know if the facilities were any better. Because like I aay, whereever Be. Gibson was, he had everything just so and that was that. And that would be the only way that he could run anyplace. It had to be just so.
SS: Being a lumberjack town like Bovill was, what kind of effect do you thinkthat had on the town?
LD: I think it was good for the town 'cause they were all making good money.Everything was thriving in Bovill. They had everything imaginable there, down to nothing. And of course, after the work got further away and less work, why the town went down 'cause nothing to keep it up. And of course, you know how lumberjacks are, they spend all their money. Never save anything.
SS: So it was good for the economy?
LD: We had a nice drugstore anda couple of nice hotels. Couple nice storesand about three, four, five beer joints. They always had them.And a bakery and everything in Bovill. Now it's terrible up there. Course they don't have any people any more either. And they don't have any nice houses and the ones that do haveNdon't take care of 'em. And everybody is,"Well, I'm not going to live here all my life, I'm not going to build a nice house," and still they do. And I don't know what they do with all their money. That's one thing. We always had a fairly nice house when we lived in Bovill. And I didn't always have too much in it. I know one time my youngest boy said,"Oh Mom, i wish we had a house like Lanchasters, they're got such pretty rugs on the floors, they have such pretty furniture and everything," and I said maybe someday we will have and if we don't, you will have. And he sure does. He has a lovely home and he's always buyin this and that for his wife. He sees something and he buys it Cor her just because he likes it. He buys all the furniture.
SS: uo you remember the boneses?
LD: I took care of Mr. Oones before he died. Everybody thought she was soterrible becauseshe stold that money from Red Cross. Idon't lknow if she did or not, I sure couldn't prove it. But she sure didn't let him have much money to spend. And after all, he was the one that made it. Brother it must be terrible to have a wife and she tell you what you can do with your money. It's bad enough to have a husband and tell you what you can't do this and you can't do that. I don't know, to have such a domineering wife, I think that would be terrible. But I remember one time I was in Moscow and there was this funeral over there and I came out of the church and the Ooneses were out there and they said,"Do you plan on going to the cemetery Mrs. Denevan?" And I said not really 'cause I don't have any way to go. And they said,"Come on, get in here with us and ride out to the cemetery with us." I don't know what I was doing there alone,, how I got over there or anything about it. So anyway I did. And they said,"Why don't you go to lunch with us?" Isaid I want to do some shopping and I've got to get home. But I said probably be alright ° I went to lunch with them. I thought it was so funny when we got through eating, she got up and took the bills over to the counter and paid for them and she was just like a little, old banty rooster. And Mr. Oones said,"Doesn't that look awful? To think that Idon't have any money and she won't give me any money to pay the bill. She has to pay it." Isaid, well yes, I think that's terrible. I did think so. Iwanted to tell her so too. And of course, Iwanted to pay for my own lunch, but no way, they wouldn't let me.
SS: Sort of nice to take care of your lunch.
LD: They were real nice to me. And Iremember, Imust havegone to Moscow,as I remember, I don't know, maybe I went to Moscow with Merle and Merle went someplace else, he had to go to Pyllman and pick up his vegetables and so maybe he'd gone on over there and he was going to pick me up on his way home. Anyway, I know I was alone and it was nice to go to the cemetery and also nice to go out to lunch with them and everything. I don't know, I liked »em and they never did hurt me any. Like I say, I wouldn't say anything about Mrs.Jones because I don't know if she stold that money or not. Everybody said she did and do she probably did, but...
SS: In most of the marriages that you knew in those days, didn't the wife haveas much responsibility as the husband, as much say so, or was it usually the husband?
LD: Well no, I don't think so. I think that was just a little bit late forthat. I think that probably my mother when she was married that my dad pretty much had the say. That wasn't the way it was at our house. If oe had any money, was welcome to it and if we didn't have it, we just didn't have it, that's all. But like I say, no way could I marry a man that I would have to account for every sent that I spent, because I just have never lived that way and I couldn't live that way because Merle never said, "Well now, what did you buy that for, or what did you do with that money that I gave you?" He was never like that. Course I had quite a bit of money myself when I got married. So i was a little bit independent.
SS: Savedfrom all the work you'd done?
LD: I had a wonderful hope chest. That helped a lot. We had a wonderful showerand got a lot of nice things.
SS: Did you get chivareed?
LD: Yeah we did. And even my oldest boy, they chivareed them too. But of coursethe youngest boy and Helen, they weren't. Helen was married in Moscow and had a big wedding and they left on their honoyraoon and then when they came back they had an apartment in Moscow so didn't get up to Bovill. But they probably would've. And then Oack was the same way. He wasn't living in Bovill when he got married. , down here in Lewiston and he was living with us.Then they got married and of course they had this little house there. And they didn't know that many people to chivaree 'em. But.. I've got to get busy right now!(pause in tape) After it ruptured here it broke wide open and all that pus went right through him. And he just didn't have any pain anymore. And of course, he " high fever and every thing. I knew Myrtle because I'd been with her when she'd had one of her boys. I told her, your husbandls aafully sick. If you donVt get him to either Moscow or Po tlatch, to Dr. Gibson, he's going to die. He'll die from peritonitis. So he did die too.
SS: Did you acturally go and try to find a doctor?
LD: Yes, I went to his bedroom and talked to him. He was completely out.He didn't even know when He didn't say anything.
SS: Did she come to you after going to him?
LD: No, he lived right there in the hospital..Had room right there in thehospital.She didn!t go to see him, I just told her. I said you've got to get your husband down to this hospital or he die. But now of course, I wouldn't want anything like that said because I couldn't prove it. That's too long ago. And of course I suppose Mrs. Mosher, she would testify to it alright.
SS: No one's trying to prove anything.
LD: Like I say, it is the truth. 5he too. But when they got himto the hospital they just opened him up. He had pus all over and Dr. Gibson said that he wondered if they'd ever get the place cleaned up afterwards. They had to sterilize, fumigate the operating room. And you should have seen, tha.kpus just rolled out of that man. Changed his dressings and changed 'em and changed 'em. It was just terrible. He was just simply,oh, must have been all rotten.And to think that somebody would let them gq like that. But you know, I feel like this about doctors, and I'm putting all those doctors in that category, that you have to be with the a doctor for many years before you really get established with him,before he really considers you a patient. Then he might be a little bit concerned about your welfare. But especially older people, I think they thinly, they've lived their life, they may as well be dead. I don't think that they're too interested.
SS: Those days?
LD: I think the doctore feel that way. And they only realize that they're goingto be old some day too. Everybody's going to get old, that's something you can't do anything about.
SS: Did you find that you could diagnose like that.
LD: I don't know if I should have, but I did anyway. And my son will tell youthe same thing: I knew that that kid either had gall stones or a gall bladder attack, I mean kidney stones or a gall bladder attack. I figured that my husband, that there was something radically orong with him, I didn't know what was wrong with him, but that doctor, he's supposed to be a diagnostician andjfte didn't know what was wrong with him. He said to me,"You suppose he could have pneumonia?"
SS: I wanted to ask you, you said that nurses in Bovill did things that doctorswould have done in other places. What would that have been?
LD: We assisted him in the operating room. And where usually they've got anotherdoctor, maybe two or three helping him out. And Dr. Gibson had nobody. His wife was giving the anesthetic and then Mfe- girls helped him out. One would be scrub nurse and the other wone would assist him. And we worked right along with him.
SS: that did the assistant do in the operation?
LD: Handed him the dressings and the instruments and everything. Heaskedfor this and that and we handed it to him. We'd be all scrubbed up of course, just like he would. The rubber gloves and everything. And the instruments would be all laid out on the table, and everything sterile. Then the other nurse, she'd be running around and helping wherever she needed to be helped, or whatever we needed. Times we might need a pan of hot water or something, she'd go and get it. Course, the pans would be sterile, she couldn handle 'em on the underneath, put 'em in our places for us to use. Quite a thing.
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