Happy memories at nurses’ reunion
With crisply turned out uniforms, starched caps atop carefully pinned hair and shoes freshly shined, they were the epitome of professionalism.
The year was 1968 and the new student nurses at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim posed happily for a photograph, their wide smiles capturing their sense of achievement and quiet pride.
For reunion organiser Jackie Halliday, the get-together was the culmination of months of detective work. She says while many had kept in contact and even met up over the years, it was trickier tracking others down.
‘‘The only one missing was our tutor. No one had heard where she was or in fact if she was still alive. But after placing a post on Facebook we found her in Australia.
‘‘But she was sick on the day itself and sadly couldn’t come.
‘‘There was a very strong bond between our class and there was plenty to talk about; memories of antics in the nurses’ home. There was no awkwardness at all.
‘‘It didn’t feel at all like 50 years had gone by,’’ she says.
From using fire escapes to creep out after curfew to going to wards straight from a party, the class of 1968 shared their recollections over lunch.
It was a time when patients were allowed to smoke in bed and Hallidays says she remembers enjoying a cigarette herself.
‘‘Impossible as it is to imagine today, their were ashtrays on all the lockers and I remember having a sneaky puff behind the curtains.
‘‘There was a great sense of camaraderie among us all and it was such great fun to all catch up again,’’ she says.
Now and then: Nurses from Wairau Hospital’s class of 1968,from top left, Lorraine Brittain, Jill Adams, Julie Kay, Sam Chandler. Front Tryna Kenny, Pam Red, Jackie Halliday, and Mary McCormick.