Happy mem­o­ries at nurses’ re­union

Marlborough Midweek - - OUT & ABOUT - PAULA HULBURT

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.

PHOTO: RICKY WIL­SON/STUFF

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.

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