Snapshot from the 1940s

by luciditewriting

Since last July, I’ve had the privilege of helping my grandmother write her memoir. A beautiful, strong woman who grew up in a small town in Minnesota, moved to the Twin Cities to work as a nurse, married one of the first neurosurgeons in Minnesota, raised 5 children, and traveled the world, Grandma has her fair share of fascinating tales. As I was transcribing some of our interviews this past week, I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. Here is a gem from the rich jewel box that is her life:

“I worked as a nurse at the VA hospital for about two and a half years. That’s where I met Paul, a doctor whom I would eventually marry. One day Ms. Oaks, the chief nurse, sent for me. I thought I was going to be reprimanded for something, but what she wanted was for me to represent the nurses in a beauty contest at the Prom Ballroom. Paul agreed to be my date. Back then there must not have been any rules about ‘padding it up.’ My friends and I were having a few drinks upstairs and they kept saying ‘oh, you need more padding,’ so we’d put a few more handkerchiefs in there. We were laughing about that when I got the call that Paul was waiting for me downstairs. So, I came downstairs and he looked at me and said ‘well, we’re putting up a big front anyways.’ Once again, I was one of the shortest ones in the competition and I think I came in last in that pageant, too. But I didn’t get a complex about it, because I knew I didn’t have the biggest asset one needs in a competition like that: nice long legs.”

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