Thursday, May 7, 2015

When I Was Your Age...I Was A Candy Striper!

Candy Striper! 
When I was your age I...

A couple of days ago I was looking through my desk drawer and came across a tiny pin.  The writing was so small that I had to put on my reading glasses to read what was on it. It was my Candy Striper 100 hour pin!  I have no idea how it came to be in that drawer...I received that pin 45 years ago!   

100 Hours of Service

When I was 15 years old, I decided to become a Candy Striper.  I wasn't thinking of a career in medicine at the time.  I thought it would be a fun way to earn service hours for my Young Women's award.   Picking beans on the Church Welfare Farm was one of my least favorite activities...along with babysitting, and cleaning house for my Grandma Zetta. 

American Fork Hospital.
Nursery window is far right of the flagpole.

The local hospital was quite small in the early 70's.  At that time children weren't allowed to visit patients, so I hadn't been able to satisfy my curiosity about "what goes on in a hospital."  When we had a new baby, I stood outside the nursery window with my siblings while a nurse held the baby up to the window.  I had never gotten any further than the lobby and the Pink Ladies' gift shop.  I wanted to follow the sound of the nurse's squeaky shoes down the tiled hallways.  I had  read a few of my mother's "Nurse Nancy" romances and I imagined all sorts of drama and romance. If I was a Candy Striper I could maybe "snoop" around a bit.

Nurse Nancy...Mom took us to the library a lot.

I went to Candy Striper Orientation with a group of my junior high classmates and passed the interview with Mrs. McTague our volunteer coordinator.  We paid dues of $1 per year and were given a pretty pink and white striped pinafore and a booklet.  I don't remember if we paid for the uniform.

This booklet was found in my M.I.A. Treasures of Truth binder.
I found a few other bits and bobs I forgot I had saved.

The Uniform...

The Uniform.

I thought I looked cute in the uniform...but I didn't like the fact that we were supposed to wear nylons.  I thought my white knee socks looked perfectly fine.  I didn't even own any nylons and couldn't afford them.  Mrs. McTague talked to me about it several times.  She was nice, but I never did wear them.

My uniform patch.

How cute I was in the uniform!

My Duties...

I started out by working at the Patient Information desk.  We directed visitors and answered questions.  We took turns delivering flowers to the rooms and filling the water jugs.

Later, I was assigned to work in the kitchen and cafeteria.  I took all the patient menus and tabulated the different choices for the dietician.  Then I changed the menu sign and added in the daily specials.  When it was time for lunch, the information desk girls would help me deliver the food trays.  Sometimes, if the nurses were too busy, we were asked to help feed some of the elderly patients who couldn't handle a spoon or fork.  I liked working in the kitchen...I got free lunch!

My Fellow Volunteers!
We donated a toy chest to the Pediatrics Ward.

Once I had received my 100 hour pin, I was ready to move on...checking the box on my list of things I wanted to do in my life.  I think we each have a "bucket list" of sorts even if we don't call it that.  After volunteering at the hospital, I knew that a medical career was not for me.  I had a lot of interests when I was a teenager.  I had real talent in some things, and in others...not so much.  When you take music lessons, gymnastics, swimming and sports, you are trying things trying on a dress.  Sometimes the dress fits and sometimes it doesn't.  Just don't leave the dressing room until you find the perfect fit for you!

With love from your Grandma,



~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I was a candy striper, too. I remember feeling a little sick when I went into some of the rooms but mostly, I refilled water pitchers and pushed the cart of magazines around. It was a very cute outfit and we all looked cute. heehee! Sweet hugs, Diane

vivian said...

lol.. sneaky way to get a peek into the workings of the hospital! lol!
Have a great weekend and happy mothers day!


Nice! I didn't volunteer when I was young...wait, I helped out in Sunday school...

Musings from Kim K. said...

Loved another piece of your past. Have a wonderful mother's day!