Interview with Trilby Green





(Beginning is missing)

Norton: You mean one nurse for the two floors?

Green: There was two floors, l nurse for the two floors. Yes, I didn't realize that they had (. . .) and that. I thought that was the way it was built. See, I never knew that.

Norton: Remember the fire escape down the side that wide wide, it's down at the end.

Green: Yes, that was at the end here. That was down that way.

Norton: (. . Place. .) All of us kids, we used to go up there in the winter. Bobby Ewart used to say "My dad partly owns this place so we can do what we want”, and we would go up there on our sleighs and get maybe one or two runs down before (…) It was a neat thing to go down (…)

Green: I can still see my dad. Bobby would come on a Sunday morning when he got the urge and he always knew where to go to the kitchen. We always had apples when we were kids and I said to him the first time I met him over there, I said, "My glory, it's a long time since I've seen you. We were just like that, and we used tog get in and get apples. I said, "Land, maybe a little lower than that. "

Norton: Were you up there when he and my brother, Bill, they were playing around the hospital and they found that skunk nest? You know the mother was all rabies and they got shock (…) and Bobby went to Bill crying and they went in the hospital and he was looking for his dad and he just smelled of the skunk. The nurse took him and took all their clothes off and they gave him a bath and (…) We live right across the street and we brought them home all (…)
Green: Because they smelled of skunk.

Norton:

Green: Grace Kerr was our matron, Miss Kerr. She was kind of tall, thin.

Norton: I remember Helen Asseltine.

Green: Yes, she came with me. She came at the same time. She was there like just after the next few months but I wasn't there very long before she came. We were so busy we couldn't. That's when they $5. 00, we asked for $65. 00 so they said if we took $6. 00 they would get us a practical nurse so she came, I guess she was the first one to come as far as l remember.

Norton: How many nurses were there on staff?

Green: All together.

Norton: Yes, When you first came

Green: Just the three of us, the matron and two nurses on duty and then one at night.

Norton: Three doctors.

Green: No, there was just two doctors. Dr. Lyons and Dr. Ewert, then after that Dr. (…) came. He left and Dr. MacArthur and Dr. Chambers, then we had Dr. (…) for awhile. They were both here until Dr. MacArthur retired

Norton: Was Dr. (…) married?

Green: Oh yes, as far as I remember.

Norton: Because they lived right across the street from us.

Green: Oh, I was thinking they lived on Fourth Avenue.

Norton: No, they lived on Seventh, remember that big house the(…) used to live in.

Green: Oh yes, the two story house. I think I do remember now.

Norton: (…) She still lives here. She isn't that old. She's only 80. She must have married really young.

Green: I haven't seen Mrs. Bexon

Norton: I meet her all the time.

Green: Well does she live up the other (…)

Norton: No, she lives down (…)

Green: Oh, she lives that part down there.

Norton: Yes, or she did. How many beds in the hospital approximately.

Green: Oh, there was three private rooms downstairs and I, oh about 20 beds would be downstairs, l guess and then upstairs the maternity with lots of medical people were put up there or even surgical because they wouldn't be used downstairs. When the army came that was in 38, 39, that was when they started and they built the new hospital.

Norton: That's the army barracks one, now the Simon Fraser.

Green: No, no, Simon Fraser is not that tall, lots of people think.

Norton: They just tore it down, didn't they?

Green: I don't know if they tore it down or moved. It was all in the same area, it was near to, no a little way back from the road because I remember.

Norton: Gee that was a terrible thing for our parents. That's where my three kids were born.

Green: It was a long.

Norton: It was hard for the nurses.

Green: It was hard for the nurses. When I think of it now, you know, if we were down at that end and the maternity ward was supposed to be down at one end, and once in a while we would have a medical patient in there or surgical patient and they would want a bottle of glucose or a bottle of something else, we would have to trot all the way, that's nearly half a block. We would trot all the way to that end and came up, my glory. `

Norton: Yes.

Green: But, no that wasn't in ‘39 because I was married. I got married in the old, old hospital. We didn't move. After I got married l didn't do general duty, only once in a while. I specialized people but once in a while I had to do general duty because we were busy and I didn't mind it.

Norton: Here is a picture in ‘39. It shows the Pine Manor.

Green: No, no, the hospital was Pine Manor. I never got into it because I didn't know anybody. I was always dying to get in, just to see what rooms people had because there was a little long ward, the women's ward , the three privates and then the operating room. Whoever had the operating room, they must have had to put a bathroom in there. Somebody told me friends of theirs had the operating room. I never thought of it until after I got thinking about it, somebody over there that night said that a friend of mine had the operating room and there was no toilet then and they must have a toilet.

Norton: You mean they made them into apartments.

Green: Yes, for teachers.

Norton: That's when it was called Pine Manor.

Green: Yes

Norton: Oh, I thought Pine Manor was the old name for the hospital.

Green: No, no, no. The old hospital, it was all, see there was an office here which used to be the office and then they made half of the dining room into the office and made the Xray room there. So all these different places and upstairs in Maternity that I wanted to see what it was like with everybody living there, but I didn't know of anybody so I couldn't go in and ask and have a look around. The old hospital didn't have a name which is Prince George.

Norton: Who was the janitor?

Green: Clelland, I think Clelland and then there was another fellow, George somebody, but I can't remember the name.

Norton: So they had an Xray at the hospital.

Green: Oh yes, Xray room down and then upstairs was the darkroom where they developed. Dr. Lyon, he knew what he was doing, he was a good doctor.

Norton: What type of hours did you put in?

Green: 12 hour shift but we always had three hours off. Like we worked from 8 to 4 and be off for the rest of the day. They now have 12 hours but never have time off.

Norton: But they only work a certain number of hours in a week. That way they get their hours in real fast.

Green: Then they have four days off, I don't know too much about it.

Norton: How many days a week did you work? Seven.

Green: Seven days a week, oh yes, and then sometimes, like everybody had time off. We would have, like some would have Sunday off or you would have Sunday off from 10 to one or another Sunday off at 4 o'clock. We worked from 8 to one or from 8 to 4. We would come back at one and then work until 8 o'clock or 7 o'clock, l guess it was 7 o'clock.

Norton: Yes, there was no nurse's residence, or was there?

Green: Yes, there was a nurses residence. I never took a picture of the nurses residence.

Norton: Where was it?

Green: It was right on the corner of Twelfth Avenue, behind the hospital. See the hospital here and this was Lethbridge. That's the street and the nurses home was right on Twelfth Avenue because there is still some houses on Twelfth Avenue. They have been there ever since, oh yes, because we had to make shifts, and we had to put two to a room, like the one room had two girls and then upstairs was the locker room. It was just like the bathroom. They had to turn that into a bedroom because they got more nurses, and then there was the other room. I think there was two in the other room too, and then the matron had a room.

Norton: Were your rooms very nice? Were they very tiny?

Green: When I first went there I had a small room, but they were big enough. Everything was comfortable, but the winters were cold and downstairs there was three quite big rooms because I was downstairs after. They moved me down.

Norton: You came from Toronto, didn't you?

Green: Yes right on Twelfth Avenue, you would park your cars when you go visiting at the hospital, That's two blocks because the middle of the hospital, the entrance is Fourteenth Avenue so you have two blocks to walk when you park your car. You have two blocks to walk to the Main entrance and that's the middle of Fourteenth. Fourteenth goes right through there if there was a road. Yes, I have pictures of this but never took a picture that I know of the nurse's home and it was a good looking nurse's home, it had a sitting room and nice basement downstairs. They had to make half of the basement into a locker room for our coats and things. We had to move them from there down and there was a back door and a front door and a kitchen. On our days off, we had a day off a week. It's funny when you go to talk about something you have to stop just to get it into your head before you say anything. We were all happy, very happy there and Miss Kerr, and you remember the nurse that came after Miss Kerr, she was Mrs. somebody and I don't know if she was the second one or the third one. She was very good. Do you remember that we had a 29th of February dance for the nurses, leap year dance, and everybody was to take their boyfriend and pay for their ticket and pay for like a corsage and take him out for a meal. We did all the treating. She made little nurses and we helped her. She made the first ones and she showed us how to do them and we made little nurses out of paper for decorations for the supper table. You don't remember that, do you? See this is all before I was married.

Norton: Did they call it the Sadie Hawkins Dance?

Green: I don't know what they called it.

Norton: We used to call it the Sadie Hawkins Dance.

Green: That's what they had awhile ago, they had a Sadie Hawkins Dance.

Norton: They were asking in the paper the other night where were you the 29th of February 1952. By gosh, I know where I was and who I was with. We had a party and I was (…) It was the only time I could even remember such a thing as that. It's a big deal. (…. . ) : I remember (...) wife (...)

Green: Well, she came after that. We had one, Miss Kerr, in charge, She went and lived in Victoria and I guess she is dead now. I used to write to her over the years especially at Christmas time. I didn't hear from her so I presumed she died. And then we had Mrs. Somebody, well then I think we had a Miss Green but l think that was after I got married. We had a Mrs. Green but they found out she was a dope addict. Do you remember that? I think that was after I got married.

Norton: I hope they don't mix her up with your name. Werschke: Yes, I remember Mrs. Holmer but I forget what her name was.

Norton: Mrs. Holmer, oh she was so fussy. I remember she lived in Northern Hardware, they used to have apartments over the Northern Hardware, and you would hear that. , This is the old days and so she invited us all down and in those days we rode in old cars or walked. We had rubbers on and l guess we were just going to step in the door never thinking that maybe it wasn't that dirty, and she made us all take our rubbers off by the door. I can always remember she was so fussy but she was very dainty, you know, but she was very nice in her own way but I don't know, I just got to like her when her son was sick. They always came and got me, that was after I was married. Even, if they wanted, they would phone and see if I would go and sit with him at night. She always got me to go over.

Norton: Wasn't she around 40 when she had her first child?

Green: Yes, she must have been around forty or something when she had her first child.

Norton: Or a bit older, I remember hearing that she had

(A bell goes off and conversation can't be heard)

No, because he was all these other doctors who came.

Norton: What is some nice little tale about nursing for every hospital, like some case that came in because of the primitive nature of our territory here that made it a little bit different to deal with. Is there any certain story you can think of?

Green: No, in the old hospital we had a woman came to the door. It was in the winter time and a man brought her In a sleigh and she had the baby right at the door of the /hospital. We had to get the stretcher and the baby was in her bloomers. That's what they said, “Some place, thanks for the old bloomers. ”She had these big bloomers on and the baby was in there and everything else was in there. We had to get her up to the case room and clean everything up.

Norton: Was she all right?

Green: Oh yes, the baby was all right, everything. I guess that's what worried us as it was so cold outside, we couldn't do it there, we had to get her up there.

Norton: I almost had one like that when I had (…) . One woman waited until her husband came home from work and he was late coming home and she was laying on the benches. Right at the door, that's as far as they got her. She was having her bearing down pains. I said, "My glory, what am I going to do?" I never called a nurse or anything. Mrs. (…) was the nurse on. I knew she was in the emergency ward. This was only six or seven years ago that I worked there.

Green: She should be retiring soon.

Norton: Oh yes, she should be. Were you trained as a midwife?

Green: No, not like the (…)

Norton: You could deliver a baby though.

Green: Oh yes, l delivered babies there. I phoned Dr. Lyons, especially the Indians, end he would say, oh, he says, “Oh you deliver the baby and I might be up after. " When the baby was born, he would say that he would see that I got a pair of stockings or a box of chocolates ,whatever he got. Oh, he says, you can deliver the baby as long as everything was clean and they help you. You wouldn't be too fussy.

Norton: My brother Les and I were burn in Edson. It was just in a house.

Green: We knew what to do.

Norton: In a room. My mom said that if you had the baby after one or two o'clock, you were sort of on your own. . The doctor would just be plastered by two in the afternoon. You had to do all your getting sick in the morning and before two o'clock as after that…

Green: Sometimes I could tell you lots of tales from the hospital.

Norton: I wonder if these people are still alive.

Green: I would never mention names.

Norton: No, because someone could recognize the story and not be too happy about it.

Green: Wait until I finish this and I'll tell you my experience when l came up here first.

Norton: Help yourself to some more tea.

Green: Well I came in, help yourself to the eats, eat those muffins because they are nice and fresh and they are home cooked. I didn't make them. Alice made them. Don's wife.

Norton: Oh, Don's wife.

Green: Yes, she didn't know you people were coming and she sent me some in last night. See Ethel is away and we counted these few things. When I first came here, the train came in about four o'clock in the afternoon Jimmy Douglas came down and Ethel and all the children, my two nieces and Freida and Ethel came down with her two children, the two of us in the car. We had all these people on the train and boys from the bush and they were rough a lot of the time, wasn't used to rough people like that. I thought oh my, some of them looked so dirty but I got to do this. I thought well I'll make myself do it because my mother wanted to come out and she thought we would be together, so then the next day l was to go off duty at 7 o'clock at night and Miss Kerr was away in Scotland and Mrs. Ball, James Ball's mother, she was taking the place of the matron and that's when I got to know her and she took me all over the hospital. We walked up the hospital in the morning, my sister and l, and met her. She took me all over the hospital and all that. At night time she stayed on and helped me because then there was a Nurse's Aid on, and we had a Nurses Aid. When I went off we could say that “The pills were here and this is where this is”, we could tell all that, but by the time you turned around you were in such a muddle and being a new hospital, the Nurse's Aid knew more than I did about what to do during the night. That night and in the morning she would take me around just to tell the patients that I was a new nurse. My name was Knight. "Oh, you came in the train with us!” I had been on the train with these people and one man said, "You were on the train with me, don't you remember me!" Maybe I did but I can't remember that. They all knew me that I had been on the train. I went off duty the next morning, that was the first night to be on night duty, you know, and so when I went off duty the next morning, I thought, Well how am l going to stand this? But you know I got to like it and you come to know the people.

Norton: When did your sister come out?

Green: Oh, she came out when the Douglas' all came out, that was years ago. My mother came out when my father died. My mother came out and stayed with Freida for, (that's my sister) Freida Douglas. You might not know her as Freida. She's Harry Douglas' wife.

Norton: Oh, was that her name?

Green: Yes, your mother knew her.

Norton: I didn't know that was her name.

Green: I hadn't seen her for quite a few years, that's why we came out. We got to know people and were friendly and I saved my money that was $60. 00 a month. Two years time I went back east on the train. When I arrived home on the train Mr. (the guy who had the pianos) Pittman, he was there and some of the people came up and wanted to know how I was going to get a taxi home. I only had fourteen cents in my purse. It was awful. That was all I had left and then when I came. He said “We'll take you home. ” I thought, my, see I had to go up to the nurse's home.

Norton: Were you at home, like when you came out here, how many days on the train from Toronto? Did you come direct from Toronto?

Green: Yes. I called it five days. We left one night and got there Saturday night, I call five days. You see maybe five days counting we got here 4 o'clock on Saturday afternoon.

Norton: That wasn't too bad, was it?

Green: No, it was a long time though.

Norton: Because during the war, it was three and one half to Ottawa.

Green: But I like traveling by train. You get to know people. One year I went back, they had an excursion and I went back and I was in a car with a lot of people, a coach. They were all railway people and there was a kitchen in there. They all made their own meals. I used to go in and have two meals a day in the dining room. That's when l saved money and would go and have two meals a day. It was cheaper in this (…) . The rates were cheaper if you went at a certain time of year in July or September back east, it was quite cheap and then I used to get the berth every night. I did that one year. I said never again. You would pack your bag in the morning and when you wanted to go to bed you had to wait until maybe nine or ten o'clock to see if there was a berth for you. I said never again. I would rather do without a holiday.

Norton: Were the diners nice?

Green: Oh yes, expensive, but everything in silver you know. There would be forks galore. I always remember one dining room, Vancouver. Miss ( …) she came and we had to line up to go in and I would get a big strawberry, no a soup spoon. I would eat something with my soup spoon. It was at Ottawa.