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 (. .
that. I thought that was the way it was built. See, I never
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
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
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
him a bath and (…) We live right across the street and we brought
home all (…)
Green: Because they smelled of skunk.
Kerr was our matron, Miss Kerr. She was kind of tall, thin.
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
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
Green: Just the three of us, the matron and two nurses on duty and then
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
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
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
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.
Norton: I meet her all the time.
Green: Well does she live up the
Norton: No, she lives down (…)
Green: Oh, she lives that part
Norton: Yes, or she did. How many beds in the
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
that was in 38, 39, that was when they started and they built the new
Norton: That's the army barracks one, now the Simon
Green: No, no, Simon Fraser is not that tall, lots of
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,
near to, no a little way back from the road because I
Norton: Gee that was a terrible thing for our
parents. That's where my three kids were born.
Green: It was a long.
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
that end and came up, my glory. `
Green: But, no that wasn't
in ‘39 because I was married. I got married in the old, old
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
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
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
operating room. Whoever had the operating room, they must have
put a bathroom in there. Somebody told me friends of theirs had
operating room. I never thought of it until after I got thinking
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
Norton: You mean they made them into apartments.
Green: Yes, for
Norton: That's when it was called Pine Manor.
Norton: Oh, I thought Pine Manor was the old name for the
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
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
hospital didn't have a name which is Prince George.
Norton: Who was the
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
he was doing, he was a good doctor.
Norton: What type of hours did you put
Green: 12 hour shift but we always had three hours off. Like we worked
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
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
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
this was Lethbridge. That's the street and the nurses home was right on
Twelfth Avenue because there is still some houses on Twelfth
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
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
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
cold and downstairs there was three quite big rooms because I was
downstairs after. They moved me down.
Norton: You came from Toronto,
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
blocks to walk when you park your car. You have two blocks to walk
Main entrance and that's the middle of Fourteenth. Fourteenth
right through there if there was a road. Yes, I have pictures of
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
room for our coats and things. We had to move them from there
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.
I don't know if she was the second one or the third one. She was
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
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
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
Green: That's what they had awhile ago, they had a Sadie Hawkins
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
with. We had a party and I was (…) It was the only time I could
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
used to write to her over the years especially at Christmas time.
didn't hear from her so I presumed she died. And then we had
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
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.
Holmer, oh she was so fussy. I remember she lived in Northern
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
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
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
that was after I was married. Even, if they wanted, they would
and see if I would go and sit with him at night. She always got
Norton: Wasn't she around 40 when she had her first
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
(A bell goes off and conversation can't be heard)
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
Green: No, in the old hospital we had a woman came to the door.
was in the winter time and a man brought her In a sleigh and she had
baby right at the door of the /hospital. We had to get the
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
was in there and everything else was in there. We had to get her
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
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
far as they got her. She was having her bearing down pains. I
glory, what am I going to do?" I never called a nurse or anything.
(…) 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
Norton: Oh yes, she should be. Were you trained as a
Green: No, not like the (…)
Norton: You could deliver a baby
Green: Oh yes, l delivered babies there. I phoned Dr.
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
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
long as everything was clean and they help you. You wouldn't be
Norton: My brother Les and I were burn in Edson. It was just in a
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
do all your getting sick in the morning and before two o'clock as after
Green: Sometimes I could tell you lots of tales from the
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
up the hospital in the morning, my sister and l, and met her. She
me all over the hospital and all that. At night time she stayed
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
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
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
train. I went off duty the next morning, that was the first night
on night duty, you know, and so when I went off duty the next morning,
thought, Well how am l going to stand this? But you know I got to like
and you come to know the people.
Norton: When did your sister come
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
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
train. When I arrived home on the train Mr. (the guy who
pianos) Pittman, he was there and some of the people came up and
to know how I was going to get a taxi home. I only had fourteen
in my purse. It was awful. That was all I had left and then when I
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
Green: Yes. I called it five days. We left one night and
Saturday night, I call five days. You see maybe five days
got here 4 o'clock on Saturday afternoon.
Norton: That wasn't too bad,
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
They all made their own meals. I used to go in and have two meals
in the dining room. That's when l saved money and would go and
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
one year. I said never again. You would pack your bag in
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
would rather do without a holiday.
Norton: Were the diners nice?
yes, expensive, but everything in silver you know. There would be forks
galore. I always remember one dining room, Vancouver. Miss ( …) she
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