Pink ladies remember challenges

Published 8:36 pm Sunday, April 15, 2007

By By CHRISTINA HALE, Staff Writer
World War II graduates of Tayloe Hospital School of Nursing were together again Thursday in Washington to remember their days as “the little pink ladies.”
The women wore pink ribbons Thursday to commemorate their distinctive nurses uniforms, which were pink-checkered dresses with white collars, cuffs and aprons.
Gerald-Batts said the World War II-era nurses have a close bond, are dedicated to their profession and will defend it in a palpitation.
“We were the little pink ladies,” said Sophie Mitchell. “We weren’t angels, but we weren’t that bad.”
The women, between 80 and 90 years old, told stories of their days as hard-working nurses during the second World War. They entered the school around 1939 and graduated by 1945, living at the hospital in what they called the “back house” and the “front house” during their training stints.
The back house was “a barn behind the hospital,” Gerald noted. “To keep warm, we used tiny heaters and started a fire.”
According to Gerald, there were four rooms upstairs, four rooms downstairs and one bathroom in the back house with limited amenities.
Most of the women were 18 when they joined the nursing school. After World War II erupted, many area nurses enlisted, and nursing students had to run the hospital.
Since, more than 60 years has passed, but the memories of that era are still vivid for the pretty in pink Tayloe nurses.
Black outs also were common during the war, Mitchell said.
During one blackout, Gerald helped a woman deliver triplets with nothing but “a tiny candle and a flashlight that looked like a lightning bug,” Gerald said.
Gerald would experience another unusual deliver in her first two weeks at the hospital.
Surrounded by her colleagues all in rapt attention of a distant but unforgettable memory, Gerald replayed the events in that hospital elevator.
Tayloe Hospital later closed, and when Beaufort County Hospital opened in 1958, the nurses transferred there and made career-fulls of memories.
Though retired, the group had much to say about current trends in the profession.
The nurses said instructors used to teach compassion, and students had to stand up when a more experienced nurse walked into the room.