The following story was a gift based on the life of a nurse who
lived in Jackson from age 23 to 67 given me by her daughter.
It was Friday afternoon and I was waiting on my 4:00 appointment. I had received a call from a young lady who’s
Grandmother wanted me to write her story for the family book.
At 4:00 there was a knock on my door I greeted Mrs. Ida and her granddaughter Lynn. After we got the introductions completed I went over the paperwork and we began.
Mrs Ida asked Lynn to go get us some sweet tea from Burger Barn. As I was about to offer refreshment Mrs. Ida shook her head and handed Lynn some money motioning her to leave.
As the door closed Mrs Ida spoke “Now first off call me Ida and have I got a story to tell you. First let me give you this diary of my mother’s. I want you to read it and bring it back to me after you read it . Then I want you to write me a story about my Mother at that time in her life. Now put it in your drawer and do not say anything about it to Lynn.”
She went on to explain that will tell you a lot about what life was like for a nurse in the early 1900’s. “It is part truth, part love story but it is my mother’s story. She entrusted me with it and before I pass I will destroy it as she told me. I want you to write her story not using her name. I just want to go back in time with your interpretation of her life. I want you to create a historical love story about the times in Jackson just for me.”
She went on to tell me I could share it when she was gone.
“Now let’s get on with my part of the family history.” She laughed “the part I want the family to know.”
Ida then sat back and started with her parents life.
Her mother’s first husband had gone to Medical school in Massachusetts in 1889 and her mother had attended nursing instruction also in Massachusetts in 1892. They met at the hospital in 1893 where they worked. They courted for a year and married in 1894 , mother was only 20 . They moved to Nashville where they met Dr. W.F. Rochelle. In 1897 her husband moved the now family of 4 to Jackson.
“Mother told me they were happy my sister and our brother enjoyed the home they had. Unfortunately her first husband died in 1898. My grandmother being a widow also moved to Jackson to help raise the children while my mother worked. My Mother loved being a nurse .”
(Note hospitals were known as Sanatariums)
In 1900 when Dr. Rochelle opened up Rochelle Sanatarium on Main St she was his lead nurse. My older sister told me Dr. Rochelle was like an Uncle to her and brother.
She also told me in the 40’s a student from Miss Williams’s class came and interviewed her about Dr. Rochelle . She bragged about handsome he was with his red hair and beard.
In 1909 my mother met my Father ,a very successful attorney. He was also a widower,his wife had died in childbirth. They married in 1910 and had 2 sons one boy died in 1914 and I was born in 1916.(note: I had all the names but like I promised they were omitted from this story.)
There was a knock on the door Lynn had returned.
“Thank you dear.” Ida said “we are almost finished”
“Oh where were we? Oh yes ,I was born in 1916.”
“Mother and Father both lived long lives. They were in love and showed us what love and family was about until they died at 87 and 88.” Lynn and both reached for a tissue to give to Ida since we all had gotten tears in our eyes.
Ida went on to highlight her life following in her mother’s footsteps she had graduated from UT as a nurse working in Jackson. Just like her Mother she married a lawyer the only difference he was her college sweetheart.
They had four sons who had also graduated from college all but one from UT the other being a Rebel graduated from Ole Miss. She smiled “My sons and my sweet daughters in law gave us six grandchildren. Two of my sweet grand babies are in Medical School.” She beamed as she patted Lynn’s hand “ This one finishes UT medical this year.”
Ida lost her husband in 1996. “Now my children will tell the rest of my story and their Pop’s but they did not know my Mother’s story.”
We made arrangement for me to bring a hard copy for her to read and edit Sunday . They left the office .
I looked up and Ida had reappeared “Do you think you can write the story out of my Mother’s diary by Sunday?” She asked
I laughed “Tell you what why don’t I bring the Diary back next Wednesday and a rough draft of the story. The story with the history I can use now and the other I know you want to read.”
The rest of the story will appear this weekend. Ida died in 1999 but she did get to read her Mother’s story and approved.
I had forgotten the story until I found the file last week.