Midge

"Little Miss Nurse"

(A children’s story dedicated to my grandchildren)

 

Midge was only six years old but she looked much younger because she

was small for her age.  At birth, she had been named Edna Marie Barton

 but her tiny size earned her the nickname, “Midge”. 

 

Midge was still too young to quite understand that her mother was really

her Aunt Laura. Midge only remembered her as her mother and she

loved her so very much and had called her “Momma” ever

since she had learned to talk. 

 

She had lived with her unmarried aunt since she was just one year old

because her mother, Clara, had died on August 28, 1912,

which was Midge’s first birthday.  As a result, Midge’s birthday never seemed

quite as joyous as it should have been with that memory of sorrow that

seemed to linger somewhere in the shadows.

 

The doctors said that it was typhoid fever that killed Midge’s mother at the

young age of nineteen and as she lay dying her last request was that her

sister, Laura, “Take care of Midge.”  Midge’s father traveled in his work

 and he thought it best to honor his wife’s request to allow Midge

to live with her aunt who was also a nurse.  Midge was very happy

living with her aunt who became “Momma” to her. 

 

Being a nurse was a job that was always needed but didn’t always pay very

well so Momma was glad when she was asked to take a nursing position

in a hospital in Woodward, Oklahoma.  The hospital was a few miles

from Midge’s grandparents and sometimes Midge would stay with them

in the country.  They lived in a little tar-paper shanty that Grandpa

had built when they homesteaded in Oklahoma and he was working hard

to build another room on to it.  Midge’s Grandma had twin boys,

James Roy and John Raymond, but Grandma only called them that when

she was upset with them.  The rest of the time they were just Roy and

Raymond.  The twins were just a few years older than Midge and she thought

 it was funny that they were her Uncles because all her other uncles

were grown ups.  Grandma had fourteen children in all but two had died

in infancy and then later Midge’s mother, Clara, died. 

The others were all grown up now except for Roy and Raymond.  

 

Grandma Rosa loved Midge very much.  Grandma missed her daughter, Clara,

 and so Midge was very precious to her.  Midge looked so much

like her mother that Grandma would sometimes forget and call her Clara.  

 

Grandma had her hands full because not only did she have the twins

and Midge to look after sometimes but she often had Harold and Glen because

 their mother had recently died also.  Their father, Frank, was one of

Grandma’s older sons and he worked on the railroad so he was gone a lot. 

Grandma and Momma took care of Harold and Glen too when their father

was away working.  Although Harold and Glen were older, they were closer

 to Midge’s age and she thought of them as her brothers. 

 

Momma hated to be away from Midge so much that sometimes she

would take Midge with her to the hospital. She liked to keep Midge nearby

because she loved her so much and also because Midge seemed to

become ill a lot.    Momma had a little room at the hospital because it was

too far to travel everyday from home and it wasn’t unusual in those days

for nurses to sometimes stay at the hospital.  Midge liked to go with Momma

 so she said good-bye to Sassafras, her cat, promising that

she would soon be back to pet her.

 

Midge was a quiet, well-behaved child and soon became a favorite at

the small hospital.  She became Momma’s assistant, carrying her supplies

or helping to make beds, and everyone would call Midge, “Little Miss Nurse”. 

 

The hospital just had one doctor but there were several nurses.  Midge had

 been taught to be respectful and to say Sir and Ma’am to her elders. 

When she was introduced to the doctor, she wasn’t sure just how to

address him since he was a doctor so she simply called him, “Dr. Sir”. 

 

Midge liked living at the hospital but she knew there were rooms where she

was not allowed to go, especially the room with the big white double doors

where they did something called, “surgery”.  When Momma was busy

helping in that room or caring for the seriously ill, Midge knew she was to

stay in her Momma’s room or play on the back porch if the weather was nice. 

She dared not disobey because she had been told people’s lives depended

on her obedience, so Midge felt very important in following Momma’s

 instructions and saw it as part of her duty. 

 

One day Midge was looking at pictures in a book not far from the big white

double doors when she saw a strange man starting to go through those doors. 

Midge knew all of the people who were allowed in there and she knew that this

man certainly was not one of them so she summoned all of her courage and

stepped in front of the big white doors.  Midge looked up at the tall man and

said, “Sir, you cannot go in there.”  The man looked a little stunned at the

small, feisty doorkeeper but then he smiled as he bent down and told her

what a fine job she was doing, then he explained that he was a doctor

from Oklahoma City who had come to help.  Although Midge was doubtful

 at first, she decided to believe him since the man knew Dr. Sir’s complete

name plus he showed Midge his stethoscope that he carried inside of his

jacket and that seemed to gain her trust.  Midge knew that only the doctors

 and nurses had stethoscopes.  After that, it became a standing joke

among the hospital staff to confirm someone’s skill by ordering them

to, “Show me your stethoscope”.

 

By

Pamela Perry Blaine

© February 2005