A Year for New Beginnings: 1965

Katie Scott, guest writer

The Southern Missionary College graduating class of 1964 marched out of the church. Tossing her nurses cap to the side, Doris leaped into her father’s embrace. Holding back tears; she looked over her father’s shoulders to see her boyfriend, Cary Grant. While Doris’ eyes are filled with excitement, they are also filled with despair because her beloved Cary will be drafted to Vietnam. Doris and Cary grew up together on her father’s tourist fishing boat, The Catalina Express, and had been best friends before sweethearts. However, a new chapter is being written, new places, new adventures and new people, but not with Cary. The little college in Tennessee had been a great blessing in her life; since Cary has gone on with his life she must move on as well.

Doris Day is excited as she is to begin her dream job at Scott Memorial Hospital. Scott Memorial has exceptional national reputation and to be on their team would mean the world would be at her finger tips.
Under jumbo, cotton-ball clouds, and sea kissed breeze, Doris drove her 1965 Pontiac. She is filled with elated emotions as Scott Memorial came into view. Floor to ceiling is as white as the beaches of Daytona; she believes she has everything she has dreamed of and more. The intensive care unit opens up to her as a magnificent place for healing and caring. Doris begins to imagine the lives that will be saved with the modern technology. Her dream is rudely awakened by the head of the department, Dr. James R. Gardner. Quickly, Doris gets a dose of reality as she begins her first day as an intensive care nurse. Being short staffed, her orientation is brief and she begins her ICU shift. Busy with all kinds of care needs, she is surprised to see her shift replacement coming in for report; an exhausting but wonderful day!
She leaves her unit and drives to her new home in South Cocoa Beach. The mailbox indicates she has found 1818 Evening Shade Circle, South Cocoa Beach, Florida. As she pulls her GTO into the driveway, she notices another vehicle. Cautious, Doris knocks on the door and a lady about her age opens it. “Hello, you must be Miss. Doris Day, the new nurse at Scott Memorial Hospital ICU. Come on in, my name is, Barbra Eden and I too work at Scott Memorial.” Little did Doris and Barbra know that they would grow to become kindred spirits.
Two eyes and whiskers are staring straight into Doris’ cornea; a loud meow exited a movable sound box. The organic bamboo wood creaks as Barbra opens the door and says, “Good morning Doris! I see you have met our alarm clock, Mr. Jed Clampett.”
While petting Mr. Clampett, Doris’ eyes drifted to the clock; it was ten minutes to six. She had to be at work by 6:50! Leaping out of bed, she ate cinnamon oatmeal as she dressed. With her GTO she knew she wouldn’t be late since her car resembled a time machine.
Another day in ICU, full of endless possibilities as new patients arrive and she cares for those she had yesterday. Doris’ goal is to make a difference in her patients lives. Doris’ first patient of the day is a little six-year-old orphan, Sally Fields. Little Sally has been suffering from polio for a whole year and has made good progress during the last few months ? After checking Sally’s vitals, a new patient arrived in the ICU. Rushing to Dr. Gardner’s side, she saw the dismembered foot.
“His name is Milburn Drysdale; a very important banker and key official in building of this hospital. We must take exceptional care of Mr. Drysdale,” Dr. Gardner speaks sternly. As Doris enters his room, she speaks with a smile: “Good evening Mr. Drysdale, I am your nurse Doris Day, how are you feeling this evening?” Mr. Drysdale replied in an ashamed manner, ” I feel like a powdered toot-toot for shooting myself in the foot while searching for black gold.”
Doris didn’t quite know how to answer so she decided to remain honest with her patient saying, “Why on earth would you go searching for black gold? Are you not the richest man in the land?” Ashamed, Mr. Drysdale replied, “I lost it all in one night; making a bet. I lost everything and then I remembered one time I had an investor who found black gold hunting one day, you know,Texas tea…oil!”
After thinking for a moment Doris gave him some encouragement,” Don’t worry Mr. Drysdale, God has you in the palm of His hand and will never forsake you. I took a leap of faith coming to work at the best hospital in the nation. Life will get better; just hold on to the hope of a better future. Good night, Mr. Drysdale.”
The bamboo flooring creaks as Mr. Clampett meows. The soft linens made of 100% cotton never felt so comfy. Doris drifts into a deep sleep-she longed to see Cary and missed him every waking moment of the day. The bright Florida sun rays shine through the sheer curtains, waking Doris up in a quite cheerful mood.
* * *
Today is Friday, a beautiful sunny day in March and Doris, is on her way to get her 49 cent hotdog and Coca-Cola. She is looking forward to exploring Cocoa Beach with Barbara after work. Returning from lunch, Doris notices an exterior hospital door. Checking her surroundings, Doris slowly rotates the rusty door knob. To her surprise, she discovers a hospital wing filled to maximum capacity with charity care patients. Shocked, Doris quickly shuts the door and scurries back to ICU. Three o’clock could not come soon enough.
The coastal asphalt sounds like Rice Krispies as the GTO’s tires hum toward the sea. Barbara throws her arms into the air and screams with excitement as if she were on a roller coaster, “It’s perfect!” Barbra and Doris quickly unload the GTO and make a bee line for the sparkling sea. Unfolding the quilt, Doris and Barbara unpack fresh-squeezed lemonade and slice of Hummingbird cake. Savoring the food and sunshine Doris asks Barbara about the shocking scene she encountered earlier. However, before Barbara replied; Doris sees a very familiar face walking toward them, cousin Anthony Nelson! As introductions are made, Barbara and Anthony’s eyes lock. Soon, however, Anthony begins to talk about his first love, space and the Gemini III that will be lifting off March 23. Because Anthony works at NASA, he couldn’t resist asking the two most beautiful ladies on the beach to come watch the Gemini launch with him.
* * *
March 23, the day of the Gemini III launch has arrived. Barbara looks groovy in her new floral dress. Before she turns off her favorite sitcom, Gilligan’s Island, she hears breaking news from NASA announcing the launch: ” The first crewed Gemini flight, lifting off Launch Pad 19 at 9:42 a.m. EST on March 23, 1965. The spacecraft “Molly Brown” carries astronauts Virgil I. Grissom, command pilot, and John W. Brown, pilot, on three orbits of the earth” (Gemini).
Ding dong. Captain Anthony Nelson arrives to escort Miss Barbara Eden and Miss Doris Day to Cape Canaveral, FL.
The intercom roars, “five, four, three, two, one, blast off!” An indescribable moment filled with power, hot flames, and heart palpitations occurs. Between the exhilarating commotion, Doris’ thinking process went into overtime, “if it is possible for man to go into outer space; than I can make a difference in all the lives at Scott Memorial, no matter their race or financial status!”
* * *
July brings a sweaty heat wave but Doris sits in her hot GTO praying for insight; contemplating her future at Scott Memorial. What should she do for the patients in the charity wing of the hospital and thus risk her job? While sitting in silence, the story of David and Goliath came to her mind. Even though David was the runt of the town, he trusted wholeheartedly in God and won the battle. A blanket of peace covered Doris from head to toe; God is the light unto her path.
She barged into Dr. Gardner’s office without knocking: “Dr. Gardner, our patients need help. What kind of medical professionals are we if we have thirty charity care in an old decrepit wing of the hospital? How can you sit by and let patients get worse or even die because they are being denied proper care. Something must be done, and what are you going to do about it?”
“Well Miss Day, you have left me with no choice. I can not have staff betraying our administrations’ policy. Please pack your things and vacate the Scott Memorial primos, your services are no longer needed,” Dr. Garner sternly ordered.
At home, Doris and Barbra say their goodbyes, while tears cascade down their cheeks. The 389 four barrel rumbles as Doris puts the GTO into reverse; the white beach house with blue shutters faded from the rearview mirror. The unknown frightens Doris.
Doris is five miles outside of Orlando, FL when red lights, shining brighter than Rudolph’s nose, glow in the rearview mirror. A middle age man wearing a forest green shirt and cowboy boots gets out of the police car, ” Howdy ma’am, I am Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. I have been ordered to escort you back to Scott Memorial.”
Just as Doris put her GTO into gear, Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane chuckles,” hold on little missy, if you don’t come with me, I will arrest you.”
Doris huffs,” Well, I will have you know officer, I will not leave my car and belongings on the side of the road!”
Rosco chuckles again,” I already thought that through, you see, I brought two old friends of mine, Bo and Luke Duke to drive your GTO back to Cocoa Beach. After you, ma’am.”
Arriving back at Scott Memorial, Doris is escorted to Dr. Gardner’s office. ” First I want to apologize, Miss Day you were right, our patients deserve better care and coverage. While you were gone, President Johnson made your vision possible. With Medicaid and Medicare, our patients will receive equal care, no matter their financial status or race. Please come back and lead Scott Memorial into modern times.” Holding back tears, Doris receives the job of a life time, House Supervisor.
As House Supervisor, it’s imperative for Doris to ensure quality care to each patient. One of her favorite parts of the day, is when she makes her rounds in the ICU to visit with the patients. Doris’ motto is to have a relationship with all of her coworkers and patients.
* * *
Today is a big day at Scott Memorial; many of the wounded soldiers are coming to local hospitals to receive rehab. As Doris makes rounds in the rehab department she greets the heroic soldiers with a smile and a Gatorade . Hearing a familiar voice in the distance, she stops to listen. That sounded like Cary. Cary was asking repeatedly,” Doris . . . is there a nurse here named . . . Doris?”
Nurse June Cleaver confirms that their House Supervisor is named Doris and she is actually in their department. Nurse Cleaver no more than said the first syllable of Doris’ name; when tears of joy pour down Doris’ face. ” Oh Cary, I knew you’d come back!”
Works Cited
“Gemini 3 Mission.” NASA. 24 April 2015. Web. 15 January 2018.
Cassidy, Brian and Maxine Levaren. The ’60s for Dummies. Wiley Publishing Inc., 2005. Print.
Kays, Joe. Phillips-Han, Arline. “Gatorade The Idea that Launched an Industry.” Research at the University of Florida. 2003. Web. 29 January 2018.
Gluck, M.G., and Reno,V.,(eds.), Reflections on Implementing Medicare (Washington, DC: National Academy of Social Insurance,) January 2001. Web. 29 January 2018.
Oliver, Mike. “NewChain Is Short On History.” Orlando Sentinel, 28 March 1994. Web. 15 January 2017.