A Long-Ago Memory

9 Jul


Judy Wills


Just recently, as Fred and I were driving along, I spied a sign that stated “Assistant Nurse Training.”  Hmmm, I thought to myself, and then voiced to Fred – “just WHAT is an ‘Assistant Nurse?’” He didn’t know, either.

And that led to a discussion between us. Might that be a candy-striper? You know, those young girls who were volunteers and wore “uniforms” or pinafores of red-and-white stripes that helped around the hospital?  And that brought a memory to me that hadn’t surfaced from my mind in many, many years. I was actually a candy-striper at one point of time in my life!


Credit Google Search and Wikipedia Candy stripers in training in Tallahassee, Florida, 1957


I remember I was in high school, but had my driver’s license, so was able to drive myself to my volunteer job.  It was after school, as I remember.  I don’t recall too many of the things I had to do, but I remember feeling quite good about the position.  According to Google, there are still candy-stripers in hospitals today, but without the pinafores – probably because there are now male students working, not just the female students.  And they are called junior volunteers.

I remember, in high school, that I thought I would go into nursing.  After flunking out of chemistry class, I realized that I really wasn’t called to that profession!

I googled the Assistant Nurse and came up with the title of “Certified Nurse Assistant ” or CNA.  The information I gleaned was written by Alison Doyle and stated best this way:

A nursing assistant’s duties revolve mostly around the basic daily physical care of patients and associated record keeping. You might help patients use the bathroom or take care of other sanitary needs. You might feed patients who cannot feed themselves, turn bed-ridden patients to prevent pressure sores, transport patients, and help ambulatory patients walk.

You might also change dressings, help with surgical prep, check vital signs and weight, and perform a basic urinalysis. If a patient summons help, you’ll be the one to find out what they need. You’ll have to keep proper records of everything you do and you’ll have to pass on your observations of your patients to your supervisor. You will also be responsible for maintaining your work at all applicable professional and legal standards.

That’s obviously more detailed than what a candy-striper does.


Credit Google Search and All Nursing School website


But that also brought up a memory from Fred – his mother was a “Gray Lady” back in the 1930’s.   Webster defines it as:  a volunteer worker of the American Red Cross who provides nonprofessional care and services for the sick and convalescent usually in hospitals.  Here is a picture of her as an in-training Gray Lady, but for the Salvation Army.


1936 – March 16 – Kitty in training at Salvation Army children’s hospital, NY


In her memoirs she stated:

  My step-mother didn’t want me home and “under foot” I guess, so she arranged for me to go for training in a Salvation Army children’s hospital in Brooklyn, New York.  I didn’t protest too much and, since your Dad-to-be could visit me some weekends, I went for the course, which was one year, leading to a glorified child care nursemaid or some such.  I never finished.  


She may not have finished that program, but the training she gained from that led her to be an excellent mother to her four children.

It’s amazing how a simple street sign can turn into such a discussion and search!  But what a fun and interesting memory that provoked!





JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years.
Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.
She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began
They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born.
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years. Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

One Response to “A Long-Ago Memory”

  1. divoran09 July 9, 2018 at 3:41 pm #

    Good blog


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