My education began in the Atlanta Public School System in the 1950’s. When I was a youngster in grade school, I loved going to the library. The shelves contained many stories of courageous women. On one trip, the cover of a book captured my attention. A woman’s image meshed with battlefield scenes. I checked it out to read the story of Clara Barton. I genuinely believe that is when the seed of becoming a nurse was planted in my heart. Other books followed. The stories of Florence Nightingale, Edith Cavell, and Madame Curie.
I also began reading the Cherry Ames Nurse series. Fiction filled with delightful stories of how a young woman advanced from student nurse to many adventures of different types of nursing. Stories about Cherry and all the friends she met along the way filled my heart.
By middle school, I had become most proficient playing clarinet, and the world of music had taken a stronghold in my life. The thoughts of becoming a nurse took a back seat as I eventually obtained my degree in music education. While teaching, I still enjoyed reading. One book of fiction ignited the spark of a possible medical profession once again. Domina by Barbara Wood, set in London, New York, and San Francisco from the late nineteenth century through the first decades of the twentieth, is the inspiring saga of one woman’s personal and professional triumph against the prejudices of her time. Beautiful and courageous, Samantha Hargrave dares to dream that she will become one of the first female doctors — and surgeons — in America.
At age thirty-six, I became a Registered Nurse. I have been in this profession for twenty-seven years. It took me a while to get there, but the art of providing medical care to someone in need is a reward for the struggle to obtain my goal. I soon will retire, and it will then be my time to return to my music. I will also advance from part-time to full-time writer. Exciting things await my future, but my professional life so far has been gratifying. And it all started with a trip to the library and one woman’s story.