"My mother and father had moved to Dalton, Ga., so I went to work in a small hospital there, Hamilton Memorial. I was put in charge of the operating room, delivery room and emergency room. That was different, and I enjoyed it. Obstetrics was my favorite. It was a miracle every time a baby was born.
"I did that until the war started, and I joined the Navy. I worked at the Navy hospital in Charleston, S.C. I wasn't in very long because I met Charlie. Charlie was in the Coast Guard. He had a lung problem. They had wards with eight to a bed on each side and two private rooms. Charlie was in one of the private rooms. He had newspapers piled up to his bed. He was a newspaperman. That should have warned me off right away.
"He told one of the guys, 'I'm going to marry that girl.' And this was the first time he saw me! I didn't feel the same way. He had to woo me.
"Ten months after I joined the Navy, we got married. Back then, they didn't keep nurses in the Navy when they married. I told Charlie, 'I will only marry you if I can continue to work.'
"There was a nurse shortage in civilian hospitals because all the nurses were going into the service. So I went to work in Charlottesville in the hospital.
"When they started licensing practical nurses, I agreed to teach the class. I agreed not knowing how much they required to be taught. It was almost as much material as I had when I went into nurses training. I taught for several years.
"When I saw that things were getting too complicated, I retired. Everything's by computer now. I don't know a thing about computers. Nurses spend all their time now doing computer work.
"Charlie worked for the New York Daily News for 42 years. He was in the wholesale distribution department. His territory covered Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and the District. We settled in Charlottesville, Va.
"He was made general manager at one point, and we lived in New York for six years. He said, 'Put me back on the road.' He didn't like office work. He liked to be out meeting people.
"We moved to Florida. Charlie was working that territory then. We were in Florida when he died. He developed Alzheimer's. We had our 50th anniversary before he got sick. We were married over 60 years.
"I stayed in Florida while he was sick with Alzheimer's for 10 years. He was difficult. I took care of him for six years, and then it got to be too much. He was in a nursing home for four years. After he died, I came here to be near my daughter, Joanne Harless. She is my guardian.
"My son is a heart transplant coordinator at the University of Florida. He's a nurse. He's retired, but he's still working. Joanne is with Ameriprise, the investment brokers.
"I'm Catholic. First I joined Sacred Heart because it was close to the apartment. But Blessed Sacrament was the friendliest, so I joined there. It just beckoned to me.
"I work with hospice and Manna Meal and do work at the church. At hospice, I develop packages for the nurses to take with them on home visits. Lately I've been doing the toothettes, what they give the caregivers to clean the patients' mouths with.
"I like to stay busy. I just walk right over a block from here to St. John's and Manna Meal. Until a year ago, I could walk to the drug store and post office.
"I fell the other day and broke two bones in my wrists, and it has been very painful. But I still live alone, so I'm doing pretty good. My mother lived to 92. I've had a good life. I'm not sorry for anything."Reach Sandy Wells at san...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5173.