JACKSON TWP. – Lucy Beerer hadn’t seen her friends from nursing school for two decades.
Beerer’s classmates on Friday Mercy School of Nursing The class of 1951 gathered at La Pizzaria to mark their 70th reunion.
Her eyes filled with tears as friends greeted her arrival.
“It’s wonderful,” the Tennessee resident said after seeing five of her classmates and their instructor.
The women, all 90 years old, have met every year since graduating on August 23, the day the class entered nursing school in 1948. Classmate Marge Boron said that the group had held a rally every year except last year due to COVID. -19. Sometimes they would go to Michigan or West Virginia and other places to meet up.
This year, they moved the reunion to May so Beerer could attend while she was in Ohio visiting family.
A tight-knit “ family ” of the 1951 class mercy nursing
Louise Mraz said the group of nursing students has grown into a tight-knit “family”.
“We lived together, ate together, worked together and played together,” said the Jackson Township resident. “We had a wonderful stay.”
During lunch, the women remembered their time in nursing school.
They pored over albums filled with black and white photos of their time as student nurses.
Souvenirs included a stethoscope and other trinkets as well as a photo of the girls in disguise at a banquet.
Another photo showed the women in their crisp white uniforms and caps walking to St. Peter’s Catholic Church, where their graduation ceremony took place.
Ninety-five-year-old Jacquie McLain was in the 51-year-old nursing instructor class. She said the band was the best class she’s ever had.
“The nuns told me they needed to make money like $ 10 to $ 90,” recalls McLain of Jackson Township. “This group has raised so much money.”
With the money, the students were able to buy a sewing machine and finance a trip to Washington, DC, before graduation.
They remembered taking a bus and having to wait for their classmates to leave their shifts at the hospital before they could leave.
When they arrived they were greeted by cherry blossoms and hundreds of sailors in town for Fleet Week.
“We had a great time,” Beerer said with a wink and a chuckle.
The women worked hard. They got up early enough to be properly dressed and ready for morning prayers at 7:15 a.m. before leaving for a few hours in the hospital. The morning shift was followed by lessons before they returned to work from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the hospital. Later, they did their homework before going to bed.
But they still managed to have fun, Beerer said. There were parties and dances and Christmas gift exchanges.
“We had fun,” Boron said.
“And we made a lot of memories,” Mraz added.
To stay in contact
After graduating, the women went their separate ways.
Beerer entered the army nurses. She served a year and a half before moving out west.
Mary Cooke returned home to the Cleveland area, where she worked at Euclid Hospital for 34 years.
Boron, from Navarre, and Jane Bracht began working at HH Timken House, which the Timken family donated with their 30.8 acres of land at Harrison Avenue and 12th Street N.
Others worked for private doctors.
Over the years, the gatherings have gotten smaller. Several members died. Their classmate Dorothy Laubacher will be buried on Saturday.
Even though the whole class can’t meet, Mraz said, they keep in touch with letters and cards.
A great career
Nursing was a great career choice that brought them together to form a special bond.
No matter where they were, they could always look at the golden pin they received on graduation day to remember the fond memories they shared.
Many wore the pins at the meeting.
“It’s a great profession,” Boron said. “Things have changed, but there has been so much progress.”
Nurses today don’t just have to work in hospitals or doctor’s offices.
Despite the changes, Boron said, it’s important for fellow nurses to remember to listen to their patients.
“The symptoms are the same, but the treatment is different.”
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