Monday, August 04, 2003

There Goes Another Landmark

As I get older, more and more of the landmarks of my life are disappearing.
Wellesley Hospital (pictured above) is one of them.
The summer I turned 14, I worked in the Midway at the Canadian National Exhibition.
That September, I started high school and got a job in the kitchen of Wellesley Hospital after school.
From 4pm until 9pm, I worked on the "belt" filling whatever was for dinner into the thermal trays, collected them from the floors after dinner, then worked in the steamy, smelly, disgusting dishroom to clean the trays, along with a lot of other high school students just like me.
When I got my paycheque every two weeks, I handed half of it immediately to my mother to help her with the bills and groceries (something that is unheard of amongst todays working teenagers).
I learned so much from that job.
There were so many "firsts" for me at that hospital.
I once stood in the hallway of 4N, with tears streaming down my face as I watched a nurse feed a man who looked to be around 40 years old, but flapped his arms and wiggled around in his bibbed chair like an infant.
It was the first time I had ever seen what the misfortune of nature could do to a human.
I used to sit with a man in 3W during my breaks so that he could smoke a cigarette in his room (the nurses didn't have the time to sit with him, and yes, back then you could smoke in a hospital). He was blind and his legs had been amputated.
Albert always recognized my footsteps as I approached his room...I knew he waited for me.
"Dear, is that you, dear...." he would say as he heard my footsteps.

Wellesley Hospital was were I learned to be responisible.
I became an adult working there.
I learned about humanity, benignity, and that money had to be worked for....hard.

Now, the Wellesley Hospital building is hollowed out and shortly will no longer be there.
One more part of the history of our city, and my life to be referred to in pictures and memories.