Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nursing School Revisited

A couple months ago, Dad mentioned that Sherrill was interested in going to the UW-Eau Claire Nursing School 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration.  I mentioned it to Bill and he encouraged me to go too.  Neither of us wanted to go if the other didn't so we were happy that we had each other to go with.  I hadn't been back to Eau Claire in six years.  Sherrill hadn't been there in longer than that.  And we have never been there together since I graduated 31 years ago or gone to any of the nursing alumni activities.  So we were looking forward to seeing and spending time with each other and reminisce.

I flew into Eau Claire and got there a day before Sherrill did.  So I rented a car and drove down to Tomah for the day.  I made stops at a couple of cemeteries to pay my respects.  Unfortunately it was raining pretty hard and I didn't really feel like doing much wandering to find everyone like I normally do.  I didn't have that much time and wanted to get to Dad's house as soon as I could as well.

Visited with Dad for a bit and then went to lunch at the Chinese restaurant in town with Dane, Dad and Shirley.  Aunty Karen and Uncle Ray wanted to see me so they came over to Dad's in the afternoon.  They brought Kendall with them and we went to pick up Lacie at school.  Went down to see Darren and Tess and Mandy and Mallory in the late afternoon.  I had to see the new rabbits and was surprised to learn there were two guinea pigs and a hamster to add to the mix as well.  Had a quick supper with Dad and Shirley before heading back to Eau Claire so I could pick Sherrill up at the airport.

Sherrill and I spent the day walking around campus a little bit on Friday.  Went to the bookstore to get some new Blugold attire to wear to the football game, explored the new Davies Student Center which was pretty impressive and went downtown to see what was new there.  We walked along a new little park there which was fun.  And went to the mall to do some Packer shopping.

We also had lunch with Mary Falkner and Tammy Falkner Eckhart and one of her sons.  It was a lot of fun to have lunch with them and catch up.  It had been five years since we had gone to the Falkner reunion they hosted in Hatfield and seen them there.

Friday night was the Nursing Gala.  It was pretty well attended but most of the alumni that were there were either older or younger than us.  I was disappointed because I was hoping maybe someone from our classes would be there.  Although it was a little hard to tell who might have gone to school with us.  Appearances do change after 30 years and there were quite a few people there.  I haven't kept in contact with anyone that I went to nursing school with so I was really hoping I would at least see one person I knew.  But we saw a few of our instructors and enjoyed hearing some of the stories of the past 50 years.  There were alumni and instructors there from all five decades.  We left as soon as the program was done since we didn't really have anyone to catch up with and wanted to rest up for our big Saturday.

Some of the pictures from the University were from Friday and some from Saturday.  We went out onto the bridge for a little bit to take pictures of the river and of the campus from that perspective.

 There were a few beautifully colored trees to look at.

After the Nursing Walk, we had breakfast in the school of nursing and had tours.  Sherrill was especially interested in seeing the simulation labs.  Part of her job at Wright State was working with the simulation labs there.  Certainly different than what we had available 30 years ago.

It was so sad when the Council Oak came down during a storm in 1987.  That tree had a lot of meaning for the University and the School of Nursing.  It is on the seal of the university and on our nursing pins.  It is also where the nursing students hung their uniforms during graduation week.  It was wonderful that they planted a new tree to replace the old one.  After dedicating the tree and promising to protect it for seven generations (or 300 years), it was almost taken out to put in the new Davies Center.  The nursing school protested and said they couldn't remove it so they had to go back to the drawing board and move the Davies Center by a few feet so that the tree could be saved.

Putnam Hall is where I lived for three years.  Sherrill also lived there three years.  We lived two doors from each other for two of those years.  What I liked about being in Putnam was being a lot closer to classes than those that stayed in the dorms on the Hill.  I really liked not having to climb the Hill every day.  And I loved having my sister live nearby.

Sherrill and I went out on Putnam Rock to take a few pictures.  I love watching the water go by and feeling like you are really a part of the river when you are on it.

Everyone but Tess was able to come up to Eau Claire to see us.  We had lunch at a pub before going to the homecoming game.  There was a lot of great Packer decorations and Sherrill wanted a picture taken with the Spotted Cow sign.  The girls didn't want to go to the football game so they went shopping at the mall instead.  

It was the first time in five years that all of us were together.  So we had to take a picture.

And got one of Dad and Shirley too.

Eau Claire's football team hadn't won any games yet.  In fact, they lost by a lot in most of their games.  But they held their own against River Falls in the homecoming game.  The offense struggled and gave up four turnovers but the defense played really well and kept the team in the game until the very last seconds and only lost by a score of 10-7.  We really enjoyed the band performance.  They are big--like 350 members.  And they put on a really good half time show.  We even saw them marching on campus after the game.  

So it was a quick trip.  And didn't get to see everyone I would have loved to see.  But I enjoyed hanging out with my sister and my family for the time I was there which was wonderful.

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