Friday, January 16, 2009

Having a clear out

One of the good things about moving is that you have to have a good old clear out, which often leads to finding things you had forgotten about. This usually leads to much reminiscing and reflection.

I was thrilled to find a couple of old transparencies of me as a young nurse and midwife as I cleared out my desk at Otago Polytechnic yesterday, ready for my move to Brisbane next Tuesday. Sadly I have lost the original photos, and the transparencies are not in very good condition. But I have managed to scan them, and now they are stored on the Internet, where hopefully they will not degrade any further.

Here I am (second on the right) as a nearly qualified staff nurse working on a female medical ward called 'Ethel Woodrow', at the Salisbury Infirmary in Salisbury. My main memory of my five months there was not getting on at all with one of the more senior staff nurses. I never knew why she didn't like me, but she made my life a misery. She was terrible efficient, and I don't think she had much patience with me being a new nurse. Sadly, she died not many years later, and I have always regretted not having the maturity (I was only 21, and she wasn't much older) to talk to her about our problems instead of reacting to her in a very negative way.

My second memory is getting engaged, and I was told off by the ward 'sister' for wearing my engagement ring to work. But I didn't care because I wanted to show it off to everyone.

This is a photo of me as a student midwife at Odstock Hospital, Salisbury, UK back in the days when we had to wear those awful paper caps. We thought we were really revolutionary when we voted not to wear them any more.

And here I am as a fairly new midwife, about 24 years old in 1986 or there abouts. That was back in the days when I could wear a tight belt and antique silver nurse's buckle. I tried that belt and buckle on the other day and suffice to say, I didn't have a hope in hell of getting it around my waist. At the time, I saw myself as having a weight problem - I always considered that I was fat. Now I look back at these photos and realise how gorgeous I was. I wish I had realized that at the time, and enjoyed my body for what it was.

Have you ever had a big clear out and found things you had forgotten about or didn't even know was there? What were they, and what was the outcome of finding them?


Mette Terp Høybye said...

Those are wonderful photos, Sarah. Such big clear outs are often very emotional, as you stumble across memories. I was just clearing out some boxes that had been sitting in a corner in our bedroom the other day. This reveiled some long forgotten notebooks that I used when my first child was born almost 8 years back. It was so moving to read the entries I did - short notes on her sleeping (which was never too good) and longer pieces on becoming a mother. My strong emotional reactions to the birth even months past the event etc. I was crying and laughing reading my way through that, as it took me straight back to that special time of immmence fragility and overwhelming love.
Best, Mette

Carolyn said...

What a great idea to digitise those important old photos that bring back memories. My problem now is that I never seem to print photos, even when I start off with a firm resolve to do so.
We are so... not good a celebrating the age we are and the gifts we have at this point in time. You were obviously gorgeous then, with a lovely wee waist, and you are gorgeous now, with not so wee a waist but with a whole lot more attributes in other ways.

Sarah Stewart said...

@Mette Thanks for your comment. What a wonderful find. I have a book that I wrote my children's saying down in when they were little, and they really make us laugh now.

@Carlyn Yes, it was good to do something with those old photos. I think I'll get on and so the same with others I have got and don't want to lose, especially photos of the kids when they were babies.

Kate Olson said...

Sarah -

I absolutely loved looking at these photos and reading your vivid memories of times past. It inspires me to digitize more of my older pictures as well as to make sure to share stories with my children and others who haven't always known me. Thanks again for sharing!

Sarah Stewart said...

Looks like I've started something, Kate :) The only thing is, is that it is quite time consuming. But I have an extremely cheap printer/scanner which makes life easier.