On Nurses–Part 2

It is, however, Nurses’ Week, and I want to pay tribute to the many fantastic people who have influenced my life, to their abilities and character, and maybe even a nod to my life as a nurse. I would probably broaden that to health professionals, though admittedly we are a mixed bunch, not completely all we hoped we could be. In general, though, I think Nurses are pretty amazing.

My earliest nurse role models were Alice Anne Pearce and Cherie Lauber, an early mentor and my youth pastor’s wife. Both were working as nurses, helping pay the family bills. They both had two kids, and I babysat for them. Both have gone on to earn advanced degrees – Alice Anne in administration, and Cherie in teaching.

LIke many girls my age, I read and re-read the Candy Stripers series, and Clara Barton biographies, but what I really wanted to do was to be a teacher. I initially thought of Christian Education degree at Taylor, but my father wanted me to have a better paying career preparation and teaching was glutted at the time. I thought I was quite liberated, but surprisingly teaching and nursing appeared to be my only two options! (Cherie and Alice Anne encouraged me to go to West Suburban School Nursing in Oak Park. I was the first person to put “Ms. C.J. Marshall, Student Nurse” on my name tag and went off with a bit of a chip on my shoulder, having done the fun of two years of college already. I was more interested in dating, anyways and Emmaus and Moody Bible offered some fine distractions.

Ultimately West Sub was a good choice, a small band of practically trained nurses that have stuck together for nearly 50 years, caring, sharing and praying together. It took me five years to finish a three- year diploma at the total cost of about $18K. My dad thought he got a great deal in the end and I became a nurse with adequate skills to enjoy a lifetime of being a nurse. So happy Nurses’ Week to me.

[Editor’s Note: at this point, Chris entered the hospital and became too weak to finish typing. The rest of this post is a dictation summary by her daughter, Laura.]

My next special Nurse friend developed when I suite-mated with Mari Leuthold during my junior and senior years at West Sub. Our friendship was mostly long distance after nursing school (Mari went to Quito, Ecuador with HCJB, working in a rural clinic in the Shell area.) In nursing school, we weren’t boy crazy but interested in the dating scene. I got married before Mari and she sent me a tellagram, “Congratulations. Even you flake at times.”

When she returned from Quito, John and I were married and on our way to Alaska. I was her only bridesmaid. They headed out to Africa a few days after the wedding. Our letters crossed in the mail conveying news of our firstborns. Later when we were all back in the lower 48 states, Mari got more education (BSN and MSN) because she loved teaching nursing. In 2013, when I called to tell her the news of my first cancer, she reported that she was scheduled for a biopsy. Her breast cancer varied from mine, but we went bald together.

Mari also shares a love for quilting with me. After I started working at a quilt shop, she was intrigued by the idea, but has not (yet) found one. Mari and I share a sense of humor and also similar woes in life. We realized later in life that we were both only daughters in our family, so we felt that we had experienced the gift of sisterhood in each other.

In our class of 43 nurses in a very unique nursing experience (if you know what a Diploma nurse is, you might understand). It was a very diverse group…. For some reason we have managed to stay together as friends (thru reunions, prayer support, traveling quilt for an ailing member) all these years. In 2017 while home shopping, I messaged another classmate, Cheryl Fornelli, that we were looking at a house in her neighborhood (although I didn’t know precisely where she lived) and she sent back a photo showing how our two homes were only two blocks away! In the 8 years since we moved here, we have built a fun friendship of sharing about our families, relating over nursing topics and a love for genealogy.

Cheryl has also lived an adventure-filled life alongside her husband. As an evangelist, her husband John speaks Spanish, can talk to anyone and can strike up a conversation with any one. Cheryl’s adventures continued, as she worked for a time as a flight attendant. We also overlapped early on through Woodside Bible Chapel and Moody connections.

Cheryl and I have now had a shared experience of serious cancer diagnoses. She has been a soothing friend, often checking in. Our shared nursing backgrounds further enabled us to support each other through the ups and downs of cancer.

Although I haven’t been able to coax any of my daughters into the nursing profession, I find it interesting that “nursing” is used both in the medical/health as in for a mother who nurtures little ones. I want to say Happy Nurses Week to all these nurturing women in my life.

Part 3 coming soon (which, we now know definitively, will be written fully by my daughter) about my run in with many nurses this past week…

10 thoughts on “On Nurses–Part 2

  1. 😢😢😢 Laura, thank you for sharing your mom’s thoughts. Always appreciated her prolific writing skills! Her absence will be felt by many of your mom’s friends.
    My heartfelt condolences to each of you at this difficult time.
    Praying Jesus wraps His loving arms around you all, and praying for peace and healing,

  2. Laura, I’m sure this was difficult for you to complete on your mom’s behalf, but it so reflects her determination and will to set a goal and complete it. (I think of all the miles she tracked during her various walks “around the world” and bike rides!) Her desire to give tribute to her profession and thanks to people she worked with and befriended along the way is a strong reflection of your mom’s humility and thoughtfulness. My prayers are with your family during this hard time of transition. May the Holy Spirit be especially near and tangible to you all.

  3. Thanks for sharing Laura. Please let your Mom know that Steve and I are praying for her and your Dad. Our time knowing them goes back to when they were dating and also our Woodside Chapel days together. I remember when you were born and most likely took care of you in the nursery at some point. I remember Paul Harvey commenting on how well mannered you kids were in church and he even asked your mom if he could say something about the ‘family at church’ on his radio program! Big hugs to you all and definitely praying. 🙏🏻💞

  4. Thanks for posting this. I absolutely love the way your mom writes. She expresses herself so uniquely. I will so miss her blog- or will you keep it going possibly. Keeping your family and friends- including our nursing class in prayer as we grieve the loss of your dear mom.

  5. Tess and I just heard the very sad news about your mom, right after reading this blog this morning. We all grew up together, and Tess went with her to West Sub. We have stayed in touch these many years through this blog, facebook, email, and occasional face to face events. We grieve her passing. Prayers for all of you.

  6. Oh Laura, we can only guess at how you feel. Your family will surely never be the same. We will be praying for you all, especially for the two Johns. We pray for Supernatural help for each one. Love and prayers,
    Kathy Jo and Jim Estes

  7. This was Chris’s final gift to those of us mentioned in the post. Clearly she had planned it. Chris was that way, intentional and thoughtful. Even more, she was who she was, and accepted all the rest of us just as we were.

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