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American History
The Small Founder

      There were just a few pages in the smaller folder but what was there held precise and accurate directions. This was the job description for my lowly clerk-typist job. I was too aware of government paper work to believe, even for an instant, my only duty would be just to answer the telephone. I followed the outline of what they wanted with regards to files. That alone was going to be a major undertaking. This called for the 1000 students and their medical records to be individually kept and not just as a group for whatever treatment was involved. That wasn't going to happen with old records. There was no way I was going to go into the head nurse's fat file. I decided that the filing system would be set up as they wanted it to be and just to go forward with keeping records from that time forward when the students came in for treatment. The instructions said that we were to write to the children's parents for records from their doctor at home. How I was going to achieve this wasn't in my thinking at the time.

       My respect for the head nurse's intellect came about in the next few days. The Arkansas River running along side Chilocco was at flood-stage. The river ran along the edge of Arkansas City where the sewage system for the city was located. Water for the Chilocco school came from wells.

      The 1000 students came through the clinic in a long line for typhoid immunization. The nurses worked steadily as the quiet children obediently rolled up their sleeve in order to be inoculated. I wasn't a nurse but I was determined the records would be kept. Each student's name and personal  information I recorded on cards as they went through. As the nurses were working through, I discovered that after the name and record was made I could take a piece of cotton to swab the children's arms with alcohol for the nurse so she could go ahead with the shot. This small gesture seemed to be the one to endear me to the nurses. I thought it was nothing, really, but somehow, they were deeply appreciative and from that time they were all on my side in the quiet battle the head nurse and I had.

      Now I had names for individual folders. Little did I know how much this angered my supervisor. Actually her way of slipping a piece of paper into the fat folder saying 1000 students had been inoculated for typhoid was okay since she evidently knew every name of the student by memory but it wasn't what the government wanted. Mr. Correll was gone and his thinking was still operating. He knew the nurse would soon be retiring and records would be essential for anyone who had to take on her job. Old ways were beginning to slip away even at that time. Few newer employees coming in would take on the same dedication for knowing each student's name and something about them as a person.  The head nurse had to be given credit for this part of her personality.

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