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American History
Leupp Hall, Classrooms 1955

      Some of the  girls who were students at Chilocco Indian Agricultural school in 1955 had elected home economics as their endeavor of study. One of the classes they were required to take was a very basic form of nursing. It was more for the care giving for their own families but there were those who went from that into a regular nursing profession. Indeed, some of the students became doctors.

     At the time there was nothing of anything so lofty. All the skills taught were very basic.

     “What is that quarter in the middle of Mrs. Boory's desk?”

     The girls knew their teacher well, they thought. It was common knowledge she had a tight  thought out schedule. Everything was organized.  This quarter smack-dab in the center of the woman's desk made them curious. Money was scarce in the lives they led. Well, it was more than scarce, it was practically non-existent.  Evidently this little fact she knew and was using it to catch their attention.

     The thing the girls didn't know was that the woman had a hearing problem. She was actually almost deaf. If they had been alert it would have been noticed how she sometimes had a questioning stare on her face while they were talking. However, the lady was so adept at concealing her disability no one ever suspected. Years later when they were older women she confessed to the lengths she had to go in order to keep the class active and interesting.

      On this particular day she was teaching them how to change the sheets for a patient who could not get out of bed. One of the girls volunteered to be the patient. She was rolled to her side and the sheets were rolled up close under her and then the girl was rolled to the opposite side allowing the sheet to be removed from the bed without having the patient sit up or move. This went well and their next project was the changing and making up a bed. Several times  Mrs. Boory pulled the sheets off and they had to re-make the bed. This was when they finally got to see where that quarter came into play. The woman took the coin and tossed it on the bed when it had been made up to suit her. If it bounced instead of falling flat on loose sheets, the team passed that part of their training.

      The girls were taught how to make bandages from old sheets they had ripped up into strips. This was easy for me because evidently Mother and Grandmother had taken the same course. I was well acquainted with these bandages and in fact had grown up with one or the other either on a foot, leg, arm, or hand.

      Every part of home hygiene was covered from proper hand washing to when and how to scrub out a bathtub. There was never a dull moment in the class. Although I never had the desire to become a professional in the medical field it must be admitted this basic training came to my aid many times while caring for my family if in no other way but to have an ability to meet some of the horrendous emergencies to come up with children, grandchildren, grand nieces and nephews or any other child who happened to be in my care, at least until we could get to a professional nurse or a doctor.

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