Thursday, December 14, 2017

A bit of local history and a fond farewell

The Book Ladies say thank you to Peter at The Old Neighborhood Grill
Photo by Carol Roark
In 1965, my then-husband and I moved to Fort Worth because he had a surgical residency at Fort Worth Osteopathic Hospital, on the corner of Montgomery and Camp Bowie. That first year, I worked as secretary to the pathologist at the hospital and, informally, as a pr person. I remember being proud that I started the first in-house newsletter for staff and employees, though I’m sure in those pre-computer days, it was a pretty primitive publication.

I left the hospital when TCU awarded me an NDEA fellowship (those were the days of strong national support for higher education, now sadly gone) to work on a doctorate in English. But the hospital remained a major place in my life until our divorce in 1981 or ’82 (strange I can’t remember the exact year) and even after that. My doctor/brother had an office in the hospital, and I’d go see him occasionally. Good friends like the late Connie and Russ Jenkins kept me on the fringes of the osteopathic world by taking me to various events.

The day officials announced the closing of the hospital, I was in a doctor’s office, and we sat together and had a sad wake. I remember him saying, “I’ve never practiced in any other hospital.”

Last night a thread started on the Fort Worth Memories Facebook page with the question, “Who remembers FWOH?” Answers poured in. You’d be amazed how many people want to tell you what year they were born there and/or when their children were. Many commented on the camaraderie and care at the hospital, but inevitably there were a few people with bad memories. I saw no one else among respondents that I remembered from those days, so I became self-appointed apologist, explaining that when people have suffered the loss of a family member or undergone a severe illness or trauma, their memories are naturally colored by their experience. It’s been an interesting but time-consuming exercise, and the comments have brought back lots of memories, most of them good. In some ways, I long for those days, but then I remind myself I’ve gone on to build such a better life.

This morning, nostalgia of another sort. The Book Ladies, a group I mentioned just the other day, have met regularly at the Old Neighborhood Grill for a monthly breakfast for several years. Now we have word that Peter Schroeder has sold the Grill, new ownership to take effect In January. So this morning, we had a special breakfast to say goodbye, thank you, and God’s speed to Peter. A good turnout, and we presented Peter with a book titled, The Joys of Retirement. It’s a book of blank pages, but each book lady wrote Peter a personal message. Lots of fun.

Topsy-turvy day for me. I started the day with a haircut—my stylist is so kind to come to the cottage until I get back to driving—and was still in pajamas when Carol called to say my presence was required at the Grill. She gave me ten minutes to get out of pajamas and into clothes. So I went, sans makeup but with a cute new haircut, if I do say so. Then, my lunch guest had to cancel at the last minute, so now I’m about to cook that chicken pot pie for my family. Still I got my daily words written, so I’m feeling smug.

Remind me, smug goeth before a fall😊

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