Linda Wilson Oral History Interview, October 3, 2014

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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TRACI DRUMMOND: This is Traci Drummond. Today is the third day of October, 2014. I am in Macon, Georgia, with Linda Wilson, who is going to be interviewed today for the Grady School of Nursing oral history project. Um, this interview is being done on behalf of the Southern Labor Archives. Good morning, Linda.

LINDA WILSON: Good morning, Traci.

DRUMMOND: And thank you so much for joining me today. Uh, let’s get started! Uh, just some basic background info. Uh, where were you born an--and, if you don’t mind, when?

WILSON: I was born in February of 1949, in a little town called Dixie Union, Georgia. I was born at home, the third child, uh, in what was going to be an eleven-child family.

DRUMMOND: Wow. Wow.

WILSON: My father was a sharecropping farmer. And my mother, of course, was a stay-at-home mom, with that many kids. But we all worked very hard, making --

1:00

DRUMMOND: Did you all have to help out around the house?

WILSON: -- making -- yes -- making a living as a sharecropping farmer.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Yes. We moved often --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- had to follow the work.

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: But we actually stayed in Ware County.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: And the great thing was, when I was six years old, we moved to Waresboro, Georgia, and that became our home. And we stayed there for the rest of my mom and dad’s life. And my husband and I actually live in that community, to this day.

DRUMMOND: Really?

WILSON: So once we moved to Waresboro, that became home.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Well, with eleven brothers and sisters, and I’m sure there was a lot of emphasis on helping out and getting work done. But how did being a sharecropper f-- sharecropping family, how did that affect your education when you were growing up?

WILSON: Well, first of all, Mom and Dad, neither had the benefit of a high 2:00school -- both of them lived in families wherein it was necessary for them to quit school and help make a living. What that did for Mom and Dad was gave them a great desire that all of us would be able to go to school. So yes, we worked hard but we were in school, unless it was just absolutely necessary. And there were days that we would have to stay home.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But then we would make up work. As a matter of fact, I can remember, as a high school student, in the spring we would get up very early, so that we would go to the field and work for an hour or so, then rush home, get cleaned up, and get to school.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

3:00

WILSON: That was how important it was to Mom and Dad --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- for us to get an education. Now they did not -- neither of them even finished grade school. But they were very much inquisitive, self-teaching themselves. My dad was a whiz at math.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: He had to be to keep up with all the details of growing a crop and, uh, how much did things bring, so that he would feel like he was, uh, getting his fair share, at the end, and certainly making every penny stretch, to be able to keep us all fed and clothed.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. So, um, what were some of the way -- because -- so -- so I’m sure he earned money. He earned a -- he earned, you know, the exchange of money for the work he did. But did y’all also get some of the crops to sort of put up and eat? Or -- or did you have your own small garden?

4:00

WILSON: Well, actually, he never got paid for any labor.

DRUMMOND: Oh, really? Okay.

WILSON: His labor --

DRUMMOND: Oh! Okay.

WILSON: So he would -- what the deal was, he would l-- rent -- he would go to someone -- tobacco and corn were money crops. And he would, uh, lease -- pay someone X number of dollars to be able to have -- t-- to plant X number of acres of either corn or tobacco. And then he would supply the labor and the equipment for tractors and whatever. Uh, he would pay half of all of the fertilizer bill and the plants, whatever the cost of actually producing the crop. Dad would pay half of that. And then, if there was any money left over -- so the -- the crop would be pla-planted. It would be harvested. It would be sold. And after -- 5:00at that point, after the money for his lease and his half of all the expenses of the crop, if there was any left, then he would get part of that.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: And many times, we would only break even. There would not be any money left.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: So he -- he was very resourceful, I think. He got a job, during the winter, driving a school bus. This was after we were in Waresboro.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And that was a godsend for us. And later, when we were big enough and we’d been there a while, we became the janitors at the elementary school --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- for several years.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Wow!

WILSON: So we were -- he was always looking for a way for us to be able to have 6:00the money we needed. So we grew, uh, hogs. We had a huge garden! We had a huge freezer.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: So we would make our -- we would, uh, grow our own vegetables. And we -- priority, getting those, uh, early on, canned in jars.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But then later we got the freezer and we were able to do it.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So we have -- I have memories of, many times, sitting out behind the house in the yard, in a circle, shelling beans, shelling peas. Uh, Mother would tell us Bible stories, try to keep it interesting by asking questions and, you know, making a game out of it as much as you can.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But, oh, yes, we worked. But, uh, I think back now and realize how dedicated my mom and dad were --

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: -- to the family, to making a living, but also to making -- wanting us 7:00to all, uh, do -- have more than they had.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And they didn’t realize it at the time but the tremendous work e--ethic they gave us --

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: -- is the gift. It was much more, uh, a blessing than had they, uh, handed -- uh, been able to hand us money.

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: And they were able to b-- to buy a h-- a house, an old house.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But, uh, that was their home. And laer, when my brother went through med school and became a radiologist, he was able to -- to supply the money for upgrading that --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and making it a better home for them. Uh, so they -- they taught us that working hard and, certainly, working together, you can accomplish goals.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So that was our heritage.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

8:00

WILSON: That was our heritage.

DRUMMOND: That sounds wonderful. Yeah. Well, and you s-- Can I ask this? You said you were -- had -- were born at home. Did your -- was there a woman in the community who was, uh, sort of a midwife, that would come around? Or was a doctor called? Do you remember?

WILSON: Actually, the doctor came out --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- to our house. And Mother t--told me the story of that day, which is quite fascinating. Uh, I’m a really go-getter. And, I, (laughter) I accuse -- when she tell-tells me the story that sh-- that day, she thought she was gonna be in labor by the end of the -- you know, she had the signs?

DRUMMOND: Uh.

WILSON: Dad was out plowing the field. So she got up and washed all the clothes in the house, hanged them out to dry, mopped everything, even went outside and, and raked the yards. But at that point, they were using brush brooms.

DRUMMOND: Uh.

WILSON: I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that. That’s --

DRUMMOND: Like a bundle of straw?

WILSON: Yes. Because they didn’t have grass so much as they just had sand. 9:00So she did all of that. And then she sent for my grandmother, my daddy’s mother, who, they lived -- this little house they lived in was just a little teneme-- Uh, it was -- it sounded like not much more than a little shack, behind -- that had been a storage house --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- for my granddaddy and grandmama’s farm. So anyway, she sent for her. And sure enough, I was born that afternoon.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: So, I, I said, “Mom, you didn’t rest at all” --

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: -- “You just kept (laughter) on doing it all. And then -- ” But, uh, s-- the doctor did come.

DRUMMOND: Okay. S-- Okay.

WILSON: His name was Dr. Flanagan.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: I don’t remember his first name. But he served that area for many, many years.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Okay. That’s a great story. Um, so you worked on the farm. You went through school. What was school like then? Was it -- uh, was it several grades in a room together? Or was -- were you in a big enough community 10:00that, uh, each grade had its own classroom?

WILSON: Elementary school -- all through school -- we were all in different rooms. We never were in a school that was small enough -- now my first few months, from September until December, I was in a little school called the Bickley School. And it was a very small school. And I can’t remember much about that. Because I was only six.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But if -- if we were ever combined as classes, it would have been then. But then in January -- you know, the sharecroppers’ lives -- January to December. So if you’re going to move, you move in January.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So we moved to Waresboro that year.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So from that time on, we went through the Ware County schools. The 11:00elementary school -- uh, God was with us in this, that the house that we rented, uh, before we moved to the house that Mom and Dad later owned, was only about -- mm -- a block from the school.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So we were able to walk to school.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: We were able to walk home for lunch --

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: -- and then get back. Because -- and that saved a tremendous amount of money.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Because of so many of us, it was much easier -- uh, well, cost-efficient effective to feed us from home.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And so. There were so many of us. I remember us -- (laughs) we would meet each other. You know, because there -- the different lunch times -- periods for different ages.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So we would meet someone an--and they would tell us what we’re having for lunch. (laughter) So that was one of the things. But we were always in separate classrooms -- dedicated.

DRUMMOND: All eleven of you ended up in a separate grade at a time?

WILSON: Yes.

12:00

DRUMMOND: And, uh, moved on --

WILSON: Well, we had one set of twins.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Oh, okay, Okay.

WILSON: And they were in the same. But they finally -- I think there were enough classrooms that they separated them.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Because Waresboro was a pretty big school. And they started, uh, kind of getting together some of the s-- closing some of the very, very small schools --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and Waresboro became sort of a conglomerate.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: So -- so. Yes. So.

DRUMMOND: And were there twelve grades?

WILSON: Uh, our half-sister, who is number one of the eleven, when she was in school, it was through the twelfth grade.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: But then they moved the high school. They -- they built a combined high s-- a new high school, that, again, combined two or three. And Waresboro was one of them that closed the high school. And so then it was just, uh, grades 13:00one through eight. And at the time I went through, there were no kindergarten --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- or preschool.

DRUMMOND: Okay. And eight was the equivalent of twelve.

WILSON: No, no. Then we would go from the eighth grade -- then we would be bused to this new high school.

DRUMMOND: Oh, I see.

WILSON: So, uh, I’m -- I’m speaking of on-site --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- at the school that we started to --

DRUMMOND: Okay. Okay.

WILSON: -- in Waresboro.

DRUMMOND: Okay, okay. Uh, and everyone graduated. Di-- ?

WILSON: I had one brother who got a GED.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: And I actually have one brother, the baby brother in the family, who quit school at sixteen --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- and came very close to getting his GED but decided he -- it’s never --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So you can imagine how hard he’s pushing for his son, who graduated high school this year --

DRUMMOND: Ah!

WILSON: -- to get -- and he is now enrolled in a vocation reha-- a vocational-technical college.

14:00

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Uh, so all of the rest of us did.

DRUMMOND: Okay. And, uh, what -- and I’m sure your parents were so proud that you were graduating, that -- or that most of you did, uh, given, uh, like you were talking about earlier, their experiences. So then, after graduation, what was -- what was expected of you? Not you, all the kids? Wha-- what were the next steps to -- ? Were there -- ?

WILSON: The next steps were we were expected to get a job --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- and be productive.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And if we lived at home, we were charged a certain amount of rent -- of board.

DRUMMOND: Really?

WILSON: Yes, ma’am.

DRUMMOND: Wo-- I mean, that’s great but, uh --

WILSON: Yes. Very different --

DRUMMOND: -- largely unheard of -- largely unheard of.

WILSON: -- different. Now, my sis-- my half-sister actually moved out of my mom 15:00and (tapping sound) her stepdad’s. My dad was her stepdad.

DRUMMOND: Uh.

WILSON: She actually moved out of that household and moved in with her dad and stepmom, when she was sixteen. But the rest of us were there. And as we graduated, now, the -- I -- uh, I graduated in 1967. My older brother graduated in 1968 and was drafted.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: And then my younger -- my next sibling younger than me was a -- uh, a s-- boy also and he also was drafted. So we had two in the Vietnam War situation. But basically, we all knew that if we were going to seek higher education, it would be on our own ticket --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- because Mom and Dad still had all of these younger siblings --

DRUMMOND: Right.

16:00

WILSON: -- that they supported us in, that they didn't -- they encouraged us.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: They felt like higher education was wonderful. But they could not -- I mean, in the three years I was at Grady, my mom and dad never gave me any money.

DRUMMOND: Really?

WILSON: They just didn’t have it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And that was up front.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: I understood that.

DRUMMOND: Right, right.

WILSON: And that was one of the reasons I worked so hard in high school.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: I graduated second in my class.

DRUMMOND: Really?

WILSON: There was like less than half a point between my GPA and the, uh, valedictorian.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So when I started -- uh, when I, uh, applied to Grady, they let me know that, if I can pay for the first -- if I could get a loan, somehow, for the first year, that, after I got there and proved myself academically and, I guess 17:00-- and that I was gonna be able to stay, that they would give me scholarship --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- for the next --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- for the last two years.

DRUMMOND: Okay. All right. Um, let me go back. You mentioned that two of your brothers went to Vietnam.

WILSON: Yes.

DRUMMOND: How -- how did that impact your family? That must have been a really difficult time.

WILSON: It was a very, very difficult time. Uh, and I tell you that only our relationship with God and our strong faith in him --

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: We became members of a -- a little (tapping) community church in Waresboro. And we attended there faithfully, and, uh, learned the promises of God and came into relationship with Jesus, to know that he was with them --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- even though they were there. Much, much prayer went up --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

18:00

WILSON: -- uh, not only for them but for so many. Because almost every family had, uh, sons in that war.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Uh, I remember one particular story my mom was so -- my older brother had been and then my younger brother went. And he actually went to Germany. He may have enlisted. I can’t remember. But he was going to -- because, I think he must have. Because he had to spend three years.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And I remember how hard she prayed that he would not have to go to Vietnam. But I remember her telling us this stor-- how that the Holy Spirit spoke into her -- into her heart one day and said to her -- asked her the question, “Am I a bigger god in Germany than I am in Vietnam?” -- in other words, helping her to see that, wherever my brothers were --

DRUMMOND: Right.

19:00

WILSON: -- that he was there. And that gave her peace.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: And she was able to kind of get things in perspective from that. Uh, so excited wh-- to get letters from them. Wrote them. I have a vivid memory of, my first year in nursing school, going down to the Red Cross and taping my brother, Bill, a message for Christmas.

DRUMMOND: Oh, okay! Okay.

WILSON: The Red Cross had that service.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: And --

DRUMMOND: And so it was an audio recording.

WILSON: Yes.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: On a little --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- uh, some kind of --

DRUMMOND: Like a little reel-to-reel? [Mm-hmm?]

WILSON: Yes, yes.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: Uh, I don’t -- it was just an audio.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But I remember sending him -- I can’t remember. I think I sent him a thing of -- a can of Fiddle Sticks, thinking that would be something they could 20:00do, and some kind of treat -- and I don’t remember -- probably hard candies of some sort.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But sending that to him and just feeling so excited to be able to send him something --

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: -- walking down to the Red Cross. And I have no idea where that -- you know, how far that was.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But that was in -- in the spring of 1968, I think --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- that I did that.

DRUMMOND: Do you know -- did he -- did you find out if he received it?

WILSON: He did receive it.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Okay.

WILSON: And he remembered -- uh, even to this day, I can ask him and h-- he still has memories of that. (tapping)

DRUMMOND: Okay. Okay.

WILSON: So.

DRUMMOND: That must have meant a lot, uh, you know, given where he was and what he was responsible for. So.

WILSON: Right.

DRUMMOND: So, um -- so they were drafted. Did you immediately decide to go to nursing school? Or did you work for a while? I mean, how did you find out 21:00about Grady? What -- you know, post-high school, leading up to Grady, what -- what was going on in your l-- ?

WILSON: Okay. What happened was, this half-sister, who’s number one in our eleven --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- actually went to Grady.

DRUMMOND: Okay! Okay.

WILSON: And she chose Grady because her stepmother went to Grady.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: She graduated in like 1941. Sandra graduated in 1964. So she graduated just as I was going into high school.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So I had that -- I felt like, if she could do it, I could do it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: I learned, just this year, when -- I brought her to the reunion with us.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: We -- I gave her that as a little gift.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: Uh, and she told me on the trip up, that she cried every day at Grady, 22:00for a whole month. But she never told me that.

DRUMMOND: Well, was she -- ?

WILSON: She was just homesick --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- just homesick. She had never -- and you have to realize, Traci, that we never went anywhere. There was no money for us to go anywhere.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: We didn’t have the transportation. Uh, we were content, because we -- you don’t miss what you don’t -- have never had.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But it was hard. Now, she did more than we did. Because she had those -- from sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen, she was in, uh, her dad’s household. And they had more means. And they -- her mother was working at our local hospital. And she was still working there when I went to work there, in 1970. But, uh, I felt like, if I could do -- if she could do it, I probably could do it. And I had that connection. So I knew how --

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

23:00

WILSON: I wrote to them early in my se-- I applied early in my senior year --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and got all these things figured out. My pastor’s wife, who had lived in Griffin and then they came down to minister -- pastor our little church, actually drove me to Atlanta --

DRUMMOND: Really? Uh --

WILSON: -- and s-- for my, uh, interviews and tours and all of that.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: Because I look back and I’m trying to figure how would that have happened. I never thought of it, be-- because God supplied the need, you know. So we did that. And actually, when I was in Gra-- at Grady, they were -- had returned to Griffin to start a new church there. So by the grace of God, he -- they would come to Grady and pick me up, on Friday afternoons, probably at least a couple times a month, and take me to their house and treat me like their child.

24:00

DRUMMOND: Ah.

WILSON: And I would be able to be in a home, you know.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Because I couldn’t afford to go back, and to -- to home.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: I w-- I would usually get there maybe once a month. Or my husband, who was my fiancé at that time, he would either come up or I would ride the bus home, once a month.

DRUMMOND: Uh, okay.

WILSON: So we would see each other once a month.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. S-- so you met him while you were in high school?

WILSON: I did.

DRUMMOND: Tell me about that.

WILSON: Well, he -- he, uh --

DRUMMOND: What’s his name?

WILSON: His name is [Jerry?].

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: And he is like six and a half years older than I am. We started dating when I was sixteen, in the tenth grade. We met at church. Uh, he worked at the -- he actually lived in Jacksonville for a while. He was going to be a draftsman with the railroad.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But then he couldn’t take that office work. He didn’t like being 25:00inside, in a shirt and tie. So he came back to Wa-- to, uh, Waresboro. And that’s when we m-- we met. And so we started dating.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And he worked out of the Coast Line -- wh-- what was the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, which is now CSX. But he was there, working as a machinist.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So he went through his machinist, uh, training -- and I can’t -- and then became a machinist. And he’s wor-- he worked there for almost forty years.

DRUMMOND: Was he, by any chance, a member of the machinists’ union, when he was there?

WILSON: He was.

DRUMMOND: He was?

WILSON: Yes, he was.

DRUMMOND: Excellent. Uh, so you met in church. And then you went away to school.

WILSON: I went away to school.

DRUMMOND: And he would either come up and see you or you would take the bus --

WILSON: Yes.

DRUMMOND: -- home. So what was the bus ride like from Atlanta to Waresboro?

WILSON: Well, the bus station was actually in Waycross.

26:00

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: But it was -- for this country girl -- now, you just have to picture in your mind me going to Atlanta, Georgia. Uh, it was 1967.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: So it’s -- compared to what Atlanta is now, it was --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But I had never been to a tow-- We went to Waycross, from time to time. Went to high school. Went to church in my community. I had never been anywhere.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: I mean, I did go to Washington, DC, on my senior class trip -- I was thinking about that when I was walking the dog, this week -- uh, rode the train --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- with forty-something seniors. And actually, some of my teachers chipped in money, because I really didn’t have the money to do it. But I’ll never forget their kindness.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: Because they wanted me to be able to go. And that was a real eye-opener. So I had been to Washington, for that five days.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

27:00

WILSON: But other than that, we -- our worl-- our world was very small.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But -- so, when I got to Grady, I’ll never forget how it felt. Jerry actually took me, on that September -- think it was the eleventh that we actually went -- moved into the dorm, with our regulation footlocker and all the things -- they sent us a list that we had to have. And I felt like we had to have every single thing, uh, which -- we used most of it. But now it’s like who would think of telling you that you had to have a footlocker? But, anyway. (laughter) How I felt, when he drove off and I was there and --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- for the first time in my life I was by myself.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And it took some doing for me to even get used to li-- to sleeping in the same bed by myself. Because I had never slept in a bed by myself.

28:00

DRUMMOND: Really? You’d always been --

WILSON: Had--

DRUMMOND: -- with one of your siblings.

WILSON: Yes, one of the sisters. Because it took a lot of beds for --

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: -- that many people. And we had small rooms in our house. And so we -- some of our siblings slept on what you call rollaway beds. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that. But they folded up.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Yeah. Uh-huh.

WILSON: And then, at night, you would put them out. They’re much -- much more comfortable than the hideaway, sofa beds.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Because they have full-size mattresses. But they were, you know, for space. But anyway, it, uh -- I was so thankful for the opportunity --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- that I kind of pushed myself through.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Well, do -- you know, you -- you said that your older sister --

WILSON: Cried.

DRUMMOND: -- cried every day.

WILSON: I didn’t know that. If I had known that, I may have -- I told her -- I said, “Sandra, I’m glad you didn’t tell me.” Because she was always 29:00sort of the hero --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- the one that, you know, had done more things and all that. And if she had told me that, I’m not sure I would have been brave enough.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: But I did okay. Jerry and I wrote each other every night. Well, he wrote me every single night.

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

WILSON: I wrote him probably at least 90 percent of the time.

DRUMMOND: Uh, okay.

WILSON: And I will tell you now, just as a little side -- when our sons were in college --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- we wrote them every single night.

DRUMMOND: Really?

WILSON: And usually it was their dad who did it. Sometimes, if things were going on, I would do it. But most of the time, he wrote them.

DRUMMOND: Do y'all still have all those letters?

WILSON: We do not. Now, the sons may have some of them.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: But, no, we did not keep all those. That didn’t seem important at the 30:00time. But, uh --

DRUMMOND: That would be a --

WILSON: -- we’ll never forget the fact that we did write each other, so we felt closer. And I would also call him collect, once a week. So -- and, uh, because he worked 3:00 to 11:00 shift. So -- and I don’t remember what day. It might have been -- I can’t remember what -- but one designated day of the week, uh, be-- before he went to work in the afternoon, I would call and talk to him for maybe three minutes.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: So. Anyway. Uh --

DRUMMOND: That’s great. That’s commitment. That’s -- you know. Now it’s just a text message, not even full words. (laughs)

WILSON: Right. Right.

DRUMMOND: No, that's -- and it’s very romantic, too. I mean, the ladies don’t get a lot of that, these days. So.

WILSON: Oh, I know.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And the -- the letters. Yes. Because you’d go to the -- every single 31:00day, you’d go to the post office.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And I knew I was going to have a letter.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And that was very encouraging.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And so I studied hard at Grady.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And I found out -- and we were going to Georgia State. You know that we took our academic courses --

DRUMMOND: At Georgia State.

WILSON: -- at Georgia State.

DRUMMOND: Uh, uh-huh.

WILSON: So we were in classes with bona fide, you know, Georgia State students.

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

WILSON: So we just sort of, uh, were -- uh, in other words, it wasn’t just Grady teachers --

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: -- who were teaching us. It was Georgia State --

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: -- which was then College. Now it’s University.

DRUMMOND: Right, uh.

WILSON: So once I got through, I’ll never forget how I felt at that first -- after those first final exams at Georgia State --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

32:00

WILSON: -- and getting those grades and realizing that my study had paid off and that I could -- I felt like I could do this.

DRUMMOND: Right, right.

WILSON: So --

DRUMMOND: Well, what sort of academic classes did you take at Georgia State?

WILSON: Oh, goodness. We took biology, two courses of biology. We took, uh -- which was Anatomy and Physiology. We dissected a fetal pig.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: We did microbiology. We did sociology. We did an English. I don't -- I can’t remember. That’s not all of them. Because we had like a full load, for three s-- three quarters.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. But th-- were you all taking the Georgia State classes at the same time you were taking your nursing class, uh, you were --?

WILSON: Basic nurses’ --

DRUMMOND: Basic nursing.

WILSON: Yes.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So we were busy from eight -- we were in classes from eight o’clock in the morning until 5:00. And, uh, that would be either at Georgia State or 33:00taking basic nursing courses. And then after the first quarter, then we started working in -- going into the hospital --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- working.

DRUMMOND: Having your --

WILSON: Clinicals.

DRUMMOND: Okay. So -- so what was the typical clinical shift?

WILSON: All day.

DRUMMOND: IT was all day?

WILSON: Quarter -- we would report -- we would be on the area at 6:45 and we would be -- get -- our day would end at 3:15.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And we would be assigned patients. We would be totally in charge of their care. Now there would be someone -- our instructors would be around.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And I wondered about this, uh, later. But I, it’s not real clear in my memory whether we had a nurse that was -- or if it was just the nurse manager 34:00that we’d go to if we had, you know, problems.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But I don’t think we had like someone connected at the hip, like we do, nurses --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- you know, like the clinicals now.

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: And the reason I know that is because I’ve taught CNAs once, during my career, and we would take them to the hospital for clinicals. And while they had a patient, then the patient actually belonged to a hospital staff member.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But I don’t remember that at Grady.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Uh --

DRUMMOND: And you would do anything the patient needed? I mean --

WILSON: Well, it’s according to where we were in our, uh --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- in our --

DRUMMOND: Training.

WILSON: -- training.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Yes.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So we would start off doing bed baths and, you know, giving their personal hygiene kind of stuff and making their beds.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

35:00

WILSON: And then once we’d gotten through, we would give their medicines and do whatever treatments that, uh, needed to be done. So. But we were there -- and once we got -- I mean, we literally were doing whatever needed to be done. We were giving the nursing care --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- for the patients. And that’s -- that’s the way they were able to give us an education. Because my total education cost -- I, I can’t -- I know I borrowed $600 for the first year. And it seems like it wasn’t that much for the other two years, because they knew we were going to be working in the hospital.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But even if it was $600 per year, can you imagine? Because that 36:00included our courses at Georgia State. That included uniforms and laundering those uniforms. That included our dorms. That included our meals -- although we got tired of eating in the hospital cafeteria.

DRUMMOND: I heard there was some good fried chicken in that cafeteria.

WILSON: Uh, there probably was. I don’t remember that, per se.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: But it was certainly more variety of -- of food than I’d ever had and more --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: I gained like five pounds, the first quarter. Because -- (laughs) so it was like -- An-- and they told us --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- in Nutrition, our course -- Marjorie Wallace. She is now deceased. But I remember her saying, “Now, y'all are going to need to be careful, because you’re going to -- you’re studying so much, you’re not nearly as active. It’s going to be really easy for you to gain weight.” I’ll never forget her saying that. But anyway, you did get tired, because the menu was the 37:00same. I mean, they would rotate days but --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- but it was -- and we all had this thing about hamburger steak, because we, uh -- we ate so much hamburger steak.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. (laughter)

WILSON: Uh, bu-- That was one of our jokes. But, uh, anyway. Even if it cost $600 a year, that was an amazing -- and I’ll tell you one little side thing. When I started working at our hospital -- Uh, I had one week’s orientation on days. And then I was put on 3:00 to 11:00 as the charge nurse. I was the only RN and I hadn’t taken my boards yet. But I was R-- uh, you know, board eligible. On a forty-bed medical ward, I was the lead n-- the only nurse. But that’s not my story. (laughs) The physicians, as they would come around, I 38:00would get introduced. And there was one, uh, doctor named W.L. Pomeroy. And there was a senior and then his son ca-- also was working there -- so senior, junior. But Senior came by and was being introduced to me. And he said to me and to the people around, “Well, I expect I know more about Ms. Wilson than a lot of other people.” And I just kind of looked at him, because, to my knowledge, I’d never met him before. And it turns out that his wife was the president of the Women’s Auxiliary -- the physicians’ auxiliary group -- that loaned me the $600.

DRUMMOND: Ah!

WILSON: And they got my grades.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Every quarter, they got a copy of my grades.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

39:00

WILSON: I had no idea of knowing any of that. So he was alluding to that. And that was kind of like, “Okay.” (laughter; tapping) Oh, goodness.

DRUMMOND: Well, uh -- oh, I’m sorry. Were you going to --

WILSON: No.

DRUMMOND: -- say something else?

WILSON: Uh, I’m thinking I’m talking too much.

DRUMMOND: No, no, no! That’s what this is about --

WILSON: Okay. Okay.

DRUMMOND: -- you talk, me asking questions --

WILSON: (laughs)

DRUMMOND: -- but in such a way that, uh -- that you tell stories and stuff. Now so you -- so you said you watched your fiancé drive away.

WILSON: Yes.

DRUMMOND: And how -- like how soon did you star-- ? And you -- and you even said that you were kind of uncomfortable sleeping in a bed alone -- which I can’t ima---- I mean, uh, you know, I --

WILSON: Uh --

DRUMMOND: -- I can’t imagine. But then how soon did you start making friends with, uh -- how soon did that turn into camaraderie with the other -- with the other girls? And did you have two or three to a room, or how did that work?

WILSON: We had two to a room, to begin with. And for the first month, we had assigned roommates. And I guess that was the only way they could do it. But 40:00that was a kind of a tough month. Because the, uh, young woman that I was rooming with -- was from a totally different set of -- She was as different as you could be from me. And -- and she was -- she was kind. But we just -- we didn’t connect. In other words, we shared a room -- (tapping) but she already had some friends that she knew. But I soon -- you know, we -- we were in groups. So we would be with the same people every day.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And of course that helps. And then, because you had so much structure, you didn’t have a lot of time to think about any -- it was kind of like being in -- in some ways, it was kind of like being in high school, in that you were with that same class. In other words, Group D, which was my group, uh, we had 41:00Georgia State classes at the same time, we had our nursing -- basic nursing. So that core group -- and, uh, that was probably -- I can’t remember -- twelve to fifteen, maybe twenty to begin with.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: Because lots -- After first quarter, like about 40 percent of our class had flunked out.

DRUMMOND: Really?

WILSON: Yes.

DRUMMOND: Was that -- was that common?

WILSON: I think so. I think so. And then -- we started with 140-something, close to 150, I think, and I think we graduated around seventy. So --

DRUMMOND: The class was pretty much cut in half.

WILSON: Yeah.

DRUMMOND: Interesting.

WILSON: Yeah.

DRUMMOND: Well, was -- was the school of nursing integrated, by the time you --?

WILSON: Yes. Yes.

DRUMMOND: And so was that the first time you had spent a lot of time with 42:00African-- ? I mean, um, because I’m assuming the school you went to was not integrated.

WILSON: That’s correct.

DRUMMOND: So --

WILSON: Well, actually -- sixty-seven -- probably not --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- but was soon after, then --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- was soon after, then.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Uh, but we did have -- we probably had five or six Afro-American women in our classes. And there were several of those at the --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- at the reunion. And we were -- very much remembered our connections. We were hugging, you know --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- and greeting each other. Because after that period of time, you know, we really got close. Uh, but, after the first month, we got to choose. And so I started rooming with someone who was in my group.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And we then roomed for about a year. And then we were able to move into the -- then, so many people dropped out that we were able to have a room each. 43:00There was enough. And so we all had our own room. And then when we went -- and our senior year, Armstrong Hall was the -- oh, it was just like, if you just -- if we could just make it to get over there, it was like the Ritz-Carlton of the dormitories! (laughter) Because we had a suite!

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: You had a bedroom, connected by a bath, and a bedroom. So you had two people with their own baths. Because, uh, all this other time in the dorms, you had lined up showers --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- and, and lavatories and commo-- You know, it was like being -- well, it was in a dorm.

DRUMMOND: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But I think most dorms now -- I mean, I don’t know if that’s still -- I know so many college students have their own apartments or whatever. I don’t know --

DRUMMOND: I think they -- they more have like the suites that, uh, you were talking about. And maybe it’s four individual bedrooms, with a common area 44:00and two bathrooms. A lo-- it’s -- uh, I think they -- you know, whe-- when universities are able -- uh, because Georgia State is finally, you know, s-- well, for the last maybe five to ten years, started putting dorms. And it’s really becoming less of a commuter campus and -- I mean, we have 35,000 students now. So my understanding is that the dorms on campus are like that, where it’s more of a traditional living arrangement, instead of giving two peo-- young people a tiny room and having them walk down the hall to go to a communal bathroom. So. Uh --

WILSON: And that’s good. Yeah. That’s good.

DRUMMOND: Uh, yeah. So, uh, what were some of your favorite classes that you took? What were some of the things that got you really excited?

WILSON: Uh, I’m not sure "excitement" is the right word! (laughter) Basically, Traci --

DRUMMOND: Motivated.

45:00

WILSON: -- whatever was presented to me --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- I made myself really study.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: I didn’t give myself -- uh, I’m not trying to be bragging about myself. But it was -- uh, in all my life, up and to this point, it was like, this needs doing, so do it. So that’s sort of the way it was with my -- my courses.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: It was like -- now, I dis-- I disliked -- maybe that will be easier --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- I disliked orthopedics. Oh, I really did not like it.

DRUMMOND: And for the uninitiated, what -- what is orthopedics?

WILSON: Bones.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Bones, skeletal system.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So a lot of people with broken bones and, uh, cast and all of that. But the attitude of the -- of the instructor, who will remain unnamed, uh, had a lot to do that -- with that. But it jus-- I didn’t enjoy that particular -- 46:00and I did not enjoy operating room. Because that was very anxiety producing for me.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Because going in -- we actually had -- I don’t know how much you know about the operating room.

DRUMMOND: I don’t know.

WILSON: Okay. Well, you know that people, when they have surgery, they have a team. And the team, of course, will be the person who gives anesthesia, the doctor who does -- actually does the surgery, and then they have nurses who scrub in and are sterile, at the table, handing the instruments and stuff. And then there’s also a nurse that’s called a circulating nurse, that’s there to get anything that’s needed. Like you predict you’re going to need a certain setup but the surgeon, when they make an incision, they may find something they didn’t anticipate. So you need additional, uh, instruments, 47:00equipment, et cetera.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And the -- the circulating nurse also does all the paperwork, recording times, whe-- when the anesthesia starts, da-da da-da, so a lot of recording. But we had to actually do (tapping) certain number of cases where we were the scrub nurse, actually handling the instruments. That was very anxiety producing for me. Uh, and, actually, I said -- I remember saying, “God, if you’ll help me get through this, I won’t go into an operating room again.” And I did get through it. But a few years later, I found myself being approached at, in my hospital -- after I’d worked there for about six months --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- a general surgeon came to me and said, “I’d like you to be my s-- office nurse. And by the way, that means you’ll be going to the operating -- 48:00with me -- (laughter) room with me, being my -- my personal scrub nurse,” which meant I would be assisting him. There would be these other people. But I took that job and worked that job for like almost ten years -- and then did some other things for about a year and then was approached and asked if I would come be the operating room supervisor in our hospital. (laughs) And so I did that for thirteen years.

DRUMMOND: Okay. (laughs)

WILSON: And instead of being the one in the room, I was the one responsible for all those people who were in the rooms --

DRUMMOND: Right, right.

WILSON: -- all the equipment, everything, making sure that the surgeons had everything they needed. So I’m sure God’s still chuckling over that.

DRUMMOND: (laughs)

WILSON: But it seemed the right -- and I think that was the right decision, s-- hard, hard work. But I feel like that it was a -- uh, a real contribution, as 49:00far as -- I still have people stop me in the -- even this many years later -- I worked for the general surgeon from 1971 until the end of 1980. That’s a long time ago. But I still have people come up to me, in Walmart or the s-- or the grocery store, and say, “I remember you helping Doc-- the surgeon do my surgery.”

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And it meant a lot. Because I was able to see them in the office, help with their surgery. So I would actually be there at their bedside --

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

WILSON: -- before they went to sleep --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and saying -- and then make rounds with him, while they were in the hospital, and then see them a-- coming back to the office. So.

DRUMMOND: A familiar face.

WILSON: Yes. And, uh, I think it meant more to them than I even realized then. 50:00So. But anyway, OR I didn’t much enjoy. The Georgia State classes were pretty intimidating, because there were so many people, you know, the amphitheaters --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and the phy-- and the one instructor. And, uh, there was mandatory attendance, as far as Grady expected us to do. Now I’m not saying that everybody went every time. But, uh, it was kind of -- I guess it was encouraging and it was confidence building knowing that I could succeed --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- in that new environment. So.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: I was -- uh, sang in the chorus at Grady.

DRUMMOND: Okay. So there were --

WILSON: I loved that!

DRUMMOND: -- extracurricular activities.

WILSON: Oh, yes.

DRUMMOND: Okay. So -- so, in addition to chorus, what -- ?

WILSON: There was the Student Government Association. There was the, uh -- I 51:00think they had a nursing -- a Georgia Nursing Association that was for students.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: So, uh -- I didn’t get into -- I did chorus. I was chaplain of our, uh, classes. We were -- organize each class president and all that -- so we had for more than one year. But let’s see. I can’t think of any other organized things. The annual. Maybe somebody -- you can ask somebody who you’re going to interview to bring their -- if you really would like to know.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: I can’t remember right off --

DRUMMOND: Okay. Well, that’s, uh --

WILSON: But there was this lady name-- Mildred Trotter. And I thi-- And she was hired as like our -- what would you call her, now? She helped, uh -- she was 52:00just there for the students. She would like get tickets for Braves games. Or she would get -- uh, that was the year -- ’68 was when Six Flags Over Georgia was built.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So we went -- we got complimentary tickets and went out there. Uh, she would plan picnics for special days, you know.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And she -- she was kind of in charge -- (tapping) Why can’t I think of what you would call her?

DRUMMOND: I don’t know.

WILSON: (laughs)

DRUMMOND: She sounds magical.

WILSON: She was!

DRUMMOND: (laughs)

WILSON: She was -- uh, she was almost like a student representative or --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- something, that she just wanted to make it more fun --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- for us, so to give us some extracurricular things to do.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So she did. I don't think she ever married but -- She was -- She was very, uh, into students. She -- she took every opportunity. I can -- I can 53:00almost see her sitting in an -- in an administrator’s office saying, “I need some money, so, uh -- (laughter) so I can do something for these students.”

DRUMMOND: Uh, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

WILSON: So I remember that well.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Um, when your fiancé would come visit, were you allowed to leave and go on a date or have lunch or dinner or -- ?

WILSON: Yes, as a matter of fact, we were. But at that time, the dorms had housemothers.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: And, of course, uh, members of the opposite sex could not go, uh -- they could -- they had these little rooms that were set up, on the first floor, that were common rooms -- a couple of them might have been smaller, so -- that you could visit in. But you could. But you would have to sign out and you had a curfew. And I think weekend curfew -- it could have been midnight. But not 54:00through the week. Through the week, we had mandatory study hours --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- from s-- I think from 7:00 to 9:00. We had to be in our dorm studying, either in our room or in the library or somewhere.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Which, by the way, that was one way I made money, when I was there. I kept -- I was in charge of the library -- I would work in the library.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And I made like a dollar and maybe 25 cents, or something, an hour. But those were good -- because you could study --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- if there weren’t -- because sometimes people would come in but not very much.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: Because these were the libraries in the dorms. We had -- I think there were a couple on campus. So. I hadn’t thought of that in a while.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: But sometimes we would go off. Uh, this friend in Griffin, that I 55:00talked about, her husband actually died suddenly of a heart attack at age 53, in the spring of 1968. And even after he died, though, she would continue to come and get me.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

WILSON: And sometimes Jerry would just c-- she would get me on Friday night. And he would -- because he worked till 11:00 on Friday night, he would drive part of the way up, spend the night in a hotel, and then come to her house on Saturday morning and then spend the night at her house on Saturday night. And we’d go to church together that next day. And he would take me home that evening --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- when he needed to. So. Yes, we could.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And many of the, uh, graduates that we saw at the reunion remember him almost as well as they did me, because they had seen -- he had been such a 56:00steady presence --

DRUMMOND: Right. Uh --

WILSON: -- you know, throughout the three years.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Yeah.

DRUMMOND: Was he the one at the reunion taking all the photos?

WILSON: No. Uh --

DRUMMOND: Uh, maybe that was Mary’s husband.

WILSON: That was Mary’s husband.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Sor--

WILSON: And Al -- and J-- Judy’s husband, Al --

DRUMMOND: Oh, yeah. They --

WILSON: -- was also -- They were both doing -- one was doing, I think, still and one was doing videos, I think.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So, yeah.

DRUMMOND: Uh, Okay, okay. All right. Sorry. I got -- I got confused. Um, were there things in Atlanta that -- I mean, wou-- did y’all ever go have a girls’ night out in Atlanta? Did y’all ever go an-- ?

WILSON: Well, one of the -- uh, Piedmont Park and -- Isn’t there a big zoo? What’s the zoo?

DRUMMOND: Oh, it’s Grant Park. It’s, uh --

WILSON: Gr-- Grant Park.

DRUMMOND: -- it’s in Grant Park.

WILSON: Okay.

DRUMMOND: It’s in Grant Park. Yeah.

WILSON: Th--

DRUMMOND: One of the --

WILSON: We would do class things out at those places.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: There would be class activities. And one year, our freshman year, I think, we went to some park or somewhere where there’s this big lake and spent the day, on a Saturday.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

57:00

WILSON: Uh, people that had money would go to movies and out to eat and that. But quite frankly, I didn’t have the money for that. I think I went to The Varsity, in the three years, maybe twice.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Uh, and Underground Atlanta was built during the time I was at Grady.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: As a matter of fact, the, uh, senior superlative pictures, some of them were taken down in Underground Atlanta. So that was a big thing. We -- I never went.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Jerry and I never went.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But, uh, we just, you know -- And, of course, there were a lot of fraternity parties --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and all of that and the ballgames -- Tech ballgames and all that. But again, because I was engaged, that wasn’t something that I, uh, participated in. But a lot of the nursing students did.

58:00

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: A lot of them met their future husbands --

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: -- at those parties.

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: Yeah. Judy and Al.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

WILSON: That was one of the ones.

DRUMMOND: Uh, well, who were some of your mentors, uh, or -- or some of your favorite instructors or administrators in the program? Can you --?

WILSON: The, uh, Hilton twins -- Did you meet them?

DRUMMOND: I did not.

WILSON: Uh, Geneva Hilton and -- Veneda, I think, was the other, V-E-N-E-D-A -- uh, need to check me on that one.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Uh, they did a Bible study. And I attended that. So I got pretty close 59:00to them, in that, and felt, uh, some camaraderie. They had been missionaries in Africa. And they came back because of -- of the political situation --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and found themselves at Grady. And they continued to teach there. They retired -- I think they taught up until the school closed and then worked in some of the clinics. But they were very good instructors. All of our instructors, I, I really enjoyed. Sheila [Lilly?] was very -- she’s now Sheila Blake -- was very vivacious. Uh, I don’t think, other than the one that remains unnamed, from orthopedics -- Most of (laughter) the other instructors, I felt a real connection to.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

WILSON: I felt like that they were there wanting us to do well and wanting, uh, 60:00to give their -- whatever it took --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- from their side of it. Now, I taught for six and a half years, after I retired -- after I left the hospital, at our vocational technical college. So I’ve got enou-- I’ve got a little more, uh, insight (laughs) into the whole teaching picture. But, uh, they were all just really good.

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

WILSON: It’s amazing, Ms. Trask, Phyllis Trask, was our very first -- our basic nursing teacher. So she’s the one that taught us how to do bed baths and all of, you know, taking blood pressures and temperatures and all of those s-- basic skills --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- ma-- making beds and all of that. And she’ll always live in my memory, because that was the foundation. But I was thinking, when, uh -- she 61:00had a baby. She had a little boy, that she, of course, talked about, and a very, very handsome husband. We saw him a couple of times. But when I was at the reunion, I ask her -- I said, “How old was your baby?” And she had had him like three months before she started teaching there.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So at the time, she looked so seasoned and experienced --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- and all of that.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: We stood in awe of her. And, uh -- and all of that is -- but it’s like she was very new! (laughter) So fro-- from our angle it was like, “Oh, she’s been here 100 years doing this” -- when, uh -- and now, from my, uh, experience of getting kids to school and all that, I can just see how hard it was for her to get there, especially on clinical days -- when they were supposed to be there at quarter to 7:00 with us. I’m thinking, “Ho-- how did she do 62:00--?” But, but all of my instructors were really good. And I guess -- Ms. Dixon I didn’t know very well. Because she was the ve-- she was the director. And one of my goals was to do everything right, so I didn’t have to find myself --

DRUMMOND: (laughs)

WILSON: -- into her office.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And I more or less, you know, met that.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: I think she knew who I was. Because they kept, uh, up with everybody. Uh, Ms. Blake I knew a little better. Because she was more -- she would come on the areas where we were.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But I didn’t -- sh-- she never taught me. In other words, they were like the principal and vice principal kind of roles in our lives.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Uh, I’m trying to think -- of any a particular story. I remember, one 63:00-- do you know -- uh, have you ever read the book Christy, that the --? There was a series of -- TV series about that.

DRUMMOND: What --? Was it like a --

WILSON: It was --

DRUMMOND: -- young adult -- or --?

WILSON: -- it was a story about this, uh, teacher that went up into the Appalachian Mountains.

DRUMMOND: Yeah, I haven't read that. That’s interesting.

WILSON: Catherine Marshall --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- wrote it.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: The point I’m getting to is that, when I was in the -- doing my pediatrics, when pediatrics was our rotation as far as nursing, I stayed up all night one night, which was really not me at all, t-- because I had to finish reading that book. (laughs) I’m a -- I’m an avid reader.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: But I can remember how tired I was that next day. And that was Ms. Geneva Hilton’s, uh, class.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: And I’m thinking, “Oh, I might fall asleep,” and that. But -- one 64:00of the things we did in pediatrics, we dressed up like children at different stages of development and had this -- I guess we just did presentations. But we had to -- to really dress up, too.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: That was kind of unusual.

DRUMMOND: So would you dress up, say, as a toddler and say, “At this age, this is what you can expect”?

WILSON: Yeah.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Yeah, yeah.

DRUMMOND: Okay. (laughs)

WILSON: Act out -- act as -- pantomime or whatever --

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh. Uh-huh, uh.

WILSON: -- yeah -- the different stages. (laughs) Uh --

DRUMMOND: But that’s a great way to learn, I think --

WILSON: Yeah.

DRUMMOND: -- trying to make it fun.

WILSON: Yeah. And we had to also do a -- a giant project then, where we actually had to make a scrapbook of the stages of -- of growth and development.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: I think I finally gave mine to my pediatrician’s son. And there is no telling where it might be now.

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: Because he’s out of the country. He’s in Peru.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

65:00

WILSON: So it’s probably long gone. But that’s okay too.

DRUMMOND: Uh, well, since you -- I’m sorry. Were you going to say something? Okay. Since you worked, uh -- since you went to -- to the school of nursing an-- and since -- since you went through that program, you’ve worked with nurses who have had training from all over, from all different places. Do you think Grady maybe prepared you in ways that other nursing schools -- ?

WILSON: Absolutely.

DRUMMOND: And can you talk a little bit about that?

WILSON: Uh, you know, when I went a-- to school, there were already some of -- the -- the two-year schools were starting to show up.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And people wanted to know, “Well, why don’t you just go to a two-year school that’s closer to home?” But I had a -- a real -- really strong desire to not only be a nurse but to be an excellent nurse. And now -- and, of course, when we were going through the program, I felt like probably 66:00every nursing program was giving the same caliber education. But then, when I got home and started working and seeing -- and certainly when I started hiring nurses -- because so much of my career has been manager -- I realized, “Oh, my goodness. I, our program was so different.” And what was different, Traci, was the amount of time that was actually spent at the patient’s bedside. Uh, I’m all for coursework, as far as, quote, book learning and all of the, you 67:00know, class education -- classroom education and all that. But there’s so much that you can’t get unless you’re actually with a patient.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And I think one of the shortcomings or at least the negative, somewhat, of -- of, uh, some of the -- not only the two-year programs, uh, but the four-year programs is the amount of clinical. And when you asked me, a while ago about our clinic, when our day would start -- and where -- where I’ve been involved and -- and s-- actually had students --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- in my areas, you know, two hours, three hours, you spend almost as much time, by the time you get settled into the area and know who your s-- patient’s going to be and kind of get a feel for where are they in their day, much less their plan of care and their treatment program -- that it’s time to 68:00leave for the day.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And so the -- really getting into what’s going on with this patient, are they in the diagnostic, (tapping) uh, phase? Is, uh --? What’s their presenting complaint? What’s been done to try to figure it out? What have those results shown? What treatment’s being done? And how is that treatment working? Or have we got -- try to figure out something else? It takes time with the patient, to figure all that out, and actually being there and, uh, maki-- being there for the -- for the rounds with the doctors --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- being there, uh, doing the treatments, whether it’s -- and I know 69:00patient care is so fragmented now, with so many specialties. And -- and I have nothing against that. Because I know that specialization should result in more expert care. But it takes a lot of making sure -- of follow-through and making sure that all the handoffs happen like they should and that there’s communication at that handoff, so that nothing falls through the cracks.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Does that make sense?

DRUMMOND: Yeah, absolutely.

WILSON: So that -- Because you can lose ground.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: You can lose ground -- because somebody thought somebody else did -- and s-- so as they should have or it should have been in the record or this kind of stuff. Uh, but just there’s nothing that can -- there’s no amount of, of book learning that can show you how to be a nurse. It's, it’s got to be hands-on.

70:00

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And now, when there’s so much, uh, information technology, again, it’s so great but it’s very challenging. It takes so much time for the nurse.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Uh, the last couple times I’ve been sitting beside a patient in the hospital, I’ve been saddened by -- and, you know, I may be there for hours -- I’ve been saddened by the very brief moments -- not minutes but moments that the nurse is actually there. (tapping)

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And I don’t know what the -- because you kind of do what you learn to do, what you’re trained to do.

71:00

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Uh, and so I’m not sure that we’ll ever have nurses like Grady nurses again. And, uh, I’m not -- I certainly don’t mean to criticize anyone. But your question for me is did I get a good education. And, I, they -- absolutely. And I think that’s -- it’s been amazing to me, through my career -- I go to meetings -- And the amount of responsibility and the number of Grady gra-graduates that were in managers’ positions and even, you know, that had -- if you look around and you see a hard job, in any hospital, if there’s 72:00a Grady graduate available, they’re going to be right in the middle of that. And a lot of Grady graduates went on and got their baccalaureate degrees.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And that’s -- that’s great. Uh, and I’m all -- uh, I’m not in any way, uh, critical of education. I think it’s great. But the point I’m making is that you have to have the basics. You have to be at the patient’s bedside to be able to learn --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- to observe and to think critically. “If I see this, that may mean this or this. And therefore, I’m going to have to look -- dig a little deeper to see.”

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So then I’ll make sure that this patient’s going to get a good outcome, that I’m not going to miss something that is very, very important.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

73:00

WILSON: And it just takes time with the patient. And because we were there every day -- every day -- uh, I’m not meaning literally every day. But every clinic day --

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: -- we were there for eight hours.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Uh, you -- you just kind of -- it soaks in.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: In other words, you learn how to do it but there has to be that time for it becoming more than just -- we learned it in the classroom but then taking that head knowledge into more than just spitting out facts for a test. How do you put it all together? What does this mean, related to this patient -- at this particular time --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and their health, the problems they’re going through with their health. So.

DRUMMOND: That’s interesting. Uh, I had another question. I kind of blanked 74:00on it -- uh, so -- and you -- you’ve worked with a lot of people. You’ve had a lot of different responsibilities. Do you -- do you feel -- like, just beyond the actual training of the hands-on stuff that you learned, the books, the -- you know, things like that, do you think that leadership there -- because leadership is kind of something that isn’t -- it can’t really be taught. It has to -- uh, that, uh, like you were saying, observed. It has to be -- like, uh, y-- you teach by doing.

WILSON: Right.

DRUMMOND: Do you feel like the leadership at -- at the school of nursing was stronger than, uh, maybe leadership you’ve seen in other places, that it real-- that that -- that an example was provided for you that helped you be a good leader? Y-- you may not even think of yourself that way.

WILSON: Uh, I think the leadership at Grady was very, very definite.

75:00

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: We all knew who the leaders were.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: At that’s not just in the, uh, school of nursing. Certainly that. But on the wards, we knew the supervi-- there was --

DRUMMOND: Well, I guess I’m making --

WILSON: -- there was definite roles.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And we respected that roles.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: And that helped form our understanding, I think, of how to be a good leader.

DRUMMOND: Okay --

WILSON: Does that make sense? Or --?

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: Uh --

DRUMMOND: Because, uh, I’m kind of thinking of leadership as different from what your position title is.

WILSON: Oh, absolutely.

DRUMMOND: Uh, you see what I mean?

WILSON: In a group --

DRUMMOND: Because somebody can be in charge of everything and maybe not be the best leader.

WILSON: Right. Right.

DRUMMOND: So --

WILSON: That’s right. But yes, I feel like that there was good leadership training there --

DRUMMOND: Uh, uh-huh.

WILSON: -- both by example and by giving us the assignment. One of our courses 76:00in our senior year was Team Leadership.

DRUMMOND: Okay. So you actually did get a course in leadership.

WILSON: So we did.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Okay.

WILSON: Yes. That was our clinical --

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: -- where we mated the assignments and we had to kind of be there watching everything and overseeing everything. And if something that needed to be done -- that didn’t get done, whether somebody didn’t get lunch or a patient didn’t get bathed or whatever, the whole -- oh, yeah, we did that. You know, inherent in my whole life has been I’ve been a leader, in my home, my position in the family --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: My sister, who was -- and then my brother, who’s -- I’m fifteen months younger than him -- But when she left the home, I was nine years old. And we had many -- that was the year the twins were born. We had a 77:00three-year-old and we had, uh, a 17-month-old. And then we had these twins born. And I was very much helping take care of all of them --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- and seeing to the needs of the household, really, whether it was washing clothes or ironing or cooking or cleaning or changing diapers or whatever needed to be done. I just grew up. And that’s neither good or bad. It’s what it was.

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

WILSON: There was pluses and minuses to it. Uh, the same as I went through school, you know, in the classroom and in clubs that I was in. You know, I just became a leader. And I saw that -- it was sort of a natural thing for me, because I had been doing it. But, I mean, uh, I guess that’s just part of who I am. Uh, and, again, there’s the pluses. Because sometimes you’re the 78:00good guy and sometimes you’re not the good guy. (laughs) I used to come home from the OR, where I had my s-- I had a staff of about sixty-five, because I was over the -- not only OR but the, uh, recovery area and the ambulatory surgery. Plus I had these sixty-five docs that I was trying to keep -- surgeons to try to keep happy. And their motto is, “I want what I want, when I want it,” whether it’s what time they were going to operate that day, what kind of suture they want to use, or whatever. But I’d go home and (laughs) I would be saying, “Oh, this and this happened,” and my -- my husband would say, “Well, honey, just remember that you’re the boss. And because you’re the boss, some days you’re just going to be that ol’ SOB” -- (laughter)

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- “So you’re just going to have to realize --”

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: “-- has nothing to do with you!” --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- “It’s just your -- your position and your title.”

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

79:00

WILSON: But I think we did get good leadership exampled.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: Plus we had the opportunity for learning it hands-on, because we were given those assignments.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Uh, and now when you graduated, you -- you came back to Wares-Waresboro?

WILSON: Waycro--

DRUMMOND: Well, uh --

WILSON: Well, Waresboro is seven miles from Waycross.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: Waycross is the county seat. And it’s where -- you know, it’s like 30,000 people.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So Waresboro’s a little hamlet. It doesn’t even have a traffic light. It had a caution light but I think they took that down. Because we’ve got Corridor Z. Have you heard of --? Or 520.

DRUMMOND: Mm. Okay.

WILSON: That’s a four-lane, that goes from Tifton down all the way to Brunswick.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: When we got that four-lane, it bypassed a lot of the traffic in our little town. So I think they took -- we still have a post office. But it’s 80:00only a ha---- open half the day now. But anyway. So Waresboro’s very tiny.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: But Waycross. So we get our mail -- Waycross address.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: But, uh, I moved back. I graduated on the 25th of August. We got married on September the 12th, and moved into our first little house. And I started to work on October the 5th -- or maybe it was the 3rd -- first week in October, anyway.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So then I went and took my boards in Atlanta, a little bit later in that month. I rode from a dear friend who lived in Valdosta. And we went to Atlanta -- two full days -- two full --

DRUMMOND: Wow.

WILSON: -- eight-hour days --

DRUMMOND: Wow.

WILSON: -- writing, filling -- You know, I think we had the little answer 81:00sheets, where you did in the --

DRUMMOND: The Scantron.

WILSON: Yes.

DRUMMOND: Right. Mm.

WILSON: I can remember walking out thinking, “I hope nobody asks me my name, because I’m not sure I could tell them.” And now they go in and start clicking on answers in the computer. And once you get to a certain point, that they think you know -- you’re through. So you may answer fifty questions or you may answer sixty or seventy-five.

DRUMMOND: Really? That’s interesting.

WILSON: That is very di-- yeah. You might -- if you are interested, you might ask about that. But that’s my perception --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- from what I hear people saying.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Okay.

WILSON: It’s very, very different. And, of course, you can go to Savannah, uh, several different places. We went to -- and we stayed with this sweet little couple, that we had lear-- we had gotten to know from going to their church some. And sh-- You s-- talked about fried chicken, a while ago. She 82:00made the best fried chicken in the whole world. She soaked it in buttermilk. And I can’t even remember their names. Because they were very elderly. They were in their sixties or later, when we were there. So they’ve been dead for many, many years. But I remember going and -- she had all that ready for us, after we came -- out of that test that first day. Now the second day, we got out of the test and drove home.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But that one night that we were there, she made us a wonderful meal. And it was just, you know, and, uh -- you know, there was so much comfort in that (laughs) --

DRUMMOND: Yeah. Yeah. Right.

WILSON: -- after being in that test --

DRUMMOND: (laughs)

WILSON: -- all day long.

DRUMMOND: Uh, well how long have you been married?

WILSON: Forty-four years.

DRUMMOND: Just this last month, forty-four years.

WILSON: Yes. Forty-four years.

DRUMMOND: Uh, tell me about your family.

WILSON: We have two sons. One was -- uh, our older, Eric, who lives in this 83:00house, uh, was born in 1977. And then our younger son, Nathan, was born in ni-- I’m sorry. Eric was born in 1973 and Nathan was born in 1977.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And, uh, great guys, worked hard. We expected them. Their dad, uh, learned so many things at his father’s side. And he has tried to pass some of those on. And again, it’s kind of like the nursing thing. You absorb so much, when you’re at your dad’s side.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And our grandchildren have this thing. They say, “Poppa can fix anything.”

DRUMMOND: (laughs)

WILSON: And while may b-- not be literally true, uh, he can -- he does a lot of things.

DRUMMOND: If he’s a machinist, I imagine --

WILSON: Yeah.

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: H-- he does.

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: And he’s always felt that he needed to pass on that to his sons, and, 84:00uh, so they are well-rounded, you know.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: And they had a lot of advantages that neither he nor I had, which is what you want for your children. But you also want them to be grounded and appreciating and working. So we didn’t give them, uh, everything they wanted. Well, we -- we couldn’t have afforded, I don’t think. Because we both worked and we worked hard to have a home and have, you know, vehicles and -- they both went -- uh, Eric graduated -- they were both honor graduates from high school. They played tennis. They were in all the, uh, extracurricular things. Eric came here, in 1991, to Macon, and graduated from Mercer, from the Stetson business school. He now does some guest lecturing there. But his main job, he’s a wealth manager at Morgan Stanley.

85:00

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: So he’s done very well. But his roots are still -- as you can see, are -- we could walk out and look at his little garden spot --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- that he’s had.

DRUMMOND: Okay.

WILSON: And, uh, he gets -- his triplets mow the grass, during the summer, when they’re off. The --

DRUMMOND: And for people who can’t see this place, and they’re -- that’s a substantial amount of --

WILSON: It is.

DRUMMOND: -- grass to mow. (laughs)

WILSON: And, uh, he wants them -- he did it -- he was doing it. But then he had all these allergies. And he got so busy in his work, that he finally realized -- so he hired someone to do it.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: But when they turned twelve, I think, he said, “Okay, boys, it’s time for y’all to learn.” Uh, the point being that he feels very responsible that they learn some things, they have chores and all that. Uh, but very blessed. Uh, and we’re very blessed. His wife is a wo-- is a lovely -- 86:00we couldn’t have -- we couldn’t have chose anyone -- but to God be the glory for all of that. Because a lot of prayers -- you know, as -- uh, parents have a lot of concerns. But certainly high on that list is that their children find spouses that they can love -- and be loved and that have the same values that they have. Uh, our younger son, Nathan, went to the University of Georgia, uh, pre-med. He was a biology or microbiology -- I don’t remember. But then he went to, uh, Augusta, to Medical College of Georgia, and graduated there. He was in practice for three years while they paid off -- his wife also --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- is a doctor. She never did a residency, because they started their family. And they thought it was more important for her to be in the home, raising the children. But after thr-- after they paid off their med school 87:00loans, they went to Cusco, Peru, where they’re doing medical missionary work.

DRUMMOND: Okay. Wow!

WILSON: And they have five children. Uh --

DRUMMOND: And they’re still there?

WILSON: They are still there. They went to Costa Rica for a year, to learn to speak Spanish well enough that he could converse and actually do patient care.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: They were there. And then they went -- they’ve been in Cusco -- this is -- they’ve started year four. They’re actually coming home for leave. They’ll be in the States on the 14th of October.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So I’m so excited. Uh --

DRUMMOND: And, uh --

WILSON: We can’t stand it. But they’re doing a -- a great work there. There was an established clinic. They’ve expanded that very much. But the main -- their main thrust is to help medical students, nursing students, dental students. And there are two medical schools in Cusco. That’s one of the 88:00reasons --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- that they were led there -- to really learn to know who Jesus is. So their thing is healing in the name of Jesus. Because they feel like that’s the best way to help this city --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and therefore this country. They’re training them in medicine. And they’re actually giving medical care based on the patient’s ability to pay -- which means, if they don’t have any ability to pay, they get free healthcare.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: He’s teaching in the -- one of the med schools. They’ve established rapport with the medical schools. They’re having students come in and job-shadow them. Uh, they, uh, have dentists now, that are working in the clinic, have, uh, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, that work part-time. They have a psychologist. Because there’s a lot of need for that. 89:00There’s a lot of abuse. There’s a lot of depression. And there’s -- conditions are -- it’s a third-world country.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: So, uh -- and they have an ophthalmologist that’s part of their team. There’s a group of five families that are down there, all together. So they've been very blessed. And tha-- that has been a very successful endeavor. Now I told you about my mom --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- when my brother was in Vietnam, and her struggle. Well, this mom’s had some struggles, with seeing that son and those -- and his wife and those grandchildren. So my moment of insight from the Holy Spirit was, “Linda, you’re looking at this from your perspective. You need to start looking at 90:00this from my Kingdom’s perspective.”

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: So I’ve had my a-ha moments too. But bottom line is God is faithful. And it’s been -- it is a good life. Uh, Grady was very instrumental in allowing me to, uh, work, to be productive. But I think it’s been more than just a paycheck. I really feel like that I have been able to -- to minister to people. And, of course, in all these siblings, can you imagine how many --? Our family’s at about eighty-five, just in the siblings and their -- (laughs) growing and growing.

DRUMMOND: Ah!

WILSON: None of us had over three children.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: But we all -- their -- our children have more than -- you know.

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: So, anyway. Uh, a lot of ministry, a lot of -- of learning, living, uh, 91:00seeing now this -- my grandchildren. And one of our grandsons almost died in 2010, one of these triplets that live in this household. And that was a, uh -- that was a hard -- difficult time. And he had, uh, H1N1 virus --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and got very sick very quickly. His brothers, they all had it, one one day, as far as high fevers and stuff. The other two were much better in 36 hours. He continued to get worse, went to an urgent care, was not diagnosed, uh, (tapping) but went to his pediatrician the next morning and he had, at that time, a hole in his lung from the infection --

92:00

DRUMMOND: Oh.

WILSON: -- that contaminated -- blew out into his mediastinum, which is the space around his heart and everything. And he got -- the infection was so bad that it almost killed him. He had to be on life support for many days. So I’ve seen the progress in healthcare. I think, if that had happened to one of my kids, that he probably would not have survived. Because the -- we didn’t have all the medications and didn’t have all the equipment --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and the expertise. So that’s been, uh, a telling -- you know, it’s made me very thankful. On the other hand, it’s always more difficult to see someone you love be sick --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- because of your knowledge level.

DRUMMOND: Right.

WILSON: So it’s, uh -- it’s a mixed blessing. But we’ve -- we h-- we’ve had a good life. And, uh, I feel like we contributed and -- uh, but 93:00we’ve -- our blessings have been many, many, many. And I think probably that, (laughs) oh, I di---- I wasn’t real excited about my son becoming a doctor, because I know all the trials --

DRUMMOND: Uh --

WILSON: -- and tribulations. (laughter) But, uh, I’m sure that some of the stuff that he had seen fr-- you know, the -- the satisfaction I got out of it probably influenced him. And he certainly is in it with a thousand percent, right now.

DRUMMOND: Um, yeah, dedi-- real dedication.

WILSON: Absolutely --

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

WILSON: -- absolutely.

DRUMMOND: Uh, is there anything we didn’t touch on that you want to mention, before we wrap up?

WILSON: I think we pretty much covered it. I do appreciate the steadfastness -- 94:00fed-- steadfastness of my husband. I can only imagine if he had been less supportive of me. I probably would not have been able to be -- to stay and --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: -- and actually do what I intended to -- you know, to -- to keep on keeping on until I got to the finish line.

DRUMMOND: Right. Uh --

WILSON: So that’s been a real blessing. And he’s certainly been steadfast, throughout the years. Uh, my parents -- my dad lived to be almost sixty-six. And then my mom lived to be almost eighty-seven. So we’ve had the blessings not only of -- and, uh, they’ve always -- encouraging to all of us and promoting working hard, uh, getting as much education -- you can, but never 95:00forgetting your roots and always staying connected to our heavenly father, to God and, uh, being strong in the faith.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

WILSON: Those are the things that have, uh, been important to us. And it has been instrumental in making us who we are but also in allowing us -- again, I, I think about my family, my siblings. We’re firemen and we’re electricians and we’re nurses and we’re -- uh, one brother was a radiologist but all of us working hard -- working hard, trying to do our part to contribute -- s-- something, so. But thank you for listening to my story.