On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, a grateful nation celebrated "National Nurses and Health Practitioners Day." Nurses all over the United States have for months been on the front lines of the pandemic sweeping our nation right now, in spite of the danger to themselves and their families. Read on to understand what it was like for a young nurse during World War II in another time and place facing a different, but unimaginable, situation. This nurse is none other than former LWV member, Ruby Miller. Ruby, now 97 years young and living in Portland, wants all her old friends in Lincoln County to know she is well, and she sends you her greetings! This short autobiography of Ruby was published in the Spring 2016 "Wave Lengths."
"I was born during the depression to Norwegian parents on a farm in Fairview, Montana, which is located in the lower Yellowstone Valley. My two older sisters were nurses, so because of the limited opportunities, I chose to go to nursing school in Great Falls, MT. I am glad to have done this as I enjoyed bedside nursing for 42 years. I graduated in 1944, when the call came requesting young nurses to join the military to give relief to the tired nurses who had served before and during World War II. I remained in the army for a year and a half and this naïve farm girl grew up in a hurry! Dibble General Hospital in Menlo Park, CA, was to be my assignment for the next 18 months. This was where servicemen from the Pacific Theater who had horrific burns and injuries were brought. It was also a time when plastic surgery was in its infancy. The memories of the pain and suffering of those young men brought tears to my eyes many years after I served there as a nurse. After the war, the hospital was disbanded and part of it was used as housing for married students attending Stanford University.
After the war was over, I returned to Portland where I met my husband, who was a widower with three older boys. After marriage, we had two more boys and moved to Newport in 1971. My husband died suddenly and I became a “single mom” with two teenage boys. I continued to work here in Newport at the hospital, with my sole purpose being to see my boys get through college. That position lasted for twenty years.
I joined the local League because I was interested in the political system, and am still enjoying the association and the members. Volunteering at the Newport Library, and the Newport Hospital Auxiliary have been part of my life for the past twenty years. I also have been involved in the Coast Watch for the past ten years. A recent interest has been trying to write Haiku verses, none of which I would show to a Japanese poet!!