Mary Johnson's sorority pals (Zeta) at Northwestern University, circa 1942 | Mary Louise Bohlken Johnson Photo
Mary Johnson's sorority pals (Zeta) at Northwestern University, circa 1942 | Mary Louise Bohlken Johnson Photo
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(Editor’s Note: The continuing adventures of Mary’s College Days, as written in my Mom’s college journal, which I discovered while cleaning out her house in 2016. After two years at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (June 1942 – July 1944; where she met my dad), she’s now at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, where she’s studying to be a nurse. She was at MCV from July 1944 to 1947, but if just one thing had turned out differently, I would not be here writing this. Read all of Mary’s College Days here. -jb)

It was a clear day on Jan. 2, 1945, as Mom notes in the upper left corner of today’s journal page (see below). She was on duty from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and helped with post mortem care. My nurse friends can chime in on what this is, but according to this site, “Once a patient has been pronounced as deceased by the attending provider, the nurse is responsible for several post-mortem care tasks, including final documentation, care and final disposition of the body, and providing support to the family.”

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As a nursing student, I don’t know if Mom would have provided support to the family, but knowing Mom, she would have been very compassionate about this aspect of the care.

She also writes that she “saw autopsy on one of our patients,” but doesn’t indicate whether it’s the same deceased patient as noted above.

Also…

“Dashed around like mad,” “received letters from Mom and Patsy” and a “box from home.” “Wrote Mom … the iron came in 4 parts & good food. Yum!”

I did find a photo of Mom and one of her college pals, Patsy; however, based on the fact that this photo is in the Medical College of Virginia photo album, where her friend Patsy would be, I’m wondering if Patsy, in this case, is Mom’s new niece, the first child of my Aunt Jane (Mom’s sister) and Uncle John Wingert. As in, maybe Aunt Jane wrote a letter to Mom from Patsy…

Below is a photo of today’s journal page below, along with photos of Mom and Patsy, and Aunt Jane and Patsy.

At the top of the page is a photo of Mom’s sorority pals (Zeta Tau Alpha) at Northwestern University, captioned “A startling mass of humanity!” I love her captions. Mom is in the back right of the photo.

Mary's College Days - Jan. 2, 1945 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Mary’s College Days; Jan. 2, 1945 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Mary Louise Bohlken with new niece, Patsy Wingert (Jane's cousin), circa 1945 | Mary Louise Bohlken Johnson Photo
Mary Louise Bohlken with new niece, Patsy Wingert (Jane’s cousin), circa 1945 | Mary Louise Bohlken Johnson Photo
Jane Dewitt Wingert (Mary's sister; Jane's aunt) and new baby Patsy Wingert (Jane's cousin), circa 1945 | Mary Louise Bohlken Johnson Photo
Jane Dewitt Wingert (Mary’s sister; Jane’s aunt) and new baby Patsy Wingert (Jane’s cousin), circa 1945 | Mary Louise Bohlken Johnson Photo

Also Read…

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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