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November 11, 1995

Dr. Art Brown checks in with an interesting postscript to the recent column about Ethel Ryerson's nursing home, which was located over Zorba's Department Store at 633 Delaware street, on the north side of the square in the 1940s. Dr. Brown's recollections follow.

"Dr. Bill Simon came to Perry in 1949 and rented what had been Mrs. Ryerson's area for his office. I came to Perry in July 1950 and went into practice with Dr. Simon. On New Year's Day, 1952, I delivered the last baby born in what had been Ryerson's Nursing Home -- but it was an accident.

"The lady called me and said she had a great pain in her belly, and I told her to meet me at the office right away. We both arrived just in time to grab towels, put on rubber gloves, and deliver a lovely infant girl. I watched them there until evening, wrapped the child in towels, and she and the mother went home.

"Surprisingly enough, although there were 21 steps leading up to the office, we never lost a heart patient on those stairs. Those old rooms had 16-foot ceilings in our office and in the coldest months we never got them really warm.

"Dr. Simon and I took turns driving to the hospital at Guthrie to check our patients each day, and we both drove to Guthrie if we had a surgery patient, but those 6 a.m. drives to Guthrie were 'heavy-lidded' to say the least. The opening of Perry's hospital on April 5, 1951, was one of the greatest days of our lives."

Thanks, Dr. Brown. Those are great memories. I suspect that Dr. Brown, like most retired physicians, could write a wonderful book if he chose to do so.

Elizabeth Willems passes along two of her pet peeves. First are the tail-gaters who drive much too close to the car in front of them, inviting an accident when the first driver has to apply the brakes unexpectedly. "I was taught to maintain three car spaces between me and the next car," Elizabeth comments. The other peeve concerns drivers who fail to signal a turn. All of today's vehicles come with turn signals, or we can still use arm signals when the weather is decent, so there is no excuse for failing to indicate a right or left turn. Common courtesy requires it.

Here's another steal from Jerry Swart's Rotary newsletter. "The biggest problem we face today in Rotary is apathy ... but few seem to care. Fortunately, volunteers are ready to attack this problem, if it doesn't require any time or money." Same could be said about a lot of organizations, I suspect.