The Q Word Podcast

"A Walk Among the Tombstones."

 

Lisa  
We've arrived at the gates, the very impressive gates, I must say, of Forest Hills Cemetery on the outskirts of Boston, where you'd like to visit the graves of several notable deceased nurses or nursing professionals, correct?This was your brilliant idea. And it isn't that cold. In Boston, it's a cloudy, almost rainy day.

Nyssa  
Perfect for cemeteries, is it?

Lisa  
Yep, we have passed through the hood into the wrong part of town.

Nyssa  
The guys are smoking dope on the street corner. 

Lisa  
Yeah, well, you know, it's legal now.

Nyssa  
Alright, so we're going to head into the office and see if we can find where these nurses are buried.

Cemetery Attendant  
How are you?  

Lisa  
We are fine, how are you?

Nyssa  
We are looking for some Civil War Army nurses.

Lisa  
There we are. 

Nyssa  
Looking for a few specific gravestones.

Lisa  
Do you have a pen? 

Nyssa  
I do not have a pen. So we're looking for Mary Elizabeth. I'm going to spell the last name "Zeli." I cannot read my own writing. Irewskik, something like that. Ziller wesco.

Cemetery Attendent 
Coming up with anything?

Nyssa  
Zio All right, how about Susan?

Lisa  
Di Mickey

Nyssa  
Dimock.

Cemetery Attendent  
Susan Dimock, who was buried in 1875, the other one was buried in 1902.

Nyssa  
It would have been 1875?

Lisa  
Exactly, Physicians.

Nyssa  
Yeah, there she is, zak. Oh, that's a K. That's my own handwriting.

Cemetery Attendent
On the map there. 

Nyssa  
There she is. 

Lisa  
Oh!

Nyssa  
Yeah, we sure did. Anybody else? Yeah, I've got one more, and it is Linda Richards, which I'm sure is an ubiquitous name, but she is. She was the first graduate of the nursing school that these two physicians created.

Lisa  
We're here for a nursing thing. Yes, it's a deceased nursing theme.

Nyssa  
So the two physicians, female physicians, in the 1800s, recognize the merits of having nurses work with them. The training of nurses there was all OJT. 

Lisa  
What does that mean?

Nyssa  
On the job training? What nurses could do, what they were trained for, and what responsibilities they had varied from hospital to hospital as to what nurses could do. And so these two physicians recognize that there needs to be something formalized. So they created the first nursing school for formal training. So both of these women have an important role in nursing history. So where we're headed right now is to the crematorium to see a woman named Melinda, or Linda Richards. She was their first graduate and the first formally trained nurse in the United States.

 

Lisa  
It even says that the very large map is very hard to hold up in this wind. Now to describe the cemetery, it is absolutely beautiful. It's a forested, hilly landscape, similar to a sylvan landscape. There are plants and a beautiful headstone. Absolutely stunning statues. Look at that one right there. That's gorgeous.

Nyssa  
This one is from 1824, but I bet these on the left are even older.

Lisa  
Yes, you can see the old headstones with skulls and crossbones, as well as other crossbones.

Nyssa  
Yeah. 

Lisa  
We're not really sure where we're going.

Nyssa  
But we are having a good time.

Lisa  
We are hoofing it. We have our druthers. We've found our way. At least we were on Fountain Avenue, and since that's my last name, I now feel at home. Well, after this is like this kiss to the right of us, there is a charming little mausoleum. Look at how lovely this family is. Wow, it's beautiful. So now this looks a little bit more like a traditional set of headstones. There's mostly plants and other obelisks with stony-looking things, but we're going all the way to the crematorium. Because the cemetery closes.

Nyssa  
You have to have a swipe card to get through.

Lisa  
Into the crematorium. 

Nyssa  
To get in if we don't go during business We came to see. We came to see Linda Richards and Marie Zakrzewski. Susan Dimmick, what was the bonus? There's a Civil War Army Nurses Memorial here as well that we did not know about. So we'll swing around and see what that's about. I'm excited to see that.

Lisa  
Okay, this didn't take as long as we thought. Okay.

Nyssa  
We're almost to the end. Let's see.

Lisa  
Yeah, I see houses and stuff. So the crematorium must be in that basic direction, right? 

Nyssa  
Sure. 

Lisa  
Okay. 

Nyssa  
So one of them is right here. 

Lisa  
Yeah, the Civil War Memorial.

Nyssa  
Oh yes this is it.

Lisa  
Oh, okay.

Nyssa  
Army nurses.

Lisa  
Clearly, it's time to stop for a photo when I use it metaphorically.

Nyssa  
So, the nursing historical society and I started looking at where these prominent nurses were buried and how to get to these homages to them as a quest. Of course, Florence Nightingale is in England, so we'll have to do that someday.

Lisa  
Yeah, the podcast will pay for that, I'm sure. 

Nyssa  
Right. But this is exactly how I imagined it.

Lisa  
Well, we thought about bringing flowers to decorate the headstones of these nurses. 

Nyssa  
To honor them.

Lisa  
I thought it would be better just slap a Q-word podcast sticker on it. For some reason, she doesn't think that's a great idea.

Nyssa  
I dont have bail money saved for that.

Lisa  
She's a killjoy. It's just the way it is. All right. Okay, I'm going to hit pause for a moment and hit you back. When we've made it to the pavement, I think that must be Yeah, it looks like a crematory. We are at the crematorium, and we're heading down to the lower columbarium. Hector's let us say hello to The Q Word podcast listeners. Oh goodness, look at this. I don't know if I've ever been to a crematorium before. Wow, I didn't realize, for whatever reason, that they were full of jars of ashes. Excellent. It is a beautiful space. It looks like a library full of jars that are all locked behind small little metal gates that have the names of the person or the last names of the person within.  

Nyssa  
Here we are.

Lisa  
Thank you. All right, let's take a picture. I will be here for two minutes to pay our respects. So, while we're on the subject of the sun, Linda Richards was born on July 27, 1841, as the youngest daughter of preacher Sanford Richards and his wife, Betsy Claire Richards, and was named after a missionary by her religious parents. After 10 years as a school teacher, she began working as a nurse at Boston City Hospital in 1870. She enrolled for training in 1872 at the New England hospital for women and children run by female physicians for a one-year course based on the principles established by Florence Nightingale. Linda received her diploma on September 1, 1873, and went to work as a night supervisor at Bellevue Hospital in New York. After attending Florence Nightingale's training school at St. Thomas Hospital in England in 1877, she became Superintendent of a new training school at Boston City Hospital, which officially opened in 1878. Influenced by your religious upbringing, Richards served as a missionary to Japan from 1886 to 1891. During this time, she opened Japan's first training school for nurses in Kyoto. Back in the United States, She worked as a visiting nurse and helped train nurses to work with the mentally ill. Linda Richards was actively involved in nursing organizations. She was the first president of the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools in 1894, which was the first professional organization for nurses. She was a member of the committee that established the hospital economics program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She retired in 1911 at age 70, when she wrote her autobiography, reminiscences, and reminiscences of Linda Richards. Add these to your bibliography. She suffered a severe stroke in 1923 and lived the remainder of her life at the New England hospital for women and children, where she had done her first training. She died on April 16, 1930 in Boston.

When we take a picture of Nyssa with Linda 

Nyssa  
Okay. All right.

 

Lisa  
The one behind her is empty. Mr. Walker has gotten up and locked away.

Nyssa  
It's for a candle, or we can put the candle here. 

Lisa  
Or maybe a bouquet of flowers.

Nyssa  
She's got a lot of firsts. She was the first graduate, the first charge nurse. She joined the first professional organization.

Lisa  
Absolutely beautiful. Wow, thank you Hector. We really appreciated, We would have gotten lost. 

Lisa

We have now left the crematorium and are on our way to see the gravestones of the two doctors that Nyssa talked about earlier:  Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, is that right?

Nyssa

Sure something like that. . . 

Lisa

and surgeon Dr. Susan Dimock.  These were the two doctors who pioneered, what? Women's healthcare? What was it?  Tell the story again.

Nyssa

They realized that nursing needed to be a formally trained industry.

Lisa

Right. Ok.  And so we went looking. . .

Nyssa

So they opened the first formal nursing school.

Lisa 

And they are also buried in Forest HIll Cemetery.  And we went looking for their gravestones.  At this point, its now hazy and the rain is really kinda starting to come down.  It's gotten really cold and it's very hard to find these gravestones because there's markers on the map, but there's no actual markers on the gravestones.  

Nyssa

Well, and the gravestones, too, are overgrown with ivy, and then as I recall it was raining enough or drizzling enough that you ended up putting your phone in your pocket.  

Lisa

Yes

Nyssa

But we didn't realize we were still recording.  

Lisa 

Yes so, uh, forgive the, uh, noises, the, uh. the tectonic shifting of my back body parts as the phone was stuffed down my back pocket and we were walking looking for these gravesites.  So here it is:

Lisa

Mary! Oh!  There it is Mary Elizabeth Zakrzewska! I found her! Oh! And there they are.  They're both together. 

Nyssa

Here I come!  Good job! Marie Zakrzewska.  

Lisa

They spelled 'skillful" wrong. Oh shit!  I've been recording all this time. 

Nyssa

Whoops.

Lisa

Been hearing what my butt sounds like. . . and I do believe that I've uh, passed gas.  Nice.  

Seems a little weird to be sitting here.  Ok.   "Being made a physician in a short time she is remembered a long time."  She was only 28 years old.  

Lisa

So those were our adventures at the Forest HIll Cemetery.

Nyssa 

That's right.  It was a ton of fun.  Just a unique little pilgrimage to go see some ladies who made a difference in our profession, our industry.  

Lisa

And here on Halloween day we thought it would be nice to share that adventure with you.  Its appropriately macob and seems like the perfect opportunity to take about some famous, dead nursing people.  

Nyssa

Yea.  The ghosts of nursing history. 

Lisa

Yes!  The ghosts of nurses past. 

Nyssa

My favorite part is when you asked me what OJT is and I secretly wondered what plinths and sylvan wooded cemeteries are.  

Lisa

We're each throwing lingo back at each other and this is how we learn though, right?  We're teaching each other new things.

Well thanks for giving us a listen.  We hope everyone has a happy Halloween.

Nyssa

Yep. This was just for fun.  Thanks for indulging us.

Lisa

Be safe with your family out there on Halloween and we will shoot a new episode of The Q Word Podcast out to you soon.  Bye Nyssa.

Nyssa

Bye Lisa.  Bye guys. 

Keywords

Linda Richards, Dr. Susan Dimock, Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, physicians, nursing school, gravestones, cemetery, Forest HIll Cemetery, Boston