Thanks to everyone who has been following my stories about The Villas, your comments have been appreciated.
Thank goodness the toxic place was closed down.
Years ago there was no such thing as Unisex accommodation for nurses. At Templeton hospital the female and male nurses homes were definitely separated , there were of course rules. ….what a laugh.
At the female nurses home we had a Home Manager whom I will refer to as Miss B. There were very strict rules they were often broken.
I didn’t turn up for duty one day. They found me asleep in my single room, there was a mess from vomit. I was put into the nurses home sick bay – what a joke – I was poorly cared for, they wouldn’t let anyone visit me. I was in the sick bay for several days and sometimes for hours on end never saw a soul. On return to my room four days later I had to clean up the sick mess.
Because some of the male nurses worked in a male villa which was located in the female end, for what reason I never knew, we did get to met them. While on duty they would come over to the Dining Room for meals. I was often put on the roster to work there with them. One morning I had slept in, I rushed across the grassed area and went straight into the day room through another entrance, a male nurse hid my navy cloak and I tried to act innocent. The deputy matron had spotted me and said ‘caught left right and centre, stay back at the end your shift to make up the time’. The charge nurse let me go 5 minutes after the end of the shift, lucky me.
The hospital was set in a rural area, poor bus service so we were often stranded out there unless we took the risk of taking a lift with another nurse male or female that had a car. We did develop friendships and sometimes intimate relationships, definitely positives and negatives there. We sometimes played sport such as basketball and tennis and also would go swimming at a public pool on our days off.
I didn’t go home much because in those days it was a long way, two buses there and two buses back again. My father said he was not a taxi driver and if he drove back which he did a couple of times I would have to pay him not only for fuel but also for wear and tear on the car.
One wing of the female nurses home was unoccupied . It was often leased out to groups of people for conferences etc. Because it was in a rural area the location did attract groups involved in environmental aspects such as farming and horticulture. I can remember one of the groups prior to leaving put on an evening for the nurses which included the male nurses. We had a good night of music with dancing and a nice supper.
The dancing was good. I danced a fair bit with a male nurse that I had worked with. He invited me to go to the local town for a late night hamburger and chips. Big Mistake – oh well we learn from our mistakes. On arriving back at the nurses home the place was in darkness, the front door was locked. I decided to try a side door that I knew some of the nurses used for sneaking out, it was locked. I had no other option but to ring the door bell at the front. Miss B let me in and gave me a serve. I went straight to my room. I had left my room unlocked and the window open, didn’t have a key with me. Oh dear it was now locked and the window closed. I had to go back to the office and ask Miss B to unlock it for me which she did but didn’t hang around. Once inside I turned on the light, holy heck there was a man asleep and snoring under my bed. There was blood on the light switch and some on the floor. I left the room, shut the door and went and reported it to Miss B. Miss B rang for male back up. The man under the bed was a new fully trained male nurse, had just arrived in Christchurch from England and had been only been working at Templeton for one week. He was removed from the room. I was given the keys so I could sleep in vacant room that night.
A cleaner came the next day. The blood stain stayed on the wall by the light switch. The man had urinated over my portable typewriter, fortunately it closed and there would always be a stain to remind me.
I went on duty that morning and then was called to the Matron’s Office. The male nurse was dismissed and had already left the hospital grounds. As for me well I was given a dressing down by the Matron. She admitted it wasn’t my fault about the man in my room. She was more interested in me going out with a man who was married, had three children and didn’t live at the nurses quarters. I told her that I never knew that. She said your Salvation Army parents would be horrified if they knew what I was up to. I politely told the Matron that my parents had nothing to do with the Salvation Army, I was the only one in the family that went there. She then said that I was a good nurse and let’s move on and forget that it ever happened. I should add this was about 8 months into the one year that I worked there.
You might be wondering how come the man chose my room. Apparently he had a crush on me, he asked one the nurses which was my room and of course they told him and he obviously sneaked him either through the door or the window.
For the next four months every time I went into my room I had flash backs of that man. Miss B would not move me to another room.
I nearly forgot to tell you I had a caged budgerigar in my room which had been there for several months, no one had ever complained. Miss B said “Have you got a bird in your room, get rid of it now’. I had to pay my father to come and collect the bird he had an aviary at home and that’s where it originally came from.
When I had completed my first year, passed practical but not academic it was time for a one month holiday. While on holidays and completely free from that place I decided as much as I loved my work with the children I knew I couldn’t work there again. I resigned and collected all my personal belongings from the room.
Thanks for reading this morbid story. It really is all part of my life’s journey which I have gained strength and lessons from.