Cora Carpenter: Old Time Nurse

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Cora's story is a reminder that there always was and always is kindness and charity in this world. Even when things are tough, there are always people who care. We are all connected, and we can all make a difference.  This story was found in an old TIME Magazine ...

Oldtime Nurse
Monday, Sep. 05, 1927

Thousands of old women stumble along roads and streets, talking to themselves, gesturing vaguely with sad, skinny hands. People who see them wonder what tiny, bright pictures of the past are in their minds, what futile furious memories make their hungry hands so restless. Last week, near Toms River, N. J., someone found Cora Carpenter, a tired crone, wandering in a forest, talking to herself in a low, serious voice.

Taken to Bellevue Hospital, Manhattan, Cora Carpenter told nurses that she too had once been a nurse, that she too had been graduated from the Bellevue Nurses Training School. An old book was found, full of the names of nurses who had received diplomas from Bellevue. The oldest nurse at Bellevue had been in the class of 1876. She, a crisp, erect old lady, eyed the book for the name of Cora Carpenter. As she rustled pages, turning her mind to a time when she, a little nervous, very serious, had stood up to receive her diploma, she said slowly, "Cora Carpenter? I don't remember any Cora Carpenter, but there may have been a girl of that name in the class ahead of me." At last, Cora Carpenter was found, scribbled over the top of a loose page, among the names of members of the class of 1875, the first to be graduated from Bellevue.

While Cora Carpenter waited, still speaking to her hands in a faint, crumbling voice, there was an argument. Said one nurse, sharply, pertinently: "She has never paid a dollar in dues! So why should we take care of her?" Said a second: "She is old. She used to be a nurse. No one has ever been turned away from Bellevue. We'll take care of her." All the other nurses smiled and nodded.

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