The following transcript was prepared by Donna Kampen.
Q Dr. Arnold, Your full name is..
A: Hugh Alexander Arnold
Q: And your present address..
A: Apartment 109 - 2207 - 8th Avenue South, Lethbridge
Q: And you were born in...
A: Born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, July 26,1910
Q: Your Father's ful…
Dr. Arnold donated his papers to the Galt Museum and Archives in September 1993, with the provision that they be available for an independent study project done by University of Lethbridge student Donna Kampen, under the supervision of Professor Bill Baker of the Department of History.
Donna Kampen organized Dr. Arnold's papers conducted a series of oral history interviews (8 audio cassettes) with Dr. Arnold.
Scope and Content
The following transcript was prepared by Donna Kampen.
Q Dr. Arnold, Your full name is..
A: Hugh Alexander Arnold
Q: And your present address..
A: Apartment 109 - 2207 - 8th Avenue South, Lethbridge
Q: And you were born in...
A: Born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, July 26,1910
Q: Your Father's full name?
A: Herman Anton Arnold
Q: And your mother's full name?
A: Annie Reid Dick
Q: How many brothers and sisters did you have?
A: One brother. His name is William Herman Arnold. .My father's name was
Herman. My brother's name was William Herman Arnold...He went by the name of "Bill", of course. He was three years younger than me, and he's now living in Edmonton. Uh...Do you want anymore? I also have two brothers from my father's second marriage.
Q: Sure, that's alright...
A: He's married, he has a son who's a radiologist, with a specialty in...um...what do you call it...radiological...um...
Q: Just leave it...it will come to you...in about five minutes it will pop into your mind. A: Yeah. Nuclear radiology.
Q Did you have any other relatives living with you when you were a child, or was it just your mother, your father, your brother and yourself?
A: We were...As I say, I was born in, Nanaimo. My mother's family had come over from Scotland. They had lived in a small place very close to Stevenson, in the Lowlands of Scotland. My mother had come out with her father and mother. Her father was a miner, in the coal mines, in Nanaimo. He had a responsible position...! forget what they called him at that time..."pit boss".
Mother had the profession of nursing, in Nanaimo, and graduated, and then did post graduate nursing in Nanaimo, and married my father. It was 1908. My father had come west from Cookstown, in Ontario, which is about 40 miles north of Toronto, and he was a bookkeeper...described as a bookkeeper. Now I guess they call them accountants.
A: And, he was located in Nanaimo, in his profession, and met my mother there,
and...as I say...I was raised in Nanaimo until about 1912, when I would be two years old, and then my father and mother moved with me to Vancouver. We lived in Vancouver, then, until the early 20fs. My father was overseas in the First World War, became a Sergeant Major, was located most of the four years in London, in England. Rejoined the Canadian Army Medical Corps February 3,1915. He was discharged from the army on May 17,1919. My mother did a lot of special duty nursing. We lived very close to Hastings...what we called Hasting Park, within two blocks of Hastings Park, which was at that time sort of a mustering area, for troops who were going and coming from the west coast to Europe...in the war. My father, in 1919, at the end of the war came home, and in seeking work, found a job which took him to Calgary, with an oil company on June 12,1922. It was called "Canadian Oil Company". White Rose Gas, it was later. I think it was in about 1921, my father established himself in Calgary. He and my mother and my brother and I, we took the train from Vancouver to Calgary, and we established our residence there.
Q: That was in 1921?
A: No, on March 8, 1922 my mother, brother and I arrived in Calgary. Father met us there. He had been working in Alberta selling farm equipment. I remember leaving Vancouver in I think it was early March. And it had been raining for at least three or four weeks, steady. Steady! And we got on this train, and went on to Calgary. And in Calgary, it was, I think, about 30 below zero. And it was the first time we had been in any cold of that nature. But there was blue sky, and there was the sun, and I never wanted to go back to Vancouver after that day.
A: And I've been a prairie flower ever since.
Q: Have you?
Q: When your father was overseas and your mother did special duty nursing, who looked after you and your brother?
A: We pretty well looked after ourselves, as a matter of fact. You see, I was born in '10, and I was starting to school when I would probably be five or six, and we lived very close to what was called Hastings Schopl at that time. And Mother would nurse, usually during the day, and she'd be home at night. It wasn't a matter of nursing in the hospital. She did the nursing in homes. She was able to manage that pretty well, as a matter of fact. We moved from Pandora Street to ..We made about two or three moves after we left the vicinity of Hastings Park, but always stayed in East Vancouver.
Q: Did you live in houses or apartments?
A: We lived in...The first three homes I lived in were in houses...and then we moved down to the corner of...I think it was Hastings street and real close to Commercial Drive at one time, and then our last move was down to an apartment on Hastings street, very close to what we used to call...I think it was the Georgia Viaduct. We rented an apartment in those days, and that was the place we lived. And then we moved to Calgary. One other thing that...Well we did live in an apartment then. And I had a dog!
Q: You did?
A: A collie dog. We called him Sandy. He was just a beautiful dog. But it was
interesting, the way we would keep this dog in an apartment. And not run afoul of the landlady. And I'll never forget one occasion. We lived right across the street from a barber shop.
I had a pretty good head of hair, then, as I do now. I went in one day...a Saturday...and asked the barber to take his slippers and clip all my hair off. And it took me five or ten minutes to convince the barber that this was going to be alright with my mother. And I don't know why I did it. But he did what I requested. And when I went home and my mother saw me, she just about had a fit. Why I did that. Why did I ever do that, (laughs) I'll never forget.
During those years I had a paper route. I used to help deliver what was at that time called, I guess, The Sun. It was a morning paper, on weekends. During the week, in the evening, I delivered a paper that was called The World. It and The Province were the two daily papers of any consequence. I had a paper route...The World printing press was...on the corner of Richard's Street and Hastings, downtown...! used to go...I'd take my bicycle and I'd go down and pick up my papers. And I had one street that I delivered on. That was Richards Street. The length of Richards Street from Hastings right through to almost False Creek, I guess you would call it. And all I did was just ride up Richards and deliver papers. It was a very nice experience. I took music lessons. I had a teacher right on Richards Street. I would deliver my papers and take my lessons from my teacher.
Q: What instrument?
Q Did you like piano lessons?
A: I liked them very much. I never accomplished what I should have, but I enjoyed it very much. And I always feel very...I like to encourage young people to take any kind...whatever music they have an opportunity...to take it. And to practice, (laughs)
Q How old were your parents when you were born?
A: You know, I should find that out. And I'm sure I can. I think my mother...! can find this out. I know their ages at death.
Q Or the year that they died.
A: My mother died on April 6, in Calgary of a stroke. She was buried in Vancouver in the family plot She was a young woman.
A: My father died at 85, in Victoria He married a second time on January 31,1930 to Eunice and had a second family. They had two boys, again, Charles and Bruce. They are still living in Victoria. I stayed in the home while I went to University, and after graduation moved to my own home.
Q Lets talk a little about the schools you attended. You went to Hastings school...? A: Yes, Hastings School, they called it.
Q: I just want to talk a little bit about your early school life. What was your favorite subject...Do you remember? What were you best at?
A: Oh...I liked arithmetic, and geography...and history. Those three subjects,
particularly history and geography have been long suits of mine. I enjoyed them very much. And that carried right through, through high school, and through my university years. I took an arts degree before I went into medicine, and it the arts program I took as much history as I could.
Q: Did you have a favorite teacher?
A: In school?
A: I guess I would have to say that the teacher who I recall best was at Seymour
School, in East Vancouver, closer into...near Main Street. My teacher, in grade six, I guess it was,.. Yes I would have to say she probably was a teacher who I found very interesting. There was a group of us who I think were rather...difficult children, from the point of view of mischief...not doing what the teacher wanted us to do. And she was most tolerant and patient and kind. And I had good reason for...through the years...to appreciate her.
Q: Did you belong to any clubs or organized groups? Did you belong to the Boy Scouts?
A: I never belonged to the Boy Scouts. My mother, of course, was Presbyterian, by virtue of her Scottish background, and we belonged to a Presbyterian church, which was located on Hastings Street, about a block east of Main Street. And I remember, Yes, I attended Sunday School there, and really enjoyed it very much. When we moved to Alberta, my parents became affiliated with the Sunday (I forget what its called) the Sunday ...anyway, it was Mr. Aberhart's Sunday Prophetic Bible Conference. They met in the old Palace Theatre, just west of First Street, on Eighth Avenue. At three O'clock on Sunday afternoons, Mr. Aberhart would preach. My parents became affiliated with the Calgary Prophetic Bible Conference of Mr. Aberhart. He was a member of a Baptist church which was called Westbourne Baptist. And the minister at that church was the Reverend E. G. Hansell. My brother and I, and my parents, were baptized at that church. As I say, Mr. Aberhart, that was his, sort of his, home church. Mr. Hansell joined Mr. Aberhart when they eventually became interested in Social Credit, and were elected to the legislature. Mr. Hansell was a member of the Legislature when Mr. Aberhart was the Premier.
Q: Just back into your childhood here a little. Do you remember any of the games that you played...things that you did for fun when you were a child. You had the dog...
A: I had the dog, yes, for sure. I guess the games, they would all be games that we could sort of make up among the young fellows, the young people, in the vicinity. We were what... 12-14 years old? Run Chief Run, and things of that kind, tag, and so on. I played baseball in Hastings school when I was in grade one, two and three. I'll never forget the day I was playing first base...very proud of myself...I had the glove on one hand, and was catching balls with the other, like this. The fellow at home base hit the ball, it went to the short stop, he threw the ball right to the first baseman, which was me. I had this hand with the glove like this, and the other like this, it came right between them and got me. (laughs)
Q Did you like to read as a child?
A: I didn't read a lot...No...not until I got a little older did I start my interest in reading.
Q: Did you belong to a library? Do you remember ever going to a public library?
A: Yes, we had the...the main library in the city of Vancouver was at the corner of Main and Hastings, and I wasn't that far from it. It was a library which had been funded by ..Oh who funded those libraries?...a great industrialist...?
A: Ah yes. Carnegie. It was called the Carnegie Library. Yes, I used to go in there, and use the books.
Q: Did you read fiction? Or were you more interested in finding out about things?
A: More current types of things...things that the school would prompt.
Q: When you started high school...you would have been in Calgary by that time.
A: Yes, Calgary.
Q: Do you remember the name of the high school?
A: Yes, I took my schooling...In Calgary, we lived on 11th Street and 12th Avenue, and I went to what was called Connaught School. I started there in grade 6 and then my parents moved to South Calgary, about 32nd Avenue and about the 1700 block. And there I went to what was called King Edward School, and I was in grade seven and eight there. My principal was a man by the name of Florendine, and he was, to me, an excellent teacher. In grade eight he gave me every opportunity, and he was sort of going on beyond just what he was teaching, stimulated me in reading, and I was, he asked me if I would take the examination for what was called the R. B. Bennett scholarship at the end of grade eight, which I did, and won it. That was for having the highest marks in grade eight, and I remember Mr. Bennett, this was before he was prime minister of Canada, he was a lawyer in Calgary then, and I remember him coming to the school after I had left King Edward, and coming back to receive my award from him, and it was a great honour.
Q: Your parents must have been very proud of you.
A: Very proud. My mother was very proud. My dad was very busy making a living, but he was very proud, too. I was a great day in my life.
Q Did you mother work as a nurse in Calgary, too?
A: No, not after we got to Calgary. We lived in South Calgary, as I said, near King Edward School up around Thirty-second Avenue. We had a reunion just this last fall, of the medical class of 1938, and after the reunion we drove past the old house, and the part of the city that we lived in then.
Q: Do you remember your neighbours.. .did you live there a long time?
A: Not too long. I would say I was there in grade seven and grade eight, and when I was ready for grade nine, my father, who had left the oil company, the Canadian Oil Company, and now accepted an appointment with a bakery, called the Model Bakery. This was on October 30, 1923. He was the sales Manager. That was located over in Hillhurst, which is on the north side of the Bow River, west of 109th street. West of the Louise bridge, and it was quite a distance. It was, really, so we moved from south Calgary to Hillhurst. We lived in two or three different houses, until my father settled in Hillhurst, out along the Bow River, near what is now called the Bowness Trail.
My mother's health was not good. She had hypertension, and had trouble for several years, and by the time I was in, I guess about grade eleven, she died. She was young, she was 42. We continued to live out in this particular area of Hillhurst and I went to what was then High School, and Mr. Aberhart was the principal of the High School. And the high school was Crescent Heights High School. The school was an old sandstone building. The name of the school originally just slips my mind, but it was Crescent Heights. And I attended that school for four years.
Q: Grades nine through twelve?
A: Yes, nine, ten, eleven and twelve. And then when I finished grade twelve I went to normal school in Calgary. Normal School at that time was just at the top of the hill, over the Louise Bridge on 9th Street Up at the top of the hill there was the Normal School and what is now SAIT. It was then called the Technical School. Normal School was in that cluster of buildings. I took Normal School for a year after I finished grade twelve.
Q: Did you want to be a teacher?
A: Yes I did. Yup. My father, in the meantime had been offered a position to manage Canadian Bakeries, which is the old 4X, in Edmonton on March 28, 1929. So he moved to Edmonton (my mother had died), and I and my brother Bill moved to Edmonton with him after I finished Normal School. I'd won a scholarship from Normal School to take summer school in Phys-Ed at the University of Alberta so I took that. And interviewed for schools...things were beginning to get a little tough.
Q: You would have been 19..20 then?
A: I was about 19.
Q: This would have been 1929.
A: Yes, 1929. I got a school at an Indian...A school that was operated jointly by the Federal Government and the United Church. And it was located about four miles north of the old Dunvegin station, which is just on the Northern limits of Edmonton., Four miles north. It was on what they called Waterways...Northern Alberta Railroad. It was a residential school for Indian children. Operated, jointly , as I say, between the federal government and the United Church. The principal, his name was Dr. J. S. Woodsworth. I think that...I'm not sure of the initials. But his brother was J. F. Woodsworth, who was the originator of the CCF Party in Winnipeg. I taught at that school, and there were three of us teachers, grades one and two, and then three, four and five, and I had those three grades, and then six, seven and eight, by another teacher. And then things began to get. economically very difficult.
Actually, along with our teaching responsibilities at this school, we used to have to conduct church services sometimes., just a little story, that sort of thing on a Sunday. But I lived within four miles of the city of Edmonton, and it was easy to get to where my father lived. And he had in the meantime remarried Eunice Whidden. At the end of that year of teaching, things were getting much tougher. They amalgamated the junior and the senior teachers' classes, and this eliminated my class. So I had no school. This was in 1929.
Q: How much money did you make teaching?
A: $100 a month. Cash. On the barrel head. And I got my room and board.
Q That was a pretty good wage.
A: Yes, I thought it was very good, (laughs)
Q: You probably felt pretty flush.
A: I was really quite well fixed. Because, you know, I could buy a suit at Tip Top with two pair of pants for $27.
Q: And your room and board was paid for?
Q: Did you save some?
A: Nah...not very much, (laughs) At the end of the year when I was, as I say, I was out of a job. I wrote and drove my father's car to many school Board meetings, and trips to School Boards, or Chairmen of School Boards in various little towns. I went all over that North country, just trying to get a school, and I never got a school. At the beginning of September. My father said to me...I'll never forget this...one day at supper time he said: "you can't sit around here and do nothing. Go over to that institution on the other side of the river."
Q: That was the University of Alberta
A: Uhuh. I'd never been at the University, you see. Only Normal School. So I did. I went over and I registered in Arts. I took Arts for three years. I got my degree and then decided to go into medicine.
Q: What was your degree in?
A: It was just a general arts, but I took mostly history.
Q: I guess it would be the equivalent of a history major now.
A: I took history. I had to take certain basics. A language. I had my eye on medicine. I wasn't sure, but I knew I had to have physics, which I didn't get in high school, I had to have Latin, which I took in grade 11, got 13 in the exam at Christmas, quit it, and rued the day. Because I had to take it again to get into medicine. (Laughs) And I also had to have a language. So those were three requisites that I had to have. So when I got there, I took German, and a history course, and botany, I think it was, and chemistry.
Q: How much was your tuition when you went back to University?
A: Not much. I think my tuition in those first three years was in the neighbourhood of $130 per year.
Q: Did you have that money saved? Or did your father help you?
A: I worked in the summer every year when I was at the University, and earned
enough to pay my tuition and buy my books. I paid nothing at home. I lived at home.
Q: How much did your books cost?
A: Oh gee. The books...Most of my books I bought used. And they weren't very much. No they weren't very much.
Q. When you think about your childhood...your early life...what images spring to your mind? Were there any times or incidents that bring back particularly vivid memories for you?
A: Yes...Yes. I recall my mother's father and mother and family very well. I didn't know my father's family so well...they were in the East. But my mother's family were Scottish, and the Scottish people are clannish, you know. They take care of their families you know. And she had three brothers. They were in the clothing business on Hastings Street, down near what we call the B.C. Electric. They were astute businessmen and they did very, very well. They were very kind to us. My mother's father and mother lived on Robson street down around English Bay. In that district. And that was a great place to go and visit. We'd walk there, my brother and I. And if we were tired, they'd tell us to lie down in front of the fire and go to sleep. They'd feed us. It was a wonderful experience to visit there. Yes, they were highlights.
Thinking about..we lived not far from where the Second Narrows Bridge is now, if you know Burrard Inlet? Well, We were relatively close, therefore, to the water. And there were as lot of mills, lumber mills, with their lumber in the water, you know the mills where they cut the lumber out, and we used to go down there, and when I think about how we'd walk on these big logs in the water... How we didn't get ourselves drowned I'll never know, (laughs)
I'll never forget...one episode...I'll never forget, I had this friend, how I met him I can't remember...maybe through the Sunday School. His father was a motorman, and in those days, in Vancouver, the traffic was all on the left.
Q I didn't know that.
A: Yes. And his father was a motorman and therefore sat at the front, and started and stopped the car. And at the back was the conductor. And you got on at the back and paid your ticket, and his father took us kids...on a Sunday, we'd get on the car, and we'd sit up front with him, and go all over. It was a wonderful experience. And this friend of mine also had a bicycle. I didn't have a bicycle at that time. I remember one time he drove the bicycle over. He left the bicycle for me to have it for a week. They were going away. He left it for me to use. It was one of the highlights of my years in Vancouver, to have that bicycle all to myself. I promised him that at the beginning of the week I would return the bicycle. Came the day I was to return the bicycle, it was raining cats and dogs. My mother gave me a rain hat and I had a raincoat, and I remember riding from our part of the city all the way—halfway across the city to return the bicycle. That experience just stands out in my mind.
Q Are there any other childhood memories that...well...(laughs) you'd like to have on this tape?
A: Can this be edited, or does it go in the way it is?
Q: Pretty well the way it is...but its not really accessible to anyone except historians or people doing research.
A: Well, I remember, I think it was when I was in grade 10. I was nominated to be Secretary of the Students' Union. I had very keen competition by a very capable girl, and she defeated me, and that really cut. It took a while to get over it. (laughs) And in Normal School I was elected to be President of the Students' Union. There were several outstanding teachers in Normal School. I'11 never forget. I remember one of the history teachers asking me to do ...to outline the projected, maybe not projected, but rumored St Lawrence Seaway Project. This was 1928. I boned up all the information I could get. From libraries and other sources, on the history of the Seaway up to that time. It was still on paper you see. And I'll never forget, he asked me to give this as a lecture to the class. And it was one of the greatest things I ever did, or had to do, was to become acquainted with the St. Lawrence Seaway project.. And from the minute it started from the point of view of publicity attached thereto, to its completion, I knew what had to be done. It was a terrific experience. Very outstanding experience. In Normal School, I enjoyed participating in Drama. I enjoyed that very much.
Q: Were you on-stage, as an actor, in plays?
Q: Do you remember the name of the plays?
A: Oh... I can remember. "Mr. Pirns comes to Town." I was Mr. Pirns.
Q When you finished your Arts Degree, you decided to go to medical school.
Q: Do you remember what particular factors might have influenced that decision?
A: I think, as I mentioned, there was a spark in my mind for quite a long time,
probably before I became aware of it, that I may go into medicine. You ask me where did it come from? I really don't know. Except that I think that my mother's association with health, as a nurse, probably started me thinking along that line. From maybe very early on.
Q: Do you think that maybe teaching...! see teaching and medicine as having some connections. Doctors are teachers, aren't they:
A: Yes, every patient you see, you are teaching. And yes, I think there is a common bond between the two professions in that regard. I'm sure I would have been happy, in teaching. I have, in our own family...our one daughter who lives in Lethbridge...she's a teacher, teaches grade one. And our son , who is at the University of Toronto is the Dean of the Faculty of Management at the University, and he has come up as an academic, as a teacher. I think that there's some of it in the blood. But I think that the initial spark came from my mother.
Q: When you applied for medical school...what was the admissions process like? I'm interested in how it was any different from now. Was it difficult to get in to medical school.?
A: Not particularly, no. We had relatively small classes at that time. We...What we call "straight medicine" was available, where you could go from high school directly into first year medicine. When I came along, in 1929, no 1930,1 had the option of going from my arts, no, of going directly from the pre medical required courses directly into medicine, and going through on the straight medicine program. I elected to take a degree in Arts for the next few years, in the Arts program, and graduated with a Arts degree. And then I went for five years of medicine. So that was the two alternatives at that time. Now, as I understand it, you have to have a pre medical degree. The cost of my tuition was relatively small. As I say relatively. In relation to my Arts tuition, and the tuition in other faculties, Medical tuition was not all that high at all. Quite cheap.
Q: You still worked every summer?
A: Yes, every summer.
Q What did you do?
A: I did various things. I sold magazines, I worked at the bakery, where my father was the manager. I drove a bread wagon, and sold bread. I did that for several summers.
Q. And you lived at home, with your father.
A: All the way through. I was very fortunate. I could never have done it, I don't think, in those years, without the consideration of my father.
Q: This was the thirties. Do you think your father ever felt a financial strain? Was it ever difficult for him?
A I was never aware of my dad being strapped financially. He remarried, as I
say, in the early thirties. They had two children, two boys. They did not elect to go to University. They are, to me, full brothers. They're not full brothers...but they're brothers. We have a very good relationship. My own brother, Bill, is three years younger than me. He did not elect to go to University, but went into business. He did very well. He went into the bakery, And moved to Trail, B.C. with Canadian Bakeries. When the War broke out he joined the Air Force, became a pilot of a Liberator bomber. Was stationed in India, and what is now Sri Lanka, and came back, and lived in Edmonton. They had been married when he was younger. They had one boy, who is now a radiologist Bill...the job that he got into after the war, in Edmonton...Oil was beginning to be a big business in Alberta. He took a job with an oil well drilling supply company in Edmonton. Eventually, two men who were in the drilling business came to him and suggested that he, having contacts business wise, knowing the equipment side of the business...if he would join them, they would form a company, a drilling company. Which they did.
To make a long story short, they did very well, and the company that they formed eventually was taken over by what was to become the Chieftain company. The Chieftain company, of course was a well known, well established oil company. Bill was part of the Chieftain family, and he's stayed with Chieftain ever since. He's retired, but he's still used as a source of advice and helps them. He's done very well. You see...I get wandering around...
Q: That's alright. That's perfectly alright.
A: This business of medicine, and the cost of medicine. I would have to say, with regard to the medical education itself. I would have to say, with regard to my teachers and professors, they were, to me, all men of a classical school. They were classical Physicians, Doctors, Surgeons. They, to me, were...I feel that I was taught by men who were dedicated, who were much more interested in teaching than anything else, and good doctors. I think I was very fortunate.
Q: Do you think that a medical education in those days...What I'm thinking about is: Does the Doctor who has a liberal arts education before he goes to medical school, the Doctor who can converse on many subjects...history and philosophy, as opposed to the Doctor whose focus has been on science from Grade ten on... Does that make a difference in how a Doctor practices the "Art" of medicine as opposed to the science of medicine?
A: That's a very good question. There was a time when I thought that probably yes. My interest was peaked, and I maintained an interest in subjects on matters other than medicine. I have learned from observation and experience that a doctor who is interested...many doctors are good doctors and at the same time good people. They are interested...good citizens. They are interested in the arts. I can't think of many doctors who are not interested in some type of extra professional type of activity. I...some of my Doctor friends. They can talk about music and opera, and subjects that are really, I think, really a sign of well rounded people. I want to say one other thing with regard to my medical training. Our class was one of the smallest classes to graduate in medicine. We, I think there were 32 of us. Which is a relatively small class.
Q: That's the class of 38.
Q Were there any women in your class?
A: Not a woman. We were a rare class.
Q. But it wasn't unusual for there to be...
A: Not unusual, no. Although...most classes before and after us has one or two or three women. No, we were all men.
Q I suppose it might have been quite a bit more difficult for a woman then...
A: I think so, although I must say that any of the women that I was associated with,
or came in touch with, through Medicine, they were well accepted, and were...they became good doctors. Dr. Margaret Hutton, who died a few years ago. I think she was interested in obstetrics and gynecology. She was a great person, as well as a great doctor. No, I would think that the women were equal to the men.
Q What subjects did you most enjoy in medical school?
A: I guess I'd have to say...you had to be interested and like them all.
Q: Which ones were you best at? Which ones came easiest?
A: I guess... they're all so important. Physiology, pharmacology, anatomy, materia medica...that's the study of medicines and drugs...pathology, clinical medicine, clinical surgery. These are all interesting. We had one professor, his name was professor Shaner. And he taught a class in embryology and neurology, and I guess it was one of the nicest and most interesting courses I took all the time I was in school. But they all had their own face that was attractive.
We had a professor who could mimic right down to the last little twitch of a muscle, the walk of a person with a specific type of disease...neurological disease. Tabes Dorsalis. Which is the end stage of syphilis in one aspect...its one result of syphilis. We don't see syphilis today the way we used to see it. But he could stand and walk there, and it was a classical tabetic walk. You could see the man. He gave us a lecture one day...We used to have clinical pathological conferences. We had a conference, and everyone was present. We had a large room of Doctors and students, and the history of the patient, the progress of the patient, the diagnosis, and the ultimate result of the patient's illness. He gave a lecture one day on typhoid fever. We didn't see Typhoid much in those days. I saw it in Montreal, when I interned there, after I graduated. But he gave this class.
And I never really appreciated the way that man taught until one night in Lethbridge (this was many years later.) I was called to Fort MacLeod by one of the doctors up there to come and see a patient who was ill, and not getting better, and they wondered what was troubling him. This... The history of this, to go back a little bit....Dr. Strome was with us in the Haig Clinic here. But he had previously practiced, alone, in Fort MacLeod. He'd left a reputation, that everyone in and around Fort MacLeod loved him and respected him. This phone call came in one afternoon for Dr. Strome to come up and see this patient. Dr. Strome elected not to go, and suggested I come up. Which I did. I took one of the other Doctors with me, and we came in and examined this patient and all of a sudden I was listening to the story of my professor about typhoid fever! Before I ever looked at the man, I heard his story, everything that had been going on, what he complained about, and I knew it was Typhoid. They confirmed it with stool examinations and blood examinations subsequently. But this is an example of teaching at its best. Classical teaching.
Q: How long was it, in medical school, before you actually began working with patients?
A: We went into working with patients...! would say, would be our fifth year. Four years were all sort of background, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, public health, etc. But in our fifth year we got thrown into it with patients.
Q Was that exciting? A: Exciting. Yes...yes.
Q: Can you ever remember feeling frightened or overwhelmed? Was that scary at all, when you took all that theory and then were faced with a real, live patient?
A: No, I don't think so. I think that we'd been sort of nursed along in a very, very reassuring fashion. We weren't exposed to anything that we weren't ready for. This was a manifestation of the excellence in teaching, of course.
Q: Was there ever a time, and I'm thinking particularly of that final year, and your intern year, when you felt...where you doubted your choice?
A: No, never did. Never ever.
Q That's good. Lucky.
A: Oh...so lucky.
Q: Were there any times during that final year of medical school where ...an incident that made you realize: "Yes, this is right for me...I've made the right choice"? Or were there never any doubts?
A: Yes, once I got into medicine, right from day one...no problem. Never thought for one minute that I'd made a wrong choice.
Q Are you getting tired?
A: Yes, I am, a little.
Q I think this is a good time to stop.