Wednesday, July 26, 2017 – Way Back Wednesday and Where’s Wanda?
Let’s get in the Wayback Machine and return to Magnolia, Texas to the year 1957. We are sitting in Mrs. Shannon’s second grade classroom. It is an ordinary day of arithmetic, coloring and reading groups according to one’s reading level. (Blue Birds, Red Birds and Black Birds – aka Buzzards.)
Suddenly striking fear in to the heart of every child, standing at the classroom door – NOOOOO! – IT’S NURSE RUBY BRASWELL! She was the original Nurse Ratchet. Time for immunizations!
There we stood – lined up in alphabetical order – Carraway, Day, Dean, Duffey… Harper, Lloyd, Rickett and Wade.
The MHS Class of 1967 – Began Grade 1 and graduated from Grade 12 – Magnolia ISD. Photo 2007.
The Bingles, Bundages, Calverts, Carringtons, Clarks, The Glass Twins, the Jacobs, the Horaces, the Lyons, the Millings, the Townsends, the Rosses and the others would join us later in our fear or at least tales of Nurse Braswell. But back to the Grade Two.
In the second grade you are old enough to know that crying upon being stabbed in the arm with an ice pick in the rough, field, looking hands of Nurse Ruby is not an option. Slowly we marched single file down the dark cool hallway of Magnolia Elementary School awaiting our fate and trying not to pee in our pants out of fear.
The line was to stop just outside Nurse B’s office. She would step into her office, get our student record folder, and grab the shot needle. As our name was called, we were to step forward, take the giant hypodermic needle in our left arm and not flinch or scream and then return to our classroom.
Nurse called “Carroway,” and Lucille stepped bravely forward and stoically thrust out her left bicep. As she did, Day, very calmly walked out the front door out of the building, down the cement steps, down the red brick sidewalk, around the creosote post and was calmly walking across the parking lot when Nurse Braswell, folder and needle in hand yelled, “DAY? WANDA DAY? Where’s Wanda?”
At this point, Nurse Braswell makes a wrong decision and goes back to the hallway looking for Wanda. Not finding her Nurse B. returns to the silent line of second graders demanding to know “Where is Wanda?” As if choreographed, the entire line lifts right arms and point out side.
There’s Wanda. By this time, Wanda was almost in front of my old house (now the Catholic Church) continuing to calmly walk down the highway.
I do not remember what happened after that. Poor Wanda was probably caught, returned to the principal’s, office and still got shot in the arm. I just remember thinking “Go Wanda. I hope you make it.” I do not think the rest of us were immunized that day. If no one has ever thanked you, Wanda, I am thanking you now for no shots that day and such a great memory.
And we’re back to the present.
I hope wherever you are Wanda, that you are still as brave today as you were back then.
Page from 1966 MHS Yearbook. Nurse Braswell in the lower left – still torturing children – now with electric things.