History of Nursing in Pacific Canada

[Letter from Ethel Johns to Eileen C. Flanagan] Johns, Ethel 1949-08-24

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 The  PEBMAJNBNg address of EJ ( 3)7 ) ; 4519 Fifteenth Ave* West
Vancouver, B«C*
August 24, 1949
Bear EOF :
Your good letter has gone too long unanswered but just as it arrived I was in
the throes of moving into my house* More about that later* Let's take a look at *he
world situation first* Your mad whirl over the European continent left me breathless*
As usual, however, you just took it in$: your stride and did not miss a single highlight* I think the Irish situation intrigued me most of all. I sent you a brain
wave or two last night while I was attending the dinner tendered to the N ational
Federation of University Women at the Vancouver Hotel. An extremely swish affair
with some good talk and music* Dr Vibert Douglas was the principal speaker and gave
a very interesting account of her recent four months or so in Europe* She fell very
hard for the Dutch and was very severe on the G rmans« I could not help being struck
with the contrast between your attitude and hers* Of course, she admitted that her
stay in Germany had heen  short and that her thinking might have been modified if she
had remained longer. S he is a broad-minded and charitable soul and tried hard to be
fair but it was apparent that the Dutch had won her heart — in fact the Scandinavian
group too. Incidentally, Poland was not al owed to send delegates to the IUWC.
It is good of you to send on the Listener and I do appreciate them* Apropos, there
have heen  some excellent BBC re-broadcasts here lately — " a Window on FraneHf,and
this weekm "A Window on Italy." They managed to recreate the whole atmosphere of
Venice so well that 1 almost did a little nostalgic weep. Also apropos, I happened
to listen to th broadcast on the Montreal Neurological Institute. &i&  you ever hear of
the place? Like the curate's egg,  it was good only in parts. Somehow, the gent* did
not get the Genius Loci but perhaps that is? too subtle to be caught*
Well, a word about my own adventures* I have felt for some time that I could
not stand the racketing about which I have indulged in since I gave up the Journal*
I needed what Virginia Wolfe?( an e? no, I don?t think so) called a Boom of One's
Own* I was lucky enough to have a friend's apartment for the summer months and as soon
as I arrived, I started the dreary round of hunting for an apartment* Heavens, what
places I did look at and what prices they asked for noise, and gaudiness and jerry
building* Ihen I made up my mind to take the plunge and one day was driven out to
see this little place* I decided to buy it as I stepped over the threshold, and here
I am, for good or ill* It is grey stucco with a red  trim, three rooms and bath, plus
what they call a utility toom for storage purposes* %e catch is that there is no
basement which complicates the heating problem but there is an honest to goodness
fireplace and I have put in an oil-burning cookstove which is also supposed to serve
as a heating unit. We shall see what we shall see but, if the worst comes to the worst
I have had the piping put in for an additional oil heater*  Here's hoping I won't
need it*
At the time I bought the place it had heen  raining and misting for a solid two weeks
and I had thought that there was no view except of * rather pleasant though weedy back
 garden but when I woke up in my  own bed, the very first morning, I looked out of the
bedroom window and there, against a blue north sky were the summits of the Hollyburn
Sidge and the Sleeping Beauty range* I've never had a bigger thrill. Even if they only
show up once in a blue moon, at least I know they are there and that they are mine free
gratis and for nothing* My household gods, such as they are, are now somewhere en
route from Toronto* At present, I am sitting amid a wilderness of unpacked trunks
and am the prey of plumbers, heaters, odd-job men  and so on*
Everyone has been very kind and I have been trotting about socially more than I
really have time for* The fopkins job is badly in arrears and I feel a bit paranoid
about it* however, wiStftin the last few days, the odd idea has begun to seep into
consciousness and having acquired a good typewriter table, I am hammering away at it
like mattt* I spent a very interesting afternoon out at the University and was surprized to find that the general outlines of the course have not changed so radically as
I had supposed. Extensive developments are looming up, however* The coming of the
Medical School will create new situations, of course*       c ±   rrr <C   fS\
Die difference in tempo both in daily life andfln general thinking strike me very forcibly* I can best illustrate it by a rather homely simile: on the way out, I noticed
that as soon as the train began to descent toward the "Western littoral* every blooming
cow was lying down, placidly chewing its cuft and not stravaging about like the energetic animals on the prairies* The local press seems to me to be pretty provincial
in its outlook* You have to comb the back pages for foreign news irfaile the dresses
of local brides are described with resounding headlines to point them up* The correspondence columns are given over to debates between Seventh Day Adventists and Bible
fundamentalista-J^ther too often. And yet I love the soft ai:r-and tho soft water*
The view from the Faculty Club is breath-taking* All up ftowe sound* Blue water and
snow peaks* I always thought it would be a good place to watch the sun set* And I
think it is going to be*
Well, well, this is a humdinger of a letter and no mistake* Salute the "Creative
Minority" for me and tell them I miss them* Incidentally, Toynbee was about the only
book I had to read for a week or so after I moved in* I read himx sitting up in bed
and got more out of him than ever before* So you see you have done that good deed:
introduced a good book to (ahem).a good mind*


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