History of Nursing in Pacific Canada

[Letter from Ethel Johns to Eileen C. Flanagan] Johns, Ethel 1954-08-02

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 4519 West Fifteenth A¥e*,
Vancouver  8  B*C.
August 2, 1954
Bear EOF  :
Thank you for putting my Mr Jones (as you call him)
on the right track* He is a bit of a queer duck but has
genuine interest and enthusiasm and has done a good deal
to introduce new and good ideas to this horribly provincial and hidebound community* The social workers here
are at the stage that the nursing profession struggled
with nearly thirty years ago — that is, they are try-  '
ing to get public recognition as an honest to God profession. Curiously enough, they are not nearly so well
organized as we were even in those Arcadian days and I
had a lot of fun with a workshop tiut they held at the
UBC last spring. Nice souls, but not dry behind the
Yes, the BOOK is out and one of these fine days you
will receive a copy so don't buy one. * To my  immense
relief, the bally thing has sold far beyong expectations|
and a second printing is being talked of* I had horrid
visions of what in the trade are known as "publishers
remainders" piled up in a dusty unsold heap, -^ut not
sol It even went on television in Baltimore when the
chairman of the Alumnae committee (very chic and pretty)
was interviewed and an announcer with a good voice
read extracts in a really noble manner — or so I am
informed* As always happens with me, anything I have
written is completely externalized as soon as it appears
in print and I don't even want to read it* -"ore experienced authors tell me^t^t tnis is a common happening
and that a year or so"~you read the thing with interest
but complete detachment and wonder ho?/ (and why) you
sweat so much blood over it. Any^way it was a tremendous help with the mortgage and the other day I gave a
party at which the mortgage was burned with appropriate
 As you may have heard over press and radio, Vancouver
is host to the British Empire Games. The 700 contestants are housed on the University Campus and according
to all reports are dwelling together in peace and amity.
They range all the way from ebony to what E*M* Forster
justly calls our "pinko-grey" and the belle of the feminine contingent is a damsel from Fiji who is six feet
(tail and a wonderful dancer* Her hair-do is quite
something, too* To Mx®Th®$yxx  everyone's surprize,
the presence of this group has really done something to
this neck of the woods* The opening ceremonies were
extraordinarily impressive — thanks largely to a
visiting English gunboat and some quite spectacular
stunts by the BCAF* Also the counties did their stuff
beautifully. There are twenty-four white flagpoles
in front of the Court House (near Hotel Vancouver)
and the flags of all the countries are displayed thereon*
Veterans contingents raise and lower them morning and
evening. I happened to be watching the other evening
in the company of a crowd of prosperous American tourists. There was complete silence until the ceremony
was ofrer and then the man next me turned to his neighbour and said: "I never knew until how what they meant
by their damned Commonwealth and Empire— I tell you,
they have something we never had and never will have."
The other man said: "There wasn't a Stars and Stripes
flown in Vancouver today*" I hadn't noticed it before
but he was right. We have a nasty sycophantic habit
oi doing that in order to cadge a little trade and they
don't respect us for it.
I was interested in your remarks regarding the CHA.
Thank heaven that idiotic structure study is out of the
way at last. For the last year or two my life seems to
have cut a new channel and the nursing aspects (in the
narrow sense) seem increasingly remote. But I can't
help being glad that I knew nursing in the heroic age.
Much of it I saw, and part of it I was — and this I say
in all humility.  One can only hope that the present
phase will give rise to something better. Signs are
not wanting that it will*  Incidentally, I spoke at the
BVH annual dinner here and am flatteringly informed that
"even the younger nurses enjoyed it*"
I don't know what to think of the Ottawa move but
am inclined to be cagey about i:jr. Montreal was the
better place so far as race relations are concerned
and you certainly made a notable contribution in that
connection* I don't trust the political boys (or girls)
any farther than I can see them* "I fear the Greeks,
bearing gifts*" But we shall see*
Bo you read anything by Freya Stark? ^he does
Arabian travel stuff (rather like GertrudeBell) and I
have developed quite a fen  for her* The latest one I
have got hold of is "The Coast of Incense*" Autobiographical but not unduly reticent — or unduly frank*
I think she may be a PQBTENT* Perhaps the fore-runner
of a different sort of ?/oman, footloose and free, in
mindjbody and estate* The price would be high but
worth paying, in terms of human values.
tj-his IMsx Is a screed and no mistake*
Farewell and all that,
as ever,


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