Subscribe to Sharon Fraser Subscribe to Sharon Fraser's comments

(May 1-3, 2014, was reunion weekend for graduates of the Montreal General Hospital School of Nursing. Our class, the Class of 1964, celebrated the 50th anniversary of our graduation. Please click on the photos for a larger version. The quality of the photos is not consistent.)

Friday morning: The Livingston Hall Coffee Party

There was a glass case just outside the lounge in Livingston Hall. I was waiting for my classmates and I was looking at our class’s memorabilia which was on display.

MGH 50th Reunion 003 (2)

“Who are they?” I heard someone ask.

“They’re nurses who used to work here. They came back for a reunion,” said another voice. “They used to wear proper uniforms and a cap.” After a few disparaging remarks about how nurses have changed, he went on. “They were real nurses,” he said fondly.

The questioner was a young man in uniform – probably a porter – and the middle-aged man answering the questions was from housekeeping. “You’re one of them, aren’t you?” he said to me.

I assured him I was and we had a lively conversation about what Livingston Hall used to be like. They were interested to hear that it was our home as well as our school – I pointed out the nearby elevators and told them about our rooms and some of the fun we had there, as well as the more difficult times.

There are many highlights of our reunion weekends but the visit to Livingston Hall always stands out because it takes us back to a more familiar place than some of the other events. It’s there that our memories are waiting.

MGH 50th Reunion 031

MGH 50th Reunion 006

MGH 50th Reunion 008

So many of us, for example, remembered Miss Herman, ever-vigilant, with her tape measure to make sure we didn’t have too much leg showing on our way to work. I was an expert at turning my waistband so my apron was a good two and half inches shorter than it was supposed to be. I wasn’t nearly as good at avoiding Blanche but on the days I did, I always had a better day.


When a few classmates and I walked along the corridor between Livingston Hall and the hospital lobby – with a stop at the Hop Shop, of course – we slowed down to pay homage to Mrs. MacLeod near where her office was. A little further on, we remembered – by name – our evening and night supervisors. We remembered some more fondly than others.

Since graduation, we’ve lost 12 of our classmates. There are some we’ll always remember as the girls they were when they left us, far too soon. Others, lost more recently, are still mourned, still causing us to say, “I can’t believe it. It seems like only yesterday that we talked.” Whenever we meet, our missing classmates are there, if only fleetingly, because in some small ways, we ask time to stand still for that kind of remembering.

Thursday evening: Reception at the Omni

We had 56 members of our class attend our reunion – an excellent turnout for a class that graduated 108 students 50 years ago. We were in varying stages of mobility and health and, as we’ve observed before, some of us are instantly recognizable having retained at least some of our identifiable characteristics. Others of us must try to keep our nametags front and centre to try and minimize any embarrassment and to avoid those awkward whispers of, “Who is that anyway?”


Our sense of fun remains intact and we enjoyed the Omni. Our Thursday reception, the first point of contact unless we had run into each other in the lobby, was a party of perpetual motion and musical chairs as we tried to talk to everyone at once.




Friday evening: Dinner at the Omni

We all went to dinner wearing funny glasses, emblematic of the 50-year class. We stayed up late, got up relatively early, commiserated with those who are going through a rough patch, admired photos of grandchildren, new digs, momentous life events. We talked and talked and talked.

MGH 50th Reunion 051

In the end, we behaved like the sisters we are. Sisters, not by virtue of blood or relationship, but sisters in life experience and in shared memories.


Because we don’t want it to be over, we’re all prepared to do it again, whenever we can.


11 Responses

  1. Lovely, Sharon! Those were such good days, although we did not appreciate them as much then as we do now. I treasure all my classmates, and I do not want it to be over either!

  2. #2
    Linda Dyer 

    very nice Sharon nice presentation Thanks

  3. #3
    Barbara Hay MacKenzie 

    Thanks Sharon. I knew it was you that had written it. Got am email from Margaret Suttie naming you as the correct author of the article.
    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas season.
    Lots of love!

  4. #4
    Charlotte Snowsell 

    What a lovely synopsis of an unforgettable event….our fiftieth reunion !
    Thank you Sharon.
    Let’s keep this energy going as long as we can.
    Love to all

  5. #5
    Trudy Milne(. Robertson ) 

    Sharon, great job! Sorry I was not able to attend but your pictures and write-up gave me a good idea of the fun you must have had. My hubby was too ill at the time and has recently passed so please let me know if you plan another and I will be there! Trudy

  6. #6
    Leslie Martin 

    Sharon: What fun reading your article! The reunion was wonderful, collective memories led to loads of laughter and a door to even more stories. Our MGH sisterhood has been a strong bond over 50 years and I don’t want it to end either.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family. Leslie

  7. #7
    Pat Warwick Campkin 

    Hi Sharon,
    Great work as always. I knew right away who had written the article!!
    We did have a great time. The time back east was special for me.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and all good things are wished for you, Dan and William in 2015.
    Love and hugs from Pat

  8. #8
    Ann Harlow Umpleby 

    Hello Sharon, A great article to express what the reunion meant to us all. The bonds last a lifetime which residence life gave us under the Hospital Training system. Merry Christmas to you and your family and all the best for 2015! Cheers Ann

  9. #9
    Nancy Morris (Carroll) 

    Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for the review of our reunion… many memories!
    Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy & healthy 2015 to you and all classmates.

  10. #10
    Jackie Woodwrk 

    Thanks, Sharon , for your warm description of our 50th reunion and for compiling the photos. The reunions always make me proud of our nursing colleagues and their many accomplishments although the memories of our years in training seem to grow fonder in retrospect. It is interesting that the connections made so many years ago are still important to so many of us.
    All the best to you and all our classmates at Christmas!


  11. #11
    Patricia Campbell 

    Sharon: It was a kick to read your description on the reunion,and the pics were a heart warmer.
    I remembered meeting you for the first time on the bus out to our jobs. Realizing we were from the same neck of the woods.
    Thanks for sharing that.

Leave a Reply

Get Adobe Flash player