Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Watch this week’s video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceEcBiH5ZFw
When Marian Lorenz started working at Sunnybrook, things were different. Gas cost 25 cents a gallon, and good pair of shoes would set you back about 8 bucks. Marian’s first day on the job as a clerk/typist was on June 6, 1954, and she rounded out her tenure a cool 50 years later. You would think the amazing thing about her story is that she is the longest running employee in Sunnybrook’s history, but in fact, after meeting her, what’s truly remarkable is her ability to recall nearly everything that happened during her half century employment.
“Life was a lot simpler, but it didn’t mean we didn’t have to devote just as much time, effort and resources to the care of our patients, which at that time were veterans. But the veterans were young,” she told me. “And one thing that was so memorable was the beauty of Sunnybrook when it was new, and that includes something that most institutions don’t have, the grounds and land we have. Where the public parking lot resides now, were grass, tulips, forsythia, manicured, much like a golf course would be today.”
Marian went on to tell me about the days when there were no parking problems at Sunnybrook (largely because nobody could afford a car), and how every employee would punch a time clock. And let’s not forget that 40-dollar a week paycheque! Nostalgia aside, though, she admits things are better today, thanks largely to medical advances that are saving more lives.
Like it or not, change happens. And the evolution of Sunnybrook is now captured in the new Sunnybrook Hospital Book. As a contributor (and a matter-of-fact dame that suffers no fools), Marian says every employee should take the time to read it. “And I don’t mean flip through it, but really look at each photograph.” You’ll even find a young Marian in there as all part of the continuum. As the saying goes, live today for tomorrow it will all be history.
By the way, if you’re hoping to rival Marian’s employment record at Sunnybrook, here’s her best advice: “You either love what you are doing, or go do something else somewhere else. Develop a passion for it, and you will at the end of the day, be very glad that you did.”
Sounds good, Marian. One year down for me, 49 to go.
The book is available online through Dundurn Press.