Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Super Moon

Today was supposed to be really productive but it turned out to be a day of lounging in soft pants. I think I needed it desperately since my sleep pattern has been incredibly off and I've been dragging at work. When I come home I'm just drained and the only thing I can think of is vegging out.

Today I did manage to straighten up the house a bit and do dishes. I went to make lunch and realized the heating element in the oven broke in half. I was wondering why it took an hour to preheat! I swear if it's not one thing, it's another!

Robin took a travel nursing job in Miami in January to make more money and no matter how hard she works we can't seem to catch up on things. I swear that one thing happens after the other! At this point I just want her to come home. I miss my partner in crime terribly.

Tonight I decided to escape reality and headed down to Bushy Park with my camera to take some photos of the Super Moon. It was nice and bright but didn't seem much bigger than your average moon.

Besides several drunk kids (who left eventually) it was a quiet and peaceful night. There were a couple of people fishing opposite me who built a small fire on the metal pier. I was wishing I had a bit of that warmth since I, for some strange reason, decided to wear sandals!

Silly me.

Moon-Catchin' Net

I've made me a moon-catchin' net,
And I'm goin' huntin' tonight,
I'll run along swingin' it over my head,
And grab for that big ball of light.
So tomorrow just look at the sky,
And if there's no moon you can bet
I've found what I sought and I finally caught
The moon in my moon-catchin' net.
But if the moon's still shinin' there,
Look close underneath and you'll get
A clear look at me in the sky swingin' free
With a star in my moon-catchin' net.

- Shel Silverstein

Thursday, March 17, 2011

More on Maude

I found this article while doing more research on Maude Callen. I especially love the poem at the end so I thought I'd share!

I am so fascinated with her story. I think it was the photos of Maude wading through the South Carolina swampland that moved me. I know the Lowcountry back roads and swamps all too well, but I can't even imagine what it was like back in the days when Maude was traveling to see patients on unpaved roads. I really hope that Maude's story is included in the South Carolina Black History Month curriculum in our schools!

Pineville, a historic refuge

2008-05-02 / Travel
Part 57: Nurse Maude is honored
By Warner M.Montgomery

Photo by Eugene Smith of Maude Callen in her health clinic under construction in 1953. Photo is in permanent collection at the Museum at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
Nurse Maude Callen graciously accepted the attention and the contributions that followed the photo essay in Life Magazine in 1951. She continued her work at the Pineville clinic until her retirement in 1971.

In 1981, she was named Outstanding Older South Carolinian by the S.C. Commission on Aging and was also presented the Order of the Palmetto by Governor Richard W. Riley.

Nurse Maude's celebrity status reached national headlines again in 1983 when she was featured on the television program On the Road with Charles Kuralt . She was presented the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award in 1984 for 60 years of service to her community. Other recipients include Bob Hope, Henry Ford II, Pete Rozell, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and John Glenn.

Photo by Eugene Smith of nurse- midwife Maude Callen inoculating wailing boy in 1951. Photo is in permanent collection at the Museum at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) awarded Maude Callen an honorary degree in May 1989. The MUSC College of Nursing created the Maude E. Callen Scholarship which is given to a student enrolled in the College of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwifery, or Gerontological Nursing tracks of study.

Honored many times in Berkeley County, Nurse Maude Callen continued to volunteer as manager of the Senior Citizens Nutrition Council in Pineville. She personally delivered meals- on- wheels five days a week until her death in 1990.

Maude Callen was a missionary for healthcare in the rural backwoods of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Her life was dedicated to her patients. She gave the sanctity of life to every child she midwifed and the rewards of good health to every adult she nursed.

Pineville's Maude Callen Health Center closed over 20 years ago. Now, the nearest center is about 30 miles away. Nurse Maude and the services she provided have not been forgotten. Residents of Pineville have formed a board of directors to raise money to reopen the clinic which would serve residents of Pineville, St. Stephen, Russellville, and the surrounding community. The board has been given the deed to the center.

Photo by Eugene Smith of nurse- midwife Maude Callen helping a man into wheelchair in 1953. Photo is in permanent collection at the Museum at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
Members of the health center board are Rubystene Mazyck, president; Naomi Gadsden, secretary; Octavia Gethers, treasurer; Darlene Fludd; Dr. Charles Bounds; Jean Gethers; Keith Gourdin; Rev. Robert McCutchen; Herbert Milligan; John Rembert; Ruth Williams; and John B. Williams, attorney.

Very few of the residents have a primary doctor, according to Mrs. Mazyck. She says school surveys in the area show most children don't go to the doctor unless they are ill, and when they do, it's most often a trip to the emergency room.

The board needs about $200,000 to begin renovations and about $400,000 total. The board received $25,000 from Berkeley County Council in 2006.

The March/April 2003 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nurse-Midwives honored Maude Callen. It included a poem written by Jeanne Bryner, a nurse who writes extensively about issues in the Appalachians and the Southeast.

For Maude Callen: Nurse Midwife, Pineville, SC, 1951

I speak of a woman, blue black midwife
Of April fog, flood, swamp, and July nights
When Maude Callen's hands layered newsprint
In circles as a weaver works her loom,
Slow, to catch blood, straw, placenta, save sheets.
I sing kitchen lamplight, clean cloths, Lysol,
Cord ties, gloves, gown, and mask; she readies all
For this crowning first mother, purple cries.
I sing of sweat and gush and tear, open thighs
And triangle moons, ringlets, charcoal hair.
I sing sixteen- hour days,Maude's tires bare.
Mud country roads, no man doctor for miles.
I sing transition, collapse of mountains.
Crimson alluvium, the son untangled.
- Jeanne Bryner

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Nurse-Midwife

Sometimes you stumble upon the most amazing stories when you are simply going about your day.

On Sunday I had to headed to Pineville to replace my Swamp Fox cache (yes, again!) and after doing so, I placed another cache at the beautiful Pineville Chapel. I really like this area of Berkeley County.

On the way home I came across a building I have passed a million times before but never paid much attention to. This time I decided to stop and take a couple of photos. The lettering on the top of the building said "Maude Callen Clinic - Berkeley County Health Department." The building was old and run down with a couple of broken windows. It's in the middle of a very rural community and I started to wonder what the story and history of it was.

When I walked up to the front of the building to get a closer look I noticed that the door was cracked open. Anyone that knows me will tell you that this might as well be a handwritten invitation to go inside - I love exploring any old, abandoned property! When I pushed the door open it barely budged. I had to really push hard to get it to open. When I was finally inside the air smelled like mold and other than the interior itself falling apart, it was actually quite clean. When they closed this clinic they emptied it out entirely.

I started walking around and was a little nervous because you never know what (or who!) you might run into when entering an abandoned building. I called out "Hello!" and no one answered, but I still didn't let my guard down (remind me to invest in some mace!) I walked around taking photos and tried to be as fast as I could. My Jeep was parked on the side of the road and since there isn't anything else in the area besides the church next door I didn't want to raise suspicion about who the Jeep might belong to and where I might be!

The clinic consisted of several exam rooms, a bathroom, long hallway and a large room which I assume was the waiting room. I was trying to imagine all the bustling activity that once existed here, but at the moment the atmosphere it held nothing but eerie silence.

I finished my photo taking and headed outside making sure to close the door tightly behind me. I made a mental note to Google the clinic when I got home to find out more about it.

Later that night when I was uploading my photos of the clinic to Flickr I came across the plaque that is on the front of the building and did a Google search on the namesake of the clinic. I was overwhelmed with the search results. Maude Callen turned out to be a very real, amazing Nurse-Midwife that lived in the Pineville area!

The first thing that popped up was a Life Magazine article that appeared in the December 3, 1953 issue that you can read here.

They did a several page spread with the most amazing photos of Maude while she was on the job treating the people of the Pineville area. I immediately fell in love with this woman and her obvious passion for her what she did and also the residents of the area. The photo essay speaks volumes about her dedication and work ethic.

(There are so many more photos in the magazine - do yourself a favor and check it out!!)

After doing additional research I found out that Maude dreamed of opening up a clinic in the area but didn't think that she could ever raise the money to do so. However, after the Life Magazine article was published her dream came to fruition when $27,000 in donations were collected. Maude worked in the clinic until she retired in 1971.

I noticed on the plaque that they have Life Magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith listed as "Promoter" - how did he even find Maude for his photo essay?

She seemed like such a selfless woman and I wonder what her personal life was like. Was she married? Did she have children? Where is she buried? Does she have family in the area? I need to know more!!

I love coming across heartwarming stories like that of Maude - especially when it was totally unexpected.

I think I have a new hero!