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

1 comment:

Clytie said...

That poem is indeed amazing. I had to sit and read it 3 times. You certainly found a treasure when you stumbled on this lost American hero!