Friday, March 28, 2008

Camilla welcomes Dee home from the War.

Camilla Smith Wood RN, PhD

In 1947 Camilla SMITH WOOD got her BS degree from the University of Utah and her RN License from the Salt Lake County Hospital School of Nursing. When she was too young to practice as a nurse. She had wanted to be an Engineer but she was a woman so she choose nursing. Her Dad didn’t think girls needed an education.

Camilla went to work at a dress shop after graduating from high school to earn the money for Nursing School. She left home at 16 moving into the Salt Lake County Hospital’s dorm for their nursing students. She was very anxious to work in the hospital as a student, but the duty she got was cleaning closets. The first time she gave a bed bath when she rolled the old gentleman over he died. She was so heart sick she didn’t ask for any patient duty for a while. Nursing school was hard work from 5 or 6 a.m. each morning to lights out at 9 p.m.. The rules where very strict and there was never enough time to study. Camilla would study with a flash light under the covers.

When Kirt DeMar WOOD came home from World War II Camilla went to the Salt Lake City train station at the west end of 3rd South Street to meet him. The train was full of returning service men and the station and platform was crowded with their families and sweet- hearts. Dee’s “sweetheart” Camilla was the only one he had asked to meet him. Kirt Dee had been three years in the U. S. Navy as a pharmacist’s mate on a ship in the South Pacific after his training at Farragut, Idaho. He had also spent a few weeks in Seattle.

Kirt DeMar WOOD US Navy 1943

When her High School sweetheart returned from the South Pacific Camilla had to borrow both a dress to wear and money for the bus ride from the County Hospital at 21st South and State Street. She had to ask her fiancée for a dime to use the toilet at the train station. They then went to see her parents. Mother had not been home while she was in nurses training. Dad had sent a diamond ring to Grandma Smith and ask her to ask her daughter Camilla if she would marry him. Mother had called the engagement off a couple times through the mail. They were going to wait a while but when they decided to go ahead and get married Mother had to ask permission of the Training School. It was against the rules to live away from the school. She had to agree to be to the Hospital every morning by 6 a.m. and if she was sick she had to check into the hospital for the day.

They where Married in the Salt Lake Temple June 11, 1946. Since there hadn’t been any construction during the war and with so many men returning and marrying at the same time there was no place for them to rent. So they moved in with Grandma Wood on T Street in the Salt Lake City avenues. Camilla had so little time to spend with her husband she felt like she was competing with Grandma Wood for his time. Camilla would make a romantic dinner for the two of them and Grandma would sit at the table during their dinner to visit with Dee.

Kirt Dee had taken printing at South and West High schools and planned to take some training to become a printer. But when he had the opportunity to go to college because of the GI Bill he choose to become an elementary school teacher.

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