A Short Story

Written August 10, 2010

Primary Childrens Hospital Small_1Many years ago, when I was 17 or 18 years old. I worked as a messenger for the Primary Children’s Hospital. The first one that was built from donations using a program called “pennies by the inch”. The hospital was built at the top of the Avenues in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The hospital was built on 12th Avenue; that was as high as the Avenues went in those days. Anyway my job was to transport patients and supplies from one building to another, I would haul patients to whatever other hospital they needed to go to get the treatment they were in need of. I would also take lab samples that needed testing to the appropriate lab, and pick up any reports that were ready to be returned to the appropriate doctor. When the patients were done with their procedure I would take them back to their point of origin. I had other duties that included taking the food trays to the floors so the kids could eat, when the eating was done I would haul the food carts back down to the kitchen. My job kept me busy all day. I didn’t get paid very much, but it was enough to get by on. There was no health insurance in those days so if you became ill you could usually find a sympathetic doctor nurse to get you through your illness.

I was a really rambunctious guy in those days, I did what I did for work because I liked to eat and have a place to live. Living on my own was not completely my own idea, I was asked to leave my family home on my 18th birthday. I was told that I had 24 hours to get my stuff out of the house or it would be sent to the trash or given to charity or something, During that time period I didn’t have a lot of trusted friends so I made some decisions, found a place to live, and moved my belongings out of my parents’ house. I did the move in the 24 hour time frame that has been dictated to me.

Boarding HouseThe first place I lived on my own was a boarding house on the corner of 1100 East and Second South. I get away from the facts of my employment in my previous paragraph; I did work for Primary Children’s Hospital but not until a little later. During the time I lived at the boarding house I worked for a hamburger stand on the corner of 1300 East and Simpson Avenue. The place was called “MR” S. I think it was a prototype for Burger King, but I’m not sure about that. During the following year I made many friends, and lived in many places and situations, and tried my hand at many jobs. Making the ends meet occasionally was not a high priority for me at that time. I lived with different people for a time, and took advantage of their hospitality. Then something better would come along and away I would go to a new adventure.

Hawthorn HouseBy the time I was employed full time at Primary Children’s Hospital I lived in an older apartment house on the corner of First Ave and E Street; Hawthorne House Apartments. MY apartment number was “3G” it was a one room studio on the third floor that had a big bay window that look out onto the roof of a church. I started meeting new and interesting people while I lived there. I would meet them at work and we would become friends, Remember the time frame for all of this was the late sixties and early seventies. Hippies and disco were the trends of the day. I started hanging out at a local bar on Main street between First and Second south. I think the bar is still there. The music is what attracted me to the bar. They had a juke box with very large speakers that would make the walls rattle, and they played the best dance music in town. Many good times were had in that bar, I made a lot of friends.