Peter Rabbit Days

By Judith Parmentier

Tell us your story.

I was raised by Mrs. Beryl Lane, the nurse anesthetist at the hospital for many years. One of my many duties as her niece was the washing, starching, ironing and dressing of the stuffed Peter Rabbit family kept in the room used for pre-sedating the children before surgery. For many years I dreaded this tiresome job and ALL that ironing. My Aunt would give each child a stuffed rabbit to hold before they received their anesthetic. I know how much comfort those rabbits gave to the children and I would gladly perform those functions (I hated so much as a teenager back then) today if I could. My Aunt was a wonderful woman and a great role model and her life lessons have carried me very far. I miss her and the rabbits more than I can express in words.

A special time for my Aunt and me was at Christmas when we both took turns playing Christmas carols on the big organ down in the chapel (with the stars on the ceiling). The speaker would be turned on and the music would fill the entire hospital. She was also a very accomplished pianist who taught me how to play and pushed and prodded me to master the piano and the organ. I also was a volunteer at the hospital with jobs in the ward playrooms and running the gift shop. Later I worked in medical records during college and had a brief (very eventful) episode working in the kitchen. I was a major klutz in the kitchen and was eventually sent to medical records where I thrived. As you can see, I really grew up at the hospital and loved every minute of it (except for the Peter Rabbit clothes).

What does Children's mean to you, your child and your family?

The memories of the hospital are among the most wonderful memories of my life. I went on to a career in medical records and just retired as a home-based medical transcriber. I traveled all over the world with my husband and son as part of the United Nations development program and saw places my Aunt and I always talked about and dreamed of visiting. She and the hospital made me who I am.