This week’s entry is an interesting photo in your Clarkson Historical Museum. Can you guess what is going on?
Does it depict the aftermath of a free watermelon feed during the old Harvest Festivals? NO!
Is it an emergency hospital set up to treat the victims of a stampede when $50 was given out by the Clarkson merchants at 9 PM Saturday night? NO!
Are these casualties from the riot that broke out when somebody prematurely yelled “BINGO!!!” at the Bishop Neumann School the night there was a $500 pot? ALE, NE!
As near as I can make out, it is photograph of a Blood Drive at Clarkson’s City Hall. It does a great job of showing all the steps in the process, from intake to blood typing to donating a unit of blood to post-donation recovery over a soft drink and cookie. Although I might guess from the style of the mens’ overalls that this photo was taken in the early 1950s, it doesn’t look very much different from what goes on today.
This is a digital photo of an paper print made from a b&w negative, so some detail was lost at every step. Nevertheless, I got out the ole’ magnifying glass to see if I could recognize anybody. I can’t, but maybe you can find yourself or a friend in these pictures.
Odds are that most of the nurses in the photo were from out of town. I don’t know where the blood bank was located in those days – Columbus? Look at the nurses’ white shoes and starched white uniforms. The hats seem to differ a bit among the nurses – some have a dark ribbon across the front, others not. Some have a Red Cross on the front, others not. Did these differences denote different ranks or organizations?
Update: Ele Loseke says that the nurse at the bottom of the picture below, looking at the camera, is Polly Polansky. Polly was the grade school nurse for many years, and a determined collector of newspapers for recycling. The nurse on the far right of the picture is Evelyn Blecha, the wife of Milo Blecha. Milo Blecha was a war hero (B17 pilot in Europe), as well as a much-admired coach and science teacher at CHS.
In the picture below showing donors giving up their pint, they all seem to be wearing blood pressure cuffs (sphygmomanometers). Did blood pressure used to be monitored throughout the procedure, or did they just use these things to push more blood into the arm?
Update: Ele thinks she sees Leo Sixta in the picture below.
In the picture below, potential donors are having their blood typed/tested, and are being asked whatever questions were asked back then. Probably “How are you feeling today?” Can you imagine how quick the interviews might have been before the blood banks had to concern themselves with HIV/AIDS, multiple strains of hepatitis, and the ease of foreign travels to malaria- and yellow-fever infested areas?
The fellow being interviewed by the nurse of the left bears a passing resemblance to my Dad, Jerome Cada. Although he would have almost certainly shown up at this blood drive, I doubt it is him simply because he always changed out of his overalls before he went into town.
Dad was a big believer in donating blood, and he cycled back an forth between the Clarkson and Schuyler blood drives as often as they would let him. In addition, he had an uncommon blood type that was not in great supply in the bank, so he would get calls in the middle of the night to come to the Schuyler Hospital to give an emergency transfusion to someone. On at least one occasion, they asked him to pick up his brother Bo, who also had that rare blood type, on the way into town. Ha. I remember Dad coming home with a 15-gallon donor pin, and he donated blood for many years after that.
All those stainless steel containers on the table (probably holding gauze and cotton balls) remind me of Doc O’Neal’s office. In preparation for a shot or some medical procedure, he’d pull the lid off the container with a little metallic ring, pull out some cotton, and press it down on the plastic lid of a brown glass jar with rubbing alcohol a couple of times to moisten the cotton. Sterilize the area and you’re ready for major surgery.
And finally, the blowup below shows people waiting to donate and perhaps, in the back corner, relaxing for a few minutes after donating their pint of blood. All in all, it’s a busy scene for a little town. Nebraskans are known all over as volunteers and givers – this picture gives good evidence of that.
Update: Ele suggests that the picture below shows Joe Toman (mid-front), looks like a Vacha next to him and Vrby in suit and tie, and the lady in back facing us looks like Mrs. Jonas (Ben Jonas’ mother).
And while we’re on a medical topic, who can tell me what the device below is? And how far from Clarkson did you have to travel to use it? Winners will be announced (along with the unsettling answers) next week. Good luck!