Flashback to College

Funny how synchronicity works. I was reading yesterday’s AJC article about tailgating and drinking on the UGA campus. It took me back to an episode during freshman year in Creswell Hall, so long ago, when several of us found Blanche, the oddball ex-Marine lesbian on our wing, the woman so many of my dorm-mates were frankly unnerved by, passed out in her room. We had no way of knowing that she’d actually drunk herself insensible, so the RA called the campus police, and they took her over to the ER at St. Mary’s. My next door neighbor, Mimi, and I went along to make sure she was going to be okay.

I was one of the few on the hall that was friendly with Blanche, but as I knew that Mimi had little use for her, I couldn’t quite understand why she’d come along. As we sat in the waiting area at St. Mary’s, I couldn’t help asking why. The gist of her response, if not the exact words, has stayed with me for thirty years:

::shrug:: I’m going to be a nurse; somewhere along the way I’ve learned about compassion for others.

That memory by itself wouldn’t merit mentioning. This morning, though, as we sat at the ‘Bou reading today’s paper I happened to glance over at the obituaries and saw:

Mary Elizabeth “Mimi” Beasley, MD, 49 of Atlanta, died November 18, 2005.

Our paths had not crossed after freshman year. I moved down the hill to Mell Hall; she moved into the Kappa Delta house and then to Augusta to the nursing program at MCG. According to the obit, after finishing the program, she worked as a nurse for five years, and then attended medical school at Emory. I had occasionally wondered back then why, as bright as she was, she intended to settle for being a nurse. Obviously she didn’t, in the end.