Old Hospital

There’s a thread on Facebook where folks are talking of their experiences at the old hospital in Peace River. Since Dad lived there and we grew up a block away I have a ton of memories. It was one of my favourite places in town.

I roamed the corridors. I brushed passed reception with a wave or darted in through Emergency. I avoided the active wards or emerg. But the main floor had two waiting rooms – one was dark and formal and almost unused. Forgotten awards and plaques adorned the walls. Radiology and Records had adults I knew. And administration with Dad and other was just behind reception.

But the basement was better. The service department was filled with tools. The laundry was a bustle of constant activity and the air heavy with steam. The cafeteria, where jello or French fries, was at the end of the hall. The loading ramp provided a third way in and out. There was a big boardroom hidden down there. And the morgue – we lurked sometimes around there but no one ever displayed corpses for young kids. Not at all like the movies.

The best bit was the rainbow tunnel from the hospital basement to the nursing home. Long and echoey, the hall was painted with cheery murals and wood relief art along its length.

The thread on Facebook has people talking about how big and scary the hospital seemed as a child. It wasn’t for me. The hospital was a place of wonder and exploration. In fact as we wandered down there from home, passing through the wooded lot containing the nurses residence, we would sing,

“I like to go a’ wandering
Along the mountain path
And as I go, I love to sing
My backpack on my back”

And the the hospital was our wizard’s tower.

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