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As part of BWH's BluePrint celebration, BWH Bulletin features this special section to explore the past, present and future of the institution. Throughout 2013, you'll find a new fun fact, story, photo or tradition in each issue of Bulletin. You can also find information about BluePrint, including a tool kit, milestones and events, at BWHPikeNotes.org/BluePrint. Questions? Email BWHBluePrint@partners.org.
Last weekend's blizzard brought back memories for the many BWHers who were working at the Brigham during another historic storm, the Blizzard of ‘78.
Ann Haley, manager of BWH Office Services/Audiovisual, recalls skiing to work from her home in Jamaica Plain at the start of the Blizzard of ‘78. A unit coordinator at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital at the time, Haley reminisced about her swift trek down South Huntington Avenue.
"I couldn't get anywhere by foot, and I absolutely knew I was going to go into work because I was caring for patients at the time," said Haley. "I didn't come home for three days and was exhausted, but we had so much fun. Everyone helped out, and the camaraderie was wonderful. Like now, we were a family that got together to take care of patients. It was one of the highlights of my 42 years here."
Julia Rattigan-Curtin, RN, clinical documentation specialist in Care Coordination, also shared her memorable odyssey to work during the Blizzard of ‘78.
Since she was in only her third week of employment at the Peter Bent Brigham, she decided to walk from her home near Newton Corner. As she approached Cleveland Circle, she saw an Army Reserve truck in the distance. The driver, who was scouting for workers who needed a lift, picked her up and took her to the Armory in Brighton and then to work.
Radiation-Oncology nurse Lynn Lopes, RN, remembers getting one of the last cabs into work for her 11 p.m. shift. "I lived in Back Bay, so I felt compelled to get to work. Little did I know that I would be there for three days!" she said. She added that people became resourceful; some even washed their clothes at the hospital and hung them on the radiators to dry. No patients could go home either, and many offered to pitch in with tasks as well, Lopes said.
Radiation Oncology billing manager Christine Simonian, who at the time worked in administrative support in the ED, also reminisces: "What I remember most is the bond we formed with our colleagues. Even today, all those memories just come right up again."
In a funny take on the storm that year, the Boston Hospital for Women, which later merged with the Peter Bent Brigham and Robert Breck Brigham hospitals to form BWH, distributed "Blizzard Baby 1978" T-shirts to all babies born on Nov. 1-nine months after the storm.
The T-shirts drew the attention of media outlets, including Newsweek, The Boston Globe, Boston Herald and other national newspapers. Even NBC Nightly News ran a segment on the story.
Read the original BWH Bulletin article about the blizzard babies of '78.