Pine Bluff News By Pat Matheny
Tuesday, I took Susie to the optometrist at the Mountaineer Medical building near UHC. On the way home, we stopped at Jimmy’s Diner for something to eat. It was good to see Billie Salerno and his daughter Toni Williams, Walter and Patty Post, and John Anthony.
I overheard Walt and John discussing the names of former doctors in Shinnston. Of course, I had to butt in and asked if they knew the name of the woman doctor that was in town in the early sixties – neither of them could place her. Walt said that he’d ask John Rice, because if anybody knew her name, it would be John. He worked at his dad’s (George) Pharmacy (Rice’s Drug Store) when he was young.
The doctor’s office was over the present Bice-Ferguson Museum (Former State Food Store) and in the space where the SHS Alumni Room is presently located. The reason I remember her is because when I was a freshman at SHS, I was injured in Phys-Ed class and she took care of me. We were playing basketball and it was at the end of the period and it was one of those old free-for-alls where whoever got the ball would shoot it.
As any attendant of SHS remembers, the Phys-Ed court was sunken 8’ down in the floor and was about two-thirds the length of a regulation basketball court. It was lined with brick walls and there were two cubbyholes (Alcoves) in each end that led to steps. My mom told me that it was originally designed for a swimming pool, but obviously that never materialized. Anyways, back to the story.
Another boy and I were chasing down a loose ball and it headed toward one of the cubbyholes. As I reached down to grab it on the run, he gave me a shove and I went flying through the air and came to an abrupt halt when my head hit the corner of the brick wall. My head was split open down the part in my hair; there was blood everywhere. The coach had some of the guys get wet paper towels to help clean me, the wall, and the floor up. Then, the coach piled a bunch of wet towels on my head and ‘allowed’ my good friend Avon McCauley to accompany me downtown to see a doctor.
Think about it folks, I had to walk almost five blocks trailing blood from a gash in my head. Could you imagine if that happened today? I remember when we walked into the waiting room, after stumbling up all of those steps, the nurse and woman doctor grabbed me immediately and took me in the back where she sewed in 15 stitches. When I left the office, I stopped at the corner phone booth (Pike and Bridge) and called Mom to let her know what had happened and to come get me.
Needless to say, when we got home, business really picked up…Helen Mae was cranked! She started burning up the phone. The first call was to Harrison Co. School Superintendant Clyde McCarty. He was the principal when she attended SHS and they were good friends through PTA activities. Then, she called the Principal, ‘old man’ Anderson (Noah B.), and worked her way down.
The following Monday when I showed up at school, I had teachers chasing me down the hallways asking how I was doing…suddenly, I became very popular with the faculty.
Saturday, Walt called and said he had spoken with John and he said the lady doctor’s name was Alma Wurdemann. John told Walt that she had a practice in town for a few years and then he thought she moved to Pa. So, the mysterious woman doctor has been identified and now you know why I comb my hair up over on one side.
Until next time, have a great week and remember our Veterans.