July 24, 2019

VUMC employees share memories with “99 Words of Summer”

In memories that range from rural Georgia to New England to Alaska and beyond, Medical Center employees recall summer days and summer nights.

Yellow fresh sunflower background

Bruce Springsteen sang of “Sweet summer nights [turning] into summer dreams.” The Beach Boys were having fun “All Summer Long.” Sly and the Family Stone promised “Hot Fun in the Summertime.”

Summer memories, like summer songs, come in all flavors, and the when VUMC Voice asked Medical Center employees to share their stories of summer in 99 words or fewer, the submissions take us from rural Georgia to New England to Alaska.

Thanks to those who sent in their stories and pictures. Who knows? There could be another round in the VUMC Voice‘s “99 Words” series in the future…

Kaitlyn Johnston Minchin, Pediatric Speech-Language Pathology, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital: “I have oodles of precious summer memories with my little sister, Lindsey; notable highlights include taking our stuffed teddy bears swimming, inventing our own “language” (much to our family’s chagrin), combing the beach for seashells, trying to train our pet snails, and attempting “science experiments” we found in library books. This summer we will make a new memory: working at VUMC together. My sister will move from Florida to Tennessee and start as a cardiac nurse resident on 7S. I’ll continue working as a speech-language pathologist at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Here’s to more precious memories in summer 2019, sis!” Photo: Kaitlyn Johnston Minchin and Lindsey Johnston several summers ago.
Casie Habetler, Adult Emergency Department. “When I was 8 years old, I probably didn’t appreciate that I lived in Alaska. I was grumpy with early morning wake up calls to go fishing. Yet when I tell people about where I grew up they always look at me with wanderlust. They tell me they’ve always wanted to go. I think back to the many summers I spent up there and now appreciate how truly magical it was. This was my first king salmon. I’ll never forget the joy of reeling this one in on the Russian River, covered in mud and proud as could be.” Photo: Her first king salmon.
Yvonne Poindexter, Anesthesiology. “I was 5, and the peace of a green pasture was all that separated my house from Grandpa’s farm. Slip through the gate by the white picket fence, skip the dirt path and in minutes you’d arrive. A whitewashed barn. The two tall silos. The smell of cows with beds of dusty straw. Corn fields beckoned, with stalks tall enough by July to be a forest. I’d run their straight rows, leaves rustling, brushing my bare legs. Surrounded by earth and green, I’d look skyward, welcoming the sun. Later—tired—I’d retreat, catching my breath on the farmhouse steps.” Photo:
Yvonne “Vonnie” Parsons Poindexter with the barn, tractor and silos.
Betsy Ham, Emeritus Office, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “My father built us kids a tiny, A-framed playhouse at the edge of the forest about a thousand feet from the farmhouse in which I grew up. My city cousin came to visit once, and we decided to sleep in the A-frame. Upon looking out the one screened-in ‘window,’ she spotted an animal in a nearby tree, which I had recognized as our large house cat, but instead I chose to say, ‘Oh that’s probably just a mountain lion. They’re always wandering around in the woods.’ I’m pretty sure my cousin broke an Olympic record running back to the house.” Photo: The farmhouse that was home.
Shayna Hipson, Interpreter Services. “As the sun begins to set and the street lights illuminate the pesky first flight of the mosquitos searching for their dinner, my mother’s thick Boston accent pierces the soft breeze of a New England dusk, ‘come in fah suppah!!’ We put our bicycles away with great reluctance, but we know if we eat our veggies maybe we will be taken to get soft serve ice cream with rainbow jimmies. In Massachusetts, summer doesn’t get quite as hot as Tennessee, but I will never forget the warmth of my memories.” Photo: A New England summer, ’96: “My mom, my brother and me: Janine, Adam, and Shayna Hipson.”
Erin Wilmore, Pediatric Trauma Department. “As a kid summer meant fireworks, having any excuse to eat ice cream, being filthy but your mom didn’t seem to care, ending your day by catching a jar full of fireflies, celebrating our country’s freedom and freedom from school! Summer was a “free pass” of childhood! Now I get to see it all again through the eyes of my children, it’s much sweeter and more fleeting this time around. Summer is a reminder to just be a kid again, get dirty, play outside, eat ice cream for supper and you’ll end your day with a jar full of memories.” Photo: Erin’s sons Knox (age 8) and Denver (age 3).
Cheryl Rhodes, Vanderbilt Center for Women’s Health at NorthCrest. “Mid ’70s summers we’d visit my grandparents at Lake Blackshear in southwest Georgia. Their modest house sat at the end of a long, dusty red dirt driveway shaded by giant pecan trees and bordered on one side by a bit of grassy farmland. My siblings and I looked forward all year to visiting those favorite grandparents. We’d play outside daylight to dusk, taking turns riding my grandmother’s ‘grownup’ bicycle with the big, fat white-rimmed tires to get the mail each afternoon, then fishing off the dock in the evenings with mayflies we’d caught under their huge old willow tree.” Photo: Cheryl, sister Susan and brother Mike stopping to smell the flowers.