Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #275

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #275

…with the war over, there is babies being made left and right… and up, down and sideways…

post-war_Baby-Boom_577

Just then, two cars pull up to 224 Virginia Street. Ten professional looking men jump out of the eight doors, enthusiastically. They are anxious to see just what their colleague has been doing with his spare time.–

          –At the same time that the ten black staff physicians, some on, some off duty, check out another venue in which to uphold their oath of healing, there is a spur-of-the-moment meeting of the Florida A & M Hospital board of directors, called by the advisory board chairman, J. Leonard Lewis, who happens to be a backdoor relative of banker Lewis. That in itself inserts a stench into the coming proceedings.

“What are we going to do about Campbell’s hospital?” He opens with a very pointed question.

“What do you mean by that, J.L.,” asks Vernon L. Perry, taken aback by the tone.

V.L. –  J.L. –  A.O. –  A&M  –  L.B.M.H. – Abbreviation City.

“Here we are, understaffed as it is and a third of our doctors are AWOL, being courted by that Baby Boomrenegade Campbell!” He cannot hide his bitterness. “Look, V.L., with the war over, there is babies being made left and right… and up, down and sideways. We can’t afford to lose any one of them. Unlike Tallahassee Memorial, we are a predominantly black facility.”

Perry is just as aware of the influx of births as Lewis, but he is a friend of A.O. Campbell and he knows there is no intended competition. Rather, what is being lost in this shuffle of egos is that most of the babies Campbell will deliver would have been probably turned away at the university or delivered in a non sterile environment by a midwife.

“You don’t actually believe that he will cut into our revenue, do you?”

“He won’t charge as much as us. Don’t you think people over there in Frenchtown will find out?”

“I don’t see how doing mostly what we would consider charity work, is going to be a threat,” adds a new voice in the discussion. Mrs. John Phipps, widow of a prominent Tallahassean, turned philanthropist, discerns no menace from the diminutive doctor from Virginia Street. “He gave up a good job to pursue his dream.”

“He shouldn’t impose his dream on the other doctors.”

“You don’t get it, do you? We are not going to lose any of our staff to Campbell,” states Perry. “Anything they do is on their own time.”

blacklist

“There is one thing you don’t get, V.L. Does the name, Charles Wilson ring a bell?” The room falls silent. They are well aware that a high percentage of their operating expenses are funded by Wilson’s charitable foundation and his certain friends of a like mind. You can guess who is in control and what nefarious agendas the whole of them undertake.

“Hello?” Lewis prods.

The dissenting majority has a feeling that their poker hand has just been trumped. Wilson is a wild card none of them can top.

“I think my point has been made, folks. Our policy toward working outside Florida A & M Hospital is about to be enforced.”

… Or made up…

Letter B.Letter S.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #275


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #274

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #274

…Campbell hopes to have any of his colleagues from Florida A & M Hospital, who would like to practice out of LBMH, do so…

Loving Hold

Loving Hold by Marla Oliphant

“You haven’t stopped movin’ since you got back from Mayo,” complains Maggie Campbell. He continues Vertical-001Vertical-001his flitting around, having done it for the entire year leading up to the completion of LBMH. This time, an equally busy man covered with powdery white dust, gets his attention.

“The second floor won’t be finished for another week, Doctor Campbell,” reports the general contractor for the Laura Bell Memorial Hospital.

  “We’re goin’ to have a reception this Friday, whether you’re finished or not. I would appreciate you makin’ sure there ain’t a mess on the first floor. I expect maybe fifty people or more and I will need the room.”

“Don’t you worry bout a thing, Doc; I’ll make sure the guys clean up good. Heck we won’t be doin’ anything on Friday anyway, mostly waiting on those special doors you need.”

“As long as there is a front door, Laura Bell Memorial Hospital will be open for business on Saturday. My Project 18-001In fact, I’m having a group of doctors over this afternoon for a tour.” Campbell hopes to have any of his colleagues from Florida A & M Hospital, who would like to practice out of LBMH, do so. There is such a great need for health care in the back streets of Frenchtown, no one doctor should shoulder the load, let alone the expense, of treating the less fortunate. It is his noble cause, but he also hopes that the other black physicians will eagerly take up the call. “Maggie, would you drop in our nurses, make sure they will be at the reception. Have you seen the trucking company yet? Those stainless steel examinin’ tables should have come in from Pittsburgh already.”

BOOK PIC NURSES 001

A.O & his Nursing Staff

“Alpha Campbell, you’re actin’ like a mother hen, I swear. You know Lilly Chevis is my best friend and head nurse. I think she has the girls ready. Let the good Lord take care of the details and you take care of those doctor friends of yours. I had Cook make two big pitchers of lemonade, oh and some of those finger sandwiches you like so much.”

“Oh, Maggie, I don’t know what I’d do without you.” True enough. Without her inheritance from John Ferrell, thirty or so years ago, there is no huge house, no chauffeur driven Cadillac, no servants, no parties at the country club; just the prestige of being a respected physician. And the hospital? Forget about it. They would be living on love and not much more, which is not so bad, because that is just what they actually share. It just so happens they get a new car every year, has four people on their household staff and they have their very own hospital right across their driveway.

“Let’s get this thing going, Alpha.” She spreads her arms out to encompass the entire whiteness of LBMH. “Maybe you will be able to deliver our first grandchild here. Laura tells me that she and Franklin are tryin, to have a baby.”

“That would be somethin’ Maggie!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

"God is Like a Mother Hen" Mosaic from the church of Dominus Flevit - Jerusalem

“God is Like a Mother Hen” Mosaic from the church of Dominus Flevit – Jerusalem

Episode #274


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #273

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #273

…”I’m in need of a co-pilot for a flight to New Mexico.”

“What?” That comes from so far in left field that Lyn is caught selling peanuts in the parking lot…

Old Telephone by Raymond Logan

Old Telephone by Raymond Logan

“I’m sorry, Lyn, I keep forgetting Sara is gone.”

The office phone rings, severing the air of “blue” reminiscence.

Typewriter-001“Mr. Rogers? There is a Robert Ford on the telephone. He claims to know Lyn.” The Harper Books receptionist relays the information.

  Rogers covers the mouthpiece with his free hand. “Do you know a Robert Ford?”

  “Robert Ford, I don’t,” one one-thousand, “oh, yes I do. If that is Captain Ford from Pan American Airways, let me speak to him.” Lyn hated the way things were left on Ceylon. “Captain Ford?”

“It is Citizen Ford, Miss Hanes, but you could call me Dirt and I wouldn’t mind.” He had called Lyn several times that first year, but had since given up on his quest for the lady’s heart. “I’m still flying, but its cargo, not passengers. My own plane, I’m proud to say.”

Planter S Peanut & the Nutmobile

Planter S Peanut & the Nutmobile

“Congratulations!” She resists asking him if he had lost any freight lately. There are times when Lyn needs to hold her tongue, despite the urge to the contrary.

“Thank you, but I’m in need of a co-pilot for a flight to New Mexico.”

What?” That comes from so far in left field that Lyn is caught selling peanuts in the parking lot.

“This whole deal may be a dead end, but I received a call from Terry Trippe this morning. He tells me that he got a call from an Air Force base out in New Mexico. They have an unidentified woman there, with what they think is amnesia. The one thing she keeps mentioning is the Clipper.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m not saying anything quite yet; I just thought it would be worth going out there. I’ve got a load of celluloid for United Artists in Hollywood. How about me popping out to La Guardia, in say, two hours?”

Lyn doesn’t know what to think. She is awash in the newness of these developments, barely able to keep her mind from racing, getting her hopes up. Even false hope is better than the no hope she has lived with for six lonely years; six years of living someone else’s life (Constance and not very well as we found out) not her own.

 She would make one hell of a private eye and this is a great opportunity to ply that craft.

“Go,” urges Stanley Rogers. “I’ll take care of the old man… watch it, I know what you’re thinking Lyn?”

“Make it three hours and you’ll have your co-pilot. I bet you didn’t know that I have an expiring pilot’s license.”

“That doesn’t surprise me none and three hours it is… mark… that makes it 1624 Eastern Time.” Ford is nothing if not precise and probably the most unassuming hero you can find. “My plane is a white-over-gray DC-3 with Constance Caraway P. I. in yellow paint on both sides of the nose. I’ve become one of her biggest fans. I’m so glad she divorced that jerky congressman.”

“I’ll be sure to tell my editor that.”

Devoted readers are the best.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Blue Ridge Angel-001

Episode #273


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #272

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #272

…That’s not all he wants to rub,” she pats her bottom, “you let ‘em do it once and they think they can do it all the time…

Typewriter-001

We get letters“We’re getting a hundred letters a week, Lyn. The test audience wants to know why Constance Caraway is working without a partner. What about a dashing tall, dark and handsome type, you know the FBI or even better, the CIA that would give it an international flavor.”

Stanley Rogers – Editor

“Christ almighty, Stanley. The day Constance teams up with some damned government freak will be a cold day in hell.” Carolyn Hanes has had it with editors, not that Stanley Rogers is a bad one, but he one of the new breed editors who are what she considers as, overly concerned and influenced by the readers. “The last time I listened to you, and it may have been the last time I do, you talked me… I mean her, into marrying that sleazy politician.”

“You didn’t have to make him sleazy,” the editor reminds her.

“If it walks like a politician, somewhat upright, with two legs and a male brain, he has to be sleazy.”

“Fine, but did you have to have him sleeping with everything wearing a skirt?”

“Everything is right,” Lyn gloats. “Remember, you don’t have to be a lady to wear a skirt.” Stanley blushes. “What about you, Stan? I can lend you one of mine.”

“All right, enough of this silly talk. What are you doing tonight? Old man Harper wants to rub elbows with his star writer.”

That’s not all he wants to rub,” she pats her bottom. “You let ‘em do it once and they think they can do it all the time.

Fanny-001  “He is the publisher and that was three books ago – before he found out about your ‘friend’.”

Sara/Fanny.

 There isn’t a day that goes by without some memory of her or the character she inspired. The true essences of fictional Fanny and so-real Sara have always been interchangeable, to the point that Lyn would mentally confuse the dressmaking housemate with the picture taking investigative partner. Sara would bristle when she was called Fanny. Likewise, Sara’s name used to occasionally appear in the same paragraph with Constance Caraway. That is what editors are for.

“I’m sorry, Lyn, I keep forgetting she’s gone.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

The Hawaiian Spy-001

Episode #272


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #270

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #270

I have invited every black doctor in Tallahassee to use the hospital and we will be able to treat folks, even if they don’t have no money to pay…

My Project 18-001

“Yep. I believe my doctorin’ began with my carin’ for a bird with a busted wing.” And now he is on the brink of having his Laura Bell Memorial Hospital become a reality. He can only have fond memories for the days he spent around Herbert Love, without whose love, guidance and support his very own health care facility would have remained a dream. Chances are that instead of being a doctor he would be working for the new owners of Love Dairy & Ice, taking up his father’s craft of cigar making; Honorable work, but paling in comparison to the life he Love's-001has been blessed with. Now, it is the Herbert & Phoebe Love Foundation that helps LBMH become a reality.

“You will be able to save a lot of birds with a 24-bed clinic, Doc.” Lawyer James proclaims.

“Hospital!”

“Excuse my ignorance.”

I have invited every black doctor in Tallahassee to use the hospital. We will be able to treat folks, even if they don’t have no money to pay. No one should go on sick just because they can’t afford a doctor.”

“I admire your benevolence, but you must keep in mind that you will be spending one-half of that $300,000 of your own money. And the bank will expect to be repaid for what they have lent you. And old man Lewis is not known for forgiving any amount of money owed him.”

  “I’ll be a chargin’ folks James, believe me, but only ones who have it.” A.O. is quite aware of his finances, especially as it applies to his wife. Even with the girls out the door and married, Maggie Lou continues to find ways to spend… and spend and spend some more. “But I haveta give up my day job, though I told at A&M that I can fill in a pinch.”

  “Don’t get me wrong, Doc, it’s just that I am not the type person to lay out that amount for a building. You’re exposing yourself, man! You could be cruising on to retirement, instead, your retirement money is going into that polly-annahospital. Couldn’t you work out of your house first?”

  “Can’t treat whites out my house. I’m hopin’ they will let me set up some white beds.”

“Good luck with that.” There is a sarcastic tone to his voice. He continues to be amazed at A.O. Campbell’s Pollyanna views on race relations. He has the unique ability to block out persistent injustices, choosing to focus on ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe somedays’. Maybe he is on to something, after all. “You know, Alpha, I hear they are looking for an ambassador to represent the US at the United Nations. You would be perfect for the job.”

 “Shucks, James, I’m just another country doctor, not a ‘bassador.”

“He is a country doctor, with the foundation of his own hospital being dug as we speak.” James will never cease to be amazed at the world of Alpha Omega Campbell. Nothing about him is just plain ordinary, yet nearly child-like in his simplicity.

“Speakin’ of today, I got to get packed for the Mayo Clinic.” Every couple of years, A.O. heads north to keep current in his medicine.

“There you go, Alpha. Clinic is good enough for the Mayos.”

“They have clinics in Minnesota, we have hospitals in Florida.”

How can you argue with that?


Alpha Omega M.D.

Pollyanna book cover by Tamzyn Leigh

Pollyanna book cover by Tamzyn Leigh

Episode #270


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #269

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #269

Chapter Fifteen

HOSPITALITY

…The Florida court system in 1946 is stacked up with ever increasing lawsuits, due in large part to the exponential increase in the number of attorneys…

Fast Forward-001

“You said you were going to retire this year, James,” reminds Abigail Ferrell-Ferrell to her husband.

“I said that I would consider it and I have. It’s just that Alpha has these nagging little malpractice suits thatLawsuit seem to drag on forever.” It is true. The Florida court system in 1946 is stacked up with ever increasing lawsuits, due in large part to the exponential increase in the number of attorneys and their incessant snooping and digging, for what amounts to manufacturing business.

  • If a baby is born with a birth defect, sue.
  • If a woman develops an infection after delivering the baby, sue.
  • If the husband trips on the hospital stairway while taking his crippled baby and ill wife home, sue.
  • If the receptionist looks cross-eyed at the family when they are readmitted, of course, sue.

“And that hospital he is intent on building, he is going to need as much advice as I can give.”

James Ferrell Lawyer “You are 66 years old and Alpha himself told you that ulcer you had a couple of years ago will come back if you don’t cut back.” Abbey has been the best wife a man can have, not to mention having aged, oh so well. When James looks at her, like he is now, discerning her caring and what wisdom is behind it, he cannot help but see that quaking 15 year old, the scared little girl that had just witnessed the killing of her father, at the hands of the slaves who used to attend to her every need.

“I understand where you are coming from Abbey, but you have been taking such good care of me. I have never felt better.”

There is a knock on the door of their San Luis Lake home. Abbey opens it to reveal the main topic of their discussion.

“Well, A.O. Campbell, your ears must have been ringing. We were just talking about you,” she shares.

“Nothin’ bad I trust. I know I have been takin’ most of your man’s time lately, probably got me on your bad side.”

“Oh nonsense, Doc Campbell, how can a sweet man like you ever cause anyone any harm?”

“I bet you that James has a few names he could offer in that category.”

“Intent is 90% of the law, Alpha and I cannot for the life of me recall you hurting so much as a pesky housefly.”

At a glance, the doctor’s diminutive stature and dapper manner of dress is proof in the putting. He is the physical image of his deportment, from the brim of his crisply brimmed hats to the tips of his perfectly polished shoes.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Intent by Terry Cullen

Episode #269


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #268

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #268

…After Captain Ford, his crew and remaining passengers, et al had left Karachi, their odyssey continued for another ten days…

Pacific Clipper Route      As for the Pacific Clipper, the first thing Captain Robert Ford did, once they had landed at LaGuardia Robert Ford-001harbor on January 5 1942, was to radio Colombo, Ceylon and the British Embassy there. He did call his family, knowing that Pan Am had done so in advance for him, but it is the fate of a woman he barely knew that haunts him, and as it turns out, will continue to haunt him for the rest of his life.

Pacific Clipper Take-off    After him, his crew and remaining passengers, et al had left Karachi, their odyssey Pan Am Clipper2continued for another ten days, across the Arabian Peninsula, the sands of the Sahara, the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to the tip of South America, then finally and mercifully, New York City.

Ford Map-001 The loss of one passenger will taint the joy of flying, for a flyer without parallel. Instead of retirement, he is granted two weeks leave and a reassignment to an Atlantic Clipper route. He will china_clipperdo so dutifully, if not unceremoniously.

In the two-week layover, he writes out a complete debriefing for his friend, Lyn, so she can fill in the blanks for her war mystery, The Hawaiian Spy. He promises a visit to Tallahassee on his summer vacation. Not an altogether disagreeable notion, even for her. Friendship is friendship, after all.

Pan Am ClipperPan Am Hat-001fords-flight-route1937 CC P.I.-001

As in the case of their country, they find: a lesson not learned  is the hardest lesson of all.

End of Chapter Fourteen


Author’s note:

What I enjoy most about writing Historical Fiction is being able to weave stories, like Robert Ford’s Pacific Clipper WWII ordeal, into the fabric of ***Alpha Omega M.D. – Granted he never actually had a passenger go missing from his Pan Am Clipper on the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), but what fun it was to include characters Carolyn Hanes (Constance Caraway) and Sara Fenwick (Fanny Renwick) in on one of the most amazing stories that no one knows about.

One sunny Sunday, while knee-deep in writing this book, I came upon a feature article in the Chicago Tribune’s Travel Section. Somewhere in my old-fashioned stack of research material is that article. At the time, I could not put it down, nor could I let it rest.

As it is with the construction of any book, one writes one-day-at-a-time and a once well-planned story takes a sudden turn. And so it did; from a story about a kindly Southern doctor – to a fictional fiction writer who takes a holiday aboard one of Pan American Airways flying boats, WWII breaks out, she loses her companion and blah, blah, blah etc…

I would like to thank the faithful readers of the Writing is Fun-damental (WIF) blog, for allowing me to share my book, along with this amazing story with you. – Gwen

*** THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR – ISBN 978-1-4691-9018 Xlibris Publishing

For the real story behind the Pacific Clipper, (Daley, Robert, 1980, An American Saga, Juan Trippe and His Pan Am Empire, Random House, New York)  follow the link below:

Captain Robert Ford’s Factual Pacific Clipper Story

Pacific Clipper-001



Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #268


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