Full circle

She’s worked there. Her kids have played there. And her husband is receiving care there. Anne Jackson’s lifelong relationship with Providence Healthcare.

It started with rhubarb. When Anne Jackson was a little girl, she loved rhubarb. If pressed, she’ll admit that a few times, she crawled “commando style” under her neighbours’ fence to steal a few stalks that she would eat in a nearby park. Fortunately, she didn’t have to do that with the Sisters, who ran what was then called The House of Providence. When Anne and her grandmother walked by on their way home, the Sisters would pull rhubarb out of their garden for them.

“We were supposed to take it home to cook it,” says Anne. “But I couldn’t wait. I’d just eat it raw on the way.”

Thus began Anne Jackson’s lifelong association with what would become Providence Healthcare. She and Providence seemed to cross paths, in all sorts of ways. Anne graduated college in 1959 and became a registered nurse. She worked at Providence Villa and Hospital for a few years. She still remembers how clean it was, and how well everyone was treated. She went on to other hospitals, returning to Providence for a couple of years as a night supervisor. During that time, she sometimes brought her baby boy Shayne with her to work.

“He was only about three or four. I used to take him on rounds with me, and the residents just loved him. They could hardly wait for him to come. Sometimes he’d disappear and I’d find him in somebody’s room. They’d be giving him candy.”

In those days, Providence ran a yearly fun fair that was a big deal in the Jackson family. The kids got to wander about with $10 to spend, while Anne and her husband Les sat in the beer garden, eating hamburgers. A few years later, Shayne worked after school in the Providence kitchen, and Anne would drive him back and forth.

A couple of years ago, Les had a stroke. He is a regular now at the Providence Adult Day Program. He goes once a week in person, but also spends a lot of time on Zoom with people in the program, talking, joking about haircuts and doing a lot of laughing. Anne says the program has been a blessing, for both Les and her.

“When he’s with them, I know I don’t have to worry. He’s safe, and in good hands. And I know it’s not just a professional thing for them. They are caring for him as a person, and that means a lot.”

A lifetime of intersections has made Anne a big fan of Providence Healthcare. She is 84 now. She still teaches nursing part time, and credits Providence for what she learned at the start of her career. Anne also still loves rhubarb, and is collecting recipes for a cookbook she hopes to write. But she doesn’t steal it from her neighbours anymore.


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