University of Minnesota

“If It Isn’t Fun.” – Medical School Journal Resumes Pt. 3


July 1, 1947

In addition to performing canine tonsillectomies, I’ve spent the first weeks of summer at home in Miami in wanton resting and eating, with an occasional date, plus short trips around Florida with the family. I leave this week by private car for Chicago, wearing a glowing sunburn acquired fishing off Islamorado in the Keys. Harry, the driver-caretaker for wealthy neighbors, will provide the transportation. Though I suspect that he is not overburdened “upstairs,” it seems he will be an affable companion.

When we arrived in Chicago, Harry gave me a Cook’s tour of the lakeshore and museums. I then registered at the Abbott Hall dormitory of Northwestern Medical School, which towers 18 floors above Lake Michigan. I’m overwhelmed by the bigness and northernness and newness of things — and I’m feeling very lonely. The familiar anxiety is creeping in around the mediastinum and I must get hold of myself before interviews for internship.

July 10

Quite by accident, I ran into Walter Grenell from University of Miami days in Abbott dorm and he showed me around Passavant Hospital where he’s on a senior clerkship. Then I went through Wesley Memorial where I’m applying for internship. Walt says you can get an MS degree in basic sciences while serving as intern at Northwestern-affiliated hospitals.

July 12

The atmosphere of the University of Chicago Clinics is one of intense learning and exquisite culture. There’s vivacious discussion among the students and a Bohemian flavor in their talk, dress, and open love-making. But the specter of an ice-bound Chicago winter is forever in my mind as I try to picture myself an intern here. Interns, it seems, are wholly subjugated by the staff, and the position is considered only a stepping stone to a prestigious residency. But ol’ U.C. is clearly “the place” for teaching, research, and academics.

I stopped by International House on the U.C. campus during a phono record concert and sat among the students of many races and tongues who lay about comfortably in a beautiful lounge, all ears for the music, their books open, reading for the pure joy of it. Imagine!

Back downtown on the El, I stopped into a movie house in the loop to catch a Lionel Hampton stage show. It turned out noisy and unmusical. I didn’t stay for the Roy Rogers flick.

Subsequently that summer I caught rides east to Cleveland, Boston, New York City, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore for visits and interviews about internship. Sadly, I kept no notes of these encounters. I do recall, however, that the august physiologist, Carl Wiggers, gave me an annotated tour of his ideas and laboratory at Western Reserve, and that the distinguished internist-academician, John Eager Howard at Johns Hopkins, seemed to welcome my queries about an internship there.

Estimate the chances, if you would, of a traveling junior medical student being so well received in those institutions today.

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