Hearing Test and 1972


As I walked up the modern stairs in the walnut paneled foyer the smell was familiar, but as I turned the door knob I knew it would be forever changed from that moment on.
The waiting room had a comfortable appeal. Almost brand new, and warmly dressed in colors of rich brown paneling, carpet of red and gold mini squares, and avocado green counter tops. True to the fashion of the late 60's ~70's decor! The antique school clock tick tocked in the corner of the room, and the colonial furnishings brought out a homey feeling. Even today in 2011, when I reflect on that room it is lovely impression. It was in stark contrast to the cold neutral and metallic reception areas of today's dental offices.

It was my first day of work as a Dental Assistant in the orthodontic office of Wil Cohen. It was a summer June day in 1972. I had been a patient there myself at the age of 12, but now I was 19 and ready for a new role in life. I am proud to say we were the ultimate professionals. I was taught early on, that all personal business was left outside when you entered that door way, so it is difficult for me to believe what I see in today's offices. Chit chat behind the desk and texting, wow things have changed. I am proud to have learned the lessons of appropriate behavior in the workplace.

I was the employee of Wilfred Edward Cohen. He was first my orthodontist, then my boss, always my mentor. We were a family. I was naive and very young for 19 and had a sheltered and restrictive life up until then, so I learned a lot from him. He showed me how to be an adult. How to be giving. How to be responsible. How to be smart. How to go after things you didn't think you deserved. How to be appreciated. He gave me validation and pride. He was like a father to me.

Today, some 39 years later a bill sat on my desk to be paid. It was for Steve's hearing test last month. It came without an envelope. I used the computer to retrieve a mailing address for the ENT office. At the top of the webpage, words in Courier Font jumped out at me and stopped me dead in my task. It read: ESTABLISHED in 1972! That is what the first sentence said on their information page! 1972! I was transported. I smelled the familiar scent of that foyer and began to dream of those years long ago, when I would climb the stairs to the second floor to my orthodontic office each morning, and pass the girls going to the otolaryngology office in the same building, on the first floor. I was back in 1972! Neither office exists in that space any longer, but what memories it holds for me. As I lick the flap and smack a stamp above the address to the ENT Specialists, I smile because they will never know the story of the memory they awakened. They will not know the secret inside that envelope when they open it to post the remittance to their accounts. They will never know how special that payment made me feel today.
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2 comments:

Shelia said...

Beautifully remembered. 1972. The year my second son was born. Full of many changes and wonderful memories.

Andrea L - EnchantINK said...

1972 ... I was only 10 years old ... and so much ahead! Wow ... Donna! I was transported back to your workplace ... and felt like I was sitting watching you. I feel sad at the loss of those principles and morals that we learnt as youngsters ... that are no longer "relevant" or "necessary". Are we really THAT OLD??? I feel like I sound like my g'ma! Giggle! Hugs xxaxx