Calling Crivitz

Crivitz, Wisconsin

It started with my high school friend Peggy.  She read about my search for Maggie, the nurse who cared for me at St. Vincent’s Hospital when I burned my leg.  Her mother, she reminded me, was also a nurse at St. Vincent’s and she planned to grill her for information.  Grilling complete, she discovered that her mother didn’t remember Maggie — a result of failing memory or perhaps being on a different floor of the hospital during those years.  But her mother gave her a lead — call Anne, another nurse now retired and living in Crivitz, WI, who might have a better recollection.  (Crivitz, WI, of course, is the home of the annual summer bluegrass festival — — among its other outdoor recreational delights.)

Cold calling has never been my strong suit, but I had nothing to lose and dialed the number.  “Hello,” squeaked a man with a distinct Wisconsin accent, the kind that started low, sounded nasal and ended on a higher note all in a three-syllable-beat as in “Hellll-oooo-ooo.”  Anne, the former nurse was out, but expected back shortly and I should sure call back. 

People in my native Wisconsin always amaze and inspire me.  I didn’t explain who I was or much about why I was calling, other than that Mrs. so-and-so suggested I give Anne a call and yet I was welcomed to call back.

A couple of days later I did call back and Anne warmly welcomed me, “I’m so glad you called back.  My husband said you called and I was so curious to hear back from you,” she said and I could hear the smile in her voice.  “Now, Maggie.  Maggie,” she mused.  “I am so sorry but I don’t remember her.  One of the problems at St. Vincent’s is that we didn’t get to know the nurses on the other floors.  I wasn’t on pediatrics and I have to tell you I just don’t remember her.”

I thanked Anne for her time and generosity to give it some thought when she piped up.  “Now, I just thought of an idea for you.  Why don’t you take out an ad in the Green Bay Press-Gazette?  Everyone reads it and I’m sure someone would see it.  I’m just so sorry I can’t help you myself.”

Taking out an ad had crossed my mind but I hadn’t done anything.  “Anne, I think you are right.  I’d thought of that and maybe you are helping me by confirming I should do it.”  She clucked.  “That would be nice,” she said, “You should do it.  And if you find her, would you call me back?  I’d just love to know.”

Have I said that I just love people in Wisconsin? 

Next step?  Call the classified ads department at the Green Bay Press Gazette. 

Now, how should I word that ad?


  1. A friend of mine just turned 59 and found again the wonderful nun who was his teacher in second grade. she remembered him very well, and now they stay in touch with each other.

    The quickest way to tell this story is is to have the newspaper print the link to “Her Name was Maggie and She was my Nurse”, or maybe a link to your post that describes your particular burns. Once you give the year and the place, the pool of three-year-old girls with seriously burned legs probably drops to one individual.


    1. Thank you for the suggestion. I called a reporter at the Green Bay Press Gazette and am hopeful that she will do just what you suggest. I’ll keep everyone posted. Thanks for giving me the idea…and the impetus.


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