MAE JULIAN

Perhaps one of the hardest things about being in a close-knit group such as ours is that we became extremely protective of each other. We‑held closely guarded secrets,‑that at times, worked as a detriment. Sometimes being a secret society is like holding a bunch of helium balloons under a sheet. I have told you that we were vagabonds. Loosely guarded and, working the night shift, we pretty much ruled our own worlds and our own people. I was thinking today of the crazy stuff that we kept secret. Bear with me, and again, I ask that those easily offended, go on to another column. This column is not for you. I don’t want anyone calling our editor and complaining of such disgusting or revolting readings in The Waynedale News.

Our strength and weakness was youth. I now look back and realize how young we all were. I was the oldest of the night crew, and I was still in my 30’s. We were not just young, but strong, lean-bodied, and not likely to miss a curve or a bulge, if you get my drift.

In spite of the solemn vow that you never screw your partner figuratively or literally, it came‑to our‑attention, on occasion, that someone was breaking the rule.‑Working‑the night shift, and with so many mixed-sex partners, all in the prime of our lives, certain improprieties were bound to occur. It was felt that if this attraction occurred between partners, we‑were required‑to change partners to resist‑temptation and avoid lessening our efficiency of being in command of the streets. It would be difficult to have a code‑3‑run come‑dispatched in by Tick,‑if you were incapacitated, or had to hurriedly arrange clothing. So, we kept an eye out for the attractions that were bound to occur. We had one crew who we knew immediately had become too attached. It is amazing, with humans, that the more they try to act nonchalant about things the more they draw attention to themselves. Thus were the changes that we saw occurring between two of our paramedics. Instead of acting their usual funny, crazy selves, we noted that they became very efficient in their manner, didn’t hassle each other all the time, and treated each other with much too much courtesy. A dead giveaway. I remember one time someone put a message up on our board: Mae Julian is carrying Digger’s baby. When I came in for shift, and read it, I laughed and below it I put my reply, ‑”I may as well. I carry everything else for him.”‑ This brought uproarious laughter and any rumor that may have started was quickly put to rest.

When things stop being funny and easily laughed at, then you take a second look. So it was with Sizeways, and Tutts. They were so named because Sizeways was a play on the person’s name, and‑Tutts was so named because she had the biggest torpedoes in the whole service. We used to speculate on where in the world she bought bras that looked like the front end of a 50s Cadillac. At any rate, Sizeways and‑Tutts were good partners and had worked together for a couple of years. They were a good reliable crew and well respected. We noted the change, when it came, almost collectively.‑Tutts started wearing makeup and perfume and her clothes were ironed every night. Sizeways showed her undue respect and carried the heavy equipment to load up the unit. Well, now if that ain’t a dead giveaway!!‑ All of us began making note of their downtime and their response times. None of this gave them away.‑We hatched new ideas on where they would stand by, how rumpled they came in, whether‑Tutt’s makeup was eschew or, better yet, on Sizeways. Nothing exposed them as far as their work patterns so they weren’t confronted, yet were continually on‑our radar.

In one of her weaker moments, Tutts‑confided in me that she was in love with Sizeways. I listened with understanding and affection, as I understood how such a thing could happen. The problem was that‑Tutts was married, with a daughter.‑I believe she was separated at the time‑but had‑Sizeways in her view as a replacement. I suggested to her that she change partners, but she said she couldn’t bear a night without Sizeways. So they remained partners…until Sizeways came in to work one‑night with a ring on the third finger of his left hand.‑Tutts was so astounded she almost passed out. It couldn’t be. They were so in love. How could he???‑He never gave a sign or an announcement or indicated in any way that he was going with someone, let alone get married! Now, what to do with this new dilemma, Tutts was bawling her eyes out, and wouldn’t leave the equipment room, whilst Sizeways was loaded and ready to haul. If that isn’t just like a man!‑Partners were quickly traded and we all rolled for the night. I had‑Tutts with me, and Mick was with Sizeways. It was a rocky night for‑Tutts and me. All the immortal words came out,‑‑‑”How could he do such a thing?‑ Why, he was just USING me!” On and on it went. I had her drive and I took care of the patients which was not a great challenge that night, thank heavens.

Now, get a load of this…when‑we came in for shift change, Sizeways and Tutts had a private talk over at the bar where some of the EMS and LPD people went after work,‑and‑Tutts‑considered her new position. Nothing would change. Their relationship would go on as it was, and the new wife needn’t know a thing. Sizeways and Tutts were in agreement. When I heard of this new arrangement, I told‑Tutts that there was no way in the world that she could carry on a relationship with him with the circumstances as they were. She remained unconvinced, and was still boo-hooing a week later, although they had taken up their partnership again.

Later that summer, someone got the hare-brained idea to go to Nolin (that’s a lake near here pronounced No-LYNN). It was in the evening, and after dark Mick challenged the rest of us to go skinny-dipping. Now, Mick seemed the least likely to suggest such a thing but all of us got to laughing and seeing as how we were the only ones there…I suppose about 10 of us…we began shedding clothes. The guys were the first and they came strutting up the hill, dripping wet. Not to be outdone, the girls were casting clothes aside and we ran hand in hand and jumped off the cliff. I remember calling out to Tutts on the way down that we could use her for ballast. Then we ran laughing up the hill to the blankets. It was a wonderful, warm moonlit night and we all snuggled under our blankets, laying under the moon and stars, and spent the night together. We knew, even then that this was a night to remember and that a night like this would never come again. We all swore secrecy to each other. But…that was before I knew I would someday be writing a Mae Julian column. Mick is a Secret Service agent now, and I haven’t heard from him in years, but that crazy nude cocky grinning guy will live in my mind forever. It was a night like no other. And I wouldn’t change it for all the thou-shalt-nots in the world. It was our world, or night, our glory, our freedom. Seldom have I ever since felt quite so free, so safe, and so bonded. We were the EMS night crew.

When all is said and done, at the ends of our lives, I believe it’s the things that we don’t do that we will most regret. Some days, some nights are gifts and who are we to turn from such treasures?

The Waynedale News Staff
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