birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


Being a nurse has afforded me some ease of dress. Over the past 25 years, I have worked in many places that had rules and regulations about my shoes and the color of my uniforms.

In nursing school we purchased white scrubs and white tops and sewed the college emblem on our shoulders before we went into the hospitals around Birmingham to practice being nurses. We were told to purchase blue aprons with pockets to wear over our uniforms which made the men in our class unhappy. Today I look back and laugh at those outdated requirements handed down from the time when nursing was female-only profession. I don’t remember thinking much about it. I don’t remember them wearing the aprons either.

Once we completed our course load, the college had a pinning ceremony and we were told that we had to wear white dresses and a white nursing hat and white shoes to the ceremony. The ceremony was not optional. I dragged my feet until the last minute knowing that they wouldn’t be worn again.

I went to the uniform shop where I purchased my school uniform. They had one small rack of white dresses. All of them were some blend of cotton and polyester with cutesy capped sleeves or ruffles.
It was like years ago when the only clothes that pregnant women could purchase were styled for little girls with big collars or aprons. But because I waited until the last minute, ruffles and shoulder darts were my only choice. My white shoes were clogs but there is nothing cool about white shoes. Even the most petite foot looks as though they are planning to walk on water in their shoes.

I tried to think of a way to avoid the hat but at least it was the same as the rest of the class’s hats.

The men had good karma for the pinning ceremony. They could wear their white uniforms and did not have to wear hats. I am guessing that this was making up for the blue aprons.