Kennestone Hospital is Forever Changing
The above is Kennestone Hospital in Marietta when it was still a sensible size. A little later more people came to Marietta, and their needs caused more people to come, and all those people needed an army of doctors, and those doctors needed clubs, waiters, etc … it is a never ending cycle.
Kennestone was built in the early 50s. It was named Kennestone because out the back windows was a beautiful panoramic view of Kennesaw Mountain and out the front window, off in the hazy distance you could see Stone Mountain, if you squinted and strained your eyes.
Not long after it was finished I was a patient. I think I was about 11 or 12 years old. I broke my arm. I was at Wednesday Night Wrestling at Larry Bell Park Auditorium. I think there were three or four matches that night. The last one was the one I came to see. A man was going to wrestle a bear.
Before the man vs the bear event I was busy showing off in the blenchers for a cute girl about my age I had never seen before. I met a friend there, I forgot who it was, and we were doing all sorts of acrobatic tricks on the blenchers. The girl was sitting with her parents. She kept her eyes on us… she seemed easily impressed.
One of my tricks on the blenchers didn’t go as planned and I fell about 7 feet and landed on my arm. I was in terrible pain. It was time I made my exit.
My father was talking to Eddie Sullivan’s sister who was behind the concession counter. I walked up to Daddy and said, “Daddy, can we go?”
He knew I was looking forward to this night. He looked down and saw that I had my jacket holding my arm. He said, “Why are you covering you arm?...” And he removed my jacket, to see my arm plainly broken.
He took me to the new Kennestone Hospital. A very nice nurse was flirting with me… or so I thought… we were getting along great and suddenly she put something over my mouth and nose. It was ether. I gagged and went out like a light. I can still smell that agonizing smell every time I think of that moment. Choke!
Later I woke up in the children’s ward with a cast on my arm. I stayed over night.
Later, in a about a year my youngest sister was born at Kennestone. And much later, both my parents died (at different times) at Kennestone, after it had extended itself much bigger.
Also my wife Anna and sons Rocky and Adam had to undergo medical treatments (again, at different times)and got to know hospital beds there.
In the early days of the hospital, say when I was about sixteen, it was sort of a social center. Friends were always getting hurt, in a wreck, or had some kind of accident and had to be rushed there.
I spent many evening in the waiting room then.
Kennestone was in the south. Therefore, in its first dozen or so years segregation was the rule of the day. The blacks had to go the “Colored” section in the basement for their medical attention…..tch tch.
Before Kennestone came into being there was a man by the name of Lamb who worked for my father on the Marietta Police Force. A serious looking fellow… as I suppose a cop should be.
Lamb left the police force and became the security person at the hospital. I don’t know if he retired or got a better offer and resigned or what. But during our social times at Kennestone, which even included the roof, you could always count on Lamb materializing and shooing us on.
I think he was a security force of one. Now, Kennestone Security had many more people, around the clock.
Kennestone has grown by leaps and bounds. They have grown about the size of the whole big oversized block and have even extended beyond that…. They started off three floors, now I notice there are seven or eight.
The year before last for a procedure I had to report to the Green Tower, or maybe the Blue Tower. Darn! was I checking in a castle or a hospital?
As I get older I am becoming a patient more. I have been rushed there for heart-attacks, strokes, and pneumonia. I think they should have a “Frequent Patient Plan”.
Kennestone is now Kennestone Wellsstar…. I suppose it is owned by the Wellstar Corporation, and they have office buildings all over Marietta and Smyrna.
The hospital keep swallowing up land, streets, and parking lots around them, like a giant amoeba that changes it shape as it consumes more…. Some time in the future I expect to hear a loud belch and there is no more Marietta – only one large shapeless hospital.
The below is only a small segment of the hospital as it is today….. stick around, it will be different next week.