When the St Boniface Hospital Foundation sold the naming rights to Paul Albrechtsen, they pulled the old lettering “Research Centre “ off of the building and laid it out on the floor of the atrium. From there, staff could take a memento. I took the 4-foot C.
I had plans for it… a bedroom wall decoration for Christian (no thanks, Dad), a solar powered light for our deck (uh, no, Bill), well how about on the backyard fence (wouldn’t that look tacky?)… it ended up relegated to storage in the far corner of the yard.
Yesterday, after several years of moving it around, I decided to sell it on the Facebook group page, “Sunshine Auctions”. It went for 12 dollars.
About an hour ago, I woke from a disturbing dream which was as real and frighteningly detailed as any nightmare I’ve ever had…
I’d been on holidays from my 30-year job at the Centre. Upon my return I found they’d changed the Cohen Auditorium into a hybrid auditorium/Radio Shack, replete with racks of record players and cheap stereos. It was still a functional auditorium, so customers had to squint at the retail products and talk in hushed tones. I was mortified.
I stormed up to the admin office to register my disdain, finding it had been converted to “Tandy Church”, Tandy being the parent company of Radio Shack. I was met at the door by the Research Director, and a cadre of suits and dresses that were Hospital Foundation officials. Their director had apparently been dismissed, and was replaced by a finely-coiffed man from Tandy Corp with the appearance and demeanour of a southern Baptist minister. TandyCorp was fully in charge, and would determine the direction of the Centre from here on in. My incredulity was met with righteous indignation, and though I screamed and fought for the scientific independence of the Centre, well, the decision had been made. I had no choice; the Centre was moving in this direction without me, and though I was emotionally unprepared, resignation was my only choice. I was devastated. The director apologetically walked me out.
It’s 6:37 am, and I am glad I sold the letter. And although I have made many cherished friendships at the Centre, it’s one more way, a physical manifestation, of doing what’s necessary… letting go.