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Stories For A Century

"Maybe you want to check into it!"

Dan Newman, Director of Nursing

In 1979 I was working in the emergency room at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, just down the road from Rectory. I loved that job, but I was commuting from Rhode Island and wanted something closer to where I was living. One of the other nurses at the hospital said to me, “Hey, there’s an advertisement in the paper for a job at a school. You like to work with kids. Maybe you want to check into it.” The notice didn’t say it was Rectory School; it just said “job at a school.” So I called up and checked into it. Rectory was offering not only the job but also housing on campus; I decided to give it a shot.

Before I even started working here, I had an interview with Herbert Turnbull, the business manager, and Barbara Keith, the school nurse at the time. Barbara had an opportunity for a job in, I think, the Caribbean and she was going to go for it. School had already started (it was the beginning of October), and they needed somebody right away. So, one night, before my shift at the hospital, I stopped in at Rectory and visited with Nurse Barbara to get a feel for what things were like at Rectory.

We were sitting in the kitchen of the infirmary, and she had just finished telling me that after 9 p.m. nothing much ever happens, when all of a sudden, we hear knock, knock, knock at the front door. What’s that?, we wonder and look out the door. Two kids are standing there—one in his pajamas, and another, taller boy in just his boxers; the second boy had blood from head to toe all over him. Of course, we quickly got them inside.

Apparently the tall boy, Freddy, thought he was going to play a trick on two other kids by climbing out his window in Dining Hall dormitory, going across the roof, and getting back in through another dorm room window to scare the two kids in that room. However, the two boys heard about the plan ahead of time, and they sprayed shaving cream along the edge of the roof between the two rooms. So, Freddy came out the window and because it’s dark out, he doesn’t see the shaving cream; he slips, and he’s hanging on the gutter on the roof line. Now, that building is three stories high, but he was hanging over the roof of the entryway to the building. When he ended up losing his grip, he fell on that roof, slid off toward the ground, and landed in a big yew bush. The entryway roof and the bushes broke his fall. All the blood on him was because of abrasions from the asphalt shingles and the bushes.

He didn’t break anything, no serious injuries. So I started cleaning him up while Barbara made the phone call to send him to the hospital to get him checked out. Once that was done, I left to go to work at the emergency room of the hospital. A few minutes after I arrive at the hospital, in comes a teacher with Freddy. “So Freddy, how are you feeling?” I ask. He answers, “Oh, I thought I was okay.” And I said, “What’s bothering you now?” He replies, “Well, I think I really messed up my head. I could have sworn I just saw you at the school.” I put him at ease. “Freddy, don’t worry, relax. I was at the school! Your mind is fine.” After we got his scrapes dressed, he went back to school. So, that was my first experience at Rectory before I was even hired for the job!

Upon retiring after 40+ years as the school nurse and the Director of Nursing, Mr. Newman recalled that during his time at Rectory, he had cared for students whose fathers also attended Rectory while he was here. “I’ve enjoyed my time at Rectory.” Dan received Rectory's Distinguished Service Award in 2023.

Class of 2017 students from Mrs. Levesque's English Language Skills conducted the interview for the collection of this memory.

Image:  Nurse Dan Newman administering flu shots in the infirmary, Rectory Archives, November 2013. (Photo/Mary Lou Seaward)

  • 1970s
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • 2010s

Campus Location:

Deal House

Contact Information:

Lisa Levesque, Centennial Coordinator

Rectory School Centennial
528 Pomfret Street
P.O. Box 68
Pomfret, CT 06258