“But Thanks, Ida Orlando”

 Uncle Ray, Raymond Elmer Anderson was born in 1924, and had grown up in rural Wisconsin in poverty.  His father, my grandfather, had been killed in a car accident when Ray was only 10 years old, and the family had known poverty and deprivation.  No electricity, no running water, four brothers and a widow trying to get by. This was during the Great Depression.

 On August 10, 2009, my cousin Sharron and I flew to Cleveland to spend some time with Pat and Ray and their children. 

They had been married since 1950, and have three lovely daughters.

 That evening he gave me a written outline/summary of his war years so I could look it over to see if I had any questions.

 One small incident he wrote about captured my attention. When he was drafted in 1943, he was sent to Camp Grant, Illinois, but eventually ended up with two weeks leave in New York.  A good friend of his, Russ Ray, was from the New York area, and Ray’s wife, Caroldine,  “fixed him up” with a close friend of hers who was a nurse in training at the Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospital.

 Ray wrote that, “She arranged to have a friend of hers to be with me.  We made two visits, had a lot of fun.  And my date, Ida Orlando, wrote to me every week.

 “I tried to contact her on the trip home, but could never reach her.  But thanks, Ida Orlando.”

 It was just a passing sentence or two in his war experiences, but I could tell from the tone he wrote this that he had sweet memories of Ida who had befriended this rural Wisconsin youth who was heading off to war. “But thanks, Ida Orlando”, that little written tribute to her, all these years later, showed how appreciative he was of her kindness and affection.

 That evening, I wondered if I could find out something about Ida Orlando.  It was an unusual enough name that I thought I had a chance.

 It did not take very long.   Ida went on made quite a career for herself in the field of nursing, and there was a lot of information about her!*


Ida Jean Orlando, a first-generation American of Italian descent, was born in 1926.

 She received her nursing diploma from New York Medical College, Lower Fifth Avenue Hospital, School of Nursing.  She went on to get her BS and MA, and eventually became Director of the Graduate Program in Mental Health Psychiatric Nursing.

 In 1961 her book, The Dynamic Nurse-Patient Relationship was published, followed by her 1972 book titled: The Discipline and Teaching of Nursing Process.

 Orlando held various positions in the Boston area, was a board member of Harvard Community Health Plan, and served as both a national and international consultant. She was a frequent lecturer and conducted numerous seminars on nursing process. She was married to Robert Pelletier and lived in the Boston area.

 Orlando's theory was developed in the late 1950s from observations she recorded between a nurse and patient. Orlando's theory remains one the of the most effective practice theories available.

 The use of her theory keeps the nurse's focus on the patient. The strength of the theory is that it is clear, concise, and easy to use. While providing the overall framework for nursing, the use of her theory does not exclude nurses from using other theories while caring for the patient. 

Ida Jean Orlando Pelletier, died on November 28, 2007.


She was nationally known, famous in the field of medicine and nursing theory.  Not only that, there was video of her on line, and pictures of her as a young woman!  I was thrilled, and I knew Uncle Ray would be thrilled too.

 Further searching, however, indicated that Ida had passed away, and there was a column “In Memoriam” to her.  This made the news bittersweet.  

The next day, after we’d gone over some of the family history, I asked my uncle if he would like for me to tell him some information that he didn’t know, and he told me to go ahead. 

 “I found out about Ida Orlando”, I said.  “She went on to become a very famous nurse. She has written a couple books, and there are even videos of her being interviewed on the Internet.  But I’m sorry to say that she passed away recently.

He was amazed and so happy to know that such a nice young woman had gone on to such success, and he said he would have loved to have talked to her.  He said it really wasn’t a romance, and he only kissed her once.  She had written to him every week during his time overseas, and he had tried to find her when he returned.

 Pat and Ray and my cousin and I went upstairs to my uncle’s computer and I brought up the video of Ida speaking about her days as a young nurse, and the pictures of her when she was young.  I then played a video of her being interviewed about her influence on nursing and how she was integral in starting to actually involve the patients themselves in medical treatments.

 I looked over to my uncle after the videos had played and he had a large tear rolling down his cheek.  I’m sure the videos and pictures brought back the memories of his youth, the excitement of a young soldier in New York, and the emotions of a time that he had not considered for many decades.

 She was beautiful.  Dark eyes, dark hair, a pretty smile.  When you listened to her on the video, you got the impression she was a very nice, very intelligent person.

The next day, he told me a little more about his time with Ida.  He said he had very little time each day to go to New York. It was an hour’s ride in from the base, and an hours ride back, so they had about four hours total each day.  They went to the hospital, and spent some time talking on the balcony of the hospital and could look over Central Park. After that, the four of them went to Murphy’s Bar for a few drinks.  That was about it both of the evenings.  They also went to the roof of the hospital that overlooked Central Park.

 We younger generations cannot realize what this country was like during World War II, and the way literally everyone in the country worked together, whether this be risking their lives on front line or writing to lonely soldiers.  My uncle spent his years in the war in France and Germany in a tank that fired 105 mm shells. 

 I would like to thank you too, Ida Orlando. You brought a lot of joy to young soldier defending his country and memories that have lasted well over six decades.


 World War II veterans are disappearing rapidly, and their stories need to be documented and the little anecdotes remembered.  It took my uncle a couple of years of urging to finally get something down. 

 Talk to your parents, your grandparents, your relatives, and get those stories.  Videotape them if you wish, or have them write them down.  Record them on tape, transcribe them later. 

 Share these valuable stories of a past worth remembering with the local historical societies and other relatives.  

 Statistics do not tell the interesting stories of people’s lives. This is why it is so imperative that the stories that bring out the personality and humanity in people be preserved for future generations.  Not only will the stories be preserved, but it’s just likely that you will develop a new appreciation for the folks to whom you talk.  I have gained a love and respect for my aunt and uncle that I never had before because I know more of “their story”.

 And get those names and dates down too, that is important as well.  You will never regret it.

 And thanks, Ida Orlando.


*There are a couple of “Youtube” clips of Ida Orlando if you search her name, or there’s a lot more information on her impact on the nursing profession if you do a Google search with her name in quotation marks. Amazon has two of her books for sale.