Cherry Ames 02 Senior Nurse (21 page)

because she felt responsible for those boys—way down deep, she had thought of them as her patients! That was her answer!

Cherry raised her hand.

The room was profoundly silent. Miss Reamer’s face was working with emotion. The two nurses preserved their quiet expressions but their eyes were shining. It was unanimous. The whole graduating class had volunteered.

The silence seemed to be swelling and growing, as if the room would burst, and out of it they suddenly were singing, “We too shall bring . . . ” as they had never sung it before! Miss Reamer wiped her eyes.

Shaken, the class marched into the auditorium, to the grave music of the organ. They took their seats on the platform. Ranks and ranks of them in white, they looked out at the familiar loving faces in the audience.

Cherry found her father and mother. Lex sat next to them, beaming up at Cherry.

The Red Cross Nurse was talking to the audience,

“ . . . all of these young women have volunteered!

Unanimously! All of them are making the greatest offering any woman can.” A roar of applause rolled forward like thunder.

The graduation exercises were dignified and simple.

The names of the graduates were read, and in a sort of dream Cherry walked across the platform and Miss Reamer presented her with her certificate.

C H E R R Y D E C I D E S

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“Good luck, Cherry!” she said.

Cherry sat down again, trembling. She was a nurse now! She was really a nurse!

Then all of a sudden it was all over and Cherry was down off the stage with her parents and friends. They were embracing her and congratulating her, both on her graduation and on her great decision, although Cherry’s mother had tears in her eyes as she smiled.

Here they were, all the dear familiar faces—her sweet mother, her good, kind father, Midge and Mildred both looking toward her with the shining wistful admiration of younger girls, here were Mom and her beloved Dr. Joe, and Lex with his serious gaze, redheaded Gwen, and Ann, not calm for once, her classmates and her teachers.

But Cherry saw beyond them. She was looking into the exciting, unknown future which stretched ahead of her. She, Cherry Ames, was going to be an Army Nurse!

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