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Probe: November 27, 2001

November 27, 2001

A CHILDLESS MAN — I can tell the woman looking for information about her "father," Robert Lowther, anything she wants to know about him — and maybe a couple things she doesn't want to know. He was my stepgrandfather. He raised me from age 4.

He liked to fish, had a leased fishing camp in Mexico and never said a cross word to anybody. He joined the military when he was 16 and was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. He was a retired police officer and the former chief of the Seal Beach Police Department.

After retiring he owned a tackle store on La Brucherie Road.

Born in Oklahoma, he was half French and half Indian. His name was not really Lowther. He had an Indian name but he wanted an "American" name so he picked one from a book.

One last thing. He was not your reader's father. When he was 16 years old he learned he was sterile. He never had any children of his own. I talked about this today with my grandmother who lived with him for 25 years. — Stepgrandson, Brawley


Well, our PROBE reader asked us to get some information about Robert Lowther and we dug up almost enough to write a book. Thank you.

UNCAPPED NURSES COST LESS — Recently a reader asked why nurses no longer wear caps. I am old and sick and well-acquainted with medical personnel.

The answer is simple. Uncapped nurses cost less. When Florence Nightingale raised health care personnel from just a shade above prostitutes to one of the most honored professions, part of the process was to make dedicated professionals identifiable. A graduate nurse was known by her cap.

A "graduate nurse" meant one who had passed the requirements of an accredited nursing school. … They had enough knowledge … to use their own judgment in unexpected emergencies.

Graduate nurses deserved and got good wages. With helpful machines, authorities felt they could cut costs by cutting requirements. They could take someone off the street and at minimum wage train her to read the pulse and blood pressure machines and empty bed pans.

If no attendant wore a cap, who could tell the difference between the graduate nurse and the untrained women who helped them? That's why nurses do not wear caps. — Been there, Brawley

Nurses told us they don't wear caps because caps are no longer mandatory. If they want to wear one, they can. Most opt to go capless because keeping a cap straight as they whip a stethoscope off and on is more trouble than its worth, they said.

UESTION: Did you notice that just before the Thanksgiving holiday a new study reported "average" Americans are 10 pounds heavier than he and she were just 10 years ago? — Pleasingly Plump, Calexico

Make that 12 pounds heavier now. Did you also notice it was reported the average American female weighs 153 pounds (the average male tops the scale at more than 200) — and didn't that make you feel a little better?

But that does it, we're going on a diet the day after Christmas!

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