The Second-Floor Incident

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Seung Geel Hong

Two women search for the truth concerning a hospital rumor. According to the popular rumor, a famous talk-show host supposedly rented the entire second floor of a hospital during a treatment from a well-known doctor.

The Second-Floor Incident

First Edition

By Hong, Seung Geel

© 2019 by Hong, Seung Geel

All rights reserved

ISBN:  978-1-79472-100-5

Disclaimer

The following story was inspired by true experience, but the names of persons and organizations were changed to protect the privacy of everyone involved.  Therefore, any similarity between any of the names in this story to any known individual, whether living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Hong, Seung Geel

The Second-Floor Incident

1.The Move to Michigan

About a year after getting married, Ben and Kathy decided to move away from their hometown of Winnemucca, Nevada.  They had close friends in Hamilton, Michigan.  So they spent the next 14 months seeking employment in the Hamilton area.

Ben filled out dozens of résumés and made numerous telephone calls.  He even flew to Michigan three times for job interviews.  And he finally was hired by a cable TV company whose home office was located near Detroit.

Ben and Kathy either sold or gave away all their larger possessions, and they packed up whatever they still owned into their minivan.  They set out for Michigan at about 9:15 a.m.  They were leaving Nevada, and they were on their way to make a new life.

2.New Home in Hamilton

After four days of traveling (approximately 2,000 miles), they approached Hamilton, Michigan.  And just before entering the city limits (around 9:30 p.m.), they stopped at the nearest Clark gas station to gas up their vehicle and to ask for directions to the nearest restaurant.

The cashier pointed her finger toward the city and answered:

 

“Go nine or ten blocks that way until you see Dr. Remington’s old house on the left.  You can’t miss it, because it’s the only three-story brick house on the block.

Then, turn right at the next corner.  You’ll see McKelvy’s Diner on the right-hand side as soon as you turn the corner.  Their food is excellent. . . .”

 

Ben and Kathy followed the cashier’s directions and located the diner without any trouble.  They ordered Chiliburger Deluxe, which included a salad, fries, and a drink.

After the meal, Ben and Kathy rented a room at the White Tiger Motel and settled in for the night.  After four days of traveling, they were ready for a good night’s rest.

The next morning, when their alarm clock “buzzed them up,” Kathy pressed the “snooze-button” and (they) slept for another 10 minutes.  Then they called their friends Mark and Louise:  Mark was at work, but Louise was available.

Ben and Kathy bought a newspaper in the lobby and drove to Mark and Louise’s house.  They picked up Louise and began to look for an apartment.

After looking over the neighborhoods of four apartments at the south end of town, Louise suggested:

 

“Let’s check out apartments at the west end of town.  They’re a little more expensive, but it’s a better area.”

 

An hour later, Ben and Kathy rented the very first apartment they happened to check out at the west end of town.  It was on the corner of 24th and Hemlock, and the rent was only $35.00 more than what Ben and Kathy would have paid for a similar house at the south end of town.

Ben now could go to work on the first day of his job with a clear mind, because he knew that his precious wife Kathy would be safe (as well as happy) in their new home.

3.Stories of Doctor Remington

Within six weeks, Kathy got a job as a waitress at a truck stop, which meant that Ben and Kathy were now financially comfortable.  And more importantly, both Ben and Kathy enjoyed their jobs.

During the next year-and-a-half, Kathy noticed that the name “Doctor Remington” (now deceased) would occasionally come up during the customers’ conversations:

 

“Dr. Remington refused to treat the famous talk-show host Alice Gentry, because Alice Gentry demanded to rent the entire second floor of Hamilton Memorial Hospital. . . .

Alice Gentry refused to allow Dr. Remington to treat her, because Hamilton Memorial Hospital would not rent out the whole second floor to one person. . . .

Hamilton Memorial Hospital did rent out the entire second floor to Alice Gentry, and Dr. Remington did treat Alice Gentry. . . .

Dr. Remington traveled to several foreign countries and treated high-profile individuals, such as a princess and a high-ranking Russian political figure. . . .”

 

One day, Kathy overheard two female truckers talking:

 

“Yes sir, . . . Dr. Remington was quite a woman.

Some say that she liked younger men, but that’s neither here nor there.  That was her personal life.

As far as her job was concerned, you could not get a better doctor. . . .”

4.Investigators Kathy and Louise

Eventually, Kathy began to inquire about the seemingly ever-so-popular Dr. Remington.

She first went to her friend Louise, whereupon Louise commented:

 

“I’ve heard different versions of several stories concerning Dr. Remington.  Most of them seem believable, while some of them seem unlikely.

You may have heard the story about Dr. Remington treating (or not treating) Alice Gentry.

There are even stories about her treating famous people in foreign countries and being paid tons of money to do so.

I like the romantic story about Dr. Remington dating a younger man.  Some criticize her for doing so, which seems strange to me.  Personally, I see nothing wrong with it.  After all, she was divorced, so she had every right to date any man she wanted to date. . . .”

 

Kathy already had heard most of the stories that Louise just had unfolded, but she (Kathy) wanted to know which ones were true or not true.  Therefore, Kathy asked:

 

“Louise, how would you like to join me in my investigation concerning these stories about Dr. Remington?

Which ones do you think are true and which ones not true?”

 

Louise squinted her eyes slightly and thought for a moment.  Then she took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.  She looked downward and stared at the floor for three or four seconds before she answered:

 

“Sure, I’ll join you, but it would take a lot of time to check out every story.

So, let’s just concentrate on the story concerning the second floor of Hamilton Memorial Hospital.  That story probably would be the easiest one to check out. . . .”

 

Kathy nodded her head twice in agreement, whereupon Louise paused to smile and then resumed:

 

“. . . Besides, I imagine that it could be expensive to check out some of the other stories, such as the ones involving Dr. Remington treating (or not treating) important people in foreign countries.

We’ve already heard enough from people who claim to know the truth about Dr. Remington’s life.  So let’s only speak to those who knew Dr. Remington personally, such as her patients or her friends. . . .”

 

Kathy agreed with Louise whole-heartedly, but she (Kathy) did not know anyone in town who had known Dr. Remington personally.  Therefore, Kathy suggested:

 

“Well, I’m afraid that you will have to be the one to ‘get the ball rolling,’ because I still don’t know very many people in town.

Where do you think we should start?  I imagine that you probably would know some of the people who knew Dr. Remington. . . .”

 

5.Sarah Katz

As Kathy was completing her last sentence, Louise became eager to respond.  And as soon as Kathy had finished speaking, Louise blurted out:

 

“Sarah Katz!  She lives only about a mile from here, and she used to be Dr. Remington’s babysitter.  She might know which stories are true and which are not.  She’s retired, so it wouldn’t be very difficult to get hold of her.  Let’s call her right now. . . .”

 

Louise dialed Sarah’s phone number and asked if she (Sarah) would like to receive visitors.

Sarah welcomed Louise and Kathy to come at once.  She would prepare some snacks for them.

Fifteen minutes later, at Sarah Katz’s house, Louise acquainted each woman to the other, and at the first opportune moment, Louise asked:

 

“Sarah, how much do you know about Dr. Remington?

We already know that she was well known in this part of the country, and she supposedly traveled to foreign countries and treated high-profile individuals.  But we’re mainly interested in the rumor concerning the second floor of Hamilton Memorial Hospital:  We want to know if Dr. Remington actually did treat the famous talk-show host Alice Gentry at Hamilton Memorial Hospital.

Can you help us?”

 

Sarah thought for a moment and inhaled deeply through her mouth.  Then, she pressed her lips together and slowly exhaled through her nose.  She hesitated for a couple of seconds and then replied:

 

“Oh, goodness, that was over 50 years ago:  over half a century ago.

I do remember people talking about it, but I did not hear about it until I already had stopped working for her.

I’m afraid I cannot help you on that topic.  But if you want to know anything about Dr. Remington’s children, I might be able to help you. . . .”

 

Sarah informed Kathy and Louise about Dr. Remington’s children, her pets, and her home.  Sarah, then, suggested:

 

“If you want to know anything about Dr. Remington treating Alice Gentry, you should see my friend Theresa Wood.  She lives at Eastport Apartments, the 7-story senior citizens apartment-building on Cape Road at the east end of town.

She’s been there for over 20 years.  She’s in her early 80’s, but her mind still is sharp, much sharper than mine is.

I’ll call her and let her know that you would like to talk to her about Dr. Remington.

You will have to call her before going there, because she’s often on the road:  She has a lot of doctor appointments.

I’ll give you her phone number. . . .”

 

Kathy and Louise thanked Sarah for receiving them, and Louise promised to visit Sarah again soon.

6.Phone Call to Theresa

Several days after visiting Sarah Katz, Louise tried to contact Theresa Wood, but there was no answer.  Louise called five more times during the week, and she still could not reach her.

Then, at Tuesday evening of the following week (about 7:00 p.m.), Theresa finally answered the phone:

 

“. . . I was in the hospital:  I had one test after another, and we still don’t know what’s making me feel so weak.  But I feel somewhat better now, so I think I’ll be okay for a while.

Anyway, . . . u-m-m, . . . I’m available right now, but my neighbor Anne is not.  Anne MacDonald knows even more about Dr. Remington than I do, but she’s visiting her son in Georgia.  And she won’t be available until Wednesday of next week at the earliest.

So, if you want to talk to both of us, it would be better for you to wait until Anne is back.  Otherwise, you would have to make two trips to our building. . . .”

 

Louise thanked Theresa for the suggestion, and she (Louise) waited for Anne to return from Georgia.  Louise, then, arranged for Kathy and herself to see Sarah and Anne on the following Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

7.Roofer Jack

On Saturday morning, Kathy picked up Louise and drove to Eastport Apartments.  She dropped off Louise at the covered entranceway and then drove away to park the vehicle.

Meanwhile, a friendly man in a powerchair invited Louise to sit down on one of the benches.  He said:

 

“You may as well wait for your friend sitting down instead of standing.

I’m Roofer Jack.  I roofed half the houses in Hamilton.

Are you here to apply for an apartment?  Or are you visiting?”

 

Without thinking, and in a matter-of-fact tone of voice, Louise answered:

 

“We’re visiting.  We came to see Theresa Wood
and Anne MacDonald.

My friend and I are trying to find some information about Dr. Remington.  We want to know if she actually treated Alice Gentry at Hamilton Memorial Hospital, and we’re hoping that Theresa and Anne can help us.”

 

Roofer Jack gave Louise a big smile, and he eagerly volunteered:

 

“I knew Dr. Remington and her husband quite well.  That is, . . . before they got their divorce.  He moved to Seattle a couple years after the split-up.

Before the divorce, they had a place about seven miles out of town.  They called it ‘The Circle R Ranch.’  They had three or four horses there.

I roofed their house and barn in 1956 or 1957. . . .”

 

Kathy now was approaching the entranceway, so Louise excitedly explained:

 

“Kathy!  This is Roofer Jack, and he knew Doctor Remington really well!  Since we’re a bit early, maybe we can ask him a few questions. . . .”

 

Kathy smiled and extended her hand to Roofer Jack for a handshake.  Then she asked:

 

“Do you know anything about Dr. Remington treating Alice Gentry at Hamilton Memorial Hospital?  Some say ‘Yes’; some say ‘No.’  What do you say? . . .”

 

Roofer Jack thought for a moment and then replied:

 

“Yes, she did treat Alice Gentry.  Alice wanted the whole second floor, but the hospital wouldn’t give it to her.

I don’t know how many rooms she got, but she did not get the whole floor.”

 

Before Kathy and Louise could ask Roofer Jack another question, he volunteered:

 

“Dr. Remington went to Russia and treated a big-shot for a million dollars.

She first made sure that she wouldn’t have any trouble getting back into the country.  After all, Russia was a Communist country at the time.

Both Russia and the U.S. agreed to let Dr. Remington go in-and-out of the two countries without any trouble. . . .”

 

Kathy could not believe what she was hearing.  She asked:

 

“You’re kidding me!  Just how big was this big-shot?”

 

Roofer Jack simultaneously raised his left eyebrow and nodded his head several times, and he answered:

 

“He was very big:  very, very big.  He was at the highest level of the government. . . .”

 

8.Theresa’s Story

By now, it was almost time to meet Theresa and Anne.  Therefore, Kathy and Louise thanked Roofer Jack for the information and then walked to the entrance.  They opened the first door and “buzzed” Theresa’s apartment, whereupon Theresa quickly “buzz-opened” the second door.

By the time Kathy and Louise arrived at Theresa’s apartment, Anne already had arrived and was waiting with Theresa.  And the two parties greeted each other and began to enjoy the green tea and doughnuts that Theresa had prepared.

Meanwhile, just before taking the first sip of her tea, Theresa began to recount her experience with Dr. Remington:

 

“I was about 22 years old and had two daughters when I first met Dr. Remington.  I later had a son and another daughter.

My husband worked as a computer programmer-and-operator for the county road commission.

We were living on 12th Street at the time.  This was somewhere around 1964.

Anyway, my youngest daughter had to walk on the outside edges of her feet.  So, Dr. Remington put my daughter’s feet in plaster cast, with a bar between the feet.  And I carried her around for almost two years.  Then she wore special shoes until she graduated from high school.

Dr. Remington’s office was located on 12th and Navaho.  It was called Medical Arts Building at the time.  A young doctor, with wealthy in-laws, purchased the building in 2001.  Now it’s called Leland Clinic. . . .”

 

Kathy was fascinated by Theresa’s account of her past and her experience with Dr. Remington, but Theresa had not said anything about Alice Gentry.

Therefore, Kathy prepared herself to ask Theresa about the rumor concerning Alice Gentry’s connection with the second floor of Hamilton Memorial Hospital.  But as ill luck would have it, Kathy did not get the chance to say anything, because someone “buzzed” for Theresa to open the entrance-door.

Hence, Theresa pressed the “talk” button on the intercom and asked:

 

“Hello-o-o-o? . . .”

 

There was a pause before a young man’s voice came over the intercom:

 

“Hi, Grandma!  How are you doing?  Are you busy?  How would you like to go to lunch with us?”

 

On overhearing the conversation, Kathy quickly told Theresa to accept the invitation, and Kathy added:

 

“We can come again some other time.  How about same time next Saturday?”

 

Theresa “buzz opened” the second entrance-door to let in her guests, and she thanked Kathy and Louise for being so thoughtful.

9.Caregiver Elaine

During the following Thursday afternoon, Kathy’s husband Ben came home from work in a more energetic demeanor than usual.

He smiled and said:

 

“Hey Babe, I heard something interesting today. . . .”

 

Before her husband could begin the next sentence, Kathy eagerly asked:

 

“Oh-yeah?  What?”

 

Ben took a quick breath and resumed:

 

“I had an unusually long lunch-break today, so I ate at a regular restaurant instead of at a fast-food place.  And I overheard two couples in the next booth talking about Dr. Remington.

One of the couples insisted that Hamilton Memorial Hospital did rent out the entire second floor to Alice Gentry so that Dr. Remington could treat her, and the couple ‘swore up and down’ that Dr. Remington herself had informed them.”

 

Kathy excitedly thanked her husband for sharing the information with her, and she immediately telephoned Louise to further spread the gossip.

On Saturday, Kathy and Louise again arrived at Eastport Apartments at approximately the same time as before.  And as previously, Kathy dropped off Louise at the entranceway before parking the vehicle.

This time, Roofer Jack was not around.  Instead, Louise saw a female caregiver sitting on the bench that was farthest from the entrance-door, talking on her cell phone.  (Louise identified the woman’s occupation by the uniform that the woman was wearing.)

The caregiver was waiting for her client to return from the grocery store, and when her phone conversation ended, she smiled and asked:

 

“Good morning, my name is Elaine.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen you here before.  Are you a new resident?”

 

Louise quickly answered:

 

“No, I’m a visitor.  I’m waiting for my friend to park the vehicle.

We’re here to visit Theresa Wood and Anne MacDonald.”

 

Elaine displayed a surprised look, and she remarked:

 

“Oh!  I know them both!  They live on the sixth floor. . . .”

 

Before Elaine could say anything more, Louise said:

 

“Yes, my friend and I are trying to gather information about Dr. Remington.  Theresa and Anne supposedly know quite a lot about her.

Apparently, Dr. Remington was a very popular doctor, and she supposedly treated a lot of important people.

We’re interested in Dr. Remington’s connection with the famous talk-show host Alice Gentry.

Some say Alice Gentry rented the whole second floor of Hamilton Memorial Hospital, while others say she did not.”

 

Elaine nodded her head up and down, and she responded:

 

“Oh-yes!  I know for a fact that Alice Gentry did rent the entire second floor.  My aunt was having her second baby at Hamilton Memorial Hospital when it happened.  She heard the nurses talking about it, and they were getting ready to clear the whole floor as my aunt was being taken to the delivery room. . . .”

 

As Elaine finished speaking, Kathy arrived.  Louise introduced each woman to the other and then said:

 

“Kathy, . . . Elaine says that Hamilton Memorial Hospital did rent out the whole second floor to Alice Gentry.  Her aunt was having a baby there, and the nurses were getting ready to clear the floor. . . .”

 

10. Theresa and Anne

Elaine’s client was approaching from the parking lot.  Therefore, Elaine excused herself to meet the client.

Five minutes later, Kathy and Louise were in Theresa Wood’s apartment, and as before, Anne MacDonald was there as well.

Kathy refreshed Theresa’s memory by reviewing the last part of what she (Theresa) had narrated the week before, and then Kathy asked:

 

“Theresa, what do you know about Dr. Remington treating or not treating Alice Gentry?

Some say that Hamilton Memorial Hospital rented out the entire second floor to Alice Gentry, while others say that it never happened.  What do you say?”

 

Without even the slightest hesitation, Theresa quickly took a short breath and explained:

 

“There’s no truth to the rumor that Alice Gentry rented the entire second floor of Hamilton Memorial Hospital.

Just imagine:  Hamilton had a population of only about 35,000.  And Hamilton Memorial Hospital was just a rinky-dink hospital at the time.

So, why would a big celebrity such as Alice Gentry come to Hamilton?  She was well known all over the world, and she had enough money-and-influence to hire the very best of everything.

Here is what really happened:  Dr. Remington did treat Alice Gentry somewhere in the early 1950’s, but it happened in New York, not in Hamilton.  Dr. Remington herself told this to me.

I don’t know anything about the so-called second-floor incident.  I never heard about it before. . . .”

 

When Theresa had finished speaking, she turned to her friend and asked:

 

“Anne, would you like to add anything to what I’ve already said?  Maybe you can remember something that I  forgot to mention.”

 

Anne thought for a moment and then turned her head toward Kathy and Louise, and she commented:

 

“I really can’t add much more.  I agree with Theresa.

Common sense would tell you where a person such as Alice Gentry would go to get medical treatment:  New York would have had the better hospitals, equipment, and accommodations.

So, why would someone such as Alice Gentry even think of coming to Hamilton?

As for the second-floor incident, my husband and I knew Dr. Remington well enough to attend her New Year’s parties, and she never mentioned the incident.

My guess is that, if Dr. Remington and Alice Gentry ever did talk about renting the entire second floor, it probably was spoken in jest. . . .”

 

Kathy was happy to hear two persons speaking in agreement, but she still wondered how such a rumor could have started.  So she asked:

 

“Can either of you surmise how the second-floor-incident rumor could have started?”

 

Theresa shrugged her shoulders and turned her palms upward as Anne raised her eyebrows.  Anne, then, replied:

 

Your guess is just as good as anyone else’s, . . . but personally, I think that one of Dr. Remington’s admirers probably told the rumor to someone as a joke, and the rumor then spread like wildfire.

And of course, the rumor only would have magnified Dr. Remington’s prestige, . . . and what intelligent person (such as Dr. Remington) would want to silence such a beneficial rumor? . . .”

 

11. Kathy and Louise’s Decision

Kathy and Louise thanked Theresa and Anne for their help, and Kathy offered to take everyone to a restaurant for lunch.

Theresa and Anne tactfully declined the offer, because they already had made plans to visit one of the neighbors who was in the hospital.

 As for Kathy and Louise, they decided to stop at Danny’s Restaurant before going home.

About halfway to the restaurant, Louise asked:

 

“Kathy, are you satisfied with what we learned from Theresa and Anne?  Or do you want to investigate further?”

 

Kathy replied:

 

“I am completely satisfied with what we learned:  I believe Theresa and Anne all the way. . . .”

 

Then, for a few minutes, Kathy and Louise discussed the possibility of investigating Dr. Remington’s alleged connections with other high-profile individuals, such as her treating the princess or the Russian big-shot.  But, . . . they decided that, although Dr. Remington was a well-known person, she was not much different than any other popular and successful individual:  She was simply someone whose reputation had become “bigger than life.”

Hence, they (Kathy and Louise) would let someone else find out whether or not Dr. Remington ever treated the princess or the Russian big-shot. . . .


Submitted: May 10, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Seung Geel Hong. All rights reserved.

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