John J Kane Hospital

The Summer of Love

To those who lived during the 1960’s, the summer of 1967 was remembered as the “Summer of Love.” Thousands of young people flocked to the hippie epicenter of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco during those summer months. The Summer of Love altered the social, political, and cultural landscape of America. More on that later.

Our personal “Summer of Love” arrived two years later when we met “over a bedpan” working a summer job in Pittsburgh. In the summer of 1969 we both had jobs working at John J. Kane Hospital in the same male geriatrics ward.

It was close to 3:00 pm on June 16, and Joan, seated at the nurse’s station, was waiting for the end of her 7 am to 3 pm shift as a nurse’s aide. Greg had just been hired as an orderly (he did the same job as Joan but had a better title!) and was stopping by the nurse’s station to see the floor where he was to begin working the next day. Joan had her long, dark hair pulled up in a bun and wore a very short white nurse’s dress. (Joan talking: I wore them as short as I could get away with back then!).  Greg was dressed in a white short-sleeved shirt and dark pants. Our attraction to each other was immediate. A random thought entered Joan’s head as Greg was introduced to her.  “I’m going to remember this moment because I am going to marry this guy one day.”  No kidding!  We talked briefly, even speaking a little German to each other when Joan found out that Greg had been an Army brat who had been born in Munich and had spent some childhood years living in Germany. She had learned her German in high school.

In spite of the immediate attraction Joan felt that Greg was a bit arrogant!  It would take many hours of working together and lunches spent talking before she would see another side to him and realize that we were very compatible in our thinking and what we wanted out of life. The one thing that really won her over was seeing how kind and gentle Greg was with the male patients.

Our first date didn’t come until August 9. Greg finally worked up enough nerve to ask his attractive (Greg talking) co-worker out to see Vanilla Fudge. (If you know who this group is you are as old as we are!). We still have the program from that concert!


Vanilla Fudge played their big hit “Season of the Witch” at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh