LIFE OF A PHYSICIAN’S WIFE
Mary Blanche Scott’s account of her life with Dr. Edwin Scott enlightens us about the sacrifices and hardships that can occur when married to a physician. “Make no mistake,” admits Mary Blanche, “I wouldn’t change my life. It allowed me to have the opportunity to serve others.” Mary Blanche continues, “It was sometimes very lonely. I had to work to help support us and care for three children as Ed had long hours away from home while in school and while completing his internship and residencies.
Mary Blanche and Dr. Ed Scott moved to Kirby Pines in October 2013. Dr. Ed had retired after 33 years of practice. Sadly, he passed away in 2019 from complications of diabetes. This is Mary Blanche’s story:
Mary Blanche and Margaret Ann McMullen were born on January 31, 1929, in Sumner, Mississippi. They had an older brother and sister and their father was 60 years old when they were born! Their father was a landowner and was away managing “the place” most of the time. Mary Blanche describes her youth as a happy one. Life was centered on school, friends, and church activities at the local Baptist Church. “Birthdays were big events for us,” says Mary Blanche. “One of our friends invited us to come by train to Memphis and have lunch at the Peabody to celebrate her 12th birthday.”
As identical twins, Mary Blanche and her sister got along well. According to Mary Blanche, “We did everything together including wearing identical clothing, playing basketball, and having the same friends. We were the first identical twins anyone could remember being born in Sumner, so we were quite an event! It was said that the men who sat on benches outside the stores took turns betting 50 cents that they could tell us apart.”
Following high school, Mary Blanche enrolled in Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi and was active in the choir and on the tennis team. Her senior year, she transferred to Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She also had majors in History, Bible, and Spanish. “Zoology,” admits Mary Blanche, “was not my favorite subject. I dreaded returning to school on Monday morning to my dogfish shark that had been resting in a barrel of formaldehyde.
The decision to accept a teaching position in Natchez, Mississippi, was to alter the rest of Mary Blanche’s life. It was here she met her future husband, Ed Scott, who had just graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech. They were married in August 1951 and returned to Atlanta for Ed to complete a master’s degree. Their first son, Stephen, was born the following year.
With a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ed was employed by Exxon for the next six years in Linden, New Jersey, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. But, two older brothers had become physicians, and the call to medicine became too strong for Ed. When he was accepted to medical school in 1957 at the University of Tennessee, the family moved to Memphis. Their second son, Jeff, was born on the first day of medical school. “It was hard to tell what Ed was most excited about!” exclaims Mary Blanche.
So, with children five years old and five months old, Mary Blanche began a seven-year teaching position at the Longfield Junior High School while Ed completed medical school, internship, and residency programs. According to Mary Blanche, “Ed chose to specialize in Internal Medicine because he always wanted to know what caused the problem and how to solve it.” Also, as previously mentioned, time with the family was limited for Ed. “To have more time with him, the children and I would eat lunch with Ed every Sunday at the old John Gaston Hospital, Ed’s training facility.”
Another son, Edwin Jr., was born in 1962. Dr. Ed’s practice as a primary care physician (with an additional residency in Cardiology) grew to become Graceland Medical in Whitehaven. Fortunately, it was built close to the area that would later become Methodist Hospital. Following the establishment of Ed’s medical practice, Mary Blanche retired from teaching and devoted many hours working with the Women’s Medical Auxiliary. Because of the heavy influx of Vietnamese, auxiliary women worked with them to help establish and maintain their homes. There was also work with new mothers at John Gaston Hospital in helping them learn proper care of their babies. When time allowed, Mary Blanche enjoyed playing tennis. “I have always loved playing tennis and playing with my friends,” says Mary Blanche.
Despite the sometimes irregular life, travel was something the family enjoyed. Mary Blanche’s twin sister was a missionary in Nigeria, and Mary Blanche visited there three times. When a son moved to England, visits with him provided the opportunity to tour many surrounding countries. In addition to her three sons, Mary Blanche’s family grew to include eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mary Blanche believes that the move to Kirby Pines was right for them. “I enjoyed being with Ed’s brother and sister-in-law who lived here. It is certainly a blessing to be living among Christian friends and with others who are like family to me.” She and other members of Germantown Presbyterian Church eat lunch together every Sunday. Mary Blanche enjoys reading, the Book Baggers Club, and always a good game of bridge!
Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.