St. Mary's influenced me at an early age Marilyn Belli Patient/ SON student/ employee (1961-1984) My first encounter with St. Mary's was in 1948 when I was 5 years old. I was a patient having eye surgery by the very well-known opththomologist, Dr. Balconi. I still vividly remember walking hand-in-hand with my mother up the many steps leading to the main entrance of the hospital (long before the ramp was constructed). I was in awe by its grandeur. I remember how kind and compassionate the nurses were and how they must have influenced me at such an early age. It was at that time that I announced to my parents that I was going to be a nurse when I grew up. So when I was in high school I returned to St. Mary's and volunteered as a nurse's aide ("Louisette"). And "true to my words" I entered the School of Nursing in 1961 and graduated in 1964. I was employed at St. Mary's for over 20 years and worked as a staff nurse, head nurse, nurse educator, and supervisor. Although I left St. Mary's as an employee in 1984 I have been drawn back "to my roots" on several occasions as a clinical instructor for area colleges. I have been a member of St. Mary's Alumnae Association since 1971 and currently serve on its Board of Directors. Little did I know as a small child many years ago how St. Mary's would influence my career and be an important part of my life.