Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When in Rochester...

Since I'm still in Minnesota (and why not since my part of Connecticut is still mostly dark and rather chilly) today's entry will once again be centered around good old Rochester.

On the day when the Northeast was being pummeled by the Nor'easter, I was enjoying a quiet stroll around the Mayo Clinic campus here in town. The weather was lovely and since the clinic buildings themselves aren't really open on weekends (the Mayo hospitals are, obviously, but not the clinic buildings) it's the perfect time to soak up the beautiful plantings, the architectural details (as per yesterday's post) and enjoy the bells pealing out from the carillon tower. The carillon is rarely--if ever--on tour, but if you get the chance to visit it, snap it up immediately. The tower offers stunning views of the hills surrounding Rochester and you can really appreciate the terra cotta work and the gargoyles from that vantage point, too.

And since Mayowood, the former home of Dr. Charles H. Mayo (and later his son Charles W. Mayo) has been in the news lately, I took the time to stop and "chat" with Charlie and his elder brother, Will, in the small plaza where they hold court behind the Gonda building. It seemed only fitting to stop and spend a few minutes with two wise and utterly old-school gentlemen. The two men were incredibly close, living next door to one another during their early married days in homes that were connected by a speaking tube. There was even a double rocking chair on Charlie's front porch...for the Mayo brothers even rocking in a chair was a cooperative effort. Charlie always looked a little rumpled and somewhat like the town grocer, whereas Will was steely eyed and the picture of sophistication and stoicism. Charlie, who would eventually move his large and active family out to the farms that made up Mayowood (there were seven farms including a dairy and greenhouse, riding stables, and a sulky track), considered himself an agriculturalist, not a farmer. The difference being that farmers made their money on the farm and spent it in town and agriculturalists such as Charlie made their money in town and spent it on the farm. A subtle, but keenly observed difference.

I think their own words..."Always do what is in the best interest of the patient" ring as true today as they did 80 or so years ago and I hope that the Mayo Clinic in the broadest sense will keep those words in mind as they go forward with their new partnership at Mayowood.

Dr. Charles H. Mayo (l) and Dr. William J. Mayo (r)

Charlie (l) and Will (r) with the new(ish) Gonda Building in rear

The view of Will (l) and Charlie (r) from the back, I like to think their
families often saw them similarly positioned. 

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