Dorothy’s father had a strong influence on her as he provided a lot of volunteer service and was very community-oriented. But another strong memory of him also had a lasting effect on Dorothy. After drinking some milk once, Dorothy’s father developed undulant fever, an infectious bacterial disease, and almost died. The hospital didn’t know how to treat it well, so Dorothy’s mother kept him home and they sponged him to keep his fever down. Without some important medical advancements like dialysis that could have helped her father, he suffered from numerous ailments brought on from a number of procedures performed at the hospital. Although she was only five, Dorothy remembers sitting on the bed, sponging his face and shoulders to keep his temperature down. This was the beginning of her desire to become a nurse.
Dorothy led an active childhood and had a happy home life, encouraged by her parents to learn and do new things. She went to school at Hawthorne Elementary, which was “an excellent school with great teachers.” Her mother had started teaching her before she formally began school, so Dorothy found herself far advanced compared to other classmates. Teachers convinced Dorothy’s mom to have her skip kindergarten and first grade, but her mother refused to push her further ahead. Instead, Dorothy was assigned to help teach other kids who were struggling. As she puts it, “For me, teaching was always there.”
Dorothy was interested in artistic output, which her parents also encouraged. She started taking piano lessons around age six and eventually acquired an accordion, which a musician from the bank taught her to play. Dorothy even taught herself to figure skate