"O Lord have mercy! The lamp is heavy today!" Training in the model of Florence Nightingale was not an easy life for Lucy and her friends as student nurses in the 1950s. Like many young girls of modest means, their choices were limited to careers designated as "women's work: " be a school teacher, secretary or nurse-a sensible job that would give a young woman a skill she could use to supplement her future husband's income. Although forced to conform to a society that limited their potential, the naive young students were quickly thrust into a position where they were expected to carry a very heavy burden. In those days, student nurses were the life blood of most hospitals; they virtually ran them while living under the strict, watchful eyes of the Mercy nuns. Some days the lamp was very heavy indeed! Mary Lou Parks attended a three-year diploma school of nursing taught by the Mercy sisters, graduating to become a Registered Nurse in 1955. Years later, she obtained a Masters degree in Gerontology from the University of Southern California and has worked in nursing and social services most of her adult life. Semi-retired as a private fiduciary and conservator, she has finally found the time to write this, her first novel. Besides writing, she enjoys painting as well as spending time in her garden. She and her husband live on the central coast of California with their four children and seven grandchildren nearby.