Known to The Leas† as KAW, Sister Weiss, or just Sister, she was known amongst her family as Katie, the youngest of the four children of Edward Weiss, costume and fur manufacturer, and Marguerite Bloom Sonnenthal. Both parents died in early 1936, when Katie was only 20/21.
†Clive Littler has reminded us that she was also known as Buffalo - she was rather heavy on her feet, and could easily be heard clumping along in her nurse's black shoes.
After domestic science college, Katie's first job was demonstrating cookers for the Gas Board, using her domestic-science cooking skills. During the war, Katie worked as a Land Girl on various farms in various counties.
After the war Katie trained as a nurse; she qualified as a State Registered Nurse in 1949, working first as a maternity nurse. Then she changed direction, taking a position as school nurse at Amesbury School, near Hindhead, Surrey; and moved on from there to The Leas.
Unlike the school's 'matrons' (usually girls in their 20s), Sister Weiss did not live in the school. She must have lived some distance away, as she is remembered arriving each day by car (in the 1960s a maroon soft-top Triumph Herald).
Sister had day-to-day responsibility for the health of the boys, seeing that medications and treatments were taken as prescribed by Dr McAfee, who visited a couple of times a week, more often if there were people in the sickroom. From time to time an epidemic would sweep through the school, requiring much organisation of carers, meals, extra sickrooms, extra laundry, etc.
Katie must have left The Leas roughly when she reached 60 - in the school photographs on this website she can be seen in 1973, but not in 1975. She moved back to London, bought herself an apartment, and carried on caring and nursing, both maternity and the elderly. Eventually she retired completely, and was able to spend a lot of time with her nieces and nephews and their children.
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