Reading Day Features Dr. Seuss Extravaganza

By: Jared Whitley

Issue date: 3/5/01 Section: News
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Antonio Lopaz holds jis new baby during Dr. Seuss Reading Day.
Antonio Lopaz holds jis new baby during Dr. Seuss Reading Day.

Theodore Geisel, better known by his pen-name Dr. Seuss, once said that nonsense wakes up the nerve cells and fantasy is a necessary ingredient to living.

Friday, March 2, University Hospital gave its employees and customers a hefty jolt of nonsense and birthday cake.

To wish the good Dr. Seuss a happy birthday and encourage children to read, the University Hospital invited its employees to deck themselves out like the Cat in the Hat, complete with all black clothing, cartoonish red ribbons and more than 150 official candy-cane-striped top hats.

Everyone was invited to dress up, including valets, volunteers, nurses, receptionists and doctors. Even the hospital therapy dogs came dressed up.

“He’s the Dog in the Hat!” joked Sandi Martin, director of University Hospital’s Community Outreach and Volunteer Services. Besides holding the Dr. Seuss costume extravaganza, volunteers raised more than $1,000 in Dr. Seuss books for children who passed through the hospital that day.

Each baby born Mar. 2 received an autographed Dr. Seuss book and a tiny Cat in the Hat top hat.

“We’re trying to have a little fun,” said Debbi Christiansen, a nurse in the maternity ward. “Everybody seems to be in better spirits.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Seuss wrote and illustrated 47 books and sold more than 100 million copies in 18 languages.

“I’m just a child at heart,” said Coty Ericksen, a front desk receptionist, who had even painted whiskers on herself. “I still love being a little kid when I can. [Customers] like it. They’ve gotten into it and like it.”

Hospital patrons reacted to Erickson’s Cat in the Hat costume with casual disinterest to extended dialogues about Dr. Seuss. Some confused her with the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.

Erickson’s co-workers, while less festive, also wore hats to celebrate the day. “I didn’t want to wear the hat, but I didn’t want to be a party pooper,” said Ricardo Espinoza, front desk receptionist.

Video displays, an employee trivia contest (called “Trivial Perseuss”), stuffed-animal giveaways and racks upon racks of birthday cake all added to the Seussian atmosphere, as did Human Resources employee Malinda Lewis’s poem:

Our Hospitals and Clinics are taking a stand, reading is oh so important, so we’ll give you a hand.

Or, in the case of those dressed up like cats, a paw.
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