Sunday, 28 June 2009

Jane replies to Colin's memories

I'm amazed by how complete your memories are, Colin - even down to car registrations, and a clear enough sense of the layout of the place to be able to contrast it with Fred's! As you'll see, there's some interesting discussion in earlier parts of the blog about how few of us can remember names in particular. There are only about three of you who do - you, Judith, in the posting immediately before yours, and Margaret Vicars, rather earlier. I wonder how much it has to do with our age on admission. How old were you?

It was also thrilling to read about someone who actually remembers me at that time! I think this is something all of us hope the blog will bring - that actual link to a named someone who remembers us. The segregation between boys' and girls' wards was so complete as a rule that we seemed to live parallel lives. Actually, at the time I assumed that being moved from 'small boys', as we called it, was something to do with growing up! I remember there were several of us there for a while, and I think we all moved together, more or less.

My parents did have a car, though I'm not sure what it was. Many times my Mum had lifts with kind friends with cars, when my
Dad, who was in the RAF, couldn't get away (she didn't drive). What a pity they aren't still around to enjoy the link with me - though I think if I'd asked more questions while they were alive I'd have had a lot more to contribute to the blog now.

Thanks also for detailing the precise mathematical logic of why every so often we had to put up with a 3 week gap between visits. It sums up perfectly the kind of regimentation that characterised our time there. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the blog is the way it shows the changes in thinking about children in hospital, separation from parents, and so on. I've done some reading of reports conducted around that time which influenced considerable changes, and am hoping to add some summaries to the blog, though it may have to be later in the summer.

Your memories of the Duggie Hut really jogged mine. I was absolutely terrified of that skeleton, so perhaps I suppressed the memory! I think
in my mind it linked up in a scary way with the X-rays they took of us! And I remained terrified of pictures of skeletons, hospitals and so forth, for quite a long time.

But if there was no physio - and my memories of learning to walk also suggest there wasn't - where did we go for those terrible early walking efforts between parallel bars, with legs weakened by years of disuse? I'd imagined a kind of gym, or something, but only to explain the dream-like vividness of the memory.

And I also have fond memories of plasticine play - we girls used it a lot, too. I seem to remember lots of figures of people, some in beds just like ours, others doing the sorts of things we imagined ourselves doing when we went home - riding horses, dancing (I was going to be a famous ballerina in one of my fantasies!) you name it. But my impression is that we weren't allowed to be nearly so boisterous as the boys.

So please do have a further think and add any more information you can think of - it sounds as though there might be quite a lot. I'm particularly curious about how immobilized boys contrived such highly mobile games as horse races and rugby!

Did you have brothers and sisters left at home? Do you remember how your hospitalisation and your home-coming affected them at all?

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