Friday, 18 December 2009

Christmas Past

At this time of year I often have brief glimpses of Christmas in MHH, I had three Christmases there but time and my memory of almost 60 years ago have turned them all into one.

It is funny but the things I should remember which must have occurred such as Father Christmas and Carol singers stir the grey matter not one bit. The things I do remember include a Christmas tree (or trees?) being brought in to the ward and being dressed, paper chains being made and other decorations being hung around the walls and Disney characters being stuck on the many windows.

We prepared for a nativity play, dress rehearsal involved, in my case, brown face paint and a small wicker basket of oranges, one of which I was afterwards allowed to keep. I don’t remember tea towels, or any other dressing up nor the performance we must have given or to whom we gave it, but I suspect it may have been our parents during Saturday visiting.

One evening we were wrapped up and wheeled, in our beds, across to the big girls ward where the hospital staff put on a pantomime. I don’t remember what the pantomime was; just a couple on stage singing “Walking my Baby Back Home” and “How Much is that Doggie in the Window”. Strange how those two tunes have stayed with me for so long. Maybe because they were the first songs I had ever heard performed live. However neither song is much help in trying to work out what the pantomime was!

Another piece of entertainment we had was a conjurer and the one trick that stays with me, mystified me, and come to think of it still does, is the interlocking of solid metal rings. There must have been many others but they have all disappeared into the fog of my memory.

But I suppose the most lasting impression had to be the presents we found on and around our beds on Christmas morning. As well as those received from home there was always a collection from anonymous benefactors and to this day I don’t know where they came from. I’m guessing they were donated from local charitable organisations and friends of the hospital. I do remember wondering how they came to be on my bed but the thought was lost in the excitement of opening them all. 60 years on I guess it is too late to say thank you but perhaps the knowledge that they had made lots of children very happy was thanks enough.

I don’t ever remember feeling sorry for myself not being home for Christmas such was the efforts and dedication of all the hospital staff to keep us all happy and I can only say that at least in my case they all succeeded splendidly.

We would love to hear of any Christmas memories you may have of MHH.

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