November 07, 2011

Long ago memories



I woke this morning with long ago memories and 2 songs.
A little background first, bear with me.
When a  very small child I first contracted my health problems. I spent many a time in hospital from a baby and had quite a lot of operations.


It was decided that a spell of convalescence and a change of air might help. I lived in a small village near a mill town so not a really bad place health wise. However at the age of seven I was sent to the Lake District, Cumberland as it then was, to a school for delicate children. 
As an aside I went back many years later to see what it looked like and it was then a school for maladjusted children. It wasn't when I was there though:)
 Can you imagine what it was like in the late 50s being sent at such an age to a strange place? Not coming home for holidays? I stayed there for nearly 2 years.
 My 2 uncles who were lorry drivers came to see me often and that was wonderful. My dad came once on his moped as he didn't drive, I think that was all. I didn't recognise him and didn't want to see this strange man who had arrived. I can remember making my self sick so I could finish the visit early. I never saw my mum until I went home after the almost 2 years I was there. By then she had had 2 more children so from having 3 brothers and sisters I now had 5.
 Once I got used to the castle I loved it, I loved the woodlands that the castle was situated in and spent lots of time out there. My bedroom was a shared small dormitory in one of the turrets.  We had wonderful staff and I found myself at the top of the class in our school. The teachers there instilled my love of reading and creating. I can remember weaving a scarf for my nanny, orange and vivid turquoise and she wore it:) I spent a fair bit of time in bed with various ailments but books and crafts  helped take me away from the pain and discomfort.
 When it came time to go home I cried, I wanted to stay there. The local doctor used to take me home to play with his children and one of the nurses and the main teacher ( Nurse Walker and Miss Crawford I think? ) were very kind and helped make the place not so frightening.
 I can remember that it was for 7-11 year olds and the Cumbrian air was supposed to be beneficial for rheumatic fever, asthma and other ailments. As to that I don't really know but I think it certainly instilled a love of the Lake District that has never left me.
 It seemed strange going home, it wasn't my home and there were more people in it which made it crowded as we were exceedingly poor and lived in a 2 bedroom house with no electricity. My grandsons find it amusing that we had gas lighting, an outside loo that also housed a pig in between our necessary visits and if you got up in the night to go to the toilet and played the torch light on the living room walls they were crawling with cockroaches. My dad didn't work, he never did much in all the time I knew him. My mum went to work in between pregnancies but there wasn't much money.
So what were the songs?

I presume the other children taught them me, I certainly didn't make them up.

I had rheumatic fever, I had it very bad
They wrapped me in a blanket and put me in a van
The van was very shaky it nearly threw me out
and when I got to Broughton Towers I heard the kiddies shout
"Mummy , daddy take me home
from this convalescent home
I've been here a year or two and all I want is to be with you
In comes the doctor, Doctor Brown
asking questions all around.
Are you better?
Are you worse?
If you're worse I'll call the nurse
In comes the nurse with a red hot poultice
slaps it on and takes no notice
Ow said the patient that's too hot
Oh said the nurse I'm sure its not

That is all I can remember of that one
And the second one?

There is a happy land far far away
Where we get bread and jam three times a day
Fish and chips you never see
dirty black beetles in your tea
but they are gradually
fading away
fading away

6 comments:

Blue Witch said...

Good to hear from you, hope all is well (or, at least, as well as can be, all things considered)?

While at the time it must have been a traumatic experience, in retrospect, do you feel you had a happy escape from a difficult situation for a couple of years?

Schools for 'delicate' children still existed when I started work. While 'institutions' exist, occupants for them are always found. Fortunately, things have now moved on, in most areas of the country.

Rosie said...

I've been wondering how you are. Your childhood sounds like something from a novel..it really is true that truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.

Lots of love xxx

Anonymous said...

I went to the towers for 2 years left in 1963 like you I seemed to escape from a difficult home life and loved the surrounding area I remember a nurse jones who used to take me tovisit her brothers farm. I learnt to milk a cow there lol my maiden name was Doreen kite x

doe said...

I spent some time there upto and including 1963 when I left,i remeber nurse jones who used to take me to visit her brothers farm where I learnt to milk a cow lol. I learnt my love for the lakes and surrounding area, like you I escaped a difficult home life and only saw my parents once in all the time I was there my maiden name was Doreen kite x

doe said...

I was at the towers for a time, until I left in 1963, like you I escaped a difficult home life and learnt to love the surrounding countryside and the lakes, coming from Liverpool it was a different world. iremeber a nurse jones who took me to visit her brothers farm where I learnt to milk a cow lol. in the time I wasthere ionly seen my parents once and can remember lookingout of the window down the drive on visiting days wondering if this time they would come and they never did x

Margaret. said...

Hello, I was at Broughton Tower from 1960 to 1964. My maiden name was Margaret Dobson. I was 2nd eldest in a family of 7. I enjoyed some of my time there, mainly the little school with Miss Crawford and Mr Sharples. I hated some of it, just being away from home and my family. I remember going on walks to the bungalow field and swimming in the river Duddon. Nurse Creighton took us in the woods where she lit a campfire and we had fried egg butties and sang Kumbaya! I remember a girl called Val from Liverpool, Theresa, and a boy called Graham Towler. I remember 'Tuck Boxes'. Does anyone remember me?