When i was first challenged to write this blog my first reaction was horror and shame, knowing that my lack of education would scream out loud for the universe to see. you have seen......and not judged......and i thank you for that.
As quickly as the embarrassment flooded into my mind a second voice, a voice i have learned to trust over the years, spoke quietly and with wisdom......"tell them, tell them why you don't know a comma from a coma, or a hyphen from a python, tell them what it was like back in the day. tell them so maybe someone else out there will have the courage to find their voice on this most democratic of platforms...... and you can always turn to The New World Library that is the internet for guidance."
Meet the Lord Mayor Treloar Cripple's Hospital.....yep!!.....that truly was it's name. it was knocked down a few years ago. buried under the rubble, crushed and bruised mingled with the bricks and glass were the memories of the many children who had the misfortune of being born broken and malformed in the 1950's. it was also my home between the age of 5 & 7. on arrival, after being torn from parents who were only permitted to visit once a week for an hour, we would be tied by gauze bandage to the bed frame with the promise of release once it was proved there wasn't an escape risk and that we wouldn't cry......crying was a great sin, packed in as we were one hysterical child could cause a riot worthy of Broadmoor
Treatments were brutal and mostly ineffective, causing more damage than the the original pathology and more agony than any child should have to endure. pain relief was still a distant dream in the imagination of Big Pharma, a quick whiff of chloroform was the best that could be hoped for.
It wasn't all doom and gloom, there were some magical moments too that i happily dredged from the wreckage of that well intentioned torture chamber. in the hot southern summers our beds would be pushed out onto the veranda, what they called The Solarium, so our pasty, scarred skin could benefit from the sun, a very innovative treatment option in the 50's. i remember sultry, sticky, humid nights lying under mosquito nets drifting into sleep under the stars, the buzz of insects a hypnotic lullaby better than any sleeping potion.
Schooling ???? it didn't happen. too many children, too few staff, no resources. on returning to civilisation it was to schools that didn't have remedial teaching, you just had to sit at the back of the class and catch up as best you could. i couldn't ! ! ! numbers and letters and punctuation were beyond my best efforts, punishment and bullying by teachers simply drove me into a world of imagination where i could run in fields of daisies and fly with wings of fairy dust, no handicap, no pain, no disability, no shame, no "cripple".