Friday, March 23, 2007

Margaret Davies ( nee Maddock)-1951

Monday morning. Phone rings.
A lilting Welsh voice asks:”Are you still wanting ex- patients from Craig-y-nos?”
“Of course!”
“I was admitted in January 1951 into Ward 1."
“How old were you?”
“Four and a half. I left for Sully in February 1952."
We have a chat.
Her memories of Craig-y-nos are not pleasant.
“It was a terrifying place. I was the youngest in the ward and I only spoke Welsh. Nobody could understand me. There was a nurse, Auntie Maggie, who was Welsh speaking and that was a great help."

“I had to lie on my stomach and they put me at the foot of the bed otherwise I would not see anyone.”

She lay like that for thirteen months before being transferred to Sully for an operation to remove one lobe of her lung.

During this time she learnt to speak English and she recalls the ghost stories about Adelina Patti told by the older girls, often with the intention of frightening the younger ones.
“For years afterwards I slept with the sheet wrapped around my head.”

We share memories.

“I still sleep with a sheet around my head unless I am with my husband,” I say.
So powerful were those stories imprinted in my mind.

Like many of us Margaret has no recollection of Christmas or birthdays though she does recall going to see Harry Secombe in 1952.
“ My bed was wheeled down to the theatre. This was the only time, apart from x-rays, that I ever left Ward 1 in the 13 months I was there.”

She can’t recall any form of heating:
“ It was always cold and windy.”

Despite having lost nearly four years of schooling Margaret passed the 11 plus and went to grammar school leaving after her ’O’ levels to take a secretarial course.
After marriage and the birth of her daughter she worked as a practise manager for her local health centre in Penclawdd for 23 years.

(extract from longer interview)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regarding your comment about sleeping with a sheet around your head - I also slept with a sheet around my head until my late teens when I forced myself not to do it anymore!
Pamela Bowen (nee Hill)