Monday, March 19, 2007

Margaret Howells - 1955

Out of Bounds!
Ward 2 girls take to the water: three in a boat with the gardeners Edgar, Arthur and Leslie, the apprentice.
Margaret wrote on the back of this photo:

” the one with the glasses was nice, the other one was a bit forward! “
(Note where his hands are on June’s bosom!)

Margaret Howells rang me this afternoon.
“Do you remember me? We were in Llanbedr junior school together. “
She went into Craig-y-nos in 1954, five months after I left, and was there for 18 months.

Margaret lived at Ty-Croes farm, a remote smallholding high on the Table mountain above Llanbedr village.

“Our cottage had no electricity. We had nothing to do in the evening except sit around the kitchen table, and talk would get around to TB and how it had wiped out whole families in the area.

“I was in Crichowell hospital for a time then I got moved to Craig-y-nos. I asked the girls what was wrong with them and each one said “TB” and

I said ‘I've got pleurisy" and they said:

“No you haven't you’ve got TB like the rest of us.”
Well, I cried and cried for weeks cause I thought I was going to die.

“But streptomycin had arrived. I was one of the lucky ones.
“Once I realised I was not going to die I enjoyed myself at Craig-y-nos.

Margaret Howells ( right) with Christine outside the summerhouse.

“I was very happy there. I am gregarious by nature and I loved the company.
I remember one summer helping the gardeners pick caterpillars off the cabbages.
We used to have Guides with sing songs around a “pretend” fire in the middle of Ward 2.

“Dr Huppert was a nasty bit of work. She announced one day who the girls were who were allowed to put curlers in their hair and who was not allowed. She said I could but the other girls wouldn't let me. They said if they couldn't have curlers then neither was I.

”Craig-y-nos brought me out. It gave me self confidence. All this happened once I realised I was not going to die.

The staff were very good. They did our Christmas shopping for us from the Boots catalogue.

Going home was an anticlimax. I was on my own in this remote cottage as my parents were out working. I went back to school for a year then moved away from the area and got a job looking after children in Porthcawl.”

Now married with 3 daughters and 6 grand-sons, Margaret lives in Aberpergwm, near Glynneath.

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