Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Molly Barry (nee O'Shay) -1950-52

"The robin story"

Speak to Molly from Swansea this morning.
We discover we were in Craig-y-nos at the same time- except she was 10 years older and in the Six-Bedder.

Molly talks about the robin she befriended.
"It came into our ward every day and would perch on the end of my bed."

I tell her about my budgies.
She is astonished: "You were allowed birds!”

It's my turn to be surprised. “Did you not know about the budgies in Ward 2?”

The Six Bedder was only about 20 yards from the entrance to Ward 2 yet she knew nothing of the existence of my budgies!
We shared the same nursing staff and were in adjoining wards at the same time for years yet communication between the two was non-existent.(I have heard though of some women at one stage writing letters to the children).

This highlights another curious fact about life in Craig-y-nos: we knew there were other children in the building yet we never saw them for mixing was strictly forbidden.

In my four years in Craig-y-nos I never went into another ward. Indeed the first time I saw inside the Six-Bedder was earlier this year. It's now derelict and used for ghost tours and seances.

In later life Molly worked as an auxiliary nurse and looking back at Craig-y-nos she is struck by how few nurses there were.
Indeed it is the same names that keep recurring in peoples memories: Dr Williams, Dr Huppert, Sister Morgan, Nurse Glenys Davies, “Auntie Maggie” and a handful of other names.
There were certainly many people working behind the scenes in administration, kitchens, laundry maintenance - witness the popularity of staff reunions

As a young adult in Craig-y-nos Molly’s memories are positive:

“For a child it must have been a frightening place to be but for and adult, once I had settled in and was allowed up I enjoyed going for walks in the beautiful grounds,” she said.

She got engaged while in there:“My boyfriend was wonderful, we met dancing as you did in those days,and he used to visit me in hospital. We got engaged while I was there. He brought in a sample of rings for me to try on.”

She had only been home for a few months before she had a relapse so they hurried to get married and had special dispensation from their priest.

“Married on the Friday and back into Craig-y-nos on the Monday.”

Sister Morgan used to tease her that she went out Molly O'Shay and came back in Molly Barry.

Molly’s been married 56 years and she has a daughter, son and 4 grandchildren.

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