Thursday, July 05, 2007

The turret room

The Turret Room (marked with a red cross)

Strange how a room becomes so evocative in dredging up past memories...

So it was yesterday when Ann Rees (nee Morgan) told me about her bad experiences at Craig-y-nos in 1954 as a 6 year old.

Many people have already recounted the story of the mother with four children all in Craig-y-nos at the same time and how the children were forbidden to have any contact with their mother except at Christmas when , as a special treat, they could look at her through the glass door of her ward.

So yesterday I spoke to Ann. Not surprisingly she does not have happy memories of her time.

She says it was cruel , real cruel, the way the staff forbade her and her sisters, along with her brother, from seeing their mother.

But when they were well enough to go out into the grounds they could wave to her .

So yesterday I was pleased to talk to yet another of the Morgan children. ( Her brother Allan had made the initial contact with me after Googling “Craig-y-nos” on the internet).

Another bad memory of her time there concerned a nurse, one in particular, who used to threaten to lock her in “the hole”.

How she lived in dread of being put into “the hole”!

After some discussion we work it out that “the hole” was the turret room off the Day Room ( a place used for storage) on the top floor of Ward 2.

For me the turret room had special memories.

The door had a unique wooden handle, but only on the outside. Once inside you were locked in. It used to fascinate us. We played up there taking it in turns to lock each other in.

It was also my refuge, the place I would go to
read and I would sit there often with the sun streaming through the narrow slits in the castle wall with my books.

On one occasion I had been subjected to punishment by Dr. Huppert and confined to Ward 2 having to sit alone on the balcony on my bed while the rest of the girls went out into the grounds or to the weekly cinema.

It had started with my loosing a dental brace. Dr Huppert claimed I had thrown it away. Not so. I was proud of my brace . Nobody had ever seen such a contraption except I had to take it out to eat.
One day it went missing from my locker. Hence the punishment.

It coincided with my being on the receiving end of a spate of bullying by the older girls which culminated in them stealing my one and only prized possession: my box of ribbons.
So I ran away, I ran to the only place I knew where I could cry in peace.

And that was the turret room
Funny thing memories...

PS. A couple of months after I left Craig-y-nos a small parcel arrived from Sister Morgan. It contained my missing dental brace. Some girls found it in the rhododendrons bushes.

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