Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Maureen Powell, age 10, 1942 (Craig-y-nos)

Maureen (“My name is Maureen but I am known as Mary”) rang me this morning after seeing the latest story in the Brecon and Radnor newspaper.

She was in Craig-y-nos as a 10 year old in 1942 for one year:”Then I got moved to Kensington Hospital in St Brides, and I was there for 4 years.”

She was the only child in a roomful of adults at Craig-y-nos and she remembers being wheeled out on to the balcony when it was snowing for the “fresh air” and a having a tarpaulin on her bed and being very cold and crying for her mother to take her home.

She has written a very poignant song about her time there which she has now taught her grandchildren to sing!

She had TB in the neck glands and lung, and had a total of 25 operations ( in both hospitals) which affected her hearing. She remembers the “light treatment” in Kensington Hospital where she had to sit wearing goggles and a bikini.

She recalls the regime as being “very strict” and how the emphasis was on cleanliness and how they were never to touch second hand books.
“To this day I can’t touch a second hand book and I live in Hay-on-Wye - the book town!”

Leaving hospital after 5 years “confined to one room” she says the shock of the outside world caused her to faint in Haverfordwest.

“For five years I had been in my own little world, a secure place, confined to one room and suddenly without any warning I am thrown into this big outside world. The traffic frightened me. I remember fainting in Haverfordwest.”

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