Sunday, December 02, 2007

Dr Williams' clinic- Brecon 1959

Dr Williams in Craig-y-nos Castle

Passing the door of Dr Williams former clinic in Brecon last week gave me quite a jolt.

It was there one early Spring day in 1959 that I received the news that TB had come racing back.

That afternoon visit to the clinic should have been a time for quiet celebration, a routine x-ray was all I needed to complete my college entry requirements.

Mother had already gone to the local education authority office to collect my grant application while she left me to wait for the result of the x-ray, which we expected to be a mere formality .

But I remembered the frown on Dr Williams face when he told me to go and get my mother. He wanted to see us both together. Again. An ominous sign.

Mother blissfully unaware had already gone off to collect my grant application form. Now as I sat in the car, an elderly Humber Hawk, I watched her approach waving the buff envelope in her hand.

She was proud proud that her daughter, the first in the family, was going to college. Ever since I was born she had taken out an insurance policy hoping that one day I would “go to college” like she too had once dreamt of doing.

“Dr Williams wants to see you”.

She smiled, unaware of the significance of my remark.

It got worse inside the clinic for she refused to believe what Dr Williams was trying to tell her. He sat there shuffling his papers and Dr. Mulhall stared at a fly walking across the ceiling. They were both embarrassed. I could sense their discomfiture: how could they explain to this simple country woman that her daughter’s x-ray was “not right”.

As the awful realisation of the situation dawned my mother began to cry... and it was my turn to be embarrassed.

I would not be going to teachers training college that autumn in Bristol.
Instead I would be heading straight for Sully and an operation to remove a section of my lung.

The memory came back as I walked down Brecon High St last week with my posters for the Children of Craig-y-nos exhibition.

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