Saturday, January 05, 2008

Joan Wotton (nee Thomas) 1950-52

Wordsworth refers to certain memories as “spots of time”.

So it is that Joan and I pour over shared reminiscences, scavenging for bits of information that will illuminate dark corners of our childhood history in Craig-y-nos Castle.

Joan ( left) with Elaine

I remember Joan as a very pretty teenager. She used to love to sing and would entertain the girls with her repertoire.

She has mixed memories of the staff:

“Auntie Maggie” -” was everyone's favourite”. I do not tell her that Auntie Maggie became blind and died about ten years ago.

Nurse Glenys Davies “she didn't like me I don't know why. I had nothing. We were as poor as church mice” .

Dr Huppert - who shouted at her for wearing a lilac bedjacket - she objected to the colour and Miss White remonstrated with her telling her “not to be cross with me.”

Sister Morgan - she used to switch the radio on every Sunday morning for the religious service, the only time we got to listen to it.

The dentist ( aka Santa Claus) who fondled her breasts and pressed himself against her so that she refused to go to see him again even though she had toothache.

She loved writing letters and one day she wrote to the Editor of the teenage magazine Girl asking if they would like to do a feature on the girls in Craig-y-nos.

“And I got a most dreadful row from the matron and sister for daring to suggest it.”

Some letters going out were opened.
Now this was news to me though I knew that parcels and sometimes letters in parcels were opened coming in.

She recalls two girls Rita and Marjorie running away. They just walked out with the weekend-visitors ( adults were allowed visitors every weekend unlike the children who were only allowed visitors one weekend every month). They got as far as Ystradgynlais before being caught and brought back.

Once during a bad fall of snow the bus couldn't get as far as Craig-y-nos and visitors walked the last few miles. She remembers her father sitting on the balcony with frozen hands and her young brother having to stand out in the courtyard waiting.

Some time after leaving Craig-y-nos Joan had a relapse and she was sent to Cimla hospital for the removal of a lung.
“It was a lovely, lovely place, so different from Craig-y-nos. To me that was a workhouse.”

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