Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Our memories

A recurring theme from so many children at Craig-y-nos, and I include myself in this category, is that we can remember little about our time there.

What we remember is a feeling of loss, of a sense of being different from other children on our return to the outside world.

I have been reminded of this while sifting through all the emails and interviews for this book.

While the highy traumatic experiences are remembered vividly, such as being admitted to Craig-y-nos, so many of the mundane experiences of sanatorium life- what was the food like? how often did we get a bath? who cut our hair? did we have any heating in the ward? who washed our clothes? was our birthdays celebrated? are forgotten in the “sands of time”.

It is as if we have erased years of our childhood except for certain disturbing events, which the mind has failed to bury.

Philip Larkin put it aptly in his poem, the Winter Palace:

“ blank out whatever it is that is doing the damage.”

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