Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Simple acts of kindness

Auntie Maggie with child patient

“There was a doctor at Craig-y-nos with a car which had a dickie seat in the back. He took one of the girls and me to Swansea, and we had ice cream. They weren't going specially for us. They were going to Swansea on business and we had a free ride in the car, me and this little girl, on the dickie seat in the back. (Ted, age 9 1928)

I wonder if this doctor realised that this simple act, to take two children who had been confined to one room in Craig-y-nos Castle for over a year, for a spin in his car would remain imprinted in their minds for the rest of their lives?

Many children recall instances of generosity by some staff members which helped to soften the harsh sanatorium regime.

Two names that recur constantly in all accounts are Nurse Glenys Davies and “Auntie Maggie” or Mrs Williams , an auxiliary nurse.

Nurse Glenys Davies with Muriel

Nurse Glenys Davies is remembered by many for her warmth, kindness and humour.
“She brought in a tv set specially so that I could watch Wimbledon” (Sylvia, teenager, 1950s.)

“Auntie Maggie was really lovely. She used to buy me peppermint toothpaste sometimes because I used to eat my toothpaste.It tasted like sweets." ( Pam, age 7, 1947)

“Aunite Maggie” did all the shopping for the children.
Amongst her many generous acts were the catalogues she brought in so that children could buy Christmas present for their parents.

Marlene Hopkins, a former teenage patient, who trained as a nurse, emigrated to the States and now lives in California summed it up:
“Thank God for Auntie Maggie! She brought some warmth to the place. She was a surrogate mother.”

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