Thursday, May 01, 2008
Barbara O'Connell (nee Paines) 1952-53
The red crosses mark the windows of Ward 2
I rang Barbara Paines.
"Is that Ann?"
And straightaway we were back in Craig-y-nos swopping stories, jogging each other's memories. Weird, totally weird. We talked about shared experiences never spoken about before.
Yes she was there the morning that Dr Huppert got stuck in the lift and how Sister Morgan got us all together saying:
"Shilling to view girls!"
Barbara reminded me that it was the girls on Ward 2 who hearing the lift gates clank open on the floor above used to rush to open the ones on Ward 2, just an inch but enough to stop the mechanism working.
I can't remember that. But it would explain Dr Huppert's problems with the lift.
Yes there was a lot of talk about ghosts though she never say anything. She was told that a nurse had been struck by lightening and now her ghost walked the wards.
When it came time for Barbara to leave she cried and Dr Huppert said:
"You cry when you come in and you cry when you go out."
She recalls her introduction to the outside world again as "horrible".
'I felt so enclosed at home. The rooms were small and dark."
This is a very common experience. Even today she cant bear to sleep in a small bedroom and always has to have the window open. She remembers suffering black-outs for years after she came home."The doctors could never find a reason why."
How did she find the this blog?
"Well, I had been up to my husband's grave for the anniversary of his death. It is three years since he died. Afterwards my daughter said you can't go home. Come and stay with us for a few hours. She showed me the internet. She showed me my home on Google Earth.
Then I asked her to type in Adelina Patti hospital. Nothing came up.
So I said:"Try Craig-y-nos" - and up came your blog.I couldn't believe it! I've got print outs now of some of the stories."
Barbara has never been back to Craig-y-nos though as a result of finding the site she is going to go back with a friend.
She would like to make contact with girls in Ward 2 again, especially Jean Shakeshaft and Valerie Lovell.
"We were so close at the time it would be lovely to know how they are getting on".
As soon as Barbara's photos arrive( she is going to have them professionally copied in Cardiff) I will post her account of her stay in Craig-y-nos.