Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gordon Dower- 1955-57 age 11

“You grew up very quickly in Craig-y-nos. You had to in order survive,”says  68 year old Gordon Dower from Talgarth.

He rang me today. They have just got themselves a computer and he googled Craig-y-nos.

“I saw that you had a Reunion and I would love to get in touch with two nurses who I remember. They were good to us. Nurse Mary Bannister and Nurse Waters.

He was in there from 11-13 years of age in the late 1950s.
“We were transferred to Talgarth. What a difference! Everyone was so friendly, you could walk anywhere and you were not punished.”

“Dr Hubbard? She frightened me. She terrified us all. We would hear her come down in the lift and then we would hear the clank, clank of her iron leg.”

His abiding memory is of the gastric lavages where he was forcibly held and a tube pushed down his throat (diagnostic tool where fluid was removed from the stomach to see if the patient was still positive).

 He had streptomycin which made him sterile. “ We went on to adopt two lovely children though” says Gordon who became a carpenter.

He has never talked about his experience in Craig-y-nos.
“What could you say ? nobody would understand if they had not been there.”

He recalls a very sick boy in the next bed to him and his parents visited him late one evening.

“His father turned to me and said:” Do you think he will live?”

He died in the night.

“You got tied to the bed for the smallest offence like getting out bed when you shouldn’t.”

He remembers Edgar the gardener with his young fox cubs.

He adds:” I would love to go to a Reunion. Let me know if there is another.”

We will Gordon.

Copies of The Children of Craig-y-nos by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves available from Amazon, Price £9.99

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