The first photo must have been when I was nearly one, early 1948, and the other, two years later. For the first three years of my life I lived with Mum and Nana, in the down stairs flat of a house that had seen better days, This was before my Nana purchased a Victorian terraced property, opposite a park, which was to be my home for the following 18 years.
I remember discovering a hole in the kitchen floor and peering in … and then a wooden chair being placed over it to stop me coming to harm. I remember Mum looking after the Lipmann’s cat and she and I having to go up to their flat, only to discover a pile, or as it seemed to me, a mountain, of stale and mouldy bread in a corner of their hall. I remember lowered voices when it was ever discussed..
It is only with retrospect, and age, that I now suspect why the ‘mountain’ existed. The Lipmann’s were always nice to Mum and talked to me too but generally kept themselves to themselves. It was the late 1940’s, their surname suggested that they were Jewish but although their clothes were showing much wear and tear, they seemed have a pride in their appearance. Putting all things together in my mind, I now wonder whether they had managed to survive a camp or similar hardship, where any food was rare and prized, no matter the freshness. The habit to treasure any crumb of food would have been hard to break and to throw anything away would have been almost impossible. … it really is the only explanation, as I remember Nana remarking on how clean and tidy the rest of their home was..
These things I remember, even though I was so young yet a two months stay in hospital, around the age of 18 months, separated from my mother by a glass wall, leaves me with no memories at all.
Between these two photos I fell ill … according to the doctor …with a cold or influenza at worst. My ex-Theatre Sister Nana was not satisfied and had me rushed to the nearest hospital …she was a force to be reckoned with when it came to medical matters and her intuition was right. Within a few hours I was diagnosed with Polio and put into isolation. It is believed that it was only her quick action that enabled me to make a complete recovery …well almost, as I walked like a penguin for the next three years and my feet would often take up the ‘quarter to three’ position when tired …even well into my twenties. Certainly there would never have been such a cute photo of me at nearly three but for her…many children who managed to survive the terrible epidemics around that time, remained paralyzed and those that were confined to a chair or walked with the aid of ‘leg irons’ were thought lucky.
Thanks for dropping by ...Take Care xx