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  • Excerpts from my mothers diary in 1956. She was in hospital for six months when I was six and my sister, S, was twelve. I had been sent to live with my mother's brother; but it was his wife who had to look after me. My father Terry had to cope with a full time job and visiting my mother.

    Evelyn’s hospital diary.
    I tried to have a nap before Terry bought Diane to see me but I couldn’t rest because I was too excited.

    At last Terry bought Diane She looked radiant. She absolutely glowed with health. She was still brown from the seaside holiday. With H and C at Bridlington Bay.
    We kissed and cuddled. Oh the joy of holding her in my arms! She was very good. My curtain was drawn so we had complete privacy. We all had tea together Terry bought some nice little cheese cakes. Was pleased to hear that Diane had got a prize for writing at her new school. She has been to attend the Rhode Avenue school which is near Cecil’s house since she has been staying there. She brought with a little writing book to show me and was amazed to see that she’s written a little story. In her quiet unassuming way she may turn out to be just as clever as S. Without having all her artistic temperament. All too soon the time went. I waved them out and waved again from through the balcony door. All the other patients said how sweet she is and what a dear sweet little girl she looked. Well that made me happy.
    (letter ends)

    Cecile's House:
    My Auntie Cecile told me and my cousin Cheryl "This is an exciting morning for you. We’re going to your cousin Esther’s house to get you measured for your bridesmaid dresses for Sheila’s wedding.”
    “Am I going to be a bridesmaid” I chirped up.
    “Yes” and you had better behave whilst we are at Esther’s place. No complaining alright?”
    “No” I whispered, retreating into my shell.
    When we arrived at house Sheila took us (Cheryl 3 years old and me 6 years old), up into her bedroom where we met two other girls from Sheila’s fiancé’s family. Whilst Cecile had tea with her sister in law downstairs.

    “Come on everyone, take your dresses off so I can measure you. Diane and Brenda are going to have long white dresses with a red sash and flowers round the hem. And Cheryl and Barbara will have the same but with a short skirt.
    Diane took her shorts and tea shirt off and looked admiringly at Cheryl’s new frilly matching pants and vest.

    Sheila turned round to get the older girls ready and her eyes registered shock when she saw my underwear. I had no idea why Sheila was so surprised. “Wait for me here girls. I’m just going down to have a chat with Cecile.”
    Sheila walked downstairs seething with anger.

    My plain cotton underwear was a nasty grey colour. I had been wearing the same pants and vest for weeks and my neck was filthy too.

    We heard raised voices downstairs. Then Cecile’s whining tones.
    “I didn’t know! I thought she would sort that out for herself. I’ve got two other children to car for you know.”

    My mother's Hospital Diary-Thursday .
    Sheila came to see me. She made a mistake and came at 2 o’clock was very upset when she didn’t turn up at the right time.
    Felt very low any way. I thought nobody was coming. I got her to ask for permission from the matron to stay longer as she was late.
    She’s made Diane’s bridesmaid dress for her wedding and we had a discussion about the dresses and her plans.
    I wonder if I will be well enough. Should hate to miss her wedding especially as she is bridesmaid.
    Monday July 30
    Terry came visiting me. I was very perturbed when I heard that he had not taken Diane back to Cecile’s because she cried. She is at home with only S to look after her. S had to make dinner and fiend for herself. It’s ridiculous for them to be left without a responsible person in charge. I can’t lay here worrying about them all the time. Diane will have to go back next weekend. I hope Ann will have her. Was very upset after Terry left.

    Cecile and Phyllis cam to se me. Cecile told me she’s perfectly willing to have Diane back but that Terry had kept her still at our home. I felt very disquieted. They are ignoring me. I must speak to Terry about it tomorrow. Of course they were delighted to her the good news. It was funny having Cecile and Phyllis together.
    Nothing very special today except that I got up again this afternoon. Still, I don’t know what to do with my legs when I am sitting out of bed. But I felt well in myself. There is no head swimming or exhaustion as I anticipated. So much for the psychology and auto-suggestion.
    Terry came visiting time and was very glad about my getting up. Diane is still at the flat. Sandy is looking after her and enjoying it and Terry says to leave it all to him and not to worry
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