Thursday, 4 June 2009


Lynne was keeping all the teachers and children at St Aiden’s School well informed about John and his various brushes with the medical world. He was to start school in about six months.
The first year teacher, Miss Loney, who had been Lynne’s first teacher, was a little worried about him falling in the playground or in PE lessons. When the day came for the boys to start school, she wanted to know just what he was and wasn’t allowed to do in the way of physical effort. I told her that, to all intents and purposes, John was a perfectly normal little boy and she was to treat him as such. I said that I didn’t want him to grow up frightened to jump or run or play rough. If, in the course of his school life he broke a bone, then so be it.
The only accident John ever had at school was when a bigger boy tried to lay a punch on another of his classmates in the corridor. It seemed that, as John walked by minding his own business, the boy had ducked, and John caught the full force of the blow. The headmaster phoned me to say that John was in the Cottage Hospital, having a couple of stitches put into his forehead.
The three children were all very happy and did well at St. Aiden’s School. Lynne was in a class ahead of her age during her time there. John’s operations had apparently no adverse effect on his work or during his playtime at school. In fact, he once told his classmates that the scars on his legs and body were caused by him being attacked by sharks! This made him somewhat of a hero. Philip, who was so laid back he took everything in his stride and made no ripples, just continued to be studious and deep thinking and let John get on with his accident prone life.

John’s legs were still very thin, but his muscles were slowly getting back to normal. This, of course, was more noticeable at bath time. I would wrap a large towel around him and carry him in to the warm kitchen to be dried but, as I towel dried his legs, I could feel the heads of the screws sticking up just beneath his skin. He would wince and, when I asked if it hurt, say: ‘It’s OK Mum’.
On his next hospital check up, I asked the doctor if all was still well, and pointed out the prominent screw heads that I could feel. After an X-ray, it was revealed that the screws were in fact, becoming undone and both plates and screws would have to be removed after all. They would send for John when there was a bed available. Though they would operate on both legs, the operations would have to be done one at a time, on separate occasions. The first operation was performed by Mr Lloyd-Roberts and went well, leaving a second, but quite neat scar on his thigh. We then began the wait for the second operation.


weechuff said...

Thats the one thing I remember well. Johns little waddling walk with his thin little legs sticking out of his short trouser legs! He was such a plucky little thing. Is he still as plucky?

granny grimble said...

yes he is really. He has some rotton luck thrown at him sometimes, but never seems to let it get him down.

Croom said...

Ah, life was never dull in the granny grimble house hold was it? Poor John and poor you.
The sweetest memories for me with John are all sorts of live and dead insects and animals stuffed in his pockets and little box hospitals. He was always nursing something back to health or finding bones and skeletons for pride of place in his bedroom. He always rushed me to see his treasures, ugh! He was a wonderfully kind little boy. Philip as you say was so laid back but just as wonderful. I have never seen such two completely different twins with totally different looks and personalities but both adorable.

Swubird said...


This is a real story. Poor John. What a beginning to his life. Each episode is an adventure. Now, as to the years, I assume all of this all took place in the late forties or early fifties.

Happy trails.

Sandi McBride said...

I can't stand the torture me so!

granny grimble said...

I always said he should have been a vet! His room had stuffed creatures, skeletons of animals, breeding mealworms in a tank, land snails. Things waiting to hatch and things waiting to match. Stick insects etc. He didn't get a tarantula until he left home though. That was NOT allowed!

You are a bit out with the dates Swubird. Lynne was born in 1960 and the boys were born in 1963. All the hospital stories began about 1966. He never let it get him down and I never heard him complain about it! It's not quite over. Nearly but not quite.


I'll be posting the next installment very soon. It's all ready to go.

Swubird said...


So sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. I should have known it was the early nineteen sixties---not fifties!!! For a minute I forgot how young you were. My own kids were also born in the early sixties.

Happy trails.

Jay said...

Poor little devil - I think I'd wince if I could feel screw heads sticking up under my skin! What a brave little chap he was!

I'm glad to hear the first op was a success. Holding my breath for the second ...