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Dedicated to Marty.

CHAPTER ONE

Memories



Now, at the grand old age of seventy five, I cannot say that my body is as active as it used to be. Some fifteen years ago it was really knocked from pillar to post and there was not an orifice in my body that had not been poked, prodded or infiltrated by a probe or mini camera. When there were no more orifices to poke, the doctors made one, for which I am eternally grateful. I am now without my right lung and have been so for the last fifteen years. Everone who goes through the experience of lung tumours like I did, must think it is the end for them. It is not; not in every case, and the treatments get better every year. I am still here after some fourteen years, and it is always a great help to think positively at all times.

So, on most days for me now, it is the easy life of sitting in a lounge chair on the decking at the top of my garden. I survey last year’s work to make the garden low-maintenance, and everything looks as though it is coming right and full of colour. I just sit, and read, and enjoy. I do not watch much daytime or evening television. Repeats and reality shows bore me.

There is, though, a history channel I watched one night, and it was about evacuees. What a wonderful time they had when they were evacuated from their homes and dumped miles away, in strange towns and in the homes of complete strangers. They were also shown to be a happy band of youngsters, waving and smiling as they mounted buses and trains. In reality, most of us thought we were going on a day trip, never dreaming it would be up to four years before we were to see home again. This documentary also showed these children in their new homes, completely at ease and very happy. My brother and I were a couple of those kids and, believe me, it was not like that at all, not for us, and not for many of the kids who, if they have not told their stories by now, probably never will.

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