You are my sunshine

My sister in the US posted this to me today on Facebook with the question “Don’t you wish someone would make this for you?  My response “Yes please, if you have the time, I would really love one.”  

She reminded me that as very little girls we had visited the burns unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury where RAF patients were being treated.  I don’t know what we were doing there and why two little girls would be taken there but I do remember sitting on some of the pilots’ laps singing “You are my sunshine” and most of them joining in.  Some in tears and so two little girls were also in tears but really not understanding why these men were crying.  The staff also joined in the singing and some of the crying.

As Christine commented, “We were so young, we didn’t know to be frightened/horrified by those poor young men”.

Ever after that song was known in our family as The Misery Song.

I do hope I'm not impinging on anyone's copyright.

I do hope I’m not impinging on anyone’s copyright.

Isn’t it amazing how we remember some things and others are just dropped from our memories until a song or somebody else brings them to mind?

How could I forget such a visceral meeting?  These brave young men who gave so much to so many of us.  We need to remember that these boys, for many of them were only boys, lived the rest of their lives with scars from the burns.  But Stoke Mandeville was actively treating the burns and developing the skills needed for reformative surgery so that these men could go on to live as normally as possible.

Another reason I’m sorry that I never asked why we were there when there was still somebody alive who could have answered the question.

“Memories warm you up from the inside.
But they also tear you apart.”

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore


17 responses to “You are my sunshine

  1. That was sad and amusing that “You Are My Sunshine” became the misery song. Understandable, for sure!

  2. Talk about memories. My dad used to sing that song to me when I was a little girl sitting on his knew and later we sang it together driving along in the pick up truck. It makes me feel warm all over when I think of it and my wonderful dad. I was born after the war, but I can imagine how those young men were moved to tears as they thought of their children, parents, friends when you sang it to them. What a special memory.

  3. Memories… You are my sunshine were the words to my first boyfriend and mine’s song. 13 and innocent. Oblivious to all the people out there who need a little ray of sunshine. Two little girls singing, were what the young traumatized soldiers needed. You made a difference for them. We make a difference in every encounter we have. I’m grateful for all the peacekeepers and defenders of our freedoms.

    • Hi Dona and thanks. We never really know how much difference any one act of ours make. I have to admire the nurse or doctor who suggested the singing with these brave and damaged young men

  4. We need to be like children and accept those who look different seeing past the outer coverings of the soul to the heart.

    • Hello Patricia nd thanks for the comment Do you now that song from South Pacific – We have to be taught? It sums up this meeting and many others that have followed it.

  5. What a warm and wonderful memory . . . and quilt!

  6. Your parents were right to take you to visit these young men. I believe in exposing children to some of the realities of life when they are young. I used to take my grandson to the nursing home with me to see a friend. Love the quote!

    • My sister reminded me we’d both been ill and were at Stoke Mandeville Hospital which also housed the burns unit. Apparently, the doctor who was treating us had a daughter who suffered from whatever it was we had, and he asked Mothe could we stay on for a couple of days with his daughter. So we know why we were there but I wonder which doctor or nurse suggested the singing.

  7. Just heard word about the earthquake and tsunami alert in NZ. Hope you and your family are safe.

  8. During tough times are what make you stronger!

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