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.
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,
PS – 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.