Hazelbury Road Open Air School reminiscences pg10

JEFF Avery on the Web


HOME        SITEMAP        ABOUT        CONTACT        INTERESTS



Page:     < Previous        1       2        3        4        5        6        7        8       9      10       11       12      13       14     Feedback     Next >  

Doreen (1940-1947): Nurse Fahy was lovely, with full nurse regalia, big handkerchief headdress, white uniform with a big belt, and white shoes. She would administer tablets, cod liver oil and malt (lovely) and, for people with skin ailments, ointments that smelt of bad eggs and was bright yellow. She gave exercises to asthmatics and attended the epileptics when necessary. She bandaged, changed dressings on open wounds, strapped, injected, pummeled backs and massaged little bodies.

She was an angel, always around the school and always busy. She was not very tall, a bit tubby, and with a wisp of ginger hair under her large cap. She wore red lipstick. A child may have an asthmatic attack and Nurse would take them off to her room, do whatever she did and pack the patient back to class, probably within the hour.

Jeff (1948-1953): After each meal we brushed our teeth. When I started at the school in 1948 we were each issued a toothbrush and a tin of dentifrice paste and were given instructions on how to use it. The dentifrice paste wore out in the middle and eventually the edges dried and cracked. However, we had to use it all up to get a new tin. Some boys liked the taste of the paste and ate it. Time marched on and, one day, the dentifrice paste was replaced with toothpaste in a tube. We were taught to squeeze out toothpaste to the length of the nail on our little finger. This was strictly observed by the teacher.

Wendy (1949-1952): I do remember the little round tins of pink dentifrice paste.  It was called Gibbs and had an unusual taste.  It used to foam in the tin as you rubbed it with your wet toothbrush and it certainly did end up with a hole in the middle which got bigger and bigger until the outside of the ring just crumbled away. Then you got a new tin. I think that teeth-cleaning was quite novel to some of the children but was such a good thing to do.

I seem to remember washing hands quite  a bit too, but the water was always cold.

There were also showers which I hated using because I was self-conscious about being naked in front of strangers and I got out of it whenever possible.. BUT those showers were made of strong tubular metal frames about 5' high and were great to swing on and to dangle upside-down from like a trapeze artist.  We  were always being told off for playing on them! 

Peter M. (1937-1939): I remember the communal showers; “matron” would switch the water to cold to hustle us out.

Doreen (1940-1947): When I was there, Nurse Fahy supervised the showers which were taken about three times a week after P.E. or country dancing. I was not allowed to do any exercise so fortunately, I was never allowed to have showers as it was felt I was too fragile!!!!! Thank goodness! I would have hated to be naked in front of my school mates. I loved the big white towels though.

Jeff (1948-1953): I, too, was embarrassed to appear unclothed in the showers and so I got a note from my mother excusing my participation. What a wimp I was!

Margaret (1948-1951): Showers, when I was already clean before coming to school!

Tony (1952-1954): Funnily enough I never used the showers either. When did people use them? Did anybody use them?

Jeff (1948-1953): Yes, I think they were definitely used... just not by us, it seems! The showers were next to the nurse’s room where we got our malt extract and Bemax every day (or was it once a week?).

Wendy (1949-1952):  We got cod-liver oil and malt. "Open wide" - but you didn't want to because the cod-liver oil spoon was big and the cod-liver oil tasted horrible; but you just had to swallow and open wide as quick as you could again because the big spoonful of malt swiftly followed, and that was gorgeous. You always wanted seconds of malt but you never got it. Seconds of cod liver oil was no problem but no-one ever wanted that!

Margaret (1948-1951): I remember the queue for medication: tablets for some, malt for others, Parishes food for those needing extra strength. And I had golden eye ointment sometimes. Perhaps that was a treat!

Pauline (1961-1965): I remember malt and Bemax, and being regularly weighed by the nurses.  One of the nurses was called Mrs. Aupers and when I went to Minchenden Grammar School later on, I was taught Physics and Chemistry by her son.

Doreen (1940-1947): I went in the coach to North Middlesex Hospital for sunray treatment three times a week. In about 1942 the school obtained their own sunray machine and we then went for our treatment to Nurse Fahy in her sick room, in groups of four. I loved the heat and still do! Nurse Fahy would leave the room sometimes and we would then sit as near to the sparking machine as we dare. We came out looking like Biggles!

Tony (1952-1954): Yes, the sun lamps - sitting in darkness (why?) with goggles, and going home with a red face (except where the goggles were). Did we all get it, I wonder, or only the pale/anaemic ones? As you say, never these days now that we know about skin cancer.

Margaret (1948-1951): I remember sunray treatment three times each week.

Wendy (1949-1952): I too had sunray treatment at Edmonton Town hall, dressed in just knickers and goggles for about half an hour at a time.  I can't remember how often I went, but I do know that not many of us went at one time.  Maybe the school had a programme for sending all the children in small groups; I just don't know.

Jeff (1948-1953): My memory is that the sun-lamp treatment took place at the Open Air School in a room at the far end of the assembly/dining room on the playground side.

I was diagnosed as having “fallen arches” and so maybe once a week I was bused, with others, to a place for foot exercises. I think I remember a building on Fore Street towards Upper Edmonton, by the police station. But I'm not sure about that.

Tony (1952-1954):  I think you're right about the location; it was just past the Town Hall on the same side of the street away from Lower Edmonton. I too went there for treatment. There was a thing the size of the cabinet TV's of the era with electrodes that were strapped to you and your feet were immersed in warm water, and a current was intermittently passed (a recurrent current?) to make you arch the feet. I never understood why I was getting it; fallen arches, you reckon? I asked a physiotherapist years later and he had no idea but thought it might be for calf development, but flat feet sounds the go to me. Obviously it's no longer used!

Jeff (1948-1953): I don’t remember the equipment you describe. I remember practicing to pick up small objects with our toes which caused us to arch our feet.

Pauline (1961-1965): Because I was asthmatic, I had breathing lessons twice weekly with Mr. Mack. This was actually, I've since realized, a simple form of yoga, and I did use it when having attacks and found it helped. Mr. Mack also taught us swimming at Knight's Lane baths (once a week on a Friday morning). It took me ages to have the confidence to let go of the side but I did eventually get my width badge and later on, my length badge.

Jeff (1948-1953): I also remember being bused down to Knight’s Lane for swimming. We were assigned in pairs to the changing cubicles that lined the sides of the pool, boys on one side and girls on the other. Of course, I was embarrassed to undress with somebody else in the cubicle! After the session, we went back to our changing cubicle and had to put our wet swimsuits outside on the tiles to ensure that our embarrassment of being naked didn’t cause us to put our clothes on over our wet swimsuit!

I don’t think I could even swim a width but I liked breathing out and sinking to the bottom of the pool to see how long I could hold my breath.

Margaret (1948-1951): I have a little poem that was written in my autograph book on the 6th July 1948 by nurse Fahy (click on it to see a larger version). Nurse Fahy had compassion for all and displayed sympathy.

Doreen (1940-1947): What a wonderful poem from Nurse Fahy. Thank you, Margaret.

Jeff (1948-1953): I remember wearing goggles for sun-lamp sessions - today we would probably be horrified by those old, powerful, ultraviolet lamps!