Convalescence At St. Mary's, Broadstairs

A Memory of Broadstairs

I have vivid memories of my time at St. Mary's and they are not particularly nice. I can recall the large dormitory where we had a midday nap after first being put in our pyjamas. It must have been autumn because the leaves had fallen from the trees, which I used to kick whilst taking a walk after our nap. I remember us all being in line like a crocodile and can recall visiting the lighthouse on occasions and climbing up the spiral stairs, on other times we went onto the beach. We had our meals sitting at tables which were in a line and we sat on benches opposite each other. The toilets were at one end of the room behind a wooden partition.
I can recall a man collecting me from my home and taking me and my case to the railway station and escorting me to Broadstairs on the train, it must have been heartwrenching for my parents to see me taken away. My stay was for six weeks to recover from pneumonia, which my mother told me I had on four occasions and from which I was not expected to survive, but I am now 64, being 5 at the time. At the end of each week my parents sent me some comics rolled up in paper and addressed to me.
Going back to St. Mary's, I remember we had to attend church, which I believe was attached to the convalescent home and can recall everybody doing the sign of the cross whilst kneeling so I did the same although not being a Catholic. When it was time for me to return home I remember being asked if I had any brothers and sisters, of which I had one each but I can remember telling them I must have had several, but they must have confirmed the truth from my parents. On the day of departure I was given some gifts for my brother and sister and also for my mother.
I must remark on something quite amazing whilst on a coach holiday to Scotland. Talking to a couple in our hotel the topic of conversation arose about short and long term memory and I commented that I could recall back to when I was 5 and being at Broadstairs, at which the lady was alarmed. She said she too was at Broadstairs although she was a little older than me and said that after all these years I was the first person she had met that had been there. We both came from the West Midlands and live about five or six miles from each other. If I see the lady again I will tell her about my visit to this website and hope she gets in contact.

A memory shared by Leon Gardner , on Mar 31st, 2011.

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