Rites of passage: Mumps

Mumps0003

I came across this forlorn picture of me hidden in some old family photos.

It was October 1965. I am standing in our best room at Gwynfryn Avenue with the floral curtains closed in the daytime to keep out the light. I hardly recognise myself.

I am recovering from Mumps – which explains my chubby features – I look like Fatty Arbuckle! It is a few days after my birthday on the 9th. I’d spent the whole day in bed, in a darkened room, too ill to get up. In the late afternoon of an unmemorable day, Auntie Doris had come round with a big bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate and I’d been too ill to eat it.

I can remember my mum closing the curtains to take this picture, fearful that I might suffer blindness as a side effect of the Mumps if I was exposed to bright light.

I remember the metallic scrape of the wheels of the curtain fitments on the metal curtain pole, encased in the wooden pelmets my dad had made to neatly contain the poles.

I remember the all too comfortable winceyette striped pyjamas. They matched the winceyette sheets of my bed, which made it real torment to get up some mornings as it was too comfortable. I remember the heavy itchiness of the tartan dressing gown, with it’s silky cord that made me look like a young Sherlock in a smoking jacket. I seem to remember all the lads on the estate had one similar which was only used on the coldest of mornings, or when we were ill.

I must have been feeling better as this was the day I polished off the half pound bar of Cadbury’s chocolate – it tasted fantastic after not having eaten for the best part of a week.

I remember it all as if it were yesterday.

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2 thoughts on “Rites of passage: Mumps

  1. Stuart Jones says:

    Brilliant read as always Ambrose Conway! Thankyou 🙂

    Like

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