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Mavis Johnson (nee Tudor)


When I was about 8 years old I caught scarlet fever which is a highly contagious disease.  As I had brothers and sisters at home, I was admitted to Mountford Lane fever hospital. It was about the time it was due for closure.  When my mother came to visit me she was told that all the children had been sent to other hospitals.  She was rather upset and went first to Moxley hospital where, with great relief, she found that I had been transferred there.  Of course she was not allowed to see me, only through a window.   I never saw my mother for about six weeks, which was very traumatic for a small child.

I now realise how I must have caught the infection.  I had been to take a bag of goodies from the Sunday school party to my friend who, I discovered, was lying on the settee feeling rather poorly.  Her mother had just popped to a neighbour's for a few minutes and so she was on her own.   I didn't stay very long, but it was long enough for me to become ill.

My husband Ken, when a child, was sent to Moxley fever hospital suffering with a more serious case of diphtheria.   He was put on the critical list and the names of these children were put on a notice board outside the hospital.  His mother was very upset when she saw his name on that list and when she went home found a telegram had been delivered.  She obviously thought it was bad news and was scared to open it.  Thankfully, it was good news:  Ken had been taken off the danger list and so was one of the lucky survivors.

Of course we both remember the school doctor, the dreaded dentist, and the "Nit Nurse".  We also remember having the polio Salk vaccine on a lump of sugar and standing in the long queue among pupils from other schools in the 40s when smallpox was rife in Bilston and surrounding areas and we were all innoculated. 

We were lucky in those days to have a very modern Clinic. We were extremely well looked after as young mothers awaiting our first babies.  We were watched over by Dr. Nagel and given vitamin pills, orange juice, etc. to keep us healthy.  How much luckier and healthier we were than our parents and grandparents!   My mother avoided going to the doctor for herself because of having to pay, but always took us children.

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