The Sister I Never Had…..

(Memory’s Resource Part 2. – Scotland circa 1947)

There are some things a six year old boy cannot get his mind round.
Mrs. R. was startled when I said, ‘They said I was born as a girl, but I died and came back as a boy’.
‘Get away!’ she said, ‘Don’t be daft.’
‘But it’s true, ‘ I retorted, ‘Cross my heart.’
Mrs. R. looked perplexed but said no more.
When she next spoke to my mother she got the whole story. When I was eighteen months old my mother gave birth to a still-born child, a little girl. This poor mite that had never seen the light of day was given the name Mary. She rested in a shoebox in a drawer until a man came from the sawmill a couple of days later and took her away in a little wooden box which was consigned to an obscure corner of the graveyard without even a stone to mark her existence. Today they have much more sensitive ways of dealing with these tragedies. The first my mother realised anything was wrong was when the mid-wife gasped;’ Oh my God, it’s deid!’ Later that afternoon Dad was preparing to leave for his part-time evening job,when our GP arrived. The doctor told him, ‘Don’t you even dare of thinking about going to work after what your wife’s been through.’ I wasn’t present, of course, and knew nothing about it. I learnt all this many years later when my mother spoke about that unhappy day. I believe she never really got over it. Every October 1st she would sigh,’ She would have been fifteen (or whatever) today if she had been spared.’ When I was six she tried to tell me about my sister but it was beyond my understanding. My mother had a further three sons after me but I always felt the want of a sister.

The Sister I Never Had…..

david malcolmson

Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

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A piece of autobiography

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