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An experience of Decorating

I'm alright, I can move my toes.

October 7th 1967 was a black day for me. Our friendly policeman called at my home and I suddenly found, after 3 years of happy marriage, I was a widow. I was panic stricken, “How would I manage without Bob?” I soon found out it would be with the support of family, friends and work-mates.

I had decided to do some re-decorating, hoping I would find some relief from missing Bob’s company. On my mother’s 75th birthday (22nd April 1968) I came home from work to find Mother in my living room stripping wallpaper. Mother had decided to help. I was going to do my bedroom at the same time and I had dismantled my bed and I would sleep in the spare room.

I lived in an upstairs flat which had a bend in the stairs, three from the top and then downstairs 14 steps to the lobby. We had finished for the night and Mother was at the bend in the stairs, three from the top, when she disappeared and I heard her bumping down each step. I looked down the stairs and there she was, lying with her head in the lobby and her feet on the stairs. I crept down the stairs, afraid and nearly jumped out of my skin when she said, “I’m alright, I can move my toes”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry and I certainly didn’t know what to do. I went upstairs and got a blanket, put it over her and went to a neighbour to ask if he could help me lift her. He told me to phone for an ambulance. I had to go to a public house and the barman rang.

At 9.00pm I was sitting in the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and mother was being X-rayed. I was praying they would keep her in, otherwise where would she sleep in my house? I couldn’t sleep in hers, a one bedroomed bungalow.

1.30am and we were on our way home, yes to my house. Mother would use the bed, I slept on the floor on the mattress off my bed. I told the Paramedic how it happened and when he saw my living room told me accidents always happen at the most inopportune moments. I decided that a phone in the house was a necessity. She didn’t break a bone and must have been in a lot of pain but didn’t complain. Her back, from shoulders down was as black as night and bruised. The decorating was delayed six weeks.

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