I had been warned that we would not be allowed to see Godfrey for two weeks while he was in the hospital. Hard as it seemed to us, it was considered best to sever all links with home. It was 1948 and by today's standards it seemed to be a very cruel hospital rule.
I was just six years old by then and Godfrey was two and a half years younger than me.
The hospital was a tall building with lots of identical windows.
Godfrey was handed over to a "no stuff or nonsense" sister, and off she went with my screaming, struggling brother. We were told to wait outside the building so that we might wave goodbye to him through the window.
He was on the third floor, I think and when he appeared at the window, he looked as though he was putting up a pretty good fight, as the sister's hat was hanging from the side of her head.
The poor child must have thought we were abandoning him for ever.
With heavy hearts we turned and went towards the bus for home. I don't think anyone spoke and we were all fighting back the tears.
Dad went straight into the wash house, when we got home, and started to make Godfrey a steam roller out of empty syrup cans. That was the way that he coped with the situation.
Mum was upset to think that Godfrey would have to go to sleep without his favourite green eiderdown with the frill around it. He used to stroke the frill and make comfort noises as he went to sleep. He had not been allowed to take any reminder of home with him to the hospital, not even a toy or any kind of comforter. Those were the strict rules of a hospital in that era.
Years later Godfrey told me that he deliberately pooed the cot that he had been put in, as a punishment to the sister who had taken him away. Apparently she was very cross with him. I also learnt years later, that Godfrey's double hernia operation was one of the first to be done free, when the National Health Scheme first started in that year. He was very lucky as the year before, my parents would have been charged for it.
We all got on with our regular routine while he was away. Dad at work, Mum at home & I was at school. We had no phone so I don't know whether my parents ever got any news of my brother.
As the time came nearer for him to return home, we started to be in brighter spirits. I drew pictures for him and the steam roller made from syrup cans was now finished.
I was at school on the day he was due to return and I knew he would be there when I got back. The day seemed to really drag on for ever and I told everyone who would be bothered to listen to me that my brother was coming home! No one seemed to be really interested and even the teacher just politely said, "Oh that's nice," without as much enthusiasm as I would have liked to hear.
School eventually finished and I ran all the way down the road as fast as I could. I burst in through the door and there he was! Godfrey was home! I was surprised to find him in tears. Indeed he was having a tantrum.
Mum had been told he couldn't pedal his beloved blue car for three months until his scars had fully healed up. My parents had completely forgotten to hide the thing from sight and had quickly stuffed it between the settee and the wall. It had taken Godfrey just a few seconds to find!
The home made steam roller did nothing to appease the anger he felt and displayed. No one could console him and he eventually calmed down and fell asleep. He never was interested in the frilly eiderdown again and had totally forgotten the pleasure that it had given him before.
The pedal car was hidden from sight for the next few months and life went on as normal.