Dad got a job at British Oxygen Co., moving oxygen bottles around, it was completely the wrong job for him as it involved lifting but he was so stubborn. He was always pushing himself too hard. Dennis still had this problem with his left arm and Mum decided to speak to our Doctor to see if anything could be done , Dennis was getting older now and getting embarassed by it.
Other children, although his friends, did keep asking him about it and he was getting quite a complex about it. He would soon be going to school and Mum didn't want any problems if it could be helped.
We were referred to a specialist at the Hospital and he thought that with surgery, cutting into the muscle they could certainly improve it, if not make it perfect.
Dennis went into hospital, it was the first time he had been away from us , he was a very nervous child, he wouldn't sleep in his bedroom because he had terrible nightmares. so he was very apprehensive. Visitng times then were only an hour each night.
He had the operation and was in a plaster cast with his arm stretched straight out to the left and the cast down to his waist. He did look a sorry sight. He was in hospital about a week and because he couldn't settle they let him come home, this was awkward we couldn't get his clothes on they all had to be cut, he did look strange with his arm stuck out but he soon adapted and had us with our hearts in our mouths the way he careered about.
The cast stayed on for 6 weeks, finally the day came for it to be removed, we would soon know if it had been successful. We all cried with happiness for Dennis it had been a success , not perfect by any means but 80% better , more movement and straighter, Dennis was thrilled.
November 27th Dennis' 5th birthday for a baby they said wouldn't last until the morning he had shown them he was here to stay.
His first day at school , there is something about the first day and Dennis was tearful and so was Mum, her baby was growing up. He loved school and had made lots of friends. Incidently it had been my first school and Mrs Hill the headmistress was still there.
Saturday morning and Dad was working until 1.30pm, Mum and I had been shopping, it was about midday, I was in the front room and saw a car pull up outside our house, this was a rarity as there weren`t many cars about in 1953. I couldn`t believe it, Dad got out helped by a man. Mum and I stood rooted to the spot, what had happened? All was revealed his leg was in a plaster cast, an oxygen bottle had fallen and crushed his foot. it was now his time to be in a plaster cast.
We settled him down as he was in a lot of pain,we were worried because this could trigger off an epileptic fit. Shock could do this but luckily it didn't. Later that afternoon Gran came across to our house and said that Ken, Mum`s younger brother had just been brought home from work, a vat, that molten steel went in had tipped over on him(luckily it was empty) and broke his leg, yet another one in a plaster cast.
It was a strange sight first Dad going to gran`s house on crutches then the next day it would be Ken coming to our house on crutches,but they kept each other company.
My school work just wasn`t improving in spite of me really trying hard. Mum and Dad and myself had a long talk about it. I would be able to leave school next Easter as I would be 15 in January. I said I thought it better if I left school so that I could get a job and help out with the money as Mum had always had to skrimp and save. Although at the Grammar school my parents had signed for me to stay on until I was 16 yrs old. They decided they would go and see the headmaster and explain the situation, my school work poor plus my Dad`s ill health.
I think the headmaster was relieved I don`t think he knew what to do with me. He said the gap in the different education levels had done me irreparable harm, which it had, I had never caught up. He said he would speak to the relevant people about it but didn`t think they would let me leave at 15 but he would try his best.
I came home from school one day and as I walked down the road to our house I saw Mum making signals at the bedroom window, I dashed the last few yards to the house and ran upstairs, Dad was in bed, he looked at me as if I was a complete stranger and said "Good Afternoon", I was puzzled eventually Mum was able to explain that he had had an attack of some kind and wouldn`t let anyone other than my Mum near him, he became aggressive with my Grandad and he had to leave the room. At that moment the Doctor arrived. It seemed ages waiting to see what was wrong, eventually the Doctor came out and explained that Dad had some sort of seizure that was more serious that the petit mal seizures he usually had. He said it was a sign that he had been overdoing things or he had accidently missed out a tablet.
He said he had given him a sedative and that he would sleep for several hours. He advised us that he should stop working for a while as he had obviously been getting up tight about his work, lack of money etc...
This seemed to confirm to me that I had to leave school and get a job to help the money situation and try to alleviate some of Dad`s worries.