On my holiday to the seaside by coach, I was dressed with bells so they could all hear where I was, and waterproof pants so I would not cause a problem on the long coach journey without any chance of a pee, I didn’t need them, I was sick on the coach instead.
Coach travel often had me either feeling unwell or physically sick, I think it was the soft and often stuffy coach that made me unwell, if I travelled by bus there was never a problem.

My health problems had started as a baby when I caught the measles, it was just by luck that I survived, although in later years, poor long sight, part deafness and slightly weak bladder muscles did cause minor upsets.
My mothers lack of taking me to the doctor over my childhood problems did not solve any matters, but as I always appeared to be healthy, by not catching Mumps, German Measles, Chicken Pox and all the other childhood diseases, meant that in her mind there was never the need for me to see the doctor, as a baby I was never taken to any of the baby or toddler groups, it seemed I missed out on my free orange juice.
As I was never registered with any authorities, or attended any play groups or any areas where I might meet other children. When it came to sorting out the matter of school shortly before my 5th birthday, nothing happened, as my mother had plans around this period for moving out of the area, nothing more was done about the matter of school.
For my first five years I had a totally adult influenced way of life. It was after my 6th birthday that I started school and met other children (strange creatures).
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With my early school reports it mentions that I don’t listen, if a teacher was out of sight, I often had little idea that they were talking, in later schools, if an adult came into the room, we were meant to stop work and stand up, if I was engrossed in work, I seldom noticed this and received some form of punishment over my apparent rudeness.

In hearing tests, I proved I could hear quiet sounds, but this was tested as both ears together.
A nurse stood in a quiet hall and spoke at a distance behind me, first on one side then the other, I was able to hear both sets of sounds, however when she was standing to the left, I was simply picking up the sound with my good right ear. The other test was with a tuning fork, again when it was sounded on my poor ear I picked the sound up with my good ear.
Had one ear at a time been tested, with the other ear blanked off, then a different result might have been noticed.

For my sight, from the back of a classroom, some teachers writing could be difficult to follow, I just guessed at most of it. If we were required to copy down what was on the blackboard (1900-1960s learning device using chalk) in full, my version if checked later by the teacher showed minor differences.
My inability to catch a ball if it was thrown from a distance was also a failure. They decided I had double vision.

Going for a pee when I needed one in my early years was fine, providing I was allowed to go when I asked.
When out with my grandmother when we were shopping for an hour or so in the morning, I might put in the request to use the local public toilets. The answer was always "No wait a little longer", meant it was only a few of minutes before there was an accident, or a bit of a nuisance in the minds of adults. At the age of four I still wore waterproof pants when out with my grandmother.
In the afternoons when my mother took me out, I was often in her choice of clothing and as she was more relaxed in allowing me the use of a public toilet, I had few problems.

Infant school gave no problems during lessons, teachers allowed us to visit the toilet in the middle of a lesson, possibly believing that it was the shyness of those that did not want to go during break when there were too many others about and now found the need.
The only problem I had for a short time was during the afternoon break when we had to lay and rest for a short period whilst we listened to the teacher read a story to us, the school had the idea that we should lay on our front, I was always use to sleeping on my side. The slight pressure when I was on my front even if I had just visited the lavatory resulted in a very small wet patch on the front of my shorts, not noticed by the others but only by the teacher, I received some sympathy, not something I had ever experienced before.
When it was mentioned to my mother, it resulted in me going back into waterproofs for school. I was a little embarrassed, but nothing more was ever noticed.
Eventually I solved the problem by fidgeting during our rest period, and together with a girl we were thrown out of this story time rest break and spent the time in our small playground.

At junior school, my bladder did give problems, I had no visible accidents during lessons, as I timed my visits to the toilet at the start of every break and at the end of the lunch break.
However delay my ability to visit the toilet at the start of these breaks, or during a fit of the giggles, and it did give problems.
Once my milk had been finished at the start of morning break, if I was allowed out it was fine.
Delay me by deciding that this was the ideal time to inflict some form of punishment, when the teachers saw me standing in a puddle it seemed to them that I was in fear, which was partly true, but in the main, it was just that I simply could not wait any longer.
Those of us from the children’s homes were often refused permission to leave the room in the middle of a lesson by some of the teachers, a few from the Home had used this time as a method of searching other children’s coats for money and sweets. We just had to sit at our desks and hope we could last the rest of the lesson. Kids from the Children’s Home in wet trousers were not a rare sight.

At the age of eight the Sister in the Children’s Home decided that for chapel where I would not get access to the toilet, providing me with a pair of waterproof pants to wear under my trousers might solve the matter before it started.
Slowly the list of when I should wear the waterproofs increased by Sister after the odd accident, to cover Sunday school, parties, coach & bus travel, train outings, trips into the village, visiting the governor when in trouble, and if I was in my dungarees as I might not be able to undo them in time, I was quite happy with Sisters instructions, if it stopped any chance of teasing at school or other events over damp shorts.
I was more afraid of having an accident an allowing others to see it, that others around me had accidents and after a little bit of teasing could laugh the matter off was not something I could understand, it was the thought of what Sister or my mother would have said.
In the Home there was generally no punishment if you had an accident and wore waterproofs, with my mother it would have been the lack of treats for that day. Other boys of my age at school might have made a fuss, for some the thought of been made to wear rubber pants would have been worse than be seen in wet shorts, I found it easier to go along with the adult requests.
The other alternative was to wear shorts with a plastic lining that would end in a puddle on the floor.
Little thought was given to why I might have daytime problems, and nothing was put on my medical notes as to the need to find a reason for the odd day time accident.

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Posted by theirhistory on 2008-07-26 10:55:28

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