Those School Doctors

By Oonagh Lawson, @@

They said I had Heart murmurs. I asked them “How do you know?”
They told me. “Our stethoscope told us so” “Oh!” I replied, “Can they talk?”
They laughed and said, “No, but we know the sounds that heart murmurs make.
Therefore we want you to go to a Special School where people are trained to take
good care of children like you.


But, my present wee School was special to me
I shook my head and said. “It’s here I want to stay
It’s not far from my home, and I know the way
I even know the Policeman on Points Duty.”


“I can count to one hundred and back to one
I’m learning how to tell the time
I can tie my shoe laces, and dress myself
I know all the books of the Old Testament
I like where I am and I’m really content.”


“It is because I’ve got heart murmurs that you want to send me to a Special School?
Now! Tell me is there any other reason why I should go?
I won’t mind if you yourself want to go.
Have you got heart murmurs too?
If so! It might be your choice and be right up your Street.
It is not mine, so you can go instead of me.”


“By the way, can I tell you about “The War?”
Do you recall what Herr Hitler did?
How he treated Adults like Jews, Gypsies, Russians even some Germans.
As well as to sick or different little Kids?”


Well! He was MAD, He was CRUEL and He was an UGLY FOOL.
And do you know why?
It was because he was given too much Power.
My Family told me I was a little Flower.


My grandfather was an insurance agent who knew a thing or two.
He often helped people sort out their problems.
He spent a lot of his free time as a political mover and shaker, giving advice and representing people who were having problems with authorities.


He had heard about some weird institutions staffed by untouchables who were protected by the positions they held. And those others who were afraid to speak out for fear of losing jobs.


It was my grandfather who challenged the Department of Education. He reasoned that I was capable of remaining in mainstream education.
Therefore if I could come home at the end of the day I would have the protection of my family who could tell immediately if I had any concerns.


Of course it took some time to establish my rights to be educated in mainstream education. Meanwhile I was kept from attending my wee school until the end of term when a decision would be made.


Of course, obstacles were raised and time was deliberately wasted. Common people were not allowed to question authority.


Eventually, I was readmitted to my former school, but I had to begin all over again, in the baby class.


Spite was the word my parents used. I was further penalised by not being permitted to engage in games throughout my school life.


That marked me out as different and I had to fight my corner in many ways, especially through quarrels with bullies.


Though outside of school I was a tomboy and enjoyed playing games and exercise.


When you are young you learn that you can’t always win, though it’s important to challenge, to rebel, and stand up to the bullies.


When I was sixteen I underwent surgery to repair defects in my heart. I made a great recovery, I’d learned to survive. I had been struggling, but I kept going. The surgery gave me a new lease of life.


I am heading toward the age of seventy five
I am a Mother of three
And a grandmother of five.


personal rebellion, defiance, identity