The 26th of September 1962 is as important a day to me as my Birthday…It was the day I had open heart surgery…In my first year of school, age 5, the school doctors picked up that I had a hole in my heart (a valve between the right and left side of the heart that should have withered after birth but hadn’t), without surgery the doctors gave me a life expectancy of about 20 years, surgery has now more than doubled that making it a day for me to celebrate.
I cut the hole in my sampler so that I could make a scare to match the one that runs down beside my shoulder blade and under my left arm with a smaller scare (for drainage tubes) below which for many years I believed was where the doctors made a mistake and had to start again.
The elephant is because I thought that the name of the Hospital was ‘The Prince Elephant Hospital’, it was actually The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney Australia, a 500 mile train journey from home town Ballina and my mother had to leave me their and return home as she was 8 months pregnant with her 5th child, my sister.
This detail will be finished with a shark or shark tooth charm at the edge for the time when I was 19 and a friend asked what my scare was from and I told her it was a shark bite, why I said it was a shark bite I do not know and at the time we were interrupted and I thought no more about it until a few days later when in a room full of people my friend asked me to tell them about my shark bite, I asked them what they wanted to know and proceeded to give answers to their questions of when, where etc, it wasn’t till the next day that I realized that they had all believed me and I had to fess up to having told a Tall tale, a tall tale that has become and family joke that has given us many a good laugh.
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