It was about this time that Birgitte, my father’s sister paid us a visit, she was a year or two younger than my mother, and was far more emancipated, she smoked and drank alcohol as well as listening to the latest hits on her portable record player. She stayed with us for about six months, working at my father’s company for pocket money. She took over Granny’s room and had a never ending supply of male friends calling to take her out.
One afternoon when my mother was in a rather bad mood, she introduced my mother, who had asthma and had never smoked, even though my father did and like a chimney consuming packets of Springboks by the gross, to the dubious pleasure of tobacco and wine. Mother was to smoke until she died, and I think used wine, which she consumed in later life by the five litre box, to drown all the disappointments she had suffered in her life.
While Birgitte was there, my father took my mother on a trip to Switzerland for a holiday away from us children. I once overheard her say that when they visited one of the snow covered peaks she had the distinct feeling that he was going to push her off. As he obviously did not, we will take it as a little barb aimed at him after her divorce.
Birgitte was left alone at home, suddenly with four children to look after, if it had not been for Hubby, I am sure we would have driven her to suicide. As it was, she had lost her sense of humour by the first week, and her calm devil may care demeanour by the second. Somewhere between the two events she lost her patience with me one evening while putting me to bed, I kept getting up to fetch something or the other from my wardrobe. It seems that I did it once too often, when she went ballistic, she slammed the wardrobe doors and I was not fast enough to remove my fingers from harm’s way.
The closing doors sliced off the top of my right hand’s index finger, the tip attached by a small slither of flesh. One thing that I have noticed is that of all wounds the hands bleed the most. Birgitte panicked and wrapped my finger up with Elastoplast making sure that the tip was once again attached and held in place by the sticky plaster.
It was about eight days later that my parents arrived home with presents for all, bought by my mother I suspect, but given from both. Birgitte had not replaced the dressing from the night that it had happened and the plaster was beginning to have a rather curious smell. It took only a day or two for my father to notice the smell whenever I was near him, so finally he called me over and removed the sticky plaster.
The finger had begun to putrefy, so he dragged me off to the bathroom and under water so hot that it burned, proceeded to scrub with a nail brush all the decayed flesh away. As I still have the use of that finger and all there is to show of the incident is a line that runs from under the nail half way around the finger, I should be grateful
Lots of Hugs and more,