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My Life in Poetry

By Jan Smith

About Me, Janice Smith
I like writing poetry.
It has helped me a lot in my life.
One day I want to have all my poems published.
Everyone should take some time to think what it is like to be disabled.
I personally don’t mind being disabled.
 It doesn’t worry me. 
I’m very patient.
When you are disabled you have to be patient.
But I do get embarrassed sometimes, when I don’t know anybody.
It is my aim, to have my poems published.
Here are some things you might like to hear about me;
I was born in October 1954.  
My mum nearly died in labour, but she managed to pull through and we were both ill in hospital.
I stayed in hospital for three months because I wouldn’t eat properly.
 The hospital put me on special milk, and then my condition improved.
When I was 5 years old, I went to Chailey Heritage where I stayed from Monday to Friday and then I came home for the weekends.
When I was 13 years old I had an operation on my head.
I awoke during the operation and swivelled my head around, and it went very wrong.  This was in1967 at Bart’s Hospital in London.
I was a guinea pig for the hospital.  I now go to a Day Centre called Montague House, and I have been here since 1990
I enjoy it very much.
My parents have both passed on now, so I live with full-time carers.

In the sixties, it was a little village.
I lived up there and my Aunty lived down the road.
Every day, we’d walk to the village.   It had a wool shop, hairdressers, a butcher, and a pub called The Dawns Hotel, which is still there.
It had a fruit shop too.  In the mid-sixties they built a bit more next to The Dawns.
It had a co-op, another fruit shop and a baker.
On the other side there was a doctor’s surgery.
It had a garage as well, but that has been pulled down now.
It had a big church called The Holy Cross, which my Aunt went to every Sunday.
I went to the night mass at Christmas.  It was lovely.
Every year in summer, they had a carnival at the community centre.
We used to bake cakes for it.  My uncle used to run the Community Centre.
At the school, which had stood there for years, my aunty was a dinner lady and her children and grandchildren all went there.
They lived on top of a hill by the bakery which went by the name of Sunbless.
It always smelt wonderful and was there for as long as I could remember.
There was also a great big depot and a factory that made cars.
Sadly it isn’t there anymore.
On the other side, there were fields where we would take the dog for a walk.
You could walk all the way to Lewes and back.
Now there is a outdoor swimming pool by the school which opens in the summer when the children are free from school.

My Childhood 1968
I remember when I was a little girl when we used to go to a little open air swimming pool.  We would get there by car.
On lovely hot days my dad and uncle would drive ten of us down to there.  We used to go at 11.00am and come back at 5.00pm.
There was a little café that sold Wall’s ice cream and sandwiches.
We used to hire deckchairs for all day long, until 5pm.  They were lovely days.
I would go swimming wearing a rubber ring.  I used to walk in the water.
I remember one day we had to take Kim, my cousin, because her father had a heart attack, and he died. 
My auntie and my mum had to look after her, because Kim’s mum ran a pub with her husband.  It was a big shock to us all.  Kim and her baby brother used to stay at my auntie’s in the daytime, and they went home with my grandma, but my uncle picked them up every day.
My cousin John, on the day of the funeral, looked after Kim’s brother, Kevin, all day.  They went on a train but Kim stayed with us at my auntie’s house.
We went out and played in the garden all day, and my cousin Vicky and Carol walked down the road to buy fish and chips for dinner.
Vicky’s brother, Christopher, stayed behind to look after me and Sue, whilst everyone else walked down.
They couldn’t take me down, as it was a very big hill.
At five o’clock my mum and my auntie came back to pick us up.
In September of that year I moved into my flat, because my old house had too many stairs.  At my old house we had to walk up and down a hill, even when we went shopping and it was a very big hill.  My mum and my auntie used to go shopping everyday down in the village of Woodingdean.  It was a tiny village, and it had a co-op and three shops and a pub called the “Downs Hotel”.
We used to go and see my auntie every day for dinner, and when we’d go shopping she would buy me, Carol and Sue ice cream.
John worked at the Co-op, and it was his first job.  Carol was very naughty and would often go to the Co-op just to tease him and mess around.
My auntie had a dog called Patch, and I had a dog called Mac.
We used to take the dogs for a walk over the hill. 
Every year they had a very small fayre on the fields which always happened to fall on a nice sunny day.  Carol, Sue and John were in a band that always played at a very big carnival.  All the shops in the village had a float and they went all the way around Woodingdean ending up at the Community Centre, which was a lovely place.
On carnival day they had a fee at the Community Centre where my mum and auntie used to have a cake and refreshment stall.  On a Friday night before the carnival my mum and auntie were very, very busy making all the cakes and sandwiches for the next day.
So my dad used to look after me, and take me to the under-cliff, and he would let me run around in my chair.  I had a great time.
Once towards the end of the day I nearly tripped up, as I was getting tired, so my Dad took me out for a car ride.  We went everywhere.  It was getting dark so my dad took me home.  I had to get up early on the Saturday so that my mum met my auntie at the Community
Centre to get the stall ready.
Here I sat behind the stall with them.  It was a lovely day and it was very busy.  I will always remember that year.

This page was amended on 15/08/2012
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