Monday, 9 November 2009

One Heck of a Journey

On the 9th of November 1939 a child was born to Mary Elizabeth Hudston. Mary, unmarried, had concealed the fact that she was pregnant, the doctor was called to deal with suspected gallstones when she was in fact in labour. The birth was a surprise to most, probably not to Mary. She took the secret of the father of the child to her grave. The child, underweight partially due to lack of prenatal attention and wartime austerity was named Kenneth Allan. Kenneth was quickly christened as his future, already dubious was further complicated due to a life threatening condition, almost certainly pyloric stenosis. Operated on immediately the child, it is said, spent some of its early days snugly wrapped in a shoebox by the fire.
Kenneth survived, just, a spell of eighteen months in Bretby Hospital due to rickets unusual but not unknown in wartime Britain. Mary married Ernest Stevens, had a daughter Jean and time passed by. Ernest died in tragic circumstances in 1942 and life was never easy for Mary, Jean and Kenneth.
Kenneth, small of stature, continued to thrive despite frequent broken limbs, often through competing with 'the bigger boys'. Mary died in 1953, aged forty six. Jean was adopted by an aunt and Kenneth allowed his name to be changed by deed poll to Kenneth Allan Stevens. (to mask the stigma of illegitimacy) It was probably the last time in his life Kenneth allowed someone else to make a decision on his behalf.
Life never stands still. A serious motorcycle accident almost cost Kenneth his life. But broken bones and almost a year off work, though painful are seldom terminal. Near misses in canals and rivers are just that, merely near misses. And life is full of near misses. An internal hemorrhage, serious at the time but survivable. Skin cancer, worrying but surely sent to remind that we are mortal. TGA, eerie but again survivable and one hell of a talking point when the conversation flags at cocktail parties.
Tablets for this, tablets for that, no wonder our ancestors had a shorter life span, it's only the tablets that keep us going. But its been fun and its not over yet. And boy, does it seem strange to be seventy years of age!

22 comments:

VioletSky said...

Many, many, happy returns of the day, Ken!
No being grumpy on yer birthday, 'kay?!!

That is also quite the life story. Here's to good health for decades to come. (raising glass of favourite tipple)

LizBeth said...

Happy Birthday!
Found you at Gill's. I enjoy your posts.
Liz in Texas

Jennyta said...

Many happy returns, Ken and thanks for sharing your story.

Granny on the Web said...

I knew you must be made of stern stuff Ken.
Happy Birthday to you.
Did you see I pointed you out as my first blog find? on Eddie Bluelight's Sunday Roast, week before last.


Love Granny

Mark said...

Many happy (grumpy) returns Ken.

Sage said...

Happy Birthday Ken, you had a lot to contend with and still do by the sounds of it, but all the very best to you...

Kippers Dickie said...

You have beaten me by three years Ken! Many happy returns.
Mine was 3rd Sept 42.

Shammickite said...

HBTY,
HBTY,
HBDK,
HBTY!
Hope you have a good one. And you can be grumpy if you want to.

cheshire wife said...

Belated Happy Birthday! You have just run up the three score years and ten!

Robert said...

A belated Happy Birthday! to you, Ken, and may you have many more of them!

You may be 70, but you're going strong. You're not worn out yet! I'm looking forward to reading your very entertaining posts for many more years...

Gill - That British Woman said...

A belated Happy Birthday to you!!

Gill in Canada

Grumpy Old Ken said...

VioletSky
Thanks. Decade rather than decades I fear!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

LizBeth
Thanks and welcome.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Jennyta
Thanks and thanks foe reading .

Grumpy Old Ken said...

grannie
Thanks. yes I did read it. You have come a long way!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Mark
Thanks for the sentiments. you next?

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Sage
Thanks and welcome!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

kippers
Thanks. We old uns must stick together!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Shammickite
Thanks . Not too grumpy this week!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

cheshire wife.
Thanks. Yes, the old magical biblical score!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Robert
Thanks for the kind words. Not done yet I hope.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Gil
Thanks. hope you are prospering in good old Canada.