Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Cousin Catherine

Happy Birthday, Catherine. I wrote on her facebook wall that I knew something about the events of her birth that perhaps she didn't even know.

I left home in 1975 and had my children away from family.

I often jokingly blackmail my eldest, because it was such a difficult delivery when I had her. 26 hours, and I could have died. She was now my slave.

In 1985, I visited Catherine's Mum, and surprisingly her mum asked me about my delivery. I had not even told my mum who had moved to Australia. You couldn't believe it, there, Aunt and niece had identical experience, we were away from family, and our delivery were extremely long and painful. Aunt concluded that a dry delivery, meaning the water breaking before the baby was ready to come, was excruciating.

In parts of China, and Taiwan, on the birthday of the child, mum gets a present. It is to mark the day of her "greatest suffering." It makes a lot of sense. When the kids are young, dad gives gives her a gift, and when kids have grown, they would give mum one. When I told this to a friend, she said she always gives her daughter-in-law a bunch of flowers on the grand children's birthday. What a great tradition.


In the Auckland area, the hospitals have chimneys. I used to work for the Auckland Hospital and I asked what the chimneys were for. I was told that they were used to burn all the bloodied cotton bandages and swathe. As for the body parts, they were sent to the city incinerator. This photo is next to the National Women's hospital where my daughter was born.

photo courtesy Sarawakaina

Fellow Blogger Sarawakiana

I could never understand why the makers of playground equipment made these things that go round and round. When I was little, we lived near a playground provided by the Government.

Whenever I see equipments that go round and round, I think of this incident with my Cousin Catherine. I posted this last year.

I never liked the "Merry Go Round" aka roundabout, it was like a bird cage of 8 feet diameter. Otherwise, it was like a giant rattle, with the handle stuck in the ground. We could sit on wooden planks or stand. It was two feet from ground. The braver ones hold with one hand and stand on one leg with the body outside the cage. A person or two stand on the ground and spin the cage. Usually the bigger boys did that. I was prong to dizziness but it didn't deter me from joining the rest to be spun round and round.

In those days, our cousins always came in the holidays and they would go crazy in the playground as they didn't live near one.

My fondest memory or one that impacted all of us was we were all on it, and the boys were spinning us. There were two little cousins M and C. Cousin H who was my age was eating a preserved plum and carrying one of our other cousins.

I was screaming because I always getting dizzy. H dropped her sour plum and was bending down to pick it. She didn't know that when you are on it, you must hold on to the rails very tightly. The little cousin's head was almost touching to the ground as we spun round and round. H tried to grab hold of cousin M or C. She was spun like rag doll or a head banger when an ice skater spins his partner holding her legs.

Initially the boys just spun faster and faster. It was terrifying, all the girls were screaming and our little cousin was crying. Realizing what was happening, the boys pulled the Merry Go Round to make it go the reversed direction before it finally stopped.

Luckily our cousin was not hurt, and only shaken. In fact, we were all shaken. It was our secret. We never told anyone. Catherine, H and I belonged to different sets of family. We bribed Catherine and her sister M to keep quiet.



Ginny Hartzler said...

What a scary story!!! I guess there are many secrets that would make parents shiver if they knew!! I feel that a lot of playground things are dangerous. Monkey bars, I know of several kids who have broken their arms falling off, Ella did just a couple months ago. We try our best to keep our kids safe, then put them on these dangerous things!

Anonymous said...

Catherine Stephen Ann, read your article about my birth. Hehe. Imagine my mum and you sharing the same experience. Yes, I have bought my mum a present. (And I didn't know that's a tradition - thanks for telling me )

Anonymous said...

Catherine Stephen
Ann, the merry-go-round ride was really terrifying, all right. I still remember it. the quarter that you stayed before is actually very near to where I'm staying now. But unfortunately, the playground that we had such memories has made way for development. I'm still scared of those merry-go-rounds. LOL. Good memories :D

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

What Catherine mentioned about the playground being taken away and making way for development is exactly the impact of my last blog.