Ronald Basil Girdler
On July 4th. 1959, Andrew was born at Windlesham Maternity Hospital. On that day the temperature was in the nineties and it was not comfortable lying on a rubber sheet! As he was being born the midwife said "This baby is too big for you!" and I remember replying "Now she tells me!" He weighed 8 lbs.12 ozs,. four pounds heavier than Richard, Ron was playing tennis in a match at B.P. that afternoon and so was not at home when the hospital phoned him to tell him. He arrived at the hospital later in the day. Fathers were still not allowed to be present at the birth. Ron's Mum and Dad were staying with us to look after Richard and Ron whilst I was away. Again I was kept in for 10 days.
Very soon we all worked ourselves into a new routine. In September 1959 Richard began to go to a small nursery class in New Haw, Two of his friends from F.B.D., Calvin and Margaret, started at the same time, and Calvin's father Roy drove them all to class in the mornings on his way to work. This provided me with a bit of a break, because Andrew would sleep after his 10 a.m. feed till lunch time so I was able to get on with the chores undisturbed. We mothers took it in turns to fetch the children at mid-
After Easter 1960, when Richard was 5 years old, he started attending West Byfleet Primary school, and again Roy took them in the mornings. The only time I had any difficulty getting him to school was on the second day, when for some reason Roy could not take them, and Joan, who was the only one of us who could drive at that time, took them instead. Richard simply refused to get in the car and screamed and screamed. In the end I had to go with them and after that there was never any trouble. Their uniform now consisted of navy blazers and caps, with trousers and shirts as before. So now I had to collect him at 12 p.m. to take him home to lunch and take him back again in time for 1.30 p.m. session, and collect him again at 3.30. As it took about 20 minutes each way with the pram, and having to get Andrew ready each time as well as Richard, I found there was hardly any time to do anything else, so I arranged for him to stay for school dinners. This relieved me of the lunch time hassle and it gave me more time to spend with Andrew.
Andrew was a beautiful baby, quite chubby with very blond hair, and once he had got over the awful broken nights, a very good baby. He too had several children in the road to play with. The couple next door had by now got a child, Gavin, who was a few months older than Andrew, as was Paul, Calvin's brother, Also there was a new couple at no.9 who had a son, Mark, of the same age, and another family at no.8, which included two girls, Caroline, who was Richard's age, and Julie, a bit older than Andrew. So there was quite a crowd of small children in the vicinity, and all got on very well together.
When Andrew was not quite three, at Easter time, he was playing with a group of kids just outside the front gate whilst I was attempting to paint a water-
The next day was fine and sunny, but of course Andrew was unable to walk, so I sat him on a rug in the garden in the sunshine surrounded by toys, where he stayed quite contentedly all day. I watched him sitting there with his blond hair glistening in the sunshine and I felt tears welling up in my eyes. This had been a very traumatic experience, and even now when the cherry blossom is out I feel the same anguish as I had then. His toe nail did not grow properly until he was in his twenties.
Most of his playmates were a few months older than he so they all started at play school a term before he was 4 years old, when he was too young to go. I can remember feeling so sad for him as he wandered up and down the road picking the buttercups and daisies from the grass verge, all alone. One of the older ladies from no. l took pity on him one day and gave him some violets from her garden! When he was four, however, he joined the other kids at play school, and from then on I had the whole morning to myself!
Ron had finished the practical work for his Ph.D. in about 1961, and then followed the lengthy business of writing it all up in long-