Marion minds anither ‘germ’ when she wis wee

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Marion McRorie is 95 year old and lives in Brodick, but in these dark days of the pandemic she remembers a very similar situation from her childhood which she tells here in the Scots tongue.

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2020, the year o’ the pandemic.

Coronavirus thae ca’d it, and whit a scunner it wis. We had tae wash oor haunds hunners o’ times, sanitise and keep twa metres apairt frae yin anither – amang ither things.

Weel aw this remindit me o’ the scarlet fever in the early 1930’s when I wis wee. Tae pit ye in the picture, we bided on Arran at the time when the germ invaded oor hoose. I hae twa brithers, Hugh an’ John – baith younger than ma’sel an’ did Hugh no go an’ catch the germ, where he caught it frae dear only knows, onyway he was cairted aff tae the fever hospital wrapped in a rid blanket.

When he felt a wee bit better we were allowed to chat to him on the ‘phone. Efter the ca’ ended wee John said tae ma faither: ‘Ah’ve caught it, that germ’s cam through the ‘phone.’ Richt enough, believe it or believe it not, the very next day he wis taken tae the hospital. Then I wis expectit tae tak it next. The doctor cam in tae check me maist days. He wis strict an’ telt me tae go oot in the fresh air frae mornin’ tae nicht, keep ma distance frae folk an’ mind an’ wash ma haunds afore I ate.

Tae pass the time a stoatit a ba’, played wae ma wee skippin’ rope, peevers an’ ma bike – thae days it was ca’d a Fairy Cycle. Then forbye, I dug the gairden fur big fat worms tae feed the birds fur I thocht they micht like them. Bulbs go’at in my way at times. Later on in the season the flooers didnae bloom sae guid an’ faither wunnered why. I think I kent but I never let dab.

In a’tween times oor hoose hid tae be fumegated an’ the wa’ paper in oor bedroom hid tae be scraped aff the wa’s, oor schule books, readin’ books an’ oor soft toys hid tae be burnt. I felt gey sad aboot it a’ – except fur the schule books! When ma classmates heard aboot whit happened tae ma readin’ books they sent me some o’ theirs which was gie guid o’ them.

Yin day as I scartit in the gairden fur the worms, some o’ ma classmates were makin’ their way hame frae schule an’ shouted tae me, “We’ve hud the inspectors.” I was that pleased I hud missed them – it made ma day. Then I thanked them fur the books, they said they’ll keep ye goin an’ aff they went hame, I was glad tae see them.

I never took the scarlet fever an’ neither did onybody else on the island at that time as faur as I ken, so me, ma faither an’ mither must hae done the richt thing an’ kept the germ frae spreadin’ tae ither folk.

Ony wise, it’s a wheen o’ years ago since a’ this happened when I was wee. I’m auld noo but I can mind it fine.