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> Issue 48 > Page 94 - Kieran Ballah Remembers M.J

Page 94 - Kieran Ballah Remembers M.J

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/6/1 (173 reads)

don't know. I don't do anything now--I don't do any singing at all, now. Don't even sing in the bathtub! (That's terri? ble!) Yeah, that's what they say. No, I don't. I don't sing in the church or any? thing- -I gave it up. I just seem to have lost time for it. Just didn't have enough time for it any more. To have kept it up takes a lot of practice and a lot of time. And the singing I would like to do, there's no call for it today, really. Baritones ar? en't in vogue today, the same numbers. And I've never got into the modern types, al? though I like the easy listening and that. I just gave it up completely. Do a little-- hum around the car, that's all. It's a shame. When Eva (Kieran's sister) was 19 or 20, she took TB of the spine. We were living at that time in Rockdale Avenue in Sydney-- just renting. And we had Dr. Acker. He was making a trip to Sydney, to one of the hos? pitals, and Dad heard about him, and took Eva to see him. And he looked at her and examined her and X-rayed her, and he saw in the X-rays a problem that he thought he could correct, that the new bones were forming, where the TB had harmed the bad bones in the spine. He said, "I can operate on her, and I can correct the problem. But, unless you can follow it up with the proper therapy afterwards, it's a waste of time. And it's going to cost you thousands of dollars." So, Dad was just teaching singing at the time, and not making much money. You know, at that time in Sacred Heart Church., he was probably making--I believe it was a hundred dollars a month--$25 a week, was what he made. An3rway, that was the only income he had. Then we were renting on Rockdale Ave? nue. That would be 1935, '34. I was about 4, 5 years old. So, we just let it ride for a few weeks. And my mother said, "Well, if anybody's go? ing to fix her, I'm going to make a novena to"--who'd she make a novena to? She made a novena on the weekend. (A novena is a Cath? olic recitation of prayers and devotions for 9 consecutive days.) And we needed mon? ey badly. On Monday my brother (Joe) got a DON'S FLOWERS Sen/ing Port Hood, Judique, Inverness and Surrounding Areas p. O. Box 179, Port Hawkesbury, N. 8. BOE 2V0 Telephone 625-2215 or 625-2717 telegram, a wire--he worked at Canada Pack? ers- -that he had won the Irish Sweepstakes. $30,000. And he had split the ticket with a friend that worked at the Canada Packers with him. Forgotten about the ticket. Never even thought about it. He said, "By golly, that's right." Now, $15,000 in 1930 is a lot of money. Right away Joe--my brother Joe, he's the oldest boy--he said, "Well, what's it going to take to fix Eva up?" We needed a house that had exposure on the corner, where we could build a room to receive the morning sun and the afternoon sun. We had to be able to buy (special) glass for the win? dows, which would cut out the ultraviolet rays in the sun--either cut them out or leave them through, I'm not sure which it was--one of the two. Because it was one ray she needed. And she had to be in that sun morning and afternoon. And so Dad called Dr. Acker and he told him all these things. Well, Joe said, "Okay. Let's find the house." Now he's a young man of 22, maybe. Just working as a bookkeeper at Canada Packers. He gave up all that mon? ey except $3,000. He gave $12,000, he gave it to Dad and he said, "Let's do it." We bought the house on Townsend Street. I don't know what they paid for it--5 or 6 or 7 thousand in those days, was still a lot of money for a big house. Built the room, put the glass in it--all glass all the way around. It's still there today, that room, on the second storey. And Dr. Acker came down, did the operation on Eva. Put her on a Bradford Frame for--I thought it was 2 years--maybe it was less. But a Bradford Frame is shaped like a--almost like a low moon--a curvature, quarter moon shape. And she's strapped to that. So that her spine won't grow, with the right curvature on her back--not grow bent, the opposite way. It had a hole in it for her bowel movements. She could not come off of it for this peri? od of time--a year, year and a half. She was quite awhile, anjrway. She was a determined, stubborn girl: she was going to get better. And she got bet? ter. She spent all that time on that frame, tatting and knitting and doing things-- looking at nothing but the ceiling. Mum would just go in and look at her. (So she'd be on her back.) On her back, that's right. Curved, so that, like, her stomach was up, we'll say. So that her spine would grow right. And that doctor saved her life. An3rway, Joe contracted TB during that time, was in another bedroom. In those days you Yellow Cello Cafe Bakery ' Pizza Deli .<'' '' • ?' / 295-2303 c>' .** ><" • '
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