Colin Humphreys: childhood disabilities

I was quite a sickly child, in particular when I was born I had some birth defect which I still don’t understand but basically what my parents said to me were my two feet were pointing backwards, and I never understood this [laughs] but my two feet pointed backwards and for that reason I never walked up to the age of two. And when I was two years old I had a major operation on both feet and I still remember both legs being in plaster, so they were in plaster for six months, where they sort of brought my feet pointing forwards [laughs]. And then I wore leg irons until the age of twelve, so from two to twelve, so I was like Forrest Gump in a way, I don’t know if you’ve seen this film Forrest Gump but he wore these leg irons and so that was just the same and I had to wear special shoes. These leg irons came up to my knees essentially. And what I do remember is, you know, after this operation but until I was about twelve beneath my ankle bone on the inside there was another bone below that which was bigger than my ankle bone and it stuck out, and I had to – I bought – had shoes but then they had to have some special leather sort of instrument which pushed them out so this – they could fit on my foot, otherwise because I had this big bone and so my feet were sort of like this and this big bone sticking out sideways, very strange [laughs]. And so I had these leg irons and I went regularly for exercises where I had some sort of electric shock – not shock – well sort of shock therapy but muscular thing so it flicked my feet in like this. So that was until the age of twelve, so I didn’t do any sport really because I couldn’t take these off. The only time I took these leg irons off was when I went on an annual holiday to the seaside and ran on the sand, I was allowed to take – that was wonderful, right, but otherwise no I kept these on. So [laughs] that was quite interesting. I was also very short sighted, so I couldn’t see that well and that was all – so I wore these quite thick glasses from an, you know, an earlyish age, it was found out at school I think when I was about six or something, I’d got this very short sight, so these were the two physical, you know, disadvantages I had, so maybe they built a bit of character, I don’t know, and a bit of resilience.
  • Interviewee Colin Humphreys
  • Duration 00:02:15
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Thomas Lean
  • Date of interview 10/17/2012
  • Shelfmark C1379/88

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