Written by Brian Easton
I ran away from home when I was 15. I only said two words to my Dad and I was out. I had no home life. I didn’t like home life. My aunties are 89 and 90 now. I don’t know where they are, I don’t see them. My auntie used to give me custard creams on Saturday mornings, and she got me on to coffee.
There is a gap and I can’t think what happened next, but my Mum and Dad took me to Springfield Hospital when I was 15 in 1954, and I stayed until 1969. That is a lot of time.
I wouldn’t like to go there again. They bashed me up, broke my pelvis. Bashing people up should not be allowed. They put me in a room with no daylight; shut all the doors, no dinner, no supper, and no breakfast. They got me out of bed at 3.30 in the morning and bashed me. I wouldn’t like to go through it again. One doctor put me to sleep for a week once, never thought I would wake up again. It’s the thoughts behind it.
No-one came to visit me. They should have done, but they didn’t.
All the wards were named after a tree, which sounds nice, but it wasn’t. I was in Cedar Ward. I had the third seat along from Charlie. We used to discuss what was going to happen to us. I don’t want to be punished again. I’m retired now and I don’t want to do this again.
I tried to run away. I tried to get on a bus in Putney, but I only had my pyjamas on and no money to pay. Everyone ran away from me.
You could work mending telephones and get money to pay for a haircut or buy sweets. When you have a breakdown, your mind goes blank, and I don’t want to have that again.
I went to other hospitals too, like St. Ebbas in Epsom, St. Lawrence’s in Caterham and St. Bernard’s.
I was in Roehampton for a year in 1970. I met my girlfriend Christine there. The manager had a tarantula, a big spider, in a glass case in her office and she used to frighten Christine and me with it. Christine was there for 9 and half years. A florescent light bulb exploded in the laundrette when I was there and I got glass in my back.
Now I live with 11 other people in a house. I have my own room next to Christine. Christine is exceptionally good; she looks after me very well.