Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mom's Haley Family Memories, part 7: Pat, her little brother

Brother Pat Haley

The next child in the Haley Family was my brother, Patrick Charles. He was born in 1936, in May.  He was a cute little guy with blond hair and a round chubby face. My first remembrance of him is when I was four years old.   My Mom had me watch him outdoors and take him for walks in his stroller, actually quite a job for a little 4 year old.  

I enjoyed being outdoors and we would walk to the park (which was quite near). I remember keeping him out quite long as he enjoyed it too.  He had a diaper accident and I didn't realize it and just kept on walking.  He had wet himself and in those days we didn't have plastic pants or disposables; so the poor little guy got pretty sodden I guess.   Anyway when we got home Mom was upset with me that I didn't bring him home sooner.  I felt bad about it and didn't want to have her mad at me.    

Not too long after that he became quite ill and as a child, nothing was really told to me except that he was quite ill.   My sister Helen had been born by this time and that is probably why I was given so much responsibility.   

Anyway he had to go to the Children's Charity Hospital in Toronto.   My Dad was the only one who could go visit him as Mom was caring for tiny Helen.   The only transportation they had was by streetcar.   It was quite a lengthy trip from New Toronto (a suburb of Toronto along Lake Ontario).  Poor Dad hated the trip and then hated to leave that darling little boy to come home.  

Pat died there at age two of a kidney disease and an infection in his spinal column—nephrosis and spinal Meningitis.  It was all so sad for our family.  I thought for years that if I had just brought him home sooner he wouldn't have gotten that infection and died. 

It was so traumatic for my dad; he couldn't go to the hospital to visit anyone after that.   I remember that Pat's toy teddy bear and his small blanket were stored on a shelf and we weren't allowed to play with it as it was a sweet remembrance of him.   You will find his picture taken in New Toronto with Bill and me. He has a white snow suit on.

I just remembered more about Pat.  We were so poor we couldn't afford to have his funeral at a funeral home so we had him laid out in his little casket in our front living room.  Bill was only 6 years old and he thought that Pat was just laying there sleeping. He went over to the casket and took Pat's hands and pulled him up to nearly sitting saying, “Come on Pat, get up and let's play."  My folks just about keeled over and I remember them coming over at a rush. 

Poor Bill, he didn't understand.  Kids weren't really told much in those days.  It's much better today telling children what is going on.  I guess they thought they were protecting us.   I on the other hand was a listener and sat near the adults listening and learning.

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