I was nine or ten years old and my youngest sister was two years younger so I don’t know how, or why, we had baby’s milk formula in the house. It was probably given to mum by a friend who had no more use for it. As far as I remember it was given free, by the government, to new mothers. They also supplied expectant mothers with a delicious orange juice. It was all part of the ‘Welfare Food’ scheme that was introduced in 1940 in order to improve the health of babies during the war years. Mum also had the orange juice given to her and we kids loved it.
Mum was out shopping and we youngest three were home alone. Myself, my young sister Gill and Tina, who was two years older than me. Tina had decided to see what goodies she could find in the food cupboards and came across a tin of baby formula. We all adored eating it by the spoonful when mum wasn’t looking. Tina tucked into a heaped spoonful. “We want some too. Let us have some!” Gill and I said indignantly. But, as Tina was the eldest, she made the rules up.
“You can only have some if you let me feed it to you. You can’t feed yourself”
“Oh let us have some” Gill and I said in unison.
“No! I must feed it to you”
“Oh all right” I said, resigned to the fact that it was the only way I was going to get some of that delicious powder.
“Open your mouth and put your head back then” Tina bossed.
I did as she told me.
“Further back” Tina said, in a school ma’am sort of way.
I tipped my head back as far as I could and opened my mouth wide………….
Thwuppppp! Tina dropped a spoonful of this fine powder straight down my throat! It immediately set in a large ball that blocked my airway. I couldn’t breath. I REALLY couldn’t breath.
Tina, seeing me making fish-out-of-water faces, and realising that I wouldn’t last much longer if something wasn’t done immediately, promptly ran out of the house!! “I’ll go and find mum” she said, as she disappeared, leaving me gasping – No, not gasping. I couldn’t even do that! I was just opening and closing my mouth in silent terror. She had no idea where mum was, and would have needed to catch a bus to the nearest shopping centre to find her!
Thank goodness my little sister was there to save me. I have no idea where she got the idea to do what she did, but she definitely saved my life that day!
She grabbed a wet dishcloth and stuffed it down my throat as far as she could, then pulled it out again. I choked a bit but she had cleared the dollop of goo that had been blocking my throat. Thanks to Gill, who was only seven or eight at the time, I lived to tell the tale. Quick thinking on her part!
I have no idea when Tina decided to come back home with her tail between her legs, but I’d say the SHE was very lucky that Gill had saved the day too!
Any of you have a close call while home alone? I bet most of you have.