Yes we have no bananas
How a local greengrocer helped save a child's life.
I was born in Christchurch Road, Tilbury and lived there with my family until I married. I have fond memories of Tilbury, although times were hard for every one, it was a friendly place. My father was a merchant seaman on the Orient Line and was away a lot, but my mother was well known in the area and was always ready to help a neighbour who needs a hand. I recall how she was called upon when there was a death, she would lay out the body in in their home. There was no being taken to the funeral parlour then, the person would be kept in the house until the funeral.
In 1948 the last of my parents children was born. I was the eldest of 6 children, but was the only one to survive until my baby sister arrived. She was a sickly baby and during her early years was often taken into Tilbury Hospital. She was eventually diagnosed as having ‘Wasting Disease’. The doctor told my mother to feed her a banana each day. Well this was 1948 and the austerity suffered during the war years had not improved that much and there were lots of shortages of ordinary things, let alone bananas which would have been considered a real luxury then. Well my poor mum was desparate to get these bananas in an effort to save the life of her little daughter.
So mum had the task of looking for bananas. She went to the local green grocer in St. Chads Road, (she thinks the shop was called Georges) and explained how important it was that she should have this fruit. The owners were very supportive, and did their very best to get the much needed bananas when ever they could, and always put them to one side so they weren’t sold. Slowly the baby began to thrive and by school age was doing very well and eating normally. It was only when the child reached adulthood, and became ill again was she finally diagnosed as having Celiacs an alergic condition to Gluten.
So because of the kindness and understanding of that local family green grocer that went out of their way to supply this desparate mum with bananas, the child lived and thrived and is still alive today.
Memory of Merlyn Judd told to Daphne Carpenter