Live Eels and Grand Pianos
“Live Eels and Grand Pianos” is both a family memoir and a significant contribution to the social history of the twentieth century. It tells the story of the author's parents, Charlie and Kathy Bradford.
Charlie and Kathy were seriously disabled by Polio when they were young children. Charlie contracted the disease in 1909, when he was three, and Kathy in 1913, when she was ten months old. “Live Eels and Grand Pianos” tells the story of their extraordinary courage in the face of adversity.
In the 1940s the idea of seriously disabled people marrying and raising children was so unusual that the author’s birth was reported in the national Sunday newspapers. This book tells how Charlie and Kathy managed to find work and raise a family, and about the prejudice and hostility they suffered, as well as the kindnesses they encountered and the campaigns that they took part in.
It includes over twenty black and white photographs of the author’s family taken between 1920 and 1980.
In 2008 I wrote a short story about my parents, who lived in Edmonton and who became seriously disabled by Polio when they were young children. I entered this story into a competition run by the Millfield Theatre, and it was then dramatised by Face Front.