Tag Archives: Abby Waterman

Jasper Johns at the Royal Academy, London

This shows just part of the collage

Since my heart attack and several days on a ventilator my memory for names – always poor – is much worse. When I booked for Jasper Johns’ ‘Something Resembling the Truth’ I confused him with Jackson Pollock, whose work I have come to like, especially following the Abstract Expressionist exhibition also at the Royal Academy.

I didn’t really know Jasper Johns’ work and now I’ve seen it I’m not impressed. The RA provides a very good audio guide free and his one-time assistant is full of praise and how important his work was.

I prefer this!!

 

I liked the image on the poster the RA used but thought the real thing – a collage of a physical broom, a hanging cup, with a brass frame and knives forks and spoons embedded in the brass frame just silly. I like lots of modern art but his work just doesn’t speak to me at all. And I prefer the real flag!!

Read all about me

 

 

Read my memoir Woman in a White Coat now on Amazon Kindle

 

‘Woman in a White Coat’ and My Wonderful Family and Friends

Nathan Burton’s Great Cover

I emailed all my friends with the good news that my memoir Woman in a White Coat was finally on Kindle and the response has been amazing. Thank you all. I was expecting you to just use the ‘Look Inside’ feature or get a free sample, but you’ve been buying it. I might yet get to be a millionaire!!

Thank you all especially the first and the last of my Writing Circles,  all the Creative Writing tutors at the Mary Ward Centre, Morley College and CityLit, the literary agents who wrote encouragingly but didn’t take me on because I’m not a celebrity, my various mentors except the one that discouraged me so much I stopped writing for a year and everyone else who ploughed their way through my many drafts.

And above all my fantastic family – near and far.

I love you all!!

 

My Memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ is on Kindle!! Hurrah

WWC Front Cover

My memoir Woman in a White Coat was on Amazon Kindle just in time for me still to be 85 like it says in the blurb. What a wonderful 86th birthday present!!

http://bit.ly/2y2ufguWWC

Meet 85-year old Dr Abby Waterman, the unwelcome third daughter of Orthodox Jews who desperately wanted a son. She survives rat-infested cold-water tenements in London’s East End, the Great Depression, WW2 and the Blitz. Despite poverty, sexual harassment and discrimination, she becomes in turn a Harley Street dentist, a doctor, an entrepreneur, a consultant pathologist and director of a cancer research laboratory, as well as the mother of four.

Behind the scenes in a busy NHS hospital, you witness the tears doctors shed that patients never see. Step into Abby’s shoes as an 18-year-old dissecting her first body and later, as a mother of young children, carrying out an autopsy on a four-year-old. Discover why Abby ventures into the business world and why she leaves it. She undergoes surgery and radiotherapy for breast cancer, only to be told her cancer has recurred and spread to her spine. She describes her weird hallucinations while on a ventilator following a heart attack and learns that Do Not Resuscitate is written into her notes.

Dr Abby J Waterman is a pseudonym. The names of friends, family, colleagues and patients have been changed as have the names of places and hospitals, although all the events in this memoir are true to reality.

I hope you enjoy it.

Did you grow up in a disadvantaged situation and make good? I’d love to hear from you here or at abby@abbyjw.com

 

Woman in a White Coat – Final Draft!! Now to ePublish it

A selection of books recommended by the staff at Foyles

Now that I finished the final draft Woman in a White Coat I’ve been scouring Waterstone’s and Foyles for ideas for the cover. Also looked at covers by designers who entered for The Academy of British Cover Design awards.

I know I’d like to have a white shiny cover and I’ve seen quite a few that I like, but unfortunately mainstream publishers rarely include the name of the cover designer.

Herewith a taster – the beginning of Chapter 3 of Woman in a White Coat

A Country at War

We were tired and hungry, my sister Hannah and I, as we stood waiting in Littleport Village Hall, waiting to be chosen by someone, anyone.

‘Don’t snivel,’ Hannah said. ‘No-one will take us in if they see you crying.’

She pushed my hand away.

‘You’re too old to hold hands Abby, and anyhow your hands are always wet and sticky.’

Operation Pied Piper’, the plan for the evacuation of children from areas likely to be bombed, was in place long before World War 2 was declared. People in safe areas with spare bedrooms were urged to take in evacuees. They would be paid 10/6d a week for the first child and 8/6d for each subsequent child. Nearly a million children were evacuated on Friday September 1st, 1939. London railway stations were packed with children and whole trains were commandeered.

Parents had been given a list of clothing to pack. Girls needed 1 spare vest, 1 pair of knickers, 1 petticoat, 1 slip, 1 blouse, 1 cardigan, a coat or Mackintosh, nightwear, a comb, towel, soap, face-cloth, boots or shoes and plimsolls.

Continue reading Woman in a White Coat – Final Draft!! Now to ePublish it

April Fool’s Day and my New Resolution

Abby age 2

My memoir Woman in a White Coat starts 85 years ago in October 1931, two years before this studio portrait was taken.

Who would have thought this serious little girl would qualify in dentistry and medicine, become an entrepreneur and end up as a consultant pathologist in a major London teaching hospital.

I was born at a time when a girl’s only future was marriage and children  – though I managed those too – married to the same loving husband for 60 years with four wonderful children and four equally wonderful grandchildren.

There are 30 days in April and my memoir presently has 29 chapters so if I edit one chapter a day my memoir will be ready to be uploaded as an e-book by the end of the month. That is my April Fool’s Day resolution.

If you email me at abby@abbyjw.com I will send you the first chapter and if you comment I will send you another. Hope to hear from you.

Heart Attacks and Hallucinations

Ventilation panels in ceiling
Ventilation panels in ceiling

My heart wasn’t doing too well after having a heart attack and two stents fitted so the cardiologist fitted an aortic balloon pump which was driven by a separate external pump.

I was doped to the eyeballs and I don’t remember telling Josh that the pump sounded like a washing machine but I was certainly convinced that the circular vent was the porthole of a washing-machine.

That was only one of the many queer delusions I experienced while heavily sedated, being ventilated and fighting for my life.

 

Short-listed for the Wasafiri Prize

The Entry Details
The Entry Details

What wonderful news – being short-listed for the Wasafiri prize given in three categories – Poetry, Short Story and Life Writing. I submitted September 1939 about being evacuated to Littleport and then Ely.

Shows how valuable belonging to a Writers’ Circle is and having constructive criticism. Another member just had two Flash Fiction entries short-listed for the prestigious Bridport Prize and last year my memoir Woman in a White Coat was short-listed for the Tony Lothian prize for unpublished biographies.

Further education

My favourite trouser pattern
My favourite trouser pattern

it’s that time of year – when the Further Education colleges publish their prospectuses for the coming year. Of course the fees have gone up again, while there are always threats to reduce government funding. The powers-that-be don’t seem to realise how much the NHS saves in anti-depressants and other medication by getting retired people out of the house.

I had an excellent dressmaking tutor – very strict and fussy. Everything had to be sewn carefully and finished well. I must have made at least half a dozen pairs of trousers from that pattern. The trouble with clothes you make yourself out of good quality fabric is that they won’t wear out and you’ve no excuse to visit GAP to buy new.

From my memoir Woman in a White Coat

After I retired  I signed up for lots of classes, some at one Further Education college and some at another – painting, drawing, cooking, history of art, Spanish, creative writing, pottery, dressmaking – everything I hadn’t had time for when I was working. It wasn’t just that I hadn’t had the time, I hadn’t had the desire. My mind was always so full of work. Even when I was at the theatre, I would find myself thinking about a difficult diagnosis or a hiccup in our research.

I enjoyed the freedom of doing things that weren’t important, things that weren’t a matter of life and death.

‘It’s wonderful,’ I said to my art teacher. ‘Nothing I do now is critical. If my drawing of the model looks like a human being, great. If not, at least I produced something. If my new cookery dishes taste good or if I can’t eat them and have to throw them out, if I manage to remember whether Rubens came first or Constable, it just doesn’t matter. You can’t imagine the relief and feeling of freedom. My life is no longer constantly punctuated by drama, by death, by irrevocable mistakes – where every word I put in a report is crucial. It would have been devastating if what I said in my report was misinterpreted by the surgeons and the wrong treatment given.

A is for Abby

Paper patchwork
Paper patchwork

My daughter Louise, her two children and I had a phase of covering all sorts of papier maché letters, boxes and animals with Decopatch paper. I used the covered letters as birthday cards. A and L were easy – all straight lines and sharp angles while S for Simon, B for Bernard, J for Jane were more tricky but the Decopatch paper is very forgiving.

The Long Wait

Simon Lighter

Rupert patiently waiting for dinner 1957

Now the long wait – waiting for Stephanie’s approval and then waiting for agents to reply. Cats are very good at waiting – for us, for dinner, for the mouse to stick its head out of its hole just once more.

From my memoir Woman in a White Coat .
When I was 14 we had a tabby I named Rupert after ‘Rupert the Bear.’ At first when I came home from school he wouldn’t talk to me after I’d left him for so long, but he soon forgave me and greeted me, winding in and out of my legs and rubbing his face against me. We had a second Rupert when Josh and I were married and living in a basement flat in Hampton Street. He loved the old-fashioned claw-footed iron bath in the passageway from our bedroom to the cellars. The cold water tap always dripped. He would sit on the rim, dipping a careful paw under the tap and having a quick drink. Hot water came from an enormous gas-fired Ascot at the end of the bath. He didn’t like the explosion when we lit it. He would scurry away only to return and walk around the narrow rim, looking at us quizzically as we soaked. He came perilously close to the edge but he never fell in.