Letter to Nina Marzi
My sincere congratulations on this momentous occasion. A real milestone Birthday and one we all admire and think of you on, not only in terms of years but from your unceasing contribution and work with the children and students that suffered distress from the asthmatic condition.
All my life not a day goes by that I donít think about the challenges I had as a child and adolescent. The feeling of suffocation, delirium and despair. When a youngster, I felt I had to endure this asthma disease for the rest of my life. I remember my mother and sister praying for a healing at my bedside when I was at my worst. And all I could think of was a release this life from it all. The constant visits to the hospital for oxygen and other drugs made me sleepy and drugged at school. I remember slipping underneath my desk onto the floor unable to sit up or react to any of the teachers commands, due to the many drugs I was taking at a very young age. I couldnít participate in any sport or activity, due to this condition. I felt a huge inadequacy and also a rejection from others. It was hard to find a pathway or situation that would compensate and bring me into any kind of caring situation in those early days.
Then in 1970 my mother heard about the incredible Dr James and she booked a session with him after a very timely period and I think of over two years of waiting for an appointment! In 1972 my mother and I went to Rose Bay in Sydney for the 10 day treatment.
The first session was so paramount in changing my breathing patterns. Nina you were the one whose hands I felt on my little body at the time, so rigid and restricted. The kindness of your father and your special way of teaching me to breathe, gave me great hope and a way to go forward.
I will never forget those interactions and directions from you too. They changed the way of my breathing being forever. The night I finished the 10 day course my mother threw out all the many drugs I was taking. I remember her saying if this is going to work then we have to incinerate all the drugs and let the process of Dr Alexander take place, unreservedly. I owe my mother a great thank you for being so forward thinking and trusting her intuition. She was a most remarkable person, caring for me deeply and showing me clearly that the medical profession doesnít have all the answers but it takes very special individuals to make significant change, even in direct opposition to the established order. This is what Dr James and yourself stood for and I am so blessed to have come into contact with you both.
My mother collected all the 28 drugs I was taking from the medicine cabinet and heroically threw them down the incinerator. That was how you did it in those days. That was in Elizabeth Bay in Sydney - they still had those strange incinerators then in the old 1930ís/40ís apartments. I remember I had the worst attack ever had that night, absolutely breathless for hours on end. Yet at a the very particular moment the next morning came round, I felt remarkably optimistic and calm. I really never had an asthma attack again. Until many decades later in Germany at a dinner, It was only one night and never happened again. That was in a room with all the windows shut, the curtains drawn and the heating stifling, cats too impacting on this situation. My sense of claustrophobia was immense and I left in the middle of the meal. Regained my equilibrium and sighed a huge thank you for the fresh air outside and the lovely notion of expansion. Ribs moving again, breath coming into the body and a certain reassurance that all would be well, once away from the confinement of certain social impositions, I felt myself.
I write this as a reminder that the work of Dr James and you Nina was the most life changing experience of my life, absolutely. Nothing can compare to this restorative act in bringing a hopeless asthmatic to a place of complete renewal and a life going forward that would bring a very fulfilling career in dance that I had and still am participating in at 62 years old.
I had a wonderful career in dance and many accomplishments, none of this would ever have been possible without your care.
I sincerely wish that this 100th Birthday celebration will acknowledge your work, over the many years of your commitment to it. And give you great pleasure, satisfaction and happiness that we, us, who have had the blessing to have come into contact with you, celebrate with great appreciation and love for all you have imparted to us, your breathing family.
All blessings, love and enormous admiration to you Nina, I am always your, Timothy (Timothy Gordon)
Copyright Timothy M. Gordon,
March 21, 2020
Nina Marzi: Daughter of the late Dr Alexander James and guardian of his method of care in curing Asthmatic patients.