My parents and their post-traumatic family

As earlier indicated, when my parents separated and divorced in 1945 that was the end of all family life for me, then aged eleven and also, I strongly suspect, of my sisters' family lives. Two of them went by Order of the Court with mother, myself and Shirley with father.

My junior sister Tina died many years ago - of substance abuse I was told. Although my youngest sister Maureen is going strong and still makes her way with great resolve, her life has been anything but a bed of roses. Sister Shirley, two years my senior, also endured many problems long before her death by cancer this year. In her early twenties Shirley had left her baby son with estranged husband Mick in order to 'emigrate' to Hong Kong, but eventually, after yet one more disastrous love affair she returned to live by herself in  Milton Keynes for the duration of her life.

So I would guess that, even though I have suffered so much through the long and fatal illnesses of my two wives, I have probably had the least destructive fallout from the wartime shenanigans of Mr Edwin and Mrs Marie Islip. I remain convinced that my teenage passion for Joan and our marriage, together with my exposure to her York city family was my saving grace. And then of course our emerging family and my burgeoning business career produced an early need to forget history and get on with life. I've been very content so to do, and for the most part happily, and for the most part successfully. 

I heard nothing at all from my mother for fifty years. And then one Saturday afternoon in 1994 the phone rang at home in Lee-on-Solent. A female voice on the other end asked, "Is that you, Bryan" and, you can believe this because it's true that, for reasons I still cannot explain, totally unsurprised I answered; "Yes it is, mother." I went to meet her in St Leonards-in-Sea, where she told me the sad tale of her life. It turned out she had been living in some poverty with the latest of her lovers, without knowing it within a long stone's throw of my father in his seaside apartment. My father didn't know it either, in spite of having been resident there for twenty years with his new wife (ex wartime secretary), my step mother. Through mother, Shirley and I then caught up with Maureen who told us that she and Tina had been consigned to a Salvation Army home for children soon after the family breakup. The place of their confinement and shameful abuse was called Strawberry Fields. (Of The Beatles fame). Long since well and truly and thankfully closed.

My previous slice of life blog ended with a comment about my Olivetti portable typewriter, compliment of Auntie Kay, and my very first short story. I do so wish I could see it now. Maureen, in clearing Shirley's house, apparently has seen a copy. Anyway I remember it was a murder mystery about a jealous husband's attempt to kill his wife by filing a weakness into the breech of his wife's shotgun. When the lady pulled the trigger on a flighting pigeon it blew her head off. Wrong lady! Unfortunately for naughty husband, his wife had lent her gun to her friend, husband's lover. So there!

Next time back to me and Joan and Karen and Cambridge.

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