Iris, now that the saddest few hours of her life have been told, went on with Ethel’s earlier life.
“Alan, you probably don’t know this. Mum, as a beautiful young girl, had an affair with a soldier and had a child, she was sixteen. The child was adopted.
She worked in Bleriot’s factory in Addlestone, next to Lang’s Propeller Works, where she met Charlie.
Two years later they married.
Charlie’s father, George, objected to the marriage, because of Ethel’s love child.
Yet, George, had cheated on his own wife and four children, by living with another woman in the next village and having another four children, illegitimate of course.
George for the first few months, became a regular visitor, and helped when he could, but keeping two families afloat, he was not able to help that much. Plus, the inheritance he had been living on for the last forty years had come to an end, he now had to work for his living.
The poor man, in just twelve years he had lost three young sons’; First Stanhope, aged twenty-nine, then Christopher, aged nineteen, and Charlie, aged thirty-five.
For our Mum the next few months were not without some problems, although the living arrangements for the children are working fine, she becomes depressed.
Deirdre, before she lost her Dad was a lively girl, now she hardly speaks, she will never be the same again.
All the rest of us accepted our lot, as children have to in these circumstances.
Don and you were now living away from home permanently with Mrs. Salmon, unaware of the trauma around you.
We were very lucky to have been a ‘good cause’ for a rich lady. Miss Chase, who lived in ‘The Grange’, at the end of our road. She kept an eye on us, and the larder full. We were often taken for a ride in her Roll Royce shooting brake.
Deirdre was now working at a woollens shop, and helping with the cost of things, and life carried on from day to day.
We took in a lodger, Fred Barker, he came down from Yorkshire, his money really helped and at last things started looking up, until the ‘Poor-aid’ ladies found out about Fred, and stopped the little payments they had been making.”
Iris made a face and said.
“I never liked Fred, he was too familiar with mum.”
In this she was quite right, they became a couple, and I saw Mum laughing again.
Fred had thick very curly hair, with black and grey bits in it and very blue eyes.
He must have been some man to have taken on a broken family of six young kids. He became my father, I suppose, although I never called him Dad, it was always Fred or his nick-name, Yorkie. He was a brilliant cook, and knew lots of tricks, I loved him.
From now on I was remembering some of the things that Iris was telling me about.
I can remember the excitement in December 1937, when my Mum gave birth to David
Iris sits back with her glass of Co-op Special Sherry, It’s her third one, it seems to have no effect on her. But what can you expect for six pounds a bottle?
She looks over her spectacle’s at me and gives a little shrug.
It all starts to go wrong again, Alan, your poor mother, it seems she is plagued by bad luck.”