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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Black and white post!

Something different for you today - this blog is nothing if not varied - a little story set in the 1940s. I tried to scan a Publisher page with this on and saved it as a jpeg file but couldn't get it to work so that you could read it - anyone know how to scan things and upload them into blogger?

A wartime story

Once upon a time there was a man whose name was – well it doesn’t matter what his name was and to protect the innocent for the purposes of this story we’ll call him A. Now during the war when things were difficult to say the least, especially if one lived in London as A did, he met a lady and fell in love, or so he thought. When he discovered that the lady who we’ll call B was pregnant he didn’t know what to do for you see she was an Irish Catholic and he was a Protestant but his family were adamant that he must do the right thing and marry the lady. Which he did.

Now it would be lovely if we could say that they settled down and lived happily ever after but this was of course real life and things didn’t pan out quite like that. The lady’s family back in Ireland disowned her, for not only had she committed a sin by having relations with the man before marriage she had then compounded the sin by marrying a Protestant, and they didn’t want any more to do with her. And the marriage was perhaps not surprisingly under the circumstance shall we say less than perfect.

Whilst the lady was busy with her new little baby girl with no support forthcoming from her own family and perhaps precious little from her in-laws or her husband the man met another lady who we’ll call C and fell headlong in love with her too! It was, as I mentioned, wartime and perhaps people took their happiness where they could find it never knowing what might befall them tomorrow, or even later on today, so maybe we can feel some sympathy for both ladies and even perhaps for the man. Not long afterwards the second lady also become pregnant and had a little girl but this time there could be no marriage since the man was already married to the first lady!

So C took her little baby and went home to her father – she had no mother since her own mother had died when she was but a young girl - where she stayed for a year or so and all the while her father thought that she was married to the man but that the man had to stay in London because of his job. The man did visit her occasionally even though she was now living some long way from London and the lady took the little girl up to London for her first birthday and apparently to celebrate the little girl’s birthday went out with the man to dinner and a show – nobody knows where his wife, the first lady, thought he had gone at these times but maybe during the war it was possible to arrange such things.

Nobody knows either what might have happened had the man not become ill and died leaving both ladies each with a little girl to bring up on their own. There were just 2 years between the little girls and the man died when the younger one was just 2 years old. Might he have settled down with his wife and the first little girl, might he have left his wife and maybe married the second lady or might he have left both of them and gone off with yet another lady? Nobody knows nor shall we ever find out since both the ladies and the man are now dead.

But that is not the end of the story because quite by chance and purely because of the invention of the internet which allows people to search for their relations on-line the 2 little girls, by now ladies in their 60s, got to hear of the existence of each other. Neither had had any idea that they had any siblings. The younger one had even asked her mother when she first discovered that she was illegitimate if her father had any other children but her mother said that he didn’t! Maybe he had never told her about the first little girl for surely the lady would never have wanted to steal another child’s father had she known the truth.

Now the story gets even more surprising because quite by chance the elder little girl lived not far from the area to which the younger one was about to move and so they were able to meet each other.
It would be nice to say that they fell into each others arms and were just like sisters from that day on but of course 60 plus years is a lot of history to catch up on and although they enjoy an occasional outing together that family feeling may well take a very long time to develop if indeed it ever does.
And the younger little girl does sometimes wish she hadn’t tried to find her father’s family on the internet since it might have been nicer to be able to continue to think of her father in a slightly better light!
I hope you enjoyed this little story and I leave you to draw your own conclusions!


  1. Wow Jane, that is some story and amazing that it could be unravelled so many years later!
    I can see how the younger little girl could find it hard to get her head around it all!
    Thanks for sharing. :)
    Vivienne x

  2. I had a friend who discovered, after her father's death, that he had an entire second family in another part of the country. It was a shattering exprience and eventually she and her mother emigrated to England (they were living in New Zealand). She did eventually get to know her half-brothers but it's a very strange relationship.

  3. An incredible story. I'm sure that the father would have been very proud of both his girls, and is probably rather pleased that they know the truth (and each other)


  4. What a story and what a lot to deal with. I hope both the girls manage to do that eventually.

  5. A very very interesting story. I do hope that the sisters get to know each other very well in the future. Mums and daughters have to be strong if they are without a father in the house and I think that they will be too.
    love Lucy xxxxxx

  6. That must be hard for the girls to understand it all and I understand how the younger girl may have wished she hadn't looked for her fathers family on the internet, but it may all turn out to be pretty good in the end! :) x

  7. Goodness, I'm assuming this relates to number seven in the previous blogpost. What a story. What a discovery. A sister!

  8. Jane, what a fabulous story, how strong in spirit those mothers had to be bringing up their daughters alone, especially the mother of the second little girl who didn't have the cloak of widowhood to shelter her.

  9. Thank you for sharing this story Jane.

    I think we would all be surprised how many similar stories there are out there from those times. If it was today the man would probably have divorced the first lady and married the second . Who knows whether the marriage would have lasted but I guess then at least the two women and their daughters would have known about eachother.

    There were so many secrets in those times weren't there. I have an aunt who is not really an aunt but a cousin and when I talk about this family secret I'm amazed how many families have a similar secret. Times and attitudes were so different then that it is sometimes difficult for us to understand.

    In the end you can't choose your family but you can choose how much you see of them and I think possibly it's best to know the truth. I often think how much more open we are these days and how much easier it is for women in these circumstances.


  10. I read this yesterday and left it till today to comment. I don't think I could say it more eloquently than Jill........

  11. Black and white post, but not a black and white story.
    I kmow from experience that some family histories are best left in peace, and new technology had made it all too easy to disturb that peace.
    I hope the 'girls' can be friends and not be too disturbed by the past. Nothing emotional was ever talked about 60 years ago.

  12. What an amazing story...made even more poignant after reading your previous blogpost.
    I hope progress continues to be made :-)

  13. Touching story and one that it was brave to share publicly. I too think Jill put it all in perspective.
    C x

  14. What a very touching story Jane, thank you for sharing it. I feel for everyone connected with it and the impact it would have had on each of their lives we can only assume. Im still finding out tales of love lost and hidden in my family past.


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