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!