Although it would appear that Josie was somewhat course and hard-nosed, she was actually, in a lot of ways, kinder and more soft hearted than Sylvie. Josie liked having a good time and never made any excuses for it. She wasn’t one to care about the state or cleanliness of her house, didn’t ever think to put a meal on the table and would go off out in the evenings, leaving her children to fend for themselves. Whilst she could be regarded as being neglectful, I don’t ever remember her being cruel, unkind or violent towards her children and certainly not in the same manner as the treatment I received from Sylvie. Many times I felt envious of Josie’s children, of their freedom, their easy going lifestyles and the luxury of not having to endure frequent tongue lashings or physical attacks.
How long Sylvie went along to Alconbury I’m not sure but it was long enough for her to have an affair with an American officer there. Again it wasn’t something she talked about much but there were references to him occasionally. Sylvie’s older daughters were aware of him as they were old enough to understand what was going on at the time, remembering hushed conversations between Sylvie and Josie. They got the impression that Sylvie and he were deeply in love and desperately wanted to be together. He was a married man, maybe with children, and Sylvie was obviously married with four of her own, putting many obstacles in their path, forcing them to part.
As a child I recall Sylvie having a large jewelry box and within this was a smaller box containing a matching set of Blue Wedgwood and silver earrings and a necklace. It was common knowledge that the American officer had given these to Sylvie as a parting gift. They remained in pristine condition in their original box and sadly were never to be worn.
The pivotal aspect of my story is the acquaintance of Sylvie and Bessie. As well as making the trips with Josie, friendships were made with other women, on the coach journeys and in the nightclub.
The meeting of Sylvie, Bessie and eventually Bessie’s younger sister Pam was to start a series of events that would result in my adoption and my life story.