Being a hopeful for the USA Olympic wrestling team and also because of air force postings, it meant that Grant had to spend periods of time away from England. Whilst I was growing up there were frequent references to the fact that at one point Grant had been away for some time, leaving Pam living alone in the tiny flat with their baby daughter. Arriving back in England, Grant made the trip to see Pam, unannounced.
As would be repeated to me numerous times whenever my history was bought up, “She’d got another f*****g bloke there!” No attempt was ever made to soften this information and no matter how many times I heard it, it never failed to hurt immensely. By insulting my natural mother in this way it was also a personal insult, another verbal dig at my unfortunate beginnings.
Many years later, the presence of another man was more or less confirmed, but this time in a much more tender and considerate way. Whilst the presence of another man seems indisputable, the biggest part of me tries to justify things for Pam. Did she think he had gone away, left and abandoned her and their baby? Not being able to communicate in the way today’s technology allows, no mobile phones, no Skype, no Facebook, even the use of a landline telephone was not always accessible or affordable.
Did she think that she was alone, abandoned, a single parent, struggling to cope and so had started seeing someone else? Although my head suspects that the truth is possibly less palatable, my heart clings to the need to think the best of her, give her the benefit of the doubt, hoping that she hadn’t caused the break-up by knowingly being unfaithful to Grant.
It couldn’t have been easy for Pam, living in the tiny, cold flat, coping with a small baby alone. No mention has ever been made of any contact or support from her parents and, for some reason, I suspect that they may not have known about me. Bessie was busy working and caring for her own daughter and by now was making arrangements to move to America, having secured a job there as a housekeeper / nanny.
For some time, Bessie and Sylvie had been having conversations about Pam, her break-up with Grant, her poor living circumstances and the difficulties Pam was having coping. Sylvie offered to babysit for Pam, an arrangement that gradually extended by a few more days each time. Before long, Sylvie had offered to take the baby for a while, supposedly to help Pam get back on her feet. How long either of them intended this length of time to be for I shall never know, but it was the start of the life with Sylvie and her her family.