I don’t think anybody will ever be able to say exactly why Sylvie was to take me on, I’m not sure that even she would have been able to tell me with any real certainty. She did love having babies to care for but I’m not sure that this was due to any overly maternal or protective reasons, I more suspect that it had more to do with an element of control.
Having a baby in her care meant that she was able to dress them up, show them off and display ‘what a wonderful mother I am,’ pushing them around in the beautifully decked out Silver Cross pram. Babies did not argue back and and she could start to mould them as she wished.
Contrary to this, I do not think that taking me on was done with any malicious intent or monetary gains, I believe that she probably had the best of intentions in that she thought she could provide a better start for me. Trying to understand it all I can only believe that circumstances evolved as they did due to a mixture of Sylvie’s own complex personality, the people involved and events that occurred over the coming years.
Sylvie loved to relate the story of my arrival into her home to anyone who had ears and I suppose I like to think that it did trigger some maternal instinct in her. However, over the years, it was often used as a way of reminding me of my beginnings and how fortunate I was that she had ‘rescued’ me.
I was around nine months old at this time and the attire I was said to have arrived in has been described to me in great detail on many occasions. I was dressed in an old, dirty, tight fitting, yellow cardigan, the wool matted together. My nappy was described as badly stained and hanging off of me, heavy with acrid, smelly urine.
There was little else other than the shawl I was wrapped in; “The only decent bleeding thing you had!” Sylvie would often sneer. “And she soon took that f****r back as she said she wanted a reminder of you. Reminder, my arse!” Apparently there was little else in the way of clothes, nappies or toys. “Little and f***k all,” was Sylvie’s comment, “And what there was went straight in the f*****g bin!”
I was promptly stripped, scrubbed and dressed in hastily borrowed clothes, from friends and neighbors who had no doubt been regaled with stories of the dismal state of my arrival. I was then plonked into the immaculate Silver Cross pram, bought out of storage, and wheeled along the street for Sylvie to be admired for her ‘wonderful deed and kind heart’.
Whilst I am sure that some elements of the story are truthful, I am also sure that there have been many embellishments over the years in order to blacken my image of Pam, whilst placing Sylvie in shining light.