Three Different Fathers.

Very soon after the wedding, the move from the council estate was made. Why this happened I can’t be sure but Sylvie always apportioned the blame to Stan and there were often references to the fact that he had forced her out.

Maybe he refused to go on paying the rent and it is very likely that it was his name that was on the rent book. Sylvie’s obvious pregnancy would have meant he could no longer bury his head in the sand and I would imagine it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. After leaving the estate, myself and Sylvie’s children were not to see Stan for many years.

Larry was soon installed in our lives. He was tall and well built, just under six foot and had a head of dark hair. He had badly shaped teeth, not rotten, but one of his front teeth was longer that the others and hung down, it came to be termed his ‘pickle stabber’ by Sylvie’s older daughters.

He had a deep, smooth voice that I once heard described as ‘liquid chocolate.’ I remember him being left handed and he had lovely handwriting; all swirling letters, beautifully curved, precisely spaced and proportioned.

I almost loathe myself to say it but unfortunately I have very little other positive thoughts or memories of Larry. His selfish personality combined with Sylvie’s complex character resulted in many years of hard work and abuse because of their actions and the decisions they made.

There was the sudden move to a rented house 2-3 miles from the estate, effectively cutting us off from the friends and neighbors Sylvie and her daughters had lived among for the previous fourteen years.

It was a small flat fronted terraced house in a small side street, neat and tidy with a small back yard. There were two reception rooms and you entered it straight off of the street into the front room. The front room, as often happened then, was reserved for best, not that I ever recall it being used. The back reception served as our living / dining room and there was a small thin kitchen and downstairs bathroom and toilet.

Upstairs, Larry, Sylvie and their new baby, Sally, had the front bedroom, myself and two of Sylvie’s daughters shared the back bedroom sleeping on a set of bunk beds and a single bed, and the small box room was used by Sylvie’s son. Gina, of course, was now married with her own son and living with her husband in a flat a couple of miles away. The house was warm, clean and neat but obviously cramped.

I was obviously too young to understand but before long we were all known by Larry’s surname, except  Sylvie’s eldest daughter ,Gina, who had her own husbands name. I’m sure that Sylvie had blackened Stan’s name enough to persuade the older children that taking Larry’s name was for the best. It also meant that by the age of two and a half I had already had three different  fathers and three different surnames.

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