By the time I was about eight Larry seemed to be around a lot more as there was less work available. This created more friction between him and Sylvie and loud arguments were a daily occurrence.
Sylvie’s older children were now of an age where he couldn’t really get away with too much bullying and aggression towards them. Larry and Sylvie had two children together; Sally, being the apple of his eye, was never a target and he wouldn’t have dared direct any anger towards the youngest – Lizzie, who was Sylvie’s little darling.
Consequently, I bore the brunt of the blame for anything, his anger, his rages, his aggression and vitriolic words. On rare occasions Sylvie would actually stand up for me, but this would cause further arguments between them and even further resentment towards me from Larry.
Lily would often try to shield me, not physically but she would try to deflect situations or warn me about things in advance.
On one occasion I heard Sylvie and Lily talking when Lily questioned why Larry treated me the way he did. She explained that it was because Larry was aware of the love affair Sylvie had many years before with the American airman and that my American association caused resentment by Larry. To an extent this was born out by the frequent comments he would make such as, “You adopted little American b*****d, shame you can’t f**k off back there!”
Given what I was to learn later in life, I can only assume that it was his bitterness towards me that led to his ultimatum that I should go.
……….When my time in foster care ended, the social workers visited and the next thing I knew I arrived at another children’s home. This time it was a local authority children’s home.
Years later I discovered that this was one of the homes where the infamous Frank Beck was officer-in-charge. I never recall meeting him and cannot be sure if he was actually working there during my time but he was employed to run this and other homes from 1973 to 1986 which fits with the timeframe of my stay there.
Appallingly, Beck went on to be convicted and sentenced to five life terms for physical and sexual assaults against more than one hundred children in his care, a further twenty four years for seventeen charges of abuse, including rape, at his trial in 1991.
The fact that I could well have been there at that home during his time and potentially, I could have been at risk of becoming one of his victims, is something that sends shivers through me and causes a deep and bitter resentment and anger towards Larry, that he may have, albeit unknowingly, placed me at such risk. Sylvie too, for having gone along with his wishes and not protecting me.