Writing about the circumstances of my early life and my upbringing, has caused me to think long and hard about the maze of people involved, the memories of them and the stories I have been told.
It has struck me, with a great deal of sadness, the realization that the person I know the least of all about is my natural mother Pam. Due to the eight year age gap and very differing personalities, Bessie, her sister, has told me as much as she can, but she and Pam were never close and did not mix in the same groups of friends.
Bessie left the UK for the USA when Pam was twenty and although she did make a few trips back to the UK, they did not see much of each other. The trips were often several years apart and other than writing letters and the occasional telephone call, communications systems were virtually non-existent compared to today.
Unfortunately, I never met Pam as she is no longer with us, having died in strange circumstances in 1980. There are very few photos of her, but of the ones I have, I am able to see that I look like her, taller and slimmer, big busted and fair haired. A prominent nose and a fondness for the odd gin and tonic I also inherited.
It seems that like her own mother, Pam was a quieter personality, and so am I. It is hard to know if this ‘nature or nurture’. Was I born that way, or is it a result of my upbringing? Was it the constant suppression of any attempts to express an opinion, to defend an argument and the physical repercussions if I persisted?
Much of what I was told about Pam when I was growing up was, to say the least, unkind and uncomplimentary. Unfortunately it has to be said that a lot of the stories have turned out to contain some truth.
In my head I know these facts and have to face them, but they hurt tremendously. Deep within my heart I feel a need to almost speak for her, to justify her actions of that time and the circumstances involved.
Perhaps it is because she hasn’t been able to speak for herself, to tell me how she felt, or if she had regretted giving me up. Truthfully though, I think it is more of a desire within me, to see my beginnings through rose tinted glasses and ignore some of the glaring truths.
Unfortunately, her death robbed her of the chance to have her say, to put forward her side of the story or even to just to be able say ‘Sorry’.