Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Life in foster care - part 1

I reckon that I only went into foster care because of the 1939-1945 war even though I born about a decade later. My Dad's brother John and my Dad both served in the Far East. Uncle John was killed in a Japanese air raid just before the fall of Singapore and of course my Dad came back in a terrible physical and mental state. Uncle John was engaged when he went off to War and I used to wonder if Uncle John’s "young lady" used to think about him as the years went by? Parents today probably can hardly imagine what it is like to send their children off to war. I wondered sometimes would Uncle John have got married as planned if he had come back safe? Perhaps he could have looked after me rather than me ending up in the foster child system? It is sad that I don't remember Uncle John or my Dad other than as fading pictures in a photograph album.

The British surrender at Singapore - Uncle John had died a few days before 

I have never felt very upset about those foster child years. Even in the 1970s men didn't show much emotion and mostly I just got on with my daily life. I used to visit my Mother in the mental hospital but she quickly got worse and quite soon hardly recognised me. I feel a bit guilty now but the weekly visits soon became monthly and once she didn't know who I was and didn't recognise photos of her own husband there didn't seem much point in visiting her. It wasn't dementia she had: it was something else with a long 3 part name that ended in syndrome. She would have been OK I expect if Dad had still been around to support her so the war got in the way again.
My foster parents never hit or abused me. They never starved me or stole from me. The house was warm and I had a room of my own. But they never showed any love for me or any interest in me. That was just the way it was back then. I had a front door key so I was able to come and go as I wanted. They didn’t care what I was doing providing the “Boys in Blue” – the Police! – never got involved.

Sometimes it was a bit difficult being a foster child at school. Once a year there was a evening meeting where parents could meet the teachers and the teachers never seemed to know that I was fostered so they would get confused about the different surnames. Going on school trips was always a long battle to get the money. Especially the time my year group went off to St Malo in France!
I used to walk past the another school's playing fields that used to be on Alma Road backing on to the gasworks and sometimes I felt quite jealous of the posh kids with their posh Mother’s sitting in their posh cars to take them back to their posh homes.

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