Just before Christmas I found a message waiting for me on Facebook. It was from somebody in St Albans who had read my blog and who thought that her aunt was possibly my foster mother! It seems that at a family event a few years ago they had been sitting at the same table for lunch and somehow the topic of adoption and fostering had come up. Her aunt mentioned that she had done some fostering for a young lad whose father was dead and whose mother was in a mental hospital. My blog reminded her of that conversation so she decided to write to me.
When I replied I thought I should only mention the road in St Albans where I lived when I was in foster care. Almost straight away though she messaged me back with the surname of her aunt and it was my foster mother. That was quite a shock to me I can tell you!
I didn't hear anything for over a week so I started to think that the whole business was over. But then I got a much longer message telling me that my foster mother was still alive and well and still living in St Albans. She was in her 80s but she wanted to meet me.
I live in west Wales so it is a long way to Hertfordshire but now I am semi-retired I have more spare time so after a couple of restless nights I decided I would accept the invitation. My mind felt very jumbled up, rather like it did just after my dear wife Jane passed away. First of all it was going to be a long train trip (I get travel sick on buses) with changes at Birmingham and London Euston plus a trip on the Underground. It was also going to cost a lot of money but as I have some "rainy day" money saved up I thought I could afford it.
We were due to meet on a Saturday so on Friday I caught a train mid-morning and nearly six hours later I arrived in St Albans. I found the Bed and Breakfast place I had booked quite easily. The next morning I had a walk around the town thinking how much some parts had changed and how some parts were just the same. I also visited the cemetery on Hatfield Road to put some flowers on the two graves where Mum and Dad were buried so long ago.
Then I set off to the meeting place for what turned out to be a long and quite sad and strange conversation. I will write about that next week.