To my great surprise and pleasure when I was 19 or 20, it was announced that my father had been in contact and was coming to visit Edinburgh as both my sister and I had given birth to our first child. I was really excited and for the first time in my life, made a pink spotty dress for the occasion. I cringe now to think of that dress.
I thought he was great, he let me drive his Jaguar car and although my mother and sister closed ranks and acted very strangely, I enjoyed his brief visit. I remember thinking that he and my mother were worlds apart in many ways and felt then I could understand their split.
In my naivety I expected that this contact would be a first and that I would get to know him better
Sadly the exact opposite happened and whatever impressions we had given resulted in no more contact being made - or so I was told. Once again I was given the distinct message that he was not interested in us and didn't want to know me. The hurt in that message lasted many years and rendered me impotent in any search for him in later years.
Many times in the years that followed, I would wonder where he was or what he was doing. I would often voice my curiosity to my sister and bit by bit the odd story would emerge, sadly often laced with some derision. As time went on and I too experienced divorce and re-marriage I was able to form my own opinions of my father's position and whilst it was always difficult to escape the brain-washing I had experienced, felt that I had developed an open minded view on my father's actions and although experiencing great regret, felt that I had come to terms with it.
I had learned that attitudes to divorce and separation in the early 50's were much more rigid and could now understand my family's method of dealing with it
I had met and happily married Serge who is French whom I met whilst running a tour operators business in the South of France and we worked well together, continuing in Edinburgh building a successful business of 7 Childcare Centres eventually selling out an American company in 2001 when I was 55. We retired to France then Spain and have enjoyed 9 happy years in the sun.
The years since I last saw my father seem to have flown by with more children and grandchildren born,with countless achievements by all, disappointments and as always few regrets
My dear mother sadly succumbed to Vascular Dementia in her 80's and her deterioration was sad for all the family to share. I travelled back and forth to Edinburgh every 6 weeks or so for a number of years and we spent 2 or 3 months each summer visiting her and sharing her care. She finally passed away after a long brave battle in July 2011.
A few weeks after the sad occasion of her funeral I met my sister by chance on a bus. Our relationship has always been difficult and on occasions vitriolic but the mutual love of our mother was always there and she would pull us together. I recall it was a rainy and miserable afternoon in Edinburgh and as I sat down beside her we talked of how the funeral had gone etc. when she suddenly made the startling announcement that she had been in contact with "my" father.
I was astounded and experienced such a flood of emotion following so quickly upon the loss of my mother
I was utterly flabbergasted and almost unable to ask the when and how questions, but she calmly informed me that the small amount of alimony my mother received each month had stopped " a few months ago" and she and her husband had traced my father through the Bank and Voters Roll and she had written a letter to enquire if he too had passed away as the money had stopped. My sister had taken charge of my mother's financial affairs due to her dementia and had been operating her accounts for some years.
"He is alive and 91" she said to my great relief.
Part 3 can be read here.