My mother was a tormented soul. For as far back as I can remember, Mum was always running down people and gossiping about them. As a kid, I could not understand why she would do this, it just did not make sense to me. The people in question seemed lovely.
Mum never seemed to be happy with her life. She was constantly shouting at us kids and giving poor Dad a hard time. She was so unhappy. Her unhappiness caused many problems for her. It was not until I was in my 40s that I found out why she was like this.
After Dad passed away, Mum and I were talking about a cousin, this cousin was adopted and I mentioned to Mum that it must be very sad, not knowing who one’s real parents were. Mum then told me her story.
When Mum was 32, she and Dad decided to go to the United Kingdom and Europe for a holiday. The Queen’s Coronation was about to happen and they wanted to be in the UK at that time, get caught up in the activities and celebrations so to speak. Mum applied for her passport. Dad already had one from before they were married. There was a bit of a hiccup though. It seemed that Mum did not exist. No records were held of her birth. None in her known name anyway. Grandma was summoned and had to come clean with a few secrets she had been holding close.
The man Mum knew as her Father, was in fact, not her father. It seems Gran had been a bit naughty and had given birth to Mum out of wedlock. Back in the 1920s this was quite a scandalous thing to happen to a poor girl. Even worse was when the unwed mother decided to keep her child. Poor Gran was indeed an outcast of society.
In due course the paperwork was sorted and Mum got her passport. Dad was not amused to know his wife was illegitimate but he loved her and accepted it. He did ask Mum not to tell anyone though.
A few years after Dad passed away, Mum decided to delve into her real father’s identity. There were more than a few shocks to be had. Gran had been seeing a much older man, a travelling salesman, married with a family. Oh dear, naughty Gran. When Gran found out she was pregnant, she ceased the affair, not telling her suitor that she was pregnant. She did not want to disrupt his family any further. To her credit, Gran kept my mum and raised her on her own. It was not an easy task back in those days.
Mum’s real father was not a very nice man. He was a Lieutenant in the Light Horse Brigade but was dishonorably discharged for failing to obey orders. More bad news came to light. The old philanderer had yet another mistress. This young girl also had a child to him. However, unlike my gran, the young girl told him and it led to a massive court case to see who would get custody of the child. Things were going against the young girl so in a brief ajournment, outside the Redfern Courthouse, she shot him dead. I have the newspaper clippings of the incident.
I know not what happened to the young woman or the child. A child who would have been my mothers half-sister. No wonder Mum was such an unhappy soul. All of this was just too much a burden to carry. That little girl would be 86 if she is still alive. Sadly, Mum passed away, never knowing her real father or her half-sister.