THE DAUGHTER I NEVER KNEW I HAD
In 1967, while I was looking for jobs after I left the RAF, I met a girl called Maureen and fell in love. We did all the usual things and were going to get married when I was offered a job in West Germany which gave us a short-term decision – in three months I could earn enough money to pay for the wedding and put a deposit on a house. I wasn’t happy about leaving but I did – but while I was in Germany I received a ‘Dear John’ letter.
I dropped everything and came hammering back home to my parents who lived just outside Exeter. Maureen (Mo) and her parents were in a small village in north Cornwall, so I borrowed a motorbike and went down there. But she refused to see me – even the local vicar interceded on my behalf but she still wouldn’t have it. I went home and was beside myself. I was 23 and there was no antidote. My parents did their best to ease things but I couldn’t let it go, and went to see her again, prepared to kick the door down if necessary. But when I got there they had done a moonlight flit and were gone. I tried for six months to find her, even walking round local villages with her photo and asking people, but eventually I realised that in every situation there comes a point when you have to give up and move on.
So I went to work in London – at the Civil Aviation Authority in Croydon as a Comms 4 Officer. One of the girls there to whom I was supervisor was called Fran and we became great mates. We started going out, one thing led to another, and one morning we woke up and said - “We may as well get married”. Three weeks later we had. This was the end of May 1970. In July it was my birthday and Fran took me to London to see a film, have a meal and end up at Battersea Fun Fair. It was a fabulous day.
When we got home there was a letter on the doormat forwarded on from my mother. When I opened it I found another letter inside from Mo’s mother with no address - only a Lymington postmark on the envelope. The essence of her message was that they were so sorry and deeply regretted what they’d done – “but we believe that you and Mo should be together and that little Cathy should have her daddy”. You could, as they say, have knocked me down with a feather.
So I …….