Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Another old man story

Following my post of yesterday about listening I am following it up with an amazing story about Uncle Cyril. Uncle Cyril was not in fact any relation. He was an old boy I used to walk past with my dog most mornings. I realized how lonely he was after his wife died and invited him for a meal. This became a regular thing. He would come once a week and terrorize the children. He wanted to watch things on the TV they hated so talking to him started as a way of keeping him away from the kids.
I soon realized that there was an interesting story there. His father had been a convicted murderer and spent 30 years of his life in Broadmoor.
Uncle Cyril had visited him every month till he died. He told me, often weeping about the way the inmates were kept and treated. It had left deep scars. Particularly as the person his father had killed was his mother.
Uncle Cyril had been in the army and had served in India. Whilst there he had taken an Indian wife. On his recall to this country the army wouldn't allow him to bring his wife back. But he did bring his baby daughter home.
After getting married again they had another baby and the two sisters were brought up as the children of the new mother.
When uncle Cyril died I met these two. One was suntanned. The other was pale. They had no idea of their antecedents and I never told them though I was tempted when the older woman revealed herself as a terrible racist!
They are all dead now so the truth can be told. But had I not listened over several months I would never have learned half of it.
I remember Uncle Cyril when I iron the hankies. I have a set of large white linen ones, still used with a C on them in one corner. His daughters gave them to me for looking after their father! It needed no reward. It was a privilege.

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