My mother was born in 1920 in Great Britain. She was born into a wealthy line of aristocrats on my mother’s father’s side. However, he married basically the downstairs maid so to speak while he was the upstairs gentleman. As a result of this marriage his family disowned him and his wife and the 3 children that came along. My mother was the youngest. When my mother was about 8-10 years old I think he died. Over the years it would appear from what my mother could ascertain financial help did come on the QT. My mother believed it might have been from the brother of her father. Never ever did she meet or see any of her relatives on her father’s side, or her mother’s for that matter.
My mother did not get much education for their lives to that point was meager despite the small amount they seemed to receive. My mother left school early and got jobs doing secretarial work. One job was in the British Air-force where she met her first husband. He died about 2 weeks after their marriage as a result of an air-force accident.
After she became a young widow she decided to leave Britain and flew to Johannesburg South After where she later met my father. They later married of course and had two children, a boy Tony and I, the youngest, Louise.
My father was very controlling and abusive to her. He separated her from her sister who went to South Africa to be near my mother. My father didn’t allow her to see Joan for several years. Suffice it to say she was an abused wife. In those days there was no talk about the issue of spousal abuse and no where to go.
My mother was not an educated woman but she was charming and attractive and people generally liked her. I wouldn’t say that over all she was a bad mother but over time she became less attentive and certainly was unaware of the abuse I was taking. Or so she said. She stuck to that answer until shortly before she died at age 92 when she killed herself.
My mother closed her eyes to the abuse I was at the receiving end of by my father, brother and female cousin Susan. Why did she do that, refuse to see what was happening in her own house. She thought on some level, I think, that this was normal. She new it felt bad but she had no idea what to do about it…..so she did nothing. Over time after her divorce from my father she pushed it so far back in her mind that it was too difficult for her to face. Therefore, facing me became impossible. Every time she saw me it brought up stuff for her that she just did not want to face. She was prepared to blame me, accuse me of every wrong thing in the book to keep herself in the dark. She was satisfied in not having me in her life because she got to play pretend………