Sunday, August 1, 2010

7. Germany

Germany features later on, and earlier on. But slots in nicely here too. Whilst I was being born, my maternal grandmother Irene tripped off back to Germany and left my birth mother Bella alone, and giving birth to her first child who she would not see again for another 18 years.  I was in essence Irene's first grandchild.  Not surprisingly, I don't hold Irene in high esteem for this decision to leave Bella and take a 'trip' to Germany.  However, I don't know her and from all accounts Irene's life didn't turn out quite as she wanted it to, so who knows what was going through her head.

Saying that, Irene was to repeat this, in my opinion, rather callous performance again when my half-brother James was born six years later. My maternal grandmother obviously decided it was just all too much for her to deal with and decided it was time to up stumps and take a holiday and visit her family back in the Rhineland. Bella was left to go through birthing a second time with no family or support, and with the possibility of relinquishing another child for a second time  This did not eventuate and she kept James.

James was to be given up in an informal adoption to a couple that Bella had known since she’d been with my birthfather Ian. The couple, Jeff and Jeanette, could not have children of their own and had been keen to adopt James.  At the last moment Bella decided to keep her son. 

And as far as the story goes, Bella never told James this and he still doesn't know.

I met Jeff and Jeanette when I was 26 or 27. They had only known me as a bump on Bella’s belly. I remember thinking that Jeff was quite handsome. It was a fun night, and I think rather emotional, as they had also known my birth father Ian, and had all kicked around together as a foursome. They could see the younger Ian and Bella in me.

James was there too that night, and it must have been strange for Jeff and Jeanette to think how the bump and the boy had turned out and how different things may have been.

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