Meeting the family
I was really nervous about meeting Marty’s family. We decided that best thing to do was to take the girls on a picnic. Josie was fine but poor Jenni, she cried the whole time. I totally understood, she was only six, all she wanted was her family to be back together and daddy having a girlfriend only made things worse.
We had the picnic by a small river. The girls had a swim, the water was freezing. I spend most of the time curled up under a blanket with Suzanne. The sandflies were having a feast on my bare legs and I was trying to keep them at bay. All in all it wasn’t a very successful first meeting but we had to start somewhere.
Marty’s parents were next. I thought they were very old. Marty’s parents were the same age as my grandparents. They had come out to New Zealand a couple of years earlier, mainly because Marty’s brother Terry didn’t have children and Marty did. They lived in a house in Athenree north of Katikati. It had the most amazing sea views. Marty’s father had designed it. It was on quite a large site and had the most rickety stairs down to the back garden.
Marty’s father was cockney, not only was be born with Bow Bells, they were ringing when he was born. During WW1 he had been injured when the German bombed London. He spend a long time in hospital when he was young as result.He also suffered a broken skull as a child. This meant he had terrible headaches and treble vision. He was a spiritualist and believed in reincarnation. He believed that the reason he had headaches was because in a previous life he was decapitated. They had a really flash TV. It had a remote which Marty’s father kept on top on the TV. When he wanted to change channels, he would stand up, walk to the TV pick up the remote and take a few steps back, change the channel, return the remote and go and sit back down I never figured out why he just didn’t put the remote by his chair.
Marty’s mother was tiny really and she didn’t say too much on my first visit. She was a little confused by Suzanne. She hadn’t met anyone with a significant disability before though when Marty was at school she used to do school dinners. Part of the school was fenced off for the special needs children. Everything that went in there was disposable as though they were worried that it was catching. Like many of her generation, she thought Suzanne should be put away.
When she was in her fifties, they decided to go abroad for a holiday and she needed a passport. She applied but they couldn’t find her birth certificate. So gave them her mothers maiden name and discovered that her father wasn’t her father. Apparently her parents separated when she was young and each parent took a child. She remembers being in a market with an aunt when she was young and seeing a girl who looked like her. The girl was on the other side of the market. That is your sister her aunt said. She never spoke to her or saw her again.
I think she had a sad life, losing a child so tragically must be so hard. There was always a sadness about her and her marriage wasn’t happy. Once I asked her why she got married and she said, well he just kept coming round and I couldn’t get rid of him and I figured I never would so I married him. It seemed such an odd response.
But all in all, I had survived the first meeting. Now we had to build relationships that would carrying us into the future.
And that was going to take time
© Barbara Hart 2014