I found out when I was ten that I’d been adopted and felt completely exhilarated. Yes, I know, so many children can’t believe that their embarrassing parents are for real, but in my case, mine weren’t. Yippee, I thought.
In those days, it wasn’t the fashion to tell children these things, like it is now, so my Mum finally told me when I was 15. She had to, as I needed my birth certificate to get this Saturday job.
‘You know you were adopted, don’t you’, she said. I nodded, mute. How on earth did she know I knew? She’d never told me. Perhaps, when I’d secretly gone through all the papers, I’d not put them back exactly right. They did disappear shortly afterwards.
Anyway, that was the end of the conversation until I was twenty-six. I asked her if I could meet my father (the story regarding my mother is more complicated and I’ll leave that for another time). She said she’d arrange it and apparently had a phone number for him. Who would have known!
He was the managing director of Everest Double Glazing. He was rich. He’d founded the company soon after the war ended. We met. It didn’t go well. How could it, when he’d given me up. He’d given himself a mountain to climb and succeeded in life. But not in my eyes.