Meet my Georgie !
Notes for Charlie regarding her birth to sixteen year old Georgie 42 years ago :
My eyesight is getting very poor so I thought I had better write this while I still can. First of all, the family are so glad that you are back in touch ~ we were beginning to wonder whether we had upset you in some way. I hope you are settling into your darling little house, both of you ~ it’s just wonderful to have your own place.
There are things I would like you to know, things about your birth and the way Georgie, young as she was, coped. In those distant days an illegitimate baby was deeply shameful (thank goodness attitudes have changed). We didn’t know she was pregnant until about 5 months, when the doctor suggested she could be sent away to a Naughty Girls home, and nobody need be any the wiser. No way !
We used to walk to work together, Georgie and I, up to the Castle as County Hall was known. She had a job in the Architects Department, I worked in Education. As her condition became more and more obvious she could have given up work and stayed home, but no ~ she kept going until the seventh month, in spite of scornful looks from any of her old school friends we happened to run into in town, scorn or embarrassment, although these girls had probably egged her on saying “Haven’t you done it yet ?”
When she did give up work, she would always have a meal ready for us when we got home ~ Will and Kate from school, and Howard and me.
She was rushed into hospital a week or so before you were born with high blood pressure. Right, this naughty girl, a disgrace to the family, now showed extraordinary strength of character, in my eyes at any rate.
- The Matron told her “to save embarrassment” we will call you Mrs Peach ~ “I’m not Mrs Peach,” she insisted, “I’m Georgie. And I’m not embarrassed ~ I’ve produced a beautiful baby for a couple who couldn’t make one for themselves.~
- Before you were born, they said, “As the baby is going to be adopted, to make the parting easier it will be best if you do not see it.” “What !” Georgie said. “I have just ten days in which to give her all the love she will need to cope with being given away for adoption. Ten days. I will have her with me in the ward the same as all the other mothers” And so she did.
- And once you had arrived the Matron said, “ As she is going for adoption, best if you don’t give the baby a name ~ we will simply call her “Baby Peach” ~ but again, young as she was, Georgie stood up to her saying ,”Her name is Charlie, she is my Charlie “ ~ and all cards and good wishes came “to Georgie and her baby Charlie” ~ later, when we were told that your family had decided to call you Charlotte from the start, this was a wonderful comfort to Georgie ~ in the family you were always referred to as “Georgie’s Charlie”.
- In those days, only the father and Granny were allowed to visit the maternity ward, but in Georgie’s case all of us visited her, and several friends including the next door neighbours on either side both of whom happened to have adopted children themselves. Instead of being a matter of shame in the family, you were warmly welcomed by everyone and like any new Mum Georgie was only too proud to show you off.
- EPILEPSY ~ knowing we had epilepsy in the family, the Adoption Society found a family which would be able to cope in case you developed the problem. I had warned Georgie that on the third day she would probably be weepy as most new mothers are, but when I went up to the hospital next day I found her in a terrible state ~ not weepy but black and blue ~ she’s suffered a violent epileptic fit ~ almost certainly triggered off by stress and all the drama of your birth. From then on she was indeed epileptic and always had a violent fit around November 29th when it all came back to her. Funnily enough, once you came back into her life (all those years later) the epilepsy pretty well disappeared.
- Brave and cheerful as she was during the ten days you were together in Winchester Hospital, the morning that you were to be collected and taken to your foster parents was utterly dreadful ~ until then you’d been dressed in hospital gowns but the kind woman from the Adoption Society had brought civilian baby clothes for you, and seeing you dressed in them nearly broke her heart ~ and then after a last tearful hug, to see you carried off FOR EVER nearly broke her heart.
I wanted to tell you all this, Charlie, so that you can see that although to some (my own Mother for one) Georgie was not a slut, a disgrace, a fallen woman ~ OK she got “into trouble” as they used to say, but the way she coped was wonderful and once I’d recovered from the initial shock, I felt extremely proud of my Naughty Daughter. AND I HOPE YOU DO TOO !!!
With love from your other Grandmother,