Last night Gaynor and I watched a TV adaptation of a book, “The Outcast” by Sadie Jones. Now, such period pieces aren’t normally my cup of tea. This one, for example was a bit lacking in depth despite its subject matter. It was set just after the end of the Second World War, when I grew up; times which were drab, deferential and mannered. Also times that I don’t like to be reminded of. It also hit home in many other, more personal, ways. Until our hero went to prison, that is. My prison was not quite so drastic, it being the army at 15.
What came over very strongly, however, is just how difficult it must have been for those men and women, indeed most of my aunts and uncles, to rebuild their relationships after many years of enforced separation. The men had been away fighting a war, the women realising a freedom that many had never experienced before while trying to raise their children. Suddenly, into the close knit lives of these families, were introduced men; men that the children will, quite likely, have little memory of, or not even met.
My own aunts and uncles, my father excepted, were a strong family. It’s a memory that stays with me to this day. It is also a situation that I’ve tried to recreate on a number of occasions in my own life. With my first wife, which didn’t work, as a single parent, which did, and onto my second family which gets better as we grow older together. Indeed, I now know what a family is and it’s not quite what I imagined it to be. Yes, you have to be attracted to someone in the first place but that attraction alone isn’t enough. The relationship needs common interests and depth as well. From that, you can build. Something Gaynor and I do secure in the knowledge that whatever we do is reciprocated. Boy, does that make a difference. We will now stride into old age together.
If you want to know my own version of “The Outcast”, you can read it in “The Other Side of the Doors”. If that works for you, you will soon be able to move onto, “Lessons from a Chequered Life”, which should be available in a few months. Both of these, I hope, describe the importance of family. In short, extremely important both for good or ill. In my case, now, well and truly the former. I like that. When my whole family, including my grandchildren, get together, I like it even more.