I'm a twit too

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

JULIE: What's In a Name, Grandmother? That which we call PAT by any other name would be as Celtic and Catholic!

AUGUST 1939 My mother is growing in the womb of a wee Scottish lass, turned 20years and recently arrived in the 'big smoke' of Ladywood, Birmingham in the West Midlands of England. 

I never realised Nan was Scottish - she had lost her accent, but not her faith into what she was indoctrinated. So she left the Heather behind to join 
the "Little Rome" of Ladywood. 

Grandmother is independent for the first time. Free from being a Ward of the State under the boarding out system, she truly has started her adult life by grabbing the opportunity to earn good money for dangerous work.

She works up to 12 hour days Metal Pressing in Munitions. A vastly different world to the Scottish Highlands she has come from. 

From documents Kathleen is in a single women's hostel in Monument Rd. The Palais de Danse and loads of pubs are in the same street. There is the cinema and the swimming baths, and trams going into the city. 

For all the preaching of the sanctity of life the punitive treatment of unwed mothers by stigma and separation of babies from the Mothers by male priests and politicians is in force.

Ignorance of sex and sexuality is preferred than formal education(even today). Kathleen is pregnant and has no pension to support herself and a child. 

My mother was one of 30,000 conceptions during World War 2 in Great Britain where the morality and mean treatment of women was a double standard. In a heightened fear that this could be their last day on Earth, the biological urge is naturally volatile as the bombings fell from the skies.

So the man who didn't know or believe in condom use to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases got off scot free ~
and I am quite certain that Nan brought up by Catholic foster families in Scotland would not have been privy to the 'facts of life' or 'the birds and the bees'. 

Life and Death were in vicious competition around the globe, and many women like a man in uniform! 
"He must have been a red-haired China man" joked my mum, knowing her life had been directed by the absence of a known biological father on her birth certificate."

A Nun wrote on her welfare case notes the father was already married.

Dudley Rd. Hospital.

No Baby Photo's of my mother and grandmother.
Kathleen gave birth to her baby girl and passed on her name to her daughter. 
She added a middle name, Patricia, (which then passed onto me).
Had her lover been called Patrick?
Perhaps it was a fashionable name, a blessing and protection when life was so uncertain; Patricia, the feminine of St. Patrick of the Roman Catholic parish in Birmingham where Kathleen dutifully swallowed the body and blood of Christ.
The maternity section was across the road from St.Patrick's Church where she could have been a member of the congregation, holding fast to that faith authority which stigmatised them both.

For Mother and Child Clarke to survive, money was the solution, and the assistance of the Parish Priest (could he have been the culprit?).
Nan would move out from the rules and regulations of  The Matron at the Hostel, 276 Monument Rd. 
Most Ladywood children had been evacuated as the Lutwaffe dropped their bombs every night intent on wiping out the Munitions and aircraft factories.

With no obligation on the part of the father, and distant relationships with kin - a baby was impossible to keep. 
Nazareth House, Lickney Rd. Rednal - administered by Father Hudson's Homes
of the Roman Catholic Diocese, Birmingham.
 The Poor Sisters of Nazareth were in charge of the children. 
The entry form to the orphanage says the father of the child's  religion was "R.C." 
Perhaps Kathleen and he (who was not named), met in St. Pat's Church, made a date to meet at the Cinema, then a thrilling night at the Palais de Danse...?

It's my theory that he could have been her Boss - promised her the world, would leave his wife, when the war was over...

Fair to say the man had no responsibility for the resulting pregnancy(if he had been told about it.) Nan was left to carry the burden alone, unmarried in a time of stigma and zero government welfare for women. 
Fortunatley, Grandmother went back to the factory and was able to prevent my mum going into the orphanage until she was three years old. Kathleen junior had a Foster Mother, Mrs. Walters, arranged in the rural/coal-mining village of Hednesford.
 (Ironically where my other Grandmother  was born and had to leave because she was unmarried and pregnant!).


Address of  applicant: 34 SHAKESPEARE ROAD LADYWOOD

"The Mother of this child is expecting her 2nd child next March so unable to have this child in her lodgings.
  The child has been with a foster mother in Hednesford. She does not intend to keep her much longer, as the foster mother is getting married again."
                                       S. Leonie

Wages of the Mother: 3pound 
Payment for the children's maintenance - 12shillings 6pence
Who will be responsible for this payment?  the Mother.

1944  (this year would be a secret until the 1990's).

17th March, St Patrick's Day - a baby boy is born at Dudley Road Hospital, a second child for Kathleen senior.
Like his sister, the boy shows the Scots/Irish orange hair. Of course, he is named PATRICK! 

Alone again, the Diocese takes over, transferring this unmarried woman who has now had two illegitimate babies to "Woodville" the Mother and Baby Home at 176 Raddlebarn Rd. Selly Oak.
(near where I grew up!).

Patrick would not learn of his sister until he searched for his biological mother in 1996. The siblings wouldn't meet each other until they were close to 70years old, and then 
anyone seeing them together would guess they were related!

My Dad was born in Selly Oak in 1940 and he remembered this institution well - though slightly embarassed he informed me that when he was a boy, a gang of lads used to go up to Raddlebarn Road on a Sunday as that was when the young mums with their babies would come out of the "Home" and walk in single file along the street into St. Edward's Church.
Of course they didn't only watch, they had to call them names, but Dad wouldn't tell me anymore!

Boys may be accepted as being naughty and up to mischief if they can get away with it, but there was no trouble getting them adopted compared to girls.
I am guessing that a woman who wanted to be a mother thought it would be easier for her husband to accept a non-biological child if it was a male, like him - a son to follow in his footsteps.

Reflections on my return to homeland: Raddlebarn Road and the Park - every day walks including going to Selly Park Girls Secondary School. Now I add the route where all the sinful mothers stepped out together  towards St. Edwards R.C. Church. Baby Patrick baptised 19th March 1944.

The one time the siblings were together in the same room.
31st March - Mum was admitted to the Nursery at Father Hudson's Homes  Coleshill - 3yrs of age.
7th July 1944 - Her brother Patrick joined her in the Nursery awaiting adoption.

7th April 
 Dear Father Flynt,
I am sending you the coupons from Kathleen Clarke's Ration book. I have had to wait for the Butcher to find the meat and he promised to let me have them today.
I hope Kathleen has been a good girl.
And I would like to come and visit her sometime.
Myra and Pat cried themselves to sleep the first night. They send their love to her. Give her my love,
Yours Sincerely,
W.H. Walters

2nd August  PATRICK JOSEPH CLARKE was discharged today to Mrs. Mordan with a view to adoption.

The name of Patrick was kept, but Joseph and Clarke were changed. The Nun wrote the father's surname as Bellamy, aged 28yrs. 
They had no idea that many human beings have an innate desire to know their origins, even if they have a lovely adopted family - genetic knowledge is vital to the understanding of self and your place in the world - your link that begets and begets and begets.

Adoption of Children (Regulation) Act, 1939

13/6/1944 176 Raddlebarn Rd. Selly Oak.
Why is the child offered for adoption? I think it is better for the child.

Is the father married to the mother? No
Is he otherwise liable to contribute to the child's maintenance? No

December 10 1944

Dear Father Flint,
I am really very sorry I didn't let you know that the adoption went through satisfactery on Nov.27 1944 at Oldbury.
I met the young mother of Patrick. We heard someone crying and on turning round saw the girl. I asked her if she was Miss Clark and them made her come and sit with my husband and me. She had the Baby for about 1 and half hoursand then she recovered and seemed more contented that she had seen us and that Patrick was so well.
I haven't regretted speaking to her at all, for if Patrick grows anything like his mother, I shall be satisfied, because she was quite a nice girl and I should imagine very lonely.
I have promised her Patrick's photograph but I've not invited her here, and she understands.
Thankyou again Father for your kindness to my husband and myself,
I am yours sincerely,
Gertrude Mordan

Patrick waited respectfully for his adoptive parents to die before he would search for knowledge to his biological origins. It's only natural.


18th October - Patrick, now  43years of Oldbury, West Midlands receives a letter from Father Hudson's with the details of his birth and adoption, and the fact that somewhere he has a sister called Kathleen Patricia....


2010-11 A new addition:

Mum, Uncle Pat and I sup on cider in a West Midlands pub. 
Uncle Pat said:
"What stuck most in my head was reading that my real Mother, I mean my biological mother lived in a house I walked past every day going to the Oratory school - 
I wonder if she ever saw me?"

The Lorica of Patrick

A type of prayer of protection (literally meaning "breastplate"), which was popular in Celtic countries. Patrick was inspired to adapt the early Bardic style  into a Christian prayer. 

I rise today
Through the strength of heaven
The light of the sun
The radiance of the moon
Splendor of fire,
Swiftness of wind,
Speed of lightning
Depth of sea
Stability of Earth
Firmness of rock.

It is said to have turned St. Patrick and his followers into deer when they were being pursued by the king’s men early one morning--hence the title "The Deer’s Cry." 

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity
Through belief in the threeness
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the creator.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension
Through the strength of his decent for the Judgement of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim
In obedience to the Angels,
In the service of the Archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of Holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun
Brilliance of moon
Splendor of fire
Speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s host to secure me
against snares of devils
against temptations of vices
against inclinations of nature
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear,
alone and in a crowd.

A summon today all these powers between me and these evils
Against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose my body and my soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of heathenry,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that endangers man’s body and soul.

Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning,
against drowning, against wounding,
so that there may come abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Thrones,
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the Creator.

Salvation is of the Lord
Salvation is of the Lord
Salvation is of Christ
May thy salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

Lucas Patrick born in Brisbane

Back to Australia.  I am a Grandmother....I guess some Jungian analysis might suggest a subconscious desire on the part of my daughter in giving him the middle name of Patrick - of connecting with her Celtic roots.

                 Ancestors - View from the Hill of Tara - ancient lands of Ui Niall, 2010

The spiral tracks of the working-class ancestry - my husband and I....

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