Who Was Angela Zendalic

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Authors: Mary Cavanagh
tangle. My hair had always been my most outstanding feature; dark, thick, and curly, so was it something I’d inherited from Angela? But Pa had brown curls, didn’t he, so maybe not. I stared in the mirror, this time more intently. What parts of me were from her? What did she look like? How old was she when I was born? How old is she now?
    With a feeling of utter terror I headed to the computer, to look up all the ‘find your ancestors’ websites.

February 1954
St. Olave’s Home
    1 0th February 1954
     My Dear Peg,
    I talked to Edie a couple of nights ago about finding a foster home, and I spun a yarn about a mate knowing a girl what’s got into trouble with a fella in a jazz band. Now – I’ve got some very exciting news. You won’t believe this! She wants to take the baby in herself and Stan’s more than happy for her to do it. Of course, she’s got no idea about the baby being yours, and please God, believe me, she never will, but it’s the best news ever, isn’t it. Oh, Peg, please say yes. I’ve agreed to move out so the baby can have my room, but it’s high time I shifted, anyway. They’re also going to put a proper upstairs bathroom in the spare. Something Edie’s wanted for years and now she’s got the excuse.
    I think the rules say you’ve got to look after it yourself for the first six weeks, so I guess the handover date will be around the beginning of April. That’ll give them plenty of time to get everything ready. Won’t it be good? You’ll be able to see it growing up and even wheel it out in its pram to give Edie a break. When it’s older we can take it for days out together. As for the long-term, we’ll just have to play it by ear. Walk, don’t run, as my old mum used to say.
    Edie’s enquired with the Social Services, and as long as ‘the mother’ and the health visitor are satisfied there’ll be no other hoops to jump through. All financial dealings and agreements will have to go through your solicitor, and as you’re resident in Kensal Green you can appoint one in London. In addition, you can specify, of course, that your identity be strictly concealed.
    The going rate is £2.10s per week, plus a lump sum of £30.00 to pay for all the essentials, like nappies and the cot and pram etc. If you want to remove the baby from their care for any reason your solicitor must give Stan and Edie six weeks’ notice. That’s all. They won’t ever be able to see the baby’s birth certificate, but if it’s needed your Solicitor will deal with it under strict rules of sub judice (legally private). Also, I gather, it’s usual for the foster parents to call the baby by the mother’s chosen Christian name.
    If you’re in agreement will you write back to me straight away, and I’ll tell ‘my mate’ that it’s all set up. I’ll then move out to the station lodging house in St. Aldates so Charlie Wright can start on the bathroom. I shall also (as your brother) write an official letter of intent to the Sisters on your behalf. There’ll be no messing about with PC Rawlings!
    I will be thinking of you in the next days, and look forward to hearing some news.
    With all my love to you,
    p.s Hot off the press! I’ve just put in an offer for No.17 St Barnabas Street, so I’ll only be round the corner. I’ve also decided to study for my Sergeants exams.
    With Peggy being excluded from any in-house talk on what to expect when labour started (true or otherwise), she’d bought a copy of the only self-help book available; The Revelation of Childbirth – The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth , written by the renowned American guru, Dr Grantly Dick Read. She’d read it so often she nearly knew every page off by heart, and exactly what to expect.
    â€˜Towards the end of the gestation, the baby’s head

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