PROMPT~ What do you like the least about your father?


by John Yeo

  This is a very tricky question for me as I don’t remember anything much about my father at all. This account will have to be made up of dribs and drabs of second hand information. I was born towards the end of the second world war when things were absolutely hair-raising. Enemy aircraft were in the throes of non-stop bombing raids on England. I was born in spite of this and I was living with my parents on a Canadian air force base in the depths of rural Surrey. From second hand accounts, I learned later I was wrapped in a shawl or blankets and deposited in a cupboard under the stairs during the aforementioned bombing raids. I can’t begin to imagine the effects of the continuous crash, bang, wallop, on the senses of a tiny baby lying in a cot in darkness under the stairs. 

 My younger brother arrived and the family were obviously surviving in spite of the rigours of living with the continuous uncertainty of war. 

 It will be obvious to anyone who has read this far that my Father doesn’t feature in this account at all. He was obviously a Canadian service-man based in the United Kingdom.

 From all other vague inferences and information that have reached me over the years I’ve discovered my Father returned to Canada at the end of the war leaving my Mother with two children and possibly another child on the way. The family were obviously no longer entitled to stay in military accommodation and in the upheaval following the war, accommodation was scarce. Rooms were finally obtained with a widow with three daughters, and things were overcrowded, with two women and five children in a three bedroom house. Adding to the problems of this overcrowding, was the fact that my Mother was pregnant and would be adding another baby to the household shortly.

  A solution to the overcrowding was arrived at through the intervention of the social services and it was arranged that my brother and I would be sent away to a residential home for children. I have always referred to this as a boarding school, as we were fed, educated and taken care of under the auspices of the charitable organization who ran the establishment.

. This was the beginning where the seeds of dislike for my Father were planted and this feeling simply grew from a vague feeling in later years.

   What I dislike immensely about my Father is his total disregard of the children he abandoned and his complete inability to find the time or the inclination to trace them, I have since discovered he married again and had at least one more child from this union. I can understand his needing to start a new chapter in his life on his return to Canada, but this will never justify his closing down all previous chapters and shutting the book.

©️ Written by John Yeo