that a gentleman named George Taylor wanted to meet her to discus her real mother’s funeral. Going into the living room, Elizabeth placed the suitcase on the floor then put the jewellery box on the table. She sat on the chair by the window and opened the letter addressed to her.
my darling daughter if you are reading this then I have passed on.
I don’t know where to begin really, all I can say is that giving you up was the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do. I have never forgotten that dreadful day when they came and took you away from me. Your beautiful eyes looked at me and my heart was broken in two. I cried for weeks afterwards but there was little that I could do. I was working in the mill and the workhouse just trying to survive. It was there that I met your real father I was only sixteen and very naïve. I fell in love with Thomas Cottingham, he was a good looking young lad and had a wicked sense of humour. But when he discovered that I was pregnant he left me. I couldn’t look after you and hold down my two jobs. I was staying in a hostel at the time and they were threatening me with eviction if I didn’t get rid of you. I was so desperate I didn’t know what to do for best. I made the hardest decision of my life Elizabeth, I went to the adoption agency, the same place I had been brought up but I knew unlike me that some family would take you. I was five when I went and no-one wanted a five year old so I had to stay. The nuns there were very cruel and so was some of the staff. I was punished every day for nothing. I cried myself to sleep most nights. There were thirty of us in one small room. The nuns would shine a torch in your face and wake you up. You were not allowed to go to the toilet once the lights had gone out and there was nowhere to go except wet yourself. The nuns made you walk around with the soiled sheet after you were punished and you spent the day scrubbing it and then hanging it on the line. When I was sent to the mill to work aged thirteen it was there that I met Tom who stuck up for me. Sadly Tom was stabbed to death in a gambling den after an argument he was only nineteen.
I never gave up hope of some day finding you Elizabeth. I would look out for children your age. A mother knows their own child. I was nineteen when a handsome banker asked me out and I couldn’t believe it when two years later we were married. The Great War had broken out and John went off to fight in France. We had two boys after the war and I never dreamed there would be another but in 1939 Hitler’s German army and invaded Poland and we were at war again.
Both my sons joined the air force and both were killed by enemy aircraft. My husband never got over their deaths and his health deteriorated; he died in 1948 aged fifty three. Just as I had lost you John grieved like me now I had lost three of my family but hung on to the thought that you were still alive. I searched everywhere got in touch with churches in the hope that I could find you. I never gave up. You were my life my blood. I hope that you have had a good life and that you were lucky enough to get good adoptive parents. I would have given anything to hold you in my arms just one last time. I will go to my grave happy if you have had a fortunate upbringing. You cannot begin to understand the bond between a mother and her child- one day when you become a mother yourself you will then understand what I mean. I wish you all the very best for the future Elizabeth and hope that you are lucky to meet and marry a nice man as I did. My only regret now is that I will never live to see you married or see my grandchildren. Please find it in your heart to forgive me your ever loving mother, Sarah Jane Stephenson White. X
Elizabeth’s tears flowed down her face as she read the letter over and over. She had lost the mother she never knew; a mother who loved her right up to her own death.’
She took out her Mothers photograph and looked at it and she saw immediately that she resembled her mother who was slightly younger than her. Fifty six years had passed her by and she never knew her own mother. When she was younger, in fact she