In the last days of August 1961 I was conceived in forbidden love. In Ireland.
Patience Cooke was 21, "An intelligent and vivacious young woman who is fond of music, reading and all outdoor activities" has returned to Newtownforbes, Co. Longford to nurse her grandmother through serious illness. She had left for London "as soon as she was old enough" several years earlier and joined the Queen Alexandria Nursing Corps. and spent three years abroad. She is "about 5'2" tall with light brown hair with reddish tints" and has "a lovely Irish complexion and blue eyes". And is a Protestant.
Thomas O'Malley is 24. He "left school at the age of eighteen" and is working on his father's farm. He is "tall and well built with blonde hair, a fair complexion and blue eyes". And is a Roman Catholic.
The two had known each other all their lives.
For reasons that are perfectly clear to me, during that summer "they went about together".
Patience's grandmother recovered and in the autumn she returned to London to resume nursing, unaware that another journey had begun.
She was safely delivered of me on the last day of May in the following year.
Circumstances, and there were many,
heart-wrenchingly many, left me at the Coram Foundation from where I was adopted by Mum and Dad on 11 December 1962. Deo Gracias.
In the last days of January 2017 I returned to Ireland for the first time to celebrate another forbidden love.
We celebrated the marriage of Billy M Desmond Esq and Dr J. Bernard Lynch.
Billy is a Gentleman and Bernard is a priest.
Just pause for a moment. Say nothing.
Wonder though, as I do, how different things are for Gentlemen, Protestants and Priests, (and even Roman Catholics), since that happy day in 1961.
Every thing in quotes, is documented by the Coram Foundation. To whom, my heartfelt thanks.