Yvonne Kaye's Story


My immediate family didn't have any money, although some members of the

extended family were very wealthy indeed.

Because we were the poor relations, and couldn't afford a vacation, the

rest of the family would take us to a holiday spot in a place called

Blean near Canterbury in Kent. It was a farmhouse/guesthouse, and I

loved it there. I loved the people. I remember some of the happiest

moments of my life were spent sitting at that huge farmhouse kitchen table

With Mrs. Buesden and her family. They were so warm and loving. She

was everything good that one would ever think a farmer's wife to be?

The place was called Yew Tree Farm, and it was my haven.

I must have had some recognition of what normal was at that time, to

feel so comfortable there. Not for a moment though, did I believe it

could be part of my life on a permanent basis. Hurt children have

Wisdom well beyond their years.


The War Begins


We were at Yew Tree Farm in late August and early September of 1939.

One morning, September 3rd, I remember waking up to hustle, bustle and

chaos. Of course, I didn't pay too much attention to it because that

was the norm for my family? There was usually someone screaming at

someone else, one of the aunts yelling at one of the others.

September 3, 1939 the day war broke out in Europe. Of course, I had

no idea what was happening at that stage. I was not quite six years old

and I was on holiday with my cousins. This particular morning something

strange happened. People were making noise, but they weren't saying

anything. Bags were being packed, tears were being shed, and everyone

was talking and talking and talking about nothing.

I noticed that my bags were not being packed. I was so used to being

left and dumped on people that I really didn't pay too much attention.

My mother would frequently forget my existence and leave me on a street

corner with the groceries. Once she left me in the London Zoo. Funny

what we remember!

One of my cousins said, "We're leaving.We are leaving?"


I couldn't make head or tail of that. I ran around asking all the

grown ups, "Who's leaving? Where are you going? What's going on?

What's all the noise?"

"Yvonne, everything's going to be all right." Standard answer.

That was it. That was the explanation of my parents leaving me there

and my cousins and their parents returning to London.

I had heard noises on the radio of things like "war" and "Hitler" and

"Chamberlain and conference." I just didn't pay much attention. I

was not quite six years old. I was into playing and jumping on the pigs

in the sties, this being a farm. I had been just generally trying to

forget what it was like in London, living with my mother and her

husband, instead of getting into the fun of being with my cousins.

It wasn't such an ordeal at that point, mainly because children have no

concept of time. I had no idea how long they were away until that one

day my cousins told me they were leaving, and I wasn't. This seems to be

the story of my life: people I love constantly leaving.

I have this thing about triangles, which in my recovery I have learned

to think of as pyramids. My triangle was living with two dysfunctional

people. I was right in the middle of their fights, arguments, despairs,

and insanity. At this point, I did not even recognize the molesting

from my stepfather. In this environment I learned how to deny very

well. When my mother spoke on the telephone or any of her siblings

stopped by, there was no indication that anything was amiss. We were

the typical secretive, good-looking family.

In a way, being in Canterbury was a relief. It was all right when my

cousins were there, but my feelings of abandonment really began to take

hold when they left. I had severe separation anxiety which caused me to

start wetting the bed and be careless with my clothing. At times I felt


So there were no questions for me, because I knew there wouldn't be any

answers. Therefore, I internalized my fears and helplessness, and out

came unacceptable behavior. Because the lovely woman with whom I lived

was so exasperated by this behavior, she used to threaten me that if I

came home from school once more in that condition, I would go straight

to bed with no supper. That went on for quite a long time. I was so

terrified; I was unable to control simple bodily functions. There was

absolutely no sensitivity in my life at all. I really loved Mrs.

Buesden, but she had no idea of the separation anxiety I was going

through at the time; the pain and grief children are not supposed to


I celebrated my sixth birthday away from my parents at Yew Tree Farm.

The world was in chaos and so was I. There was war in Europe. My whole

family was disintegrating. People were going off in all different

directions, telling me nothing.

Because Canterbury was close to a port, it was considered unsafe and I

had to go back to London. At that point I didn't realize I was going

back. I soon discovered that the plan was to get the children out of

London and ship them to Australia, America, or any country that was not

involved with the war at that time.

In my excitement at going back it certainly didn't occur to me that I

would be sent away again, and I wouldn't have understood it anyway.

Remember, I was raised in a total conspiracy of silence. I was told

nothing, but just did as I was told. Most children of my generation

did. It was difficult for me to understand the whole aspect of what was

going on because I didn't know how to ask questions. You have to be a

person to be able to do that.

On my return to London, everything was in upheaval. It didn't seem to

be important whether I was there or not because nobody paid any

attention. Everything was discussed just as if I were not there.

People didn't seem to realize that I did hear, feel, and understand. It

was not easy being a child in a dysfunctional family then, any more than

it is today. The pain, grief, and fear over "How long am I going to be

able to stay here?" began to take hold.

Whether it was denial or whether it was complete unawareness, I had no

idea what was going to happen. This was ambivalence and helplessness.

After all these years, there are still blocks of time and people of

which I have no knowledge whatsoever. It seemed to me that there was a

lot of discussion going on. , but nobody talked. Members of the family

kept disappearing. Aunts and uncles took their children and went out of

the city for safety.


Sent Away


Then one morning when I was ready for school, my mother put my gas mask

in a brown box around my shoulders (which was common at that time) and a

little suitcase in my hand. She took me to school, but instead of

sending me into the building, she put me on a bus. She didn't say

goodbye so I didn't pay any attention. I just thought I was going on a

bus ride, a school outing. A label was put on my coat, but that wasn't

uncommon. If we ever went anywhere, it was important that people knew

our names.

Then the bus left. It went for a long time, just kept going and going

and going for what I now know to have been about four hours. I was so

numb at this point I can't recall if anybody asked questions. I know I

completely shut down emotionally and made the decision that I would

never let anybody love me again, it hurt too much to be separated so often.

I don't even remember who was on the bus. I don't remember any of my

friends from that time. I don't know if they were crying, laughing or

playing. I just don't recall. My earliest recollection was the bus

pulling into a quaint market square in Highbridge, a small village in

Somerset, in the west of England. As I got off, I can remember some of

the teachers on the bus telling us to be quiet and pay attention. I

stood at the steps, and a tall man with silver hair pointed to me and

said, "I'll take that one."

What amazes me now is that I just went with him and didn't even think

about it. I had no idea of even considering any other action. I was

seven years old. I didn't know where I was. I had no idea why I was

there and why I was going away from home. No idea at all. Except that I

was doing as I was told again. All this time, I never shed a tear. I

was already a little adult.

He took me by the hand to go and register. He was a very handsome

military man and a grandfather figure to me. I believe I really loved

him, instantly. He was a port in a storm for me. However, that changed

somewhat when I arrived at the house. It was obvious that I was not

wanted. Both he and his wife were seventy-eight years old. It must have been

quite a trauma for them, but that is what I think now !


As a child I was a pretty little thing. I looked and behaved a little

bit like Shirley temple with my gold curls, singing and dancing. There

was an active clown in me which compensated for the pain that I'd been

in for all those seven long years of my life. The man took me home to

the house, which was a mansion to me, and introduced me to an austere

lady, haughty, with her hair pulled tightly back into a bun. She didn't

look at me and didn't touch me but just said, "Take her upstairs and let

her see her room." I can remember thinking, "My room? why do I have a

room here? I have a room at home. Why on earth would I want to have a


He took me upstairs and showed me this very pretty room, and I began to

get feelings of severe panic because something was wrong. My child's

mind could not understand why a perfect stranger would take me to their

home and give me a room. I couldn't understand that, and I became very

scared. In panic, there's enough strength to question. I started

asking him, "Why am I here? Where is my mummy? Where is my dad? Where

is my grandma?"

He said nothing. Just smiled. It seemed I was not going to get any

answers from anybody. It was so terribly confusing that I simply didn't

know what was going on in my life at all. Nobody was about to tell me.

Then I started to cry. There was no response from him, except I can recall a heavy sigh.

Then he went downstairs. I remember sitting on that bed. I didn't cry

anymore then, and it seems to me from that time I stopped crying almost

completely. I still have great difficulty crying today. I was too

terrified to cry. I had no idea what was going to become of me. No one

was going to tell me. I sat on the bed staring at my little suitcase sitting beside me.

I heard the woman call me to go down for something to eat. I didn't

want to eat. I didn't know where I was. I had no idea who these people

were. Where was my mother? Why did she leave me like this and not say

anything-again? Was she going to come back soon? I ran down the stairs

and asked, "Where is my mother? Is she coming here soon?"

This began the fear that haunted me most of my life. It made me

believe I was sent away because I had done something really bad.

Then I was sent away. Put that together in a small child's head.

Must have been bad; that's why I'm sent away.

It had to be that way. My cousins had gone with their own parents. My

mother had chosen to stay in London and send me away by myself. Only

bad children are sent away, children who are very naughty and can't live

with their mummy because they are so bad she can't have them anywhere

near her. The thought began to take root. At that time I began to

realize I just had to start pleasing everybody, or I would never survive.


Alone In A Strange Land


The table was laid with bread and butter and little pink things on a

plate. The woman asked me, "Are you hungry?"

"No," I said.

She said, "You had a long journey. You must eat something."

I didn't know what the little pink things were. I started to eat them,

and I had never tasted anything like it before and I said, "What are these?


Right in the middle of eating I got up, ran out, and spat them out of

my mouth. I was terrified that I was going to be sent to hell, because

I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family and had never eaten anything

that wasn't strictly kosher. I thought God would come down and smite

me. Even at seven years old I knew what I could and could not eat.

I wasn't even told that I wasn't with a family of my own religion.

What a transition that would have to be. I believe it was shortly after

this time that I began to question my faith and religion, even this

young. I couldn't understand why God would send me away like this and

make me do things my family had taught me never to do, such as eat

things I was not supposed to eat. I was so frightened. I felt I would

have to starve to death.

My hosts were angry and didn't understand. When they found out I was

Jewish, they were totally horrified. The people in this tiny village in

Somerset had never really seen a Jew, and I certainly didn't look the

conventional "Jewish type."

Later that night, when the woman said I would have to take a bath

and go to bed, my panic intensified. I realized I was going to be

there, live there and where was my mother and how long was this going

to go on? If I had to go to bed that night and actually sleep in that

room, then the game was up for me. I had never been consulted, never

been told anything about this. Everything was settled without my having

anything to say again.

On Sunday they dressed me in the one dress I had and took me to a place

called a chapel. People were singing all kinds of songs that I had

never heard before about somebody called Jesus.

In adult life I have learned from Jesus and love him dearly according

to his teachings. I have no religion, just a simple deep faith that my

Higher Power loves me. But, as a little girl, I had no idea who he was

and why everybody was singing to Him and about Him. I had to go to

Sunday school, and I couldn't understand why the prayers were so very

different. It seemed that everything I had ever known, anything that

was familiar to me had been completely taken away and changed.

Within a week or so the word was around that "this one was different."

I can remember walking down the street, and having some of the children

come up to me, hold me and rub their fingers through my hair. I had no

idea what they were doing. I thought this was maybe a Somerset

greeting. What they were actually doing was looking for horns. They

had been told that all Jews had horns and a tail. Fortunately, I escaped

from the indignity of their trying to discover whether I had a tail.

My feelings of aloneness, abandonment, terror and helplessness now

began to grow at a rapid rate. I don't think I laughed for two years.

Every day something seemed to happen to frighten me even more. I became

a complete people-pleaser. I would do anything rather than incur

anyone's wrath. If people were ever angry with me, I couldn't deal with

it. Half the time I didn't know how to behave because I didn't know

these people. I didn't understand their beliefs, I didn't understand

the food they ate, and I didn't know what on earth they were doing.

Everything was a mystery to me, and no one was there to solve that

mystery for me.

On very rare occasions my mother or grandmother would telephone from

London, and after I had spoken to them I would be silent for hours. I

did cry a little then. I would always ask them, "When am I coming

home? Let me come home. I want to be home. I want to be with you."

The answer was always "you're better off there."

I met the other members of the family, including a married daughter I

really liked. She was warm and loving and let me go to her house

whenever I could. There were six sons in that family ˆ like the brothers

I never had, and one special one, the oldest, Willis was in the RAF. He

saved my emotional life. He was so kind and when he was sent to London

he looked up my family to try to get a connection. He wasn't

successful in that, but he was a godsend to a frightened little girl.

When I cried sometimes at the news broadcasts on the radio or on the

telephone calls, they would say, "Oh my goodness. Here we go again.

Well, she just can't have any calls anymore or listen to the radio."

In order to try to compensate, my mother sent me a beautiful doll I

called Queenie. The people I lived with allowed me to hold Queenie for

one half hour every Sunday and that was all. I remember being in the

house one day alone and managing to open the door where they locked

her. I took her out and held her, and I was severely punished because

the woman came home and found me holding her.

It's difficult to describe the pain of that particular time, the denial

of any kind of love or healthy touching, the complete helplessness and

the terror of not being able to share with anybody what I was going

through because I didn't know how to put it into words. Even if there

had been anybody there, I wouldn't have known how to say it. It was

painful beyond words to me.

I was well cared for physically, well dressed and well fed, but my

loneliness and ignorance of what was happening in London, not knowing

after each air raid whether my family was alive or dead and not being

told anything, caused a pain that became overwhelming. Shortly before

my eighth birthday I made a decision that I really wanted to die. I set

about doing just that. I stopped eating, wouldn't sleep, acted out in

school, wouldn't talk to anybody and just withdrew entirely into my

self. I didn't cry because I knew better. All I would say is, "I want

to go home."

At about this time I had chicken pox, closely followed by the measles,

and was very ill. Because I was so ill my grandmother came down to see

me. I begged and pleaded with her to take me back. She would not do

that. Even now, as a woman and a mother, I still cannot accept the

fact that I was sent away for my own safety. I believe children's

safety is with their parents if they love them, if they nourish them and

nurture them. That's the way it would always be for me. This is simply

my opinion, out of my own circumstances. It is not the same for everybody.

I must have eventually gotten through to my grandmother because, as my

condition deteriorated, there were a lot of letters and phone calls

going back and forth. I was finally told I was being sent back to

London. Nobody came to get me for what seemed an eternity.

At this time I was eight years old. One day I was labeled again, put

on a train in care of the guard, and sent back to London. My mother

forgot to pick me up, and I waited for hours in the station until the

police constable saw me there. They contacted her because of the labels

I had on me.


Home To The Blitz


The welcome home was less than cordial. I was a nuisance and had

always been a nuisance since pregnancy. It was made very clear to me

that, having got my way, I had better behave myself. So naturally I did

everything I could to make sure I would not be sent away again. In the

house I took care of my mother. I went to school. I was a good "little

woman." And I was desperately unhappy. I was constantly afraid that

one false move and I'd be back on the bus.

By this time in London the bombing had accelerated. There wasn't a day

or night when we didn't have several air raids. By this time a daylight

bombing had started, and there was a certain excitement to this because

we never knew what was going to happen. As children, we didn't fully

comprehend the danger, but we loved the unpredictability of sometimes

missing school.

My mother refused to go to a bomb shelter. We used to go down into the

cellar. I can remember a little dog I had who would begin to cry and

whine and run under the table about twenty minutes before the planes came

over. The bombs would come down silently and stop, then whistle down

and explode. We never knew where they would land. However, the fear I

had during these raids was nothing compared to the fear I had of being

sent away again.

I was eventually sent away to Oxford for another year, and it didn't

matter how I begged not to go. I went.

In that year, which is almost a complete blank in my memory, I made

myself very ill. I was so terribly unhappy and felt so lost that I

didn't know how to do anything else. Becoming ill was the only way I

got attention. All I knew was that what I wanted didn't count, that the

Big People constantly lied when they said they cared for me. The

knowledge that I was not important took root.

At the time this was going on, people were cold and distant with me. I

can remember being in this house in Oxford, feeling deadly ill and being

completely ignored, mainly, I assume, because they didn't know what to do with me.

The children of war suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as much

as its combat veterans. It's true, as shown in the film Hope and Glory,

that some children had a great time and a lot of fun, but that wasn't my

war. Possibly this was connected with the fact that I was sent away and

brought back, sent away and brought back, so that I never had any

continuous security. I never had any real knowledge of where I was

going to be. The fear of being sent away again made me such a good

girl. I suffered the indignities of a child who insisted on coming

back. I heard that from my grandmother, my parents and my aunts and


I was in London in the worst of the blitz, but that was better than

being sent away. I remember the feelings of fear every time I heard

bombs fall. They were very close.

I remember coming out of the house one morning, before my parents could

stop me, to see all the houses around me were razed except ours. I saw

a dead person. I saw dead animals. The fire, the smoke and the stench

were something I would never forget. I still have a hard time when I

smell meat burning. Finally, our house was bombed, too.

People say that children are too young to feel things ˆ another

"grown-up" lie. I tell people now that children do know. They do


During the blitz my mother also took in refugees from Germany, Poland

and Russia who had escaped from the concentration camps. People would

congregate in my mothers home and talk about pain, grief and what was

going on in the caps as if I weren't there. The result for me was a

fear like that of a child who knows other children are being beaten by

their own parents. There is always the fear that one day it might

happen to me, too.

Approximately ten years ago, I visited Somerset again. Some of the

family, including the wonderful Willis arranged a reunion party for me.


 When was 15, I attended Mary Datchelor High School

for Girls in Camberwell as a scholarship girl among the very wealthy.

Surprisingly I was very popular, always class prefect until this term

when we had biology dealing with sex education. In the dining room, a

prefect was in charge of the lunch table and at mine there was a lot of

giggling with notes being passed. I had no idea what it was all about.

A teacher swooped down and snatched the notes. I was summoned to the

Head Mistress' office - a Dame Dorothy Brock - who challenged me about

the drawings. I told her I knew nothing, but she did not believe me.

At this time there were elections for school prefect, a very coveted position

for a scholarship girl, but the staff met and decided I was unfit.

The school went on strike, but they were adamant.

Dame Dorothy informed me that I was a born leader, but was

leading girls in the wrong direction. I never became a school prefect and

like other writers have had an outsize sense of justice ever since. I

am sorry Dame Dorothy did not live long enough to hear me address the United Nations .


Yvonne Kaye



This article was published in "New Visions" magazine.



by Yvonne Kaye.

There are many people who feel they never quite belong, either in social

circles or family. Just off kilter - not totally remote - just a little off !

This can be due to being the non-favourite of the family, not good at

sports in school, liking music instead of football, having an opinion, being

raised in dysfunction or, as I prefer it, bizarre environments ! The list

goes on endlessly, and the fact remains that some people feel different.

Different is good is one's self esteem, composure, confidence and

balance are in place.

Being different and the butt of jokes, being excluded from events makes

life challenging to say the least.

Experiences can make people feel different and even though some of my

colleagues frown upon my philosophy, if one has not experienced an event,

one cannot know how it feels. Example. I work closely with bereaved

parents. As long as I have been doing so, as much as I know of the emotions

involved, I do not know how they feel. I am grateful for that. I know how

someone feels when there is long term illness in the family, when one is an

exile, when one is discriminated against. Frankly, I don't want to know how

anyone else feels - enough is enough !

Having been a child of war, I have given up explaining what it was like to

be sent away from home without a work, being bombed on, shot at,

vindictively screamed at because of my religion, being ostracized. I was

raised in a conspiracy of silence, so I talk a lot.

I could be a charter member of the Twelve Step programme..on-and-on-and-on!

So when I heard of The Evacuees Reunion Association in England,

I was ecstatic. I went to the reunion in London September 1999 and thought I

would find solace in such surroundings with people who had experienced the

same kind of pain and grief as I had. Not so.

I did learn that some of us had not changed, had not

dealt with anything rather than the resentment of that terrible time, one of

the mistakes the government made in a laudable effort to keep children safe.

Sadly, most of us did not appreciate their efforts - still don't.

When I returned I kept in touch with the organization but when I left the

radio, my e-mails and letters were ignored . C'est la vie! I was disappointed

but resigned myself to the fact that people simply were people !

My American friends were very fascinated about that era during the second

world war. I would tell them of the various events, some of which were

hilarious. My mother's husband was a London taxi driver and at that time,

GIs were stationed in London and wanted to go where the action was. So he

would drive them to where the Blitz was at its worst but was stopped by the

police and fire fighters, much to his chagrin. Once, a GI produced a large

hand bell and the authorities thinking it was an ambulance, let him through.

When I lived in England we used to say "Only an American"................

Funny, now that I am here, it is "Only in England !"


A few months ago, I received an e-mail from an organization calling itself

The British WWII Evacuees Chat Group

Address is Brit_WWII_Evacuees@egroups.com.

I touched base with them, and the correspondence has flowed ever since.

I could not believe how validated I felt writing to this group,

receiving responses. We remember all sorts of things that happened during

those times sand have even had students write who are studying the effect of

evacuation on children of war.

It has been astounding, and I now understand how the

mind can play such tricks, making us wonder.......did this really happen?

Was it my imagination? We even compare the kind of apples we could buy at

that time that we cannot get in other countries.

These evacuees are from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

We have formed a conclave and hope to meet in England one of these years.

It is quite an education for those who have an interest in such times,

but the miracle is that we have so much in common even though we do

not know one another at all. Or do we ? During any kind of trauma, a

camaraderie strikes up. Veterans have it. No one who has not been in

combat could possibly comprehend the feelings of those who have. How did

Twelve Step programmes begin ? Two drunks talking to a third drunk.....they

knew what no one else knew regarding what was needed.

Another aspect of this that does not affect all evacuees is that I have met

with people of other nationalities who were but children at the same time,

were being bombed also and went through much of the anguish the Brits

endured. German children and other European countries who suffered the

onslaught of war. Our very own Ute Arnold - what a wonderful conversation

we have had on this subject. Suffering is suffering when one is a powerless

child at the mercy of greedy, grasping, cruel adults who want what others

have and will go to any lengths to get it. Look at the world today. It is

not different. Politicians and maniacs are still causing mayhem at the

expense of the innocent. We were but one era in the 1940s. We all respond

to the brutality we see today with the fiends who believe in ethnic

cleansing. Will it ever stop ?


So many of us led lives of quiet desperation during those frightful times.

Being able to share those times with people who really understand is a

blessing and a relief. I am not alone any more. There are people at the

end of an e-mail who respond to my thoughts, feelings, opinions. They are

my friends.............they know.


If any of the readers have endured deprivation of any sort, seek out a group

of people who are conversant with your situation. As you have the

situation, you can be sure others do too. It is remarkable how unrelated

facts that haunted us for years, now are in a perspective that creates

harmony and fearlessness. I remember how ridiculous I thought the entire

Y2K calamity was and now realize it was because I was a child of war. Things

don't get much worse than that. It did not scare me at all . Been there -

done that. I kept telling people that Y2K was named after me, and it would

amount to nothing because I already had the initials !!!

A lot of people did not think it was funny Guess who did.....the evacuees !

This is my special miracle of 2000.

Log on and see what I mean. Angels are around bringing comfort and joy.

I knew it all the time !


 I had nits three times and scabies twice. In those days we were

sent to local government baths for the scabies and had to sit in -

I think - sulphur baths, have our clothes baked in an oven to kill every

infection and be swabbed with some bright yellow stuff. It was so humiliating.

 I could give Angela's Ashes a run for his money as we had ghastly fleas

infesting our house and can remember waking up covered with the damn

things. I got as far as reading that in Frank's book and could not read any more,

just could not get beyond that. Humiliation seemed to accompany most of those

experiences. When I came out in sores, my uncle, who happened to be a

doctor was in the house and said it came from dirt! It was horrendous. I was

lucky enough not to have my head shaved - some did.  Everything in our house,

including the house, was rented, even the kettle! My mother did nothing about the

fleas, and I am not sure whether it was a lack of money, which is  probable, or denial.

 Maybe it was denial. She took in students and one night one of them was covered with

these things. She did something then, but I can't remember what. I think I'll take a shower

- even my fingers are itching!  


 My ex-husband (now known as my WASBAND) decided we would come to the States. I didn't want to leave England but I used to be obedient. (goodness - I don't even know that woman any more). So off he went to 'get things ready for us' and I sold the house, packed up stuff, got four children ready to leave (10,7,4 and 13 months) and had an horrendous journey to.....here! The little we discussed, I wanted to go to Canada. My friend Jill had migrated there. I have been friends with her since I was three and I knew she would make it easy for me. We talked about New Zealand or Australia but at that time we had too many children to be approved - don't know what it is like now. So we ended up in Philadelphia which, after 34 years is still a mystery to me and I avoid it at all costs. Missed some very lucrative work, but no thanks. Funny being reared as a city girl in London I much prefer the countryside. My first two years in this country will be part of the book I am writing. I used to be afraid what my wasband would do when he read it but duh! who the hell cares!!! I am still English in my heart and soul but am very grateful to the US for a number of reasons.

I would never have got as far as I have professionally had I remained in the UK. Keeping my accent strong was the most sensible thing I have done!!!! I would never have met John, even though he is a Brit from the Manchester area. My children would not have the spouses they have and I am truly blessed with my children in law. That means I would not have the grandchildren I have. So there is a purpose behind everything I suppose. I have tender thoughts on Canada. It is one of the few countries where I love the cities. My friend has now left Ontario and lives in British Columbia. Better climate she says.

The first two years here - ghastly. I lived in Northeast Philadelphia which is a kind of wannabee Philly and where I was judged on what I had which was precious little. When we moved to Bucks County things improved enormously and for a time I was content. However, that was then. Honestly? I would still love to live in Ireland at least three months of the year, three months here, three months in the UK and three months here again. Can't be done. Won't leave my family mainly because of Nicolas and I have to work. Can't imagine starting over at my chronological age (the inner Y is rather younger!!!) I know I am at a stage in my life when something new is about to happen professionally. I just hope it isn't political!!!! Good to read your stuff. Love Yvonne the Dame


Updated 8/6/04