Allan’s family history was quite complicated and much of his ancestry is lost to me just as it was to him. JMH, my father, often remarked that he felt Allan had noble features and a kingly air about him. He even went so far as to romantically suggest that he looked as if he might have been descended from Irish or Viking chieftains.
So here he is with his little brother Paul who was about 5 or 6 years younger than him. Paul and Allan had a fairly close and loving relationship. Paul clearly loved and adored his big brother. He looked up to him and idolised him as only a little brother can.
Only he wasn’t his brother, he was actually his cousin. Paul’s mother died in hospital from tuberculosis when he was only a baby and Paul was put in an orphanage. I don’t know how long he was in the “institution” as Joan used to refer to it but it was certainly long enough for him to have recurring nightmares about it. When Joan got her job as a school cook he confused her white uniform with that of the carers in the home. He even thought that she had been one of the carers there and would scream and beg her to remove the white clothes as he thought she was going to take him back . It was clearly a horrible place which scarred him for life.
I cannot remember his mother’s name, although I am sure Joan did tell me….but that was over 45 years ago. His mother was the sister of Jim Moran, Allan’s father. I got the impression that she was unmarried when she became pregnant and that Jim and Joan never met Paul’s father or knew who he was.
Jim and Joan had visited Paul in the home several times and what they saw there soon convinced Jim that he should either adopt or foster his little nephew and give him a home. Joan wasn’t quite as sure as Jim but memories of her own very happy childhood within a close and loving family sealed her agreement.
Now I said that Allan’s family history was complicated. A major factor in Joan’s decision was that at the age of 18 she had been told by her own parents that she too had been a foundling and that they had fostered her from a baby. She always said that her foster parents had always treated her exactly the same as her other brothers and sisters and she had had no idea that she had no blood connexion with them. Joan said that by fostering Paul she wanted to give back a little of the love that had been given to her.