TITLE: Relative Challenge. Title Evacuated Feb 21 2018
By linda simpson
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mark but was wanting to show result of decisions made by relatives with the best intentions can have
The sign on the door read
“Mrs. Fisher, Manager. Victorian Children's Care Agency.”
Bertie knocked tentatively.
A smiling blond haired lady greeted him.
“I believe you are Bertrand James Hardcastle ?”
“ Please sit down Bertrand.”
“According to your file, you arrived in Australia from England in 1941 when you were 7.
You came on the ship 'Octavia' as an evacuee. You are now aged 9. Is that right?”
“Please. Call me Mrs Fisher.” she smiled, observing his big brown eyes under a mop of
curly auburn hair. He was nervously folding and unfolding his hands.
“Yes Mrs. Fisher,”
“I am here to help you Bertrand. You have had a difficult time since you arrived haven't you?”
“Yes Mrs. Fisher.”
The memory of saying 'good bye' came to life. His mum Alice crying, his Dad Cyril
shaking his hand, telling him to 'be a brave boy' and baby sister Vivienne giving
her little funny wave.
“Your file also says that six months ago your family were all killed in a bombing raid. That must
have been dreadful news for you.”
Bertie determined to 'be brave' and not cry, but he could feel the tears starting to form.
“I am very sorry. It's a big thing for one so young to bear. We will see what can be
done for you.”
“Thank you” he wiped his hand across his cheek as a tear escaped.
Mrs. Fisher kept looking through the papers.
“Because you are now classed as an orphan, you will be staying with Mr & Mrs. Wilson
until we find you a new home.
Before, you were living with Mr. & Mrs Snarkey on their farm. Did you enjoy that? Were they kind to you?”
“I er I….”
“It's alright Bertrand nothing will happen to you if you tell the truth.”
“I really liked the farm, seeing kangaroos, the beautiful birds, the sheep and cows.
But Mrs. Snarkey wasn't very kind to me. She sometimes hit me. I had to work hard getting up at 6 in the morning and doing chores all day. I didn't go to school and went to bed at 9. Nobody talked to me much. Their snobbish daughter ignored me. There wasn't a lot for me to eat.
I was very lonely and glad when I left.”
“I see. What happened when news came about your parents. Were they kind to you
“No. They just said 'bad luck'. I prayed to 'Daddy God' to help me and read my book of Bible stories. I miss Sunday School.”
“You are a very brave boy Bertrand. I am sure 'Daddy God' heard your prayers.
I will see what we can do for you. Are you happy with Mr & Mrs. Wilson?”
Yes, they are very kind. Their son Ben and I ride bikes around their farm– it's fun! I don't mind helping with their chores either while Ben's at school. We often sit all together listening
to the cricket when Don Bradman plays and there's lots of good food.
“Well, I'm pleased you're enjoying it at the Wilson's. It's nice meeting you Bertand and I will keep in touch. That's all for now. Thank you.”
“Thank you Mrs. Fisher.”
Bertie quietly closed the door. Mrs. Fisher sent up a silent prayer for a happy solution to Bertrand's situation. She would also deal with the Snarkeys.
Back at the Wilson's, Bertie went straight to his room and, finding the photo he'd hidden, of Mum and Dad and sister Vivienne, he lovingly stroked it. Another tear escaped. He held his Bible story book close to his heart and prayed
“'Daddy God' please help me!”
Mrs. Wilson, anxious to know what happened, tapped on his door and entered.
'Hi Bertie It's me. Did you have a good visit with Mrs. Fisher?”
“Yes I did.”
“Good. Oh! You have a photo. Can I please have a look?”
Bertie shyly handed it to her.
“Unbelievable!” she gasped sinking onto the bed.
“Bertie this is your mother?”
“Yes Mrs. Wilson.”
“She is my sister Alice who I'd lost contact with. I am your aunt. We are related. We are family!”
With Mrs Fisher's assistance Bertrand John Hardcastle was formerly adopted by Thomas and Lucy Wilson. Not long after that, he and 'brother' Ben had a new little sister Rosemary Alice.
'Daddy God' had answered his prayers.
Fiction. Inspired by true stories of British children evacuated prior to and during WW2.
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