This digital story was created by Sue as part of The Making of Black Britain.
An old but newly discovered photo of the village cricket team re-opened poignant memories for me of my rural childhood. For in the middle of the front row sat my father George, and on the left at the end, my step father Len ! They had played cricket together! I hadn’t realised that. Our families had been next door neighbours and we had a hole in the hedge through which we as children could travel to the wonder and the freedoms of each others’ gardens. It was just wonderful. But eventually divorce blighted both families. My father left us and Len became my step-father. My brother, Anthony and I had a new sister, Linda, and Sadie our golden Labrador had a new doggie sister, Jenny, the black Labrador, who had lived next door. Actually we also had Dusty the small dog and Tiddles the cat! So we became a new family. An example of Japanese Kintsugi perhaps? But of course, the missing ingredient is my dear beautiful and beloved mother, Marie, and that is another story.......but now I see the connections of her life to mine in a new way.
.....My mother had always said that one day I would go to Africa. How did she know that?! For she was right! I went to Liberia, West Africa, and lived there! I am so grateful for lifelong friendships formed with people of different background, colour and culture. And I have a testimony of God’s faithfulness and protection during seven years of Liberia’s civil war. So I think about the hole in the hedge, about two families becoming one, with struggle and tension, yes, but also love amongst family members that has expanded to three generations now. Through making this small story I realise that my passion for reconciliation, understanding and welcoming acceptance of those who are different from me, started long ago in a small village. And I am thankful.