Uncle Alf – World War II

I didn’t find out till I was an adult that Uncle Alf was in Papua  New Guinea in World War II.

Alfpng

I don’t know what he did there but he actually looks pretty happy in this photo. I also don’t know who the two men with him are.

My uncle (dad’s brother) got together with a few mates some years ago, to record Uncle Alf’s memories from his past. It was a great idea but when I asked my uncle about this he said the tape recorder didn’t work so they have no record of it.

Unfortunately Uncle Alf has since died so they weren’t able to redo the recording.

Uncle Alf

UnclealfUncle Alf was my dad’s father’s brother. He’s a bit of a handsome devil isn’t he? This photo was taken way, way before I was born and I don’t even know when it was.

Uncle Alf never married and he lived with his brother (my grandpa) and my grandma. My grandpa died when I was about five and Uncle Alf and grandma continued to share a house for the rest of their lives. I don’t know that grandma had a choice in the matter and I don’t know what she thought of it but they seemed to get on okay with each other.

Uncle Alf used to drive our school bus most mornings and most afternoons. In the afternoons he would have prepared a small bag of lollies for me and my two sisters that he would give us as we got on the bus. It was a really sweet thing of him to do (pardon the awful pun).

On the last day of a school term if there weren’t enough people for the big school bus he would get his immaculate Chevrolet Impala out of his garage and ferry all the kids that would normally be on the school bus home. Luxury.

Remember when you found out you were going to have a baby?

I’ve started a new category called Retrospective. Up until now this blog has pretty much been about what’s happening to me right now. Stuff has happened in the past so I thought I’d share it occasionally. This is one of those stories.

I was lying in bed the other morning knowing that it was cold and that I did not want to get up and start the day. In retrospect I wish I had stayed in bed. But for some reason I started thinking back to the time when I found out I was pregnant.

October-November 2000
The first inkling I had besides a late period (sometimes these things happen right?) was going out one night and finding swallowing a beer felt funny. Normally I like to have a beer or more but the sensation in the back of my throat when I swallowed beer this time was really strange. I was at the Mother’s Bar near Old Street tube station in London. During this time in London I spent a lot of time there. It was free to get in, it was open late and there were some good DJs playing. I didn’t think then that I was pregnant, I had no idea, and it definitely wasn’t something that had been planned. After all I’d only just met my son’s father and this wasn’t something we had discussed.

The next inkling I had that helped me piece the possible pregnancy puzzle pieces together was the nausea. My nausea happened in the late afternoon which I guess at the time was my morning as I had turned into a night owl while I was in London this time, sleeping during the day and going out quite late at night. Whenever I caught a bus I would sit as close as I could to the exit in case I needed to vomit. Luckily I never embarrassed myself by vomiting on a bus or in public.

The nausea and the funny swallowing sensation, coupled with the late period and tender breasts made me think that indeed I could be pregnant. It’s hard to describe how I felt. As I said I’d only just met JJ’s father and I’d primed my family so they didn’t expect children from as I had no intention of becoming a parent. The word denial comes into how I felt or how I dealt with this.

Luckily I had a friend with me and she convinced me to have a pregnancy test. This we did one evening with a bottle of Campari and some soda water waiting in preparation for whatever outcome. Of course the pregnancy test was positive. I was still in denial and never really got over my denial until an ultrasound when I was about 17 weeks pregnant and back in Australia.

I thought I could put off everything, if I didn’t think about it, it wasn’t happening. I didn’t contact anyone family or friends back in Australia during this time as I knew I would feel weird talking to them without divulging my newly pregnant state. And even if I didn’t mention that I was pregnant, to a guy I’d just met, I knew I just couldn’t face speaking to them or even write them a postcard.

I was still in denial after I told JJ’s father and when he got over his initial feelings of shock, he quite proudly told his friends that I was pregnant. I distinctly remember confirming that I thought I might be pregnant. As a friend said, you either are or you’re not. But I was in denial so the longer I did not admit it, the longer I could delude myself that things really were normal and my life wasn’t about to change dramatically.

Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t entertain the thought of abortion as the situation meant that JJ’s father most probably wouldn’t be around. If I had this baby I had to prepare myself for single motherhood. Having an abortion did cross my mind ever so momentarily and then it was brushed aside permanently. Even after I got back to Australia and had gathered my thoughts somewhat, been to the doctor and had yet another pregnancy test (I did my second one with JJ’s father) I didn’t even bring up that abortion word. I thought fate my take a hand and I might have a miscarriage. If this had happened I’m sure I would have been devastated but resigned to the fact that having a baby was not meant to be.

The rest as they say, is history. Fate did take a hand and I had a baby boy who is now four years old and I’ve done it by myself from the word go.  I do go through the ‘what ifs’. What if I had an abortion or a miscarriage. Would I have met someone else and fallen pregnant again. What if I never had children? How different would my life be?

The story about his father is something I don’t know if I’m ready to share with the blogosphere. Maybe later. I’m currently grappling with what to tell my son about why his father isn’t here as he keeps on asking me and he keeps on saying he sees his daddy. At least he doesn’t call complete strangers, or friends, his daddy any more. It’s heartbreaking when he asks me why his daddy isn’t here as I don’t have a suitable answer for a four year old to tell him.

I’d love to hear your story. How did you feel when you, or your partner, found out you were pregnant?