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 Author: Elise Brooke and Richard Brooke  Category: Memoir & Autobiography  Publisher: Elise Smith  Published: July 31, 2021  Pages: 174  Read The Book

I did not know my father very well, I knew I was the apple of his eye and I knew in his own way he loved me with all his heart. I guess my father never really knew what love was or how to show this. Mum and dad divorced when I was four years old, I saw my father when he baby sat while Mum was working or when he tagged along on my Mum’s planned outings with the family. Although I was a lot closer to my Father than my Mum, there was so much no one spoke about and remained a mystery. In 2009 when he passed away this started to change. Being the eldest child I was left to clear out his belongings from the rest home he had been living in the past few years. I found a book he had written and never published, this book was called “Johnathan.” While reading the book I learnt that “Johnathan,” was the character of my Father, this was his whole life story till the age of 16. The mystery of my father unraveled as I learnt of his struggles growing up.
The story starts in Yorkshire England in the 1940’s, at the age of four his father a Navy officer was called to fight as World War two broke out, leaving my father in their Mothers care, his older brother was moved off to boarding school. One night the famous Barton Docks were bombed, including the house they lived in and they were lucky to be pulled out alive! My father and his Mother moved to Manchester to live with his Aunty, time past and his mother became more and more unwell, she was admitted to hospital for the foreseeable future. This left his elderly Aunty and Uncle to look after him, when his Uncle got sick and required more care the Aunty could no longer look after my father and sent him to a place called “Oxley Hall.” A Lord and Lady lived here and helped out families of Naval officers in need. It was not long before events beyond my father’s control meant he was kicked out and moved on again. My father was now moved half way across England to a place he referred to as “The Institute.” My father it seemed had nowhere to call home, he suffered from loneliness and felt he didn’t belong anywhere at the tender age of just 14. The “Institute” was a strict old fashioned boys home, which my father described as prison! No one was allowed to leave the isolated country premises unless they had a visitor or went home for the holidays. My father never received any visitors and had nowhere to go in the holidays he, was stuck there! Until one day he decided to change that…

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