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“What she went on to tell me was sort of unbelievable,” the 70-year-old Cammidge said. Over three emotional hours, his 85-year-old mother confessed that she had become pregnant with him after she was raped by a lodger in her family’s home during World War II. It was a secret she had kept from him his entire life, and she implored him not to tell anyone until after she died. “She let it all come out,” Cammidge said, speaking from his Greenbrae home. “She didn’t want me to do any research about my father. She said, ‘I’m too ashamed, and it will get back to people in my hometown.'”.
Cammidge said he was stunned by his mother’s revelation, but he had lived long enough by then to be able to hear the painful truth with relative equanimity, “I’m glad I knew at the age of 70,” he said, “If she had told me when I open toe dance shoes was 35, I’m not sure it would have been the same, But I didn’t feel angry, It was a different time back then, The war was going on, “I was both shocked and elated because at long last I had a sense of my father.”, A retired Bank of America executive, Cammidge has lived in Marin County for the past 35 years, He kept his mother’s secret until her death in 2008, And now he has self-published a historical novel, “An Unplanned Encounter: Two Lives Forever Changed,” based on her story of violence, heartbreak and courage..
“The book is a thank you to my mother because my life could have been so different,” he said, noting that he wrote it under the pen name Jonathan R. Husband to protect the identities of his mother’s English relatives. It’s available at Barnes and Noble and Book Passage in Corte Madera and online at jonathanhusband.com. The rape scene in the book is pretty much the way his mother told it to him before she died. In 1943, during the dark days of the war, her parents had rented a room in their Yorkshire farm house to a civil engineer who was overseeing the construction of a nearby military airfield. He was married and had two children.
His mother was 20 years old, a lively single woman who worked in military canteens and had open toe dance shoes come home to visit her parents, On the evening that would cast a shadow over her life, she was getting ready to go to a dance with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, After a shower, she wrapped a towel around herself and was walking down a hallway to her room to get dressed, As she passed the lodger’s bedroom door, he pulled her inside and sexually assaulted her, “It was a dreadful thing that happened,” Cammidge said, “In today’s world it would be rape.”..
Ashamed and afraid, she didn’t tell anyone what had happened. “She hoped it would go away,” her son said. But it became clear that she was pregnant when she suffered from morning sickness on an outing with her church. Abortion was a difficult thing to arrange then, and despite pressure from her family, she refused to give up the baby for adoption. After the birth. After she gave birth in a Yorkshire nursing home, she was pushed by her parents into what amounted to an arranged marriage with a widower who needed help on his farm. She subsequently had two children by him. Although Cammidge took his name, he never felt loved by the man his mother insisted was his father.
“The marriage was driven by her open toe dance shoes parents wanting her out of the house because of the shame,” Cammidge said, “I had the notion that this wasn’t a love match and I suspected that the man she said was my father wasn’t my father.”, Not that his biological father would have been an ideal dad, In his research for the book, he discovered that his father had been committed to a mental institution by his wife, who wouldn’t have anything to do with him after she found out that he had a child by another woman, He actually faked his own death, a suicide, to escape from his obligations for a few years, He died of a pulmonary embolism in 1972..
“He was a pompous bastard for what he did to his real wife and kids as well as to my mother,” Cammidge said. “I think he was bipolar because he had these huge mood swings, but back then they didn’t diagnose those things. To fake your own suicide to escape from your wife and kids is sort of extreme.”. In recent years, he met his father’s daughter, his half sister, and her family. “She’s a wonderful person,” he said. She gave him some home movies that have glimpses of his father in them. He has not yet met his half brother.
Cammidge’s late wife, Lynne, who died of cancer four years ago, was the Larkspur Library’s children’s librarian, Larkspur Librarian Frances Gordon remembers meeting Cammidge’s mother when she visited her son and his family in Marin, Gordon was one of the first people that Cammidge had read his book, “Can you imagine meeting someone like that and learning their story afterward?” she said, “It tends to make you more respectful of the person and of older people who have endured things like that, who have struggled a lot more than we have to have a life and to give us a life, I think it’s amazing that he could tell this story, It takes a lot of courage.” —— (c)2014 open toe dance shoes The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) Visit The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.) at www.marinij.com..