Losing The Hate (cont'd)

You can imagine the excitement I felt when, at the age of ten, a highly thought of and well respected teacher at my school asked if I would like to be included in a photographic project which was due to be displayed as part of the forthcoming parents’ evening. I was completely overjoyed. The teacher, Mr. Ropeman, explained that he would need to gain permission from my mother or father, explaining that it would be more convenient if the shots were taken on a Saturday morning. And so it was arranged, I would meet him outside the staffroom at the end of the school day.
As the afternoon drew to a close I could think of nothing else. Perhaps if the photos were good enough it would be possible for me to do some more. I liked this teacher, and felt as honoured as any child of that age would.
After a lot of “clock watching”, the final bell sounded and I made my way towards the staffroom, eagerness coursing through my veins. I pushed against the throng of children desperately trying to escape the clutches of school, as if it were some kind of terrifying monster, when all the time it was myself who was getting ever closer to a monster; a creature more scary than any child could possibly dream of.
Ropeman led me to his car and we drove the short distance to my home where he had a brief conversation with my mother, who agreed that the proposed “photo shoot” would be perfectly fine. She even asked him if he would let her have a couple of copies for the family album.
Once he left, I hurried into the back garden, silently playing and keeping an eye out for my father to arrive home from work. I couldn't wait to share my news and tell him of the adventure I was about to embark on.
I knew he would be excited for me, and it wouldn't matter if he’d had a hard day at work; it never did. He was always there for me, always ready with an enthusiastic smile. Even when all he wanted was to sit and relax, one look at my outstretched arms as I ran in his direction immediately brought my father to his knees. However weary he may have felt, there was always time for a hug. I have vivid memories of him swinging me around and around, laughing as he did so. My mother was usually not far off, love almost oozing from every pore of her body as she watched our frolicking about.
My life started with them at the age of five months. They loved children so much that they became foster parents for the local authority, looking after babies whilst their own parents dealt with their various problems life had unwittingly thrown at them. Thankfully, I was one of those babies.

My stay with them was initially meant to be short term, typically no longer than a three month period, while my natural mother finished a short spell in prison (my place of birth). The plan was that, once her rehabilitation was complete, I would stay with her for weekends, and eventually move back on a permanent basis.
However, following my mother’s continued back slides, and her inability to take parenthood seriously, the social workers decided that the best course of action would be to put me up for adoption. In the meantime, Maureen and Les Palmer agreed to care for me until the time a suitable family could be found.
Unbeknown to me, the Palmers had applied to adopt me themselves, wanting to give me a stable family life as one of their own. And so, during the summer of 1972, I became the son they never had, Simon James Palmer.
Suddenly my young world completely changed. I went from being in care to having the perfect parents, together with three doting sisters. The entire family, my family, including aunts and uncles, never treated me as an outsider and everyone automatically loved me with a passion that was almost indescribable.
Every Saturday we would visit my mother’s sister, Kitty, and her husband John. These visits were always a big affair, with most of their nine children also spending the day with them. My dad would sit in the kitchen playing cards with Uncle John, while Mum sat in the lounge watching television and having a laugh. It was a wonderful time, and I have many fond memories of those days.

Dad worked very hard as a lorry driver, often taking me along during the school holidays, while Mum did a fantastic job as a housewife, running the home to the best of her ability. There was always enough money for meals, seaside breaks, and the most fantastic Christmases any child could possibly hope to have. All in all, they were, and will remain, in my heart, the best people in the entire world.
On that fateful day when Ropeman appeared on their doorstep, my mother and father, possibly the most attentive parents ever put on this earth, were conned and manipulated by a very clever and sinister man. They were tricked into allowing their only son to be exploited within the perverse world of child ***********.
The events which were about to unfold would change the course of everyone's lives.
SyeP SyeP
41-45, M
Jan 8, 2013