My childhood was very happy, summers spent in our family home in Norfolk, swimming, riding, playing, fishing, building tree-houses. My brother and I and our cousins, and later on friends from school, loved those summers 🙂 In the autumn we always visited my grandparents, family was important – and grouse 😉
Winters were spent in London, my parents both worked a lot and when my brother was off to school I could feel rather lonely at times. So the library became my favourite place, I would spend hours there living through all kinds of make belief adventures 🙂
I went off to school when I was eight. I loved school. My school was in Sussex, beautifully situated at the edge of a bluff, teachers were wonderful and I was taught to believe in myself and in humanity. We were taught that we could do anything, accomplish anything, and we were given the best tools to do just that.
After that I went to Oxford. I studied Art and History and joined a theatrical. And the Oxford Union. 🙂 Getting me to talk has never been a problem… 🙂 I loved the debates, and the openmindedness. By that time I was a typical tweed Brit, proud of my context, self-assured and easy going. I met Mark at Oxford. He swept me off my feet with his charm, his exotic looks and his adoration. When I first took him to meet my parents, my mother said “I believe you will marry him”. She was right. We were married while still at Oxford, and had our first child. I think, looking back, we were a bit proud of the bohemian fashion of it all 🙂 My parents were happy, but now I can admit – to you and to myself – that they probably wouldn’t have approved of Mark had he just been an Omani upper class boy, no they accepted him because of his English mother, who is even a distant relative of ours.
Those were wonderful years. We had two beautiful children, Mark worked in the City, I got a fellowship. When I look back, it still makes me smile.
Then my parents were killed in a car crash. The shock, the pain – unbelievable. The present became unbearably precious. I kept my family so close, I never wanted to let anybody out of my sight. My brother let me have the house, he knew I needed to hold on, hold on to family, hold on to love. When the children were off to school, I felt so alone. I started writing and completed my Ph.D. I ended my fellowship and did lecturing in stead. I’ve always loved to travel. I’ve had a very happy life.
I am the last person anybody would see ending up in polygamy. I’m the typical milk and honey English girl. I know I’ve lived a life of privilege, and I am grateful.
But I’ve lived through pain too. First the death of my parents. The shock was horrible. It scattered my world.
Then the slow, killing agony of having to watch my brother die. He was slowly tortured to death, but managed to keep his dignity and his warmth and marvelous sense of humour right until the end.
Still polygyny is by far the greatest pain I have experienced.