My mum's sister, who had been informed of my previous post in which I declared my plans to write my mum's story, just called to say that my mum was not 'sent away' after her father died, but at 13 years old, four years after.  She also said that my mum was not 'sent away' by their mother but by the authorities.  But those same authorities needed a document signed and it was my gran who signed it when her eldest went away, and it was her who signed the release paper seven years later.  It was not a compulsory sending away by the authorities but a voluntary one by the parent.  That is not to say that I am blaming my gran who died in 1990.  I am not.  I spent many a weekend at my gran's house as a child and I totally understand how difficult it must have been to have been left alone with seven children all that time ago, but I believe a story can be told as objectively as possible, without laying blame at people's feet.  It is naturally very difficult when one is about to delve into murky waters and start to bring skeletons out of the closet - it scares people who thought they had put those skeletons behind them.  But that does not mean that a veil of silence should be preserved.  Yet the same aunt who called me this morning is not the one who had to live with the fall-out of the years my mum had spent there - that dubious privilege fell to us, her children, or more specifically to me, her eldest daughter because my mum didn't have anyone else to talk to.  Therefore I think I've earned the right to tell my mum's story.  My mum also once said that she had planned herself to write about her time spent at Brockhall, but life got in the way, then, a few years later, alcohol and kids.  I have already begun my research and have already come across troubling accounts of the time spent there by other people who say they were mocked, hit and force-fed.  I also know this because it was along the same lines as the stories my mum had relayed back to me about her own time.  I think what is interesting about telling someone's story is how everyone's memories of what happened are different - that's because everyone experiences things in a different way, even if it is of the same situation.  And I will attempt to be as clear about my own mother's experiences as I can.


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