Volume 1 (The Family)
The 8th of December was one hectic day with everyone preparing for the wedding day tomorrow. The boys were home from school, with the headmaster's blessing, to start the Christmas. It was two weeks early, but they had been given plenty of homework to do in that space of time at home.
Julie was also home and so excited about being the only bridesmaid. It was hard to keep her calm. Outside, caterers were setting up the marquees for the wedding reception and Angela's dad was trialled with sorting out transport for the big day and helping the boys as senior usher. The bridal car was to be a horse and carriage, while Tony's transport was a white Rolls Royce. The week before, the boys had all been fitted out with black suits black shoes and white shirts, all with different colour ties. Nobody had seen Angela's dress so that would be a surprise to everyone. George and Gladys had not bought anything new despite being offered the chance. They said that they wanted to be comfortable in clothes and shoes that were broken in.
Since Tony had begun to foster David, wheels had been in motion and come the New Year, an adoption hearing would be heard in the Children's Court. Angela had asked Jamie if he would like Tony to adopt him also so that he and David would have the same surname. Jamie had wanted to, so the hearing would cover both boys. George and Gladys had discussed whether to adopt their two children, but had decided not to as they were getting older. It had been arranged with Children's Services that should one or the other of them pass on, then Tony and Angela would take both children into their family, so that there would be continuity. As it was, both children spent as much time at the House on the Hill as they did at the Barn on the Hill.
The list for the church ceremony was set. Adam, David and Jamie would act as ushers, showing everyone to their seats. The caterer was going to do the flowers. The vicar was at home double checking the order of marriage and as this was a rare wedding at the old church, the ladies were decorating the church with flowers.
The honeymoon was booked to the south of France. The difference with this honeymoon, was that the whole family was going, with the addition of John and Stan. The young Cheng's were almost included, but their father decided on visiting Hong Kong.
The family would cross the channel from Dover and drive down to the north of the Massive Central Mountains to Clermont-Ferrand. There, they would spend a night in a hotel. The next day, they would continue the journey to the south of France known as the Midi, ending up at a camp site in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, still open in the winter. There they would have three chalets, one chalet for all the boys, one for Angela and Tony, and one for George, Gladys and Julie. Although it was winter there also, temperatures were normally around 20/21c through the day.
Angela and Tony had both had their respective singles do's the week before and on the same night, just different venues. Both groups had joined up at the Metropolitan Hotel Bar at 10 pm for a final drink all together. Had anyone noticed, the door to the bar slowly opened and that magical breeze wafted around the bar. Tony and Angela doubted they had, but they did and glanced at each other and smiled.
The wedding eve drew on. Morning passed to afternoon, afternoon to evening and finally time for bed arrived. Adam decided to stay over with the boys and Julie opted to go home to the Barn.
The boys' bedrooms were full of talk about the coming great day for them all. Even John and Stan talked about the happy day to come and the happiness it would bring for their best friends. They owed Tony and Angela a lot. They had both worked tirelessly with the boy's parents to help them fully understand how the two boys felt about each other, helping to make the boys lives so much better.
They had joined the club for 'Gay' (A new term for homosexuals) boys, along with Jamie and David, and were enjoying the friendship of the other boys in the club. There had been surprisingly more boys than they had thought. The two masters were brilliant at answering all their probing questions with honesty and decorum.
Tony was half awake thinking of the time since The Wind first struck. It had certainly been eventful since that day in July. He smiled to himself. "Look out for the boy." It had said to him. Well, he had certainly done that, found a wife and another son, and parents-in-law in the process. He wondered if The Wind would show up tomorrow. He bet it would. Lots of other events had happened as well.
June had at last met the man of her dreams and was bringing him to the wedding for all to see. The two children's houses were now well established and were a complete success. The children in them were as happy as children should be.
Ben Kip-Kip and Mrs. Abisi were due to wed in the spring of 1968.
Simon and John turned out to be fantastic parents to the children in the house they ran. John now ran his business part time, so as to be able to fulfil the duties at the house.
Tom and Ben had finished their training as children's officers and were still working together in Brighton, visiting schools in the area. The term 'Happy as Sand boys' fit them perfectly. They were completely different characters compared to when they were on traffic duty.
Bill and Tony had worked hard together, to both sharpen the work ethic at the hospital and also to get doctors and nurses to look harder for signs of abuse. Not just physical and sexual, but cruelty of another equally evil nature, verbal abuse.
They had had only two cases of physical abuse and one of verbal. The ward sister heard a father talking to one young girl, she guessed his daughter, in a way that had her flag it up to Bill. They had looked into it and after showing the man the error of his ways he changed. He didn't even know he was hurting his young daughter until then.
Slowly, Tony drifted off to sleep and the next thing he heard were three young men making a racket in their shower. He couldn't be angry. This was their day as well, as his and Angela's. Angela slowly woke and asked what the time was.
"Would you believe 5-30 love?" he said.
The Wedding Day
"Those boys will be the death of us darling. I suppose we might as well get up, seeing as we are not, according to tradition, supposed to see each other until the wedding."
"Well, I've seen you and you are just as gorgeous as you were yesterday and will be later."
"Thank you, my Lord of the House on the Hill. In that case, I might just turn up at the church on time."
They both laughed and had what would likely be their last cuddle as single people.
All the boys were up, dressed casually and ready for breakfast. Unbeknown to the couple, the boys had plotted to make breakfast between them. They had thought hard about what to make and decided on a full English breakfast. They each had separate tasks to complete. Jamie was to cook the bacon and eggs. Adam was the toast and tea guru and David would make the fried bread and cook sausages. Before they started, they lay the table for 8 people as George, Gladys and Julie would be coming as well.
Even the boys were amazed that the whole process went exceptionally well. Everything was ready together and as the breakfast was plated up, the other five people were sitting at the table ready. Everyone enjoyed the meal and when they had finished, those who had been waited on, stood and clapped the boys for their fine effort. The boys also did the washing up so that Angela and Gladys could go and get their hair done. Tony had little to do except get to the church first after dressing into his finery. The time for the wedding had been set for 3 pm and the celebrations were to start at 5 pm. After which, the family would have a short sleep and head off for the honeymoon at 4 am to get to the ferry for 5-30 am.
Angela and Gladys set off for their hair appointments, while the boys asked Tony if there was anything they could do.
"Why don't you get your bikes out and go up to the top of the hill and get some exercise. You don't need to change until 12 o'clock, ready for granddad to take you to the church. What time are John and Stan getting here?"
"They said their parents were taking them direct to the church and to give you their cases when they get back here after the wedding."
"I see. Jamie. Can you quickly sort out the case for me and put it with ours in the hall as I won't be able to get away to do it."
"Sure Tony, no problem. I will come back with them and do that as soon as we get here."
"Good lad. Thank you. That is one less worry. Now off you go and enjoy a bike ride. Wrap up a bit as it is quite cold still."
The boys went off, leaving Tony to sit and reflect. He had lovely children, lovely in-laws and a beautiful wife. Well in a few hours anyway. He had an excellent job that he loved, good friends and a lovely home. What more could he wish for. Something deep inside was telling him he and his family had much more to do in the future for the benefit of disadvantaged children. David and Jamie were still only ten, yet they seemed to act very maturely. He smiled to himself as he thought of their seeming twin like traits, like knowing what the other was thinking most of the time. He hoped they would grow up slowly though and not become young adults too soon. Then he thought of what George had said about Adam. The lad had accepted the other boy's sexuality in his stride and it didn't bother him. They were his 'brothers', he had said. Tony liked his openness and drive for one so young. He had recently joined the school cadet force and was really enjoying the weekly parade. He had missed the summer camp, but would make it the next year. Being 14 years old in January, he was a bit of a ladies man. And although he hadn't yet got a girlfriend, he was on the lookout for one.
Angela loved all the children and being a girl, she especially loved Julie. Angela was already on the PTA at Roedean School and attended the meetings.
Tony's concentration was halted by a knock at the front door. He got up and opened it. Ah, the caterers had arrived. He bade them good morning and left them to do their thing in the garden. He looked out of the door. The sun was now up and was starting to get a little warmth in it. It was going to be a lovely day.
In Brighton, Angela was having her hair washed and was thinking many of the thoughts that Tony was having. She had a secret that she would have to tell him later, but for the moment it was hers alone. Her main love was of course Jamie, but she had noticed with great joy, how he had changed since the other children and Tony had come into his life. He was no longer so shy. He was full of life, and working so well with his new brother and Adam. She wondered what he would be like now, had she not met Tony. James, her deceased husband, was still in her mind, but she had a feeling he would give his blessing to the coming union. The decision to make the honeymoon a family affair was not difficult. They should all be able to celebrate together as a family. Yes, life was good and soon she would be Mrs. Andrews.
Gladys, sitting next to Angela and under the dryer, let her thoughts wander. Her daughter had at last, after the loss of James, found a man of his equal, if not better. The two of them obviously loved all the children connected to the family and likely all the children in Brighton with problems. She and George had made arrangements for Julie and Adam, knowing they would both be safe if anything happened to her and George in the future. They had insurance to make sure that there would be plenty of funds to secure the children's future.
The boys were at the top of the hill looking at the view over Brighton. If one could overhear them, you would have heard them talking among themselves.
One voice stood out. Jamie had improved so much that these days he was the chief spokesman in any gathering when the lads were together. This time however it was Adam doing the talking. Firstly, he put Jamie and David at ease by telling them he loved them both dearly, but not in a gay way. David and Jamie hit back and said that an ugly boy like him stood no chance. To which the all three fell about laughing.
Jamie asked Adam if he had found a girlfriend yet. He told them about a sister of a friend at school. He had met with her once.
Jamie and David pushed for more information.
Adam told them a little about her. She was at Roedean School as a day girl and she was gorgeous. He hoped to get to know her better after they came back from France. Her brother was a junior prefect and she came to the school for him to take her home.
David was the next to speak. "I wonder who dad's best man is. He has kept it a secret, even mum doesn't know. Perhaps it will be Bill or maybe Ben or Tom. Anyway, I hope mum and dad like our present to them.
The boys had put a special present to mum and dad in granddads car boot, ready to put with the wedding presents later. They all three had made a card between them, with Julie adding her own little bit to it.
Jamie looked at his watch and suggested it was time they got home and get changed ready to go to church. They all agreed and got on their bikes for the trip downhill to the house. All three arrived at the house together and put the bikes away. They greeted Tony as they went indoors. Then they all headed for the shower. Once again, it sounded like a riot and then all went quiet. They crept down stairs in towels and got behind Tony and all shouted 'BOO!' Despite all of Tony's army training, they caught him and it made him jump in the seat. The boys thought it hilarious, until Tony leapt up and whipped their towels away. That sent them back upstairs with playful screams. Tony picked up the towels and returned them upstairs. He listened to the giggles coming from the boys' bedroom and smiled to himself again. Yes, this was a happy house.
Gladys and Angela arrived back from the hairdressers and then went over to the Barn to get ready. George left them there with Julie and went over to the House to meet with the boys. Time was moving on and the boys were dressed and looking so smart. George commented on that to Tony and he had to agree. George said the boys were a credit to them.
Finally, at just after 2 o'clock, George and the boys set off for the church.
There were always early arrivals to a wedding and they needed to be there for them. They arrived at 2-30 pm and went into the church. They were the only wedding that day and nobody was around. The Church looked absolutely beautiful, ablaze with fabulous flowers in all colours. A lady from the caterers was waiting outside the church with white carnations.
Slowly, the little church began to fill. Tony then arrived with his best man. The boys gasped in surprise. The man was tall, well over six feet tall, but, the most amazing thing was his dress. He wore full military no 1 dress uniform with masses of medals on the front of it and three pips on his shoulders. The badge was that of the SAS with the motto 'Who dares wins' on it. The boys stared in awe, because even having known that Tony was in the SAS, the last thing they expected was to see a real trooper. Tony got the boys together and introduced his best man.
"Boys, this is Captain Frank Andrews, my brother."
"We didn't know you had a brother, dad." David said.
"Ah, well boys, he is my secret weapon against cheeky boys. Even mum doesn't know yet."
Frank bent down to the boys and offered his hand to each in turn. "Please call me Uncle Frank, lads. I would love that."
Each boy took his hand and shook it. Mouths still wide open in awe.
Tony introduced Frank to George, who took Frank's appearance in his stride. They greeted each other and then George went to the back of the church to wait for his daughter to give her away.
Tony and his best man stood waiting for Angela to arrive. The wait seemed like forever and then the organ started up. No traditional bridal march, but a lively version of 'Me and my girl'. Every one except Tony and the best man turned to see Angela appear at the rear of the church, looking like a million pounds. Her dress was a beautiful sky blue with white trim. Her veil, instead of the normal white, was a matching sky blue. Behind her, walked Julie, also in sky blue, looking a picture and all serious, as she carried a colourful bouquet. George took his daughters arm and escorted her down the aisle to meet with Tony in front of the Vicar.
Together they walked to the steps of the Alter. Tony's brother at his side and George alongside Angela. They held hands and Tony could feel Angela shaking so he squeezed her hand to boost her morale and the service started.
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to join together this man and this woman in Holy matrimony." the Vicar said. From there on the ceremony went smoothly with George giving Angela to Tony. Frank, without hitch, passing the ring to him to put on Angela's finger and get it blessed. The ceremony finished with the traditional 'You may kiss the bride'. Tony lifted the veil and whispered "You are beautiful, darling."
Angela in turn said. "And you scrub up a bit of all right, darling."
With that, they gave each other a lovely kiss, accompanied by a burst of applause from the congregation.
The family went into the vestry to sign the certificate. It was there, when Angela asked who the soldier was. Tony gave a big smile and said. "This is my long lost brother, Frank. He disappeared four years ago and ZULU found him for me and got him here for the wedding. Ten years ago, he supposedly left the regiment for Civvy Street. He did no such thing. He has been guarding some very important man, god knows where. He is about to finish his service just after Christmas. I couldn't tell any of you about him, as he might have been dead or imprisoned somewhere for all I knew. It has taken Zulu almost a year to find him for me. When we got in touch again, it was a miracle to me and I wanted to keep him as a surprise."
While the family soaked that information in, Frank then spoke up.
"I couldn't tell Tony what had happened, because of the dreaded Official Secrets Act. Plus MI6 had me posted dead to suit their purposes. Fortunately ZULU 1 is all powerful. I don' know who he is, but he got me reassigned and brought back from the dead. I didn't know what had happened to Tony over the years and when he finally managed to contact me and tell me of this day. Well, the rest is now history."
Angela, though shocked, welcomed Frank with open arms, as did the rest of the family. There would be a lot to talk about later. The boys latched onto Frank like limpets on a rock. After the registry, they all walked up the aisle to leave the church for the wedding photos. That took some time and folk started to get a bit chilly and started to huddle together a little.
Finally the horse and carriage arrived for Tony and his new wife to return to the House as man and wife. Confetti flew all over as they mounted the carriage. Then they set off on the short trip home. The rest of the family all got into cars and set off back for the reception. Frank was surrounded by his three young admirers on that trip. They almost talked him to death with masses of questions, many of which he couldn't answer. By the time the bulk of guests and family arrived back at the house, Tony and Angela were approaching in the carriage to the house at a gentle trot. They finally arrived to much clapping and cheering. The photographer quickly took some more photos for the album and then everyone followed Tony and Angela Andrews to the marquee.
Champagne greeted everyone except the children and everyone stood around chatting with their friends. Virtually everyone knew everyone else and by the time the boys had finished telling everyone about him, even Frank was no longer a stranger.
In time, everyone was seated and the meal began. The meal took about one and a half hours to complete and then the speeches started. Frank was excellent with the best man speeches, to the bridesmaid Julie, who blushed red, then to the ushers and parents. The boys' chests puffed out with pride, and then finally, he toasted the bride and groom.
Tony then stood and thanked his brother for being his best man. One could see he was close to tears. Having his brother back was the greatest wedding present he could possibly have got next to getting a new wife. His speech was not over long but he did introduce June and her intended to everyone. Finally he asked all the rest of the family to gather round him as a complete family.
The boys couldn't wait any longer and David brought the wrapped present for their parents. He presented it to them and when they opened it they gasped in amazement. It was truly beautiful. Both Tony and Angela were in tears and hugged all the boys along with Julie. They thanked the boys for all their hard work to make such a memorable picture for them to treasure.
That was when Angela whispered in Tony's ear. "The painting isn't quite complete, I am pregnant love." She didn't whisper quiet enough though and David heard her and shouted to Jamie. "Mum's going to have a baby." Not a soul missed it and everyone stood up and cheered. The Wind didn't miss out either and blew strongly all through the marquee.
The End of Volume1. The Family.
My thanks once again to Bob for his hard work editing 'The Wind'
My thanks to Ted for kindly allowing me space to share it with others.
Thank you to all you readers and other authors for your kind and helpful comments.
I have enjoyed writing this first part of the Family's Story and I hope you have enjoyed reading it.
Please let me know your thoughts on the story.
Until the next volume
Best wishes. Sam Lelliott
Volume2. The School Years, Begins soon.