BERNADETTE CYNTHIA HEALY
No wonder Jack eventually gave his blessing, it will take more than a year for me to find anything of any relevance, especially on my own. How could I have thought this would be a simple task? Nothing about Bernadette Cynthia Healy has ever been easy, and even from beyond the grave she is making my life a misery. I grit my teeth as I trawl backwards and forward through the four or so metres of 'London Schools, T-V, 1900-1950'.
Eventually I find something that resembles the name of Albert Healy's school, 'Thames End Academy' and this gives me a little bit of hope. I tuck the book under my arm and march down the dimly lit corridors to the church records. Thankfully this is far easier than the lists of schools, and I find a need little pack of notes and relevant books all about the history, ownerships and religious ceremonies that have occurred in St Mary Magdalene Church in Bermondsey over the last twenty, thirty, fifty, or hundred years, depending on my area of interest. I grab the relevant information and together with my notes from home and the potential information about the school I head to a quiet reading area.
Because the information about St Mary Magdalene is something I feel that I can trust a little bit more than the vague assumption that 'Thames End Academy' has anything to do with Thames End School, I start with the wedding notice from the newspaper clipping and head through the paraphernalia straight to the church records.
I only know that the wedding took place in 1961 as the clipping was not useful enough to have an actual date attached. This means I have to trawl through twelve months of weddings, but it surprises me that there are fewer wedding than I'd originally presumed. It helps that I have the surnames of both the bride and the groom, and there are photocopies of signatures next to the names of all the now married, or divorced, couples, who contracted their love into a marriage back in 1961.
I'm feeling more cynical than I have ever before or at least that I've felt in a long time. I hope the feeling goes away shortly because I know it will cloud my judgement. I wish that Jonathon was here to give me some level-headed advice. I have a pen and paper with me to make notes, but I spy a photocopier near the stairs and I intend to make full use of the contraption. Eventually, on the 20th May 1961 I find the information I've been looking for; Albert Healy married Eugene Barnet at 2pm. The reverend was a Father Thomas and it was witnessed by the parents of the bride and groom.
The parents? That can't be possible, unless... I remove my glasses and rub my eyes, a headache beginning to make itself known, as my eyes are no longer used to reading as much as they once were. I return the spectacles to my head and reread the information and try to digest as much of it as possible. It's correct; Albert Healy married Eugene Barnet. The names are identical, the ages are correct, the date is correct... I don't have any records to compare the signatures, but in my gut I feel that this is Bernadette Cynthia Healy's long lost brother's wedding records.
I reread the information for the third time as it begins to sink in that my initial fears were correct; Bernadette Cynthia Healy was abandoned up in Scotland as her parents refused to acknowledge their first born. It makes my heart swell in sorrow and I can only imagine the psychological and emotional damage it would have had on her had she ever found out about this cruel ruse. I hate that I feel sorry for my husband's mistress, but no child deserves to be abandoned.
The gravity of the situation slowly begins to sink in as I sit at the desk, papers strewn around the table.