Call me Dad…Son.
With these words a rift was created between two humans that was to remain for the next 65 years. After the death of my father in 1945 his family cared for me. This must have been some imposition on them trying to get life going again after the war.
The year before my father’s death, my mother had left, with my sister, for the bright lights of Auckland. After two years of caring for me my father’s family decided that it was time my mother faced her responsibility and took me back. She had married again in 1947 - a young, brash, recently discharged Navy lad called George. He was well meaning and hard working and looking to establish a post-war life.
George was dispatched to collect the small refugee. It was his first words that created the chasm that was to never close. After a silent ten-hour ride to Auckland I was to arrive at the cruel reality of living in a caravan, with strangers, my mother, George and my sister. Young Max’s trauma was exacerbated the next day before starting at his new school, ‘On no account are you to tell anyone that your name is not Adams – or you’ll get a hiding.’
Having effectively had his identity taken away Max was thrown into a vortex from which his relief was withdrawal and behavioural problems. A change of environment to a new school saw him adopt a ‘father figure’ in his teacher, an ex-RAF Wing Commander. Mr Elliott was a caring man who quickly recognised that it was not discipline that was required, but something to increase the confidence of this young lad.
Max was recommended for a gold medal – a traffic warden’s badge, which he wore with pride. The sulky tiger changed into a lamb excelling in the schoolroom and on the sports field.
One thing remained of the past, however. There was still the hidden secret of his identity…