By Patricia Skidmore
Patricia Skidmore is a writer who has painstakingly uncovered a hidden family story of loss and dispossession and told that story in a deeply moving way. Her first book, Marjorie: Too Afraid to Cry, documents her mother’s early years. Marjorie; her War Years takes the story forward through WWII.
Marjorie was one of hundreds of thousands of British children removed from their homes and sent to “the colonies” because they were poor. These children were screened and tested before their emigration as they were intended to provide
“good white stock” for the colonial labour force. It was common practice to tell these children their parents were dead.
In Marjorie’s case, she was sent to a rural school outside Duncan, British Columbia, in the 30’s, on the eve of her 11th birthday. She was separated there from her brother, and from her sister who arrived subsequently. Marjorie’s painful struggles to maintain her sense of self and family are told by her daughter with clarity and immense compassion.
Woven into this very personal tale is the background of Britain’s shameful course of conduct toward its own poor, which the author has thoroughly researched and documented. Patricia Skidmore’s story of her mother’s experience is a microcosm of the brutal impacts of colonial arrogance on people everywhere In the British “Empire”. A highly recommended read.