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16 October 2014

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Family History/Lies

By Liz Hinds
October 2004,
A digital story from Who Do You Think You Are?

"I think my father is in this photo. I hope he is because this photo and my curly hair are all I have of him.

I was born in a small seaside village in the early fifties and grew up living with my mother, grandparents and great-grandmother.

My father's absence was explained by the fact that my parents had separated and he was living in India. We were part of an extended family.

I knew I was loved but sometimes I woke at night crying, 'Nobody loves me.'

When I was eight my mother gave me an Indian doll she said my father had sent for me. And when I was thirteen my mother showed me the photo of my father and told me, without actually saying the words, that she had never been married.

In that instant the lie, in which the whole family had colluded and which was a foundation of my life, crumbled, and I was crushed by falling debris.

Nearly forty years on I can imagine the struggle between love and hate that my mother must have experienced. I would cry for her if I could but I can't. When my foundations were shaken, I built a new wall to surround my heart and keep emotion at bay. A wall constructed of bricks of fear.

Today if anyone asks, I say, 'I never knew my father.' I don't lie; I just don't tell the whole truth.

There's simply too much to say."

Liz Hinds


Please tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Swansea with my husband and one or two or none of my children (depending on term times!). I work part-time as a church administrator, part-time in a bookshop, part-time as a writer and a very little time as a housewife.

What's your story about?
My mother, my father and the role an Indian doll played in my childhood and my life. I have lately come to realise that things in my past have affected my adult life and can continue to do so.

What did you find the most rewarding aspect about the workshop?
The finished product! I enjoyed learning new things, the feeling 'I can do this' and meeting the others on the course and hearing their stories

How has this workshop affected the way you look upon your family history?
It has made me re-think my decision to look no further into my family tree."

Your comments

"I find this a very moving story and also very interesting as i am a Hinds from the Swansea area. I wonder if there is any connection?" Victoria Hinds.

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