- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Truman Doss, Eileen Blake, Olive Davis
- Location of story:
- Aldershot and South East England
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 25 September 2005
ONCE A NOBODY
NOW A SOMEBODY
Olive Trunes Davis
What you are about to read is a true version of my journal which I started just prior to leaving for my trip of a lifetime to Greenville, Kentucky from 3rd August to 26th August 2004. To help understand the background for the purpose of this journey, a brief synopsis is given.
My mother was born on 1 January 1924. Although her mother and father were alive only the youngest of their children Mary was brought up with them, the remainder were put in a home for unwanted children, which was run by catholic nuns. My mother being the youngest of the children remained there for several years having minimum schooling, working for her keep by scrubbing floors and doing various other jobs of the same nature. She never knew what it was like to be kissed and hugged by a parent or any one else for that matter. It is true to say that she had a very hard upbringing and it wasn’t until a couple of years before she left the home she found out that she had an older sister, Catherine, who was also at the same institute. Catherine, on leaving the home, kept in touch with her younger sister until she was old enough to leave. During this time contact was made with their parents and I understand that all the children were eventually reunited. On the outbreak of WWII, along with her sister Catherine, they joined the ATS working on the land, doing jobs that were mainly held by men who were away fighting for their country.
Truman Berry Doss
James Berry Doss had 9 children in all, the last two by his third wife Clara Vaden, a daughter Novilla Doss born 29 December 1911 and Truman Berry Doss born 14 September 1918. James Doss was approximately 52 years when he married Clara who was just 16 years old at the time. After the death of his father on 1 January 1925, his mother later married again to Elmer Stewart and had 3 more children. Events that took place later can be found in the book “MURDERS OF MUHLENBERG COUNTY”.
During his military service between 1943 and 1946, he saw action in France and Germany after which time he returned to the States on leave where he met up and married Eula Myrl Arnold on 1 April 1944. Two weeks later he was sent overseas to England where he later met up with my mother, Eileen Blake who, in turn, introduced him to her family who were living in Becontree, Essex, and later became a frequent visitor. Whether he told my mother he was married (*), I do not know but some months later my mother found out that she was pregnant and I was born on 21 January 1946. My father Truman Berry Doss saw me just the once before being shipped back to the States and was later honorary discharged from the US Army in February 1946.
No further contact was ever made between my mother and father.
My journal actually follows this but it totalled approximately 20,000 words so cannot be shown here but here is my final input to the journal.
In November 2004 I went to see my mother in England where I was able to tell her all about my wonderful trip. She recalled the day that a nurse came to see her after I was born saying that there was a gentleman wishing to see the baby. Knowing it to be Truman Doss she gave her permission with the expectation that he would then call on her. After seeing the child, he left without seeing her which literally broke her heart. She never knew he was married until I told her but was intrigued to hear all about my journey. The missing pieces then began to fall into place and at long last my mother was able to close the door on the past events of which changed her life completely.
My personal view is that my father Truman through guilt was unable to tell my mother that he was married and within days of seeing me was sent back to the USA being demobbed from the Army in February 1946. He told his family all about me and my mother but was committed to stand by his wife as she didn’t want a divorce. This decision affected both of them and their children. Whilst staying at my brother Larry’s home, he showed me his mother’s bible whereupon she wrote inside “Please Jesus can you make my husband love me as I know he is in love with someone else”. It was from this that I knew my father had loved my mother and if circumstances had been different he would have stayed with her. My sister Jackie confirmed the fact that he never forgot me and tried to love me through her. The repercussions of the love he shared with her caused havoc with her mother’s relationship, hence when Janet was born, their mother’s love was directed towards her and not Jackie. Hence neither of my sisters have a rapport with each other, brought about by the conflict between their parents — this is very sad.
On both sides, my family in England as well as in the USA were affected by this relationship. One can only surmise how different it would have been if each had followed their hearts desire. I am the lucky one, I now have 4 brothers and 4 sisters, all of whom are very special to me.
Olive Davis : January 2005
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