I am writing this story mainly for the benefit of Paul and Tracy, Hannah and Lara, so that they will maybe have some idea of where they have come from. It may also be of interest to other family members, Martin, Stephen, James, Robert and maybe the whole host of Berkeley descendents across the big pond.
I begin it with a fair amount of trepidation and hope that my memories, for it will be just a collection of memories, mostly but not exclusively mine, will be sufficient to hold it together in a reasonably cohesive manner. Memories are selective and not always reliable and, in any case, are those of only one perspective, my perspective. I will try to keep them together and in some sort of logical order. I shall also call upon the memory of others, with thanks mostly to brother Bill, to fill in lots of the gaps in my own.
My parents, Frederick William and Doris Berkeley took delivery of their fourth child on November 16th 1939 as a result of either a last fling or an accident, I have never known which. My mother was 42 when I was born, following after Betty some nine years before and Bill five years before that, with Joan somewhere in between. I must have been a handy little dolly to them all with such an age gap. I am told that Bill was given the benefit (dubious) of naming me if I turned out to be boy, so I have the full compliment of John, Michael, Desmond, and him to thank for it. Not a problem for me.
From my earliest days I remember Nan, or as I later knew her Sue, who was my mum’s mother and who did a lot for my up bringing. Sue was a nurse during the first world war and I understand that she was at some time also a gold chain maker. My granddad died before I was born, and had to retire from his post as a railway porter after suffering diabetes, gout and eventually gangrene. They used to run a small corner shop in Abbey Street, Hockley, Birmingham. I only just remember “little nan”, my dad’s mum but her husband, who was a silver pencil case maker, was also long gone before I appeared. This memory is more than likely from photographs I have seen since
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