Dip yer bread

16:00 : Sunday, 16 May 2021  |  , ,


Years ago, life was a little simpler. As far as I was concerned, My dad Arnold was responsible for bringing five children into this world, courtesy of two marriages that broke down. First was his marriage to one Pat Haynes in 1955, who bore him two sons - Paul in 1955 and Gary in 1957. Both are in their sixties and still living in Manchester. In 1968 he married Maria Teresa Ruiz de Gordoa (AKA my mum!), and she provided him with three children - Susan in 1969, Richard in 1971 (who died shortly afterwards of heart complications), and myself in 1972.

It was around 2010 when my mum revealed to me that my dad fathered a son in the early 60s in London, who was also called Arnold. This intrigued me, yet I had little to go on. It was only in later years that I discovered he was born Arnold R Murray in Chelsea in 1963, to a woman called Mary M Diggory. Following the failure of this relationship, Mary and Arnold Jr would relocate to Blackpool - which is not too far from Manchester of all places. Some web searching and perusing the birth and marriage registers revealed that Mary married a Mr Mahoney in 1970, and had four further children between 1970 and 1976. All I know is, I have a 57 year old half-brother out there.

Yesterday evening I was delivered some astounding news by one of my Manchester-based cousins. There is a possible seventh child - a daughter, born in Manchester in 1952. If he was indeed responsible for the birth of Kathleen - who was born to an Irish mother who came to the UK from County Clare - then as a father, he would not yet have been 20 years old. It all sounds very plausible. Having taken a DNA test via the Ancestry site, she has a 25% match with Arnold's brother Thomas, and a smaller match with niece Christine - both of whom have also partaken in the DNA test.

The big question however is this - who was actually Kathleen's father? Was it a 19 year old Arnold? Or was it Arnold's father Thomas Sr? Therefore, is Kathleen my half-sister or my aunt? Was a young, immature version of my dad fathering the first of seven children? Or was it HIS father producing a hitherto-unknown fourth child in 1952, a good seven years after bringing Thomas Jr into the world? Basically, who was dipping their bread, with scant regard for the outcome? Was it a 19 year old with a fully-functioning sex drive? Or was it his old man, who really should have known better than to father a child who would end up living in foster care for much of her life?

Apparently, me taking a DNA test will possibly enable us all to get closer to the answer. I may now have an auntie Kathleen - or I may have another "big sister" to boss me about! Something in me is hoping it will turn out to be the latter. I have already shared with her a potted history of her possible father (in this case, my dad), and we both seem to be "as common as muck", as she joyfully puts it!

Life never seems to stop throwing curveballs.

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