Sister Flora was my guardian angel for the first fourteen years of my life. She was my mother. She guided me through my formative years, and the standards and values she taught me nearly sixty years ago are still with me today.
When I was fourteen years old I went into foster care with the most unsuitable man who had no idea how to care for a difficult and damaged child. He was a bully who enjoyed tormenting little girls with verbal abuse. I had no idea how to fight back. The situation often deteriorated into a wrestling match. I was a child, and he was an adult who should have known better. I was at an impressionable age and never realised at the time, what a huge influence this man had on my character. Within a short time of being with my foster family I became aggressive and defensive towards everybody ....... To make matters worse, I once went back to a Harrogate reunion when I was about seventeen. I met Mr Pruden on the drive, and he said to me " We don't want YOUR sort here, JONES ! " I was completely stunned. I didn't challenge Pruden because his remark had so taken me by surprise and I didn't know how to respond to such a vicious attack ...... I never did understand what he meant, and I've always wondered why he said it.
Thank goodness sister Flora came to my rescue again. She retired shortly after I went into foster care, and by coincidence, lived just a few miles away. I had my own bedroom in her appartment and was able to spend holidays with her. It was a wonderful refuge of peace and tranquility. After I married, my husband and I visited her regularly until her death in 1982 ....... When she was alive I found it difficult to express my love for sister Flora because everyone else who had played a significant part in my life had failed me in some way. I just wish now that I could put my arms round her and tell her how very much I love her.
I've written this not only as a tiny tribute to sister Flora, but also as an example of how either the positive or negative behaviour of adults can have a tremendous impact on the developing mind of a child ...... Lastly, I want to give credit to my husband, who has been with me for forty five years and helped me to learn how to love, and to learn that I don't have to fight everybody.