Below you see, the eldest of the Black Doctors Children, Barbara-Jean Speedwell.
Her Father, Dr. William Speedwell, lived a secret life, keeping safe his children and wife, because he knew that his work in healing others, and telling them of the nature of their illnesses, had put him firmly in the cross-hairs of the local mainstream Doctors.
The fact that he was often trailed, by a tall, skilled tracker, employed he assumed, by the Doctors, had alerted him to either a desire by the Doctors to learn of his search for ingredients used in his cures, or for some other reason, one far more sinister.
Dr. William Speedwell, was a skilled herbalist, and would scour the neighboring woodlands for the plants and herbs he used in his remedies. He would go from town to town, selling his curatives and treating patients. Over time he became sought after, for his cures worked, and that had rankled the local Doctors.
Dr Speedwell’s cures, lasted, and in many cases fully cured,the Rheumatism, and other long term ailments, that often occurred with people living in the damp and cold conditions of Ireland.
Dad, died all of a sudden, while in his favorite armchair. The last time I had saw him, that was where he was sitting, that evening when he was sadly taken. I was 5 years old at that time, and I never saw him again, he hadn’t been ill, and there was no good reason, a fit man in his fortieth year, that had taken care of himself, and other people, should have just died. The loss of my Father, was too much for my Mother to bear, I don’t know why, but our family was split up, we two Girls went to Cavan, and my Brother to Cork and my mother went over to Lewisham.
Sadly, it has been a long time since the passing of my Father, lt is a time much longer than I would have liked.
By a strange quirk of fate, 18 years later, In London, I actually met up with the Tracker, mentioned in the story above, He was an ex-military man, He words to me were: “the other doctors didn’t like him, because he told the people about themselves”, also “that if I had quarter the education my Father had, I would be well away ” he also mentioned “how strong my father was, how big his healing hands were”, and that he himself, the tracker, “never knew, my father the Doctor, had Children”. The old, ex-soldier, who was ill by that time, and couldn’t drink because, as he mentioned he had high blood pressure, while we sat in the pub, and talked.
London, was magical in respects of in a world so large, and over a time that was so hectic, the surviving members of my family, Myself, Elizabeth and Jerry, all met up there, and spent some time together.
Being a world traveller, I have also now lost touch with my younger sister Elizabeth-Brodie, and youngest Brother Jerry-Rufus, we had had our surnames changed by the Catholic Church as we were spirited away into orphanages, my sister and I in Cavan at the Poor Claire Convent , and my Brother Jerry in Cork, the name of his orphanage, is unknown, all of us now shared a new surname of Hopewell, rather than Speedwell, the name we had been born into, our family name.
We are thrown into this mad world, knowing not what a day may bring forth, so we rarely have the foresight, to maintain regular contact, and all it takes is to lose contact the once, and that once, is once too many.
This is a post that goes out to those who, have lost contact with, or have lost to time, those they loved.