John Lennon and His Father Jun 21, 2008 20:22:14 GMT -5
Post by yerblues1968 on Jun 21, 2008 20:22:14 GMT -5
DADDY COME HOME:
The True Story of
John Lennon and His Father
by Pauline Lennon
March 6, 1991
Most of the information from today’s post comes from the 1990 book Daddy Come Home: The True Story of John Lennon and His Father by Pauline Lennon, the second wife of Freddy Lennon, John’s father. The book was written primarily using Freddy Lennon’s unpublished autobiography, which was written during his estrangement from John; Freddy wanted John to be given the manuscript after his death so that John would know the true story of his life and the break-up of his marriage to John’s mother. Contrary to the popular “urban legend”, Freddy Lennon did not abandon John at age five and then show up during Beatlemania with his hand out. Freddie Lennon was not perfect, but he made countless attempts to keep his marriage together for the sake of John, as well as to be a good father.
Not many people know that John Lennon had a half-sister who disappeared off the face of the earth. During the war, Freddy Lennon was a merchant seaman who regularly sent home his paychecks to his wife Julia and their son John. Freddy was away at sea for incredibly long periods of time. In 1944, Julia Lennon, John’s mother, began an affair with a Welsh soldier named Taffy Williams who was stationed in Liverpool. She had already been thinking of divorcing Freddy. Julia became pregnant.
Freddy came home to the shock that Julia was pregnant and went to confront the soldier. He began by telling the soldier that he still loved Julia. The soldier said he wanted to marry Julia. Freddy suggested that the two of them talk with Julia.
Back at their house, Freddy made the offer that he would stand by his wife and raise the child as his own, but Julia rebuffed him with a sassy comment. Freddy then made mention of the baby and the fact that the Welsh soldier wanted to marry her. Julia immediately told the Welsh soldier to “get lost”.
Taffy Williams, the soldier, was in absolute shock, so much so that Freddy and his younger brother Charlie felt so bad for him that they took him out for a drink to console him. The soldier told them that his parents were wealthy and that he was sure that they would adopt the baby. Freddy seemed to think that this was a good idea.
However, Julia decided to give the baby up for adoption. Not only did she view a baby as interfering with her carefree lifestyle, but also her own family was pressuring her to give up the child as well.
On June 19, 1945 Julia gave birth to Victoria Williams, who was soon adopted by a Norwegian sea captain. The records were destroyed in Liverpool. John never knew he had this half-sister until he was an adult. He had his lawyers place ads in Norwegian newspapers and hired a private detective, but nothing happened.
Of course, many cranks came out of the word work to claim that they were John’s half-sister. However, in 1996 a Norwegian woman named Ingrid decided to research her adoption records and got a big surprise! Ingrid did not come forward until several years later because she wanted to wait until after her adoptive mother had died because she felt it would have hurt her mother too much. Ingrid had all the documented evidence and only came forward to put the whole thing to rest. She said that she was flattered that she was related to John Lennon, but said that her adopted family was her real family. She had worked her career as a manager of a company that cleaned high-end houses and was very satisfied with her life. Ingrid returned to her anonymity and has never tried to cash in on her connection to John Lennon.
One Review has been written about the book:
This book is about Alfred "Freddie" Lennon and his relationship with his son, John Lennon. Published in 1990, it is partly an autobiography of Freddie Lennon and partly a narrative of Pauline Lennon's observations of Freddie and John Lennon.
Pauline Lennon married 55-year-old Freddie Lennon when she was 20. The two met during the Christmas holiday in 1966 while both worked in the kitchen of the Toby Jug Hotel in Surrey, England. Pauline discusses her romance and marriage to Freddie in the book. I had previously read that Freddie Lennon married a "Beatle Fan," but Pauline denies this and goes to great lengths to show that she sincerely loved Freddie. In fact, the couple had two children together and seemed to be happily married until Freddie's death in 1976.
The first couple of chapters are based on Freddie's unpublished autobiography and gives detail to the Lennon family history. It also gives some new information on the relationship of Freddie and Julia Stanley, John's mother. Julia was a slim, attractive, unconventional lady. She met Freddie in Sefton Park when she was fourteen. They were friends for years and then later became lovers. During this time, Freddie began working on cruise ships as a bell boy, steward and waiter and would be away from Liverpool for weeks or even months at a time. They were married against the wishes of Julia's father on December 3 1938 and spent their honeymoon at the local cinema. The day after the wedding Julia went back to her parents' home and Freddie sailed for the West Indies working as a steward. Having no place of their own, the couple lived with Julia's parents at 9 Newcastle Road, Liverpool (Near Penny Lane). It was here that John Lennon spent his first few years of life with his parents. However, from 1940 to 1944 Freddie was home for a total of only three months. Julia became inpatient with Freddie's absence and sought companionship with others. Julia became pregnant by a soldier and gave birth to a girl in 1945. The baby was given up for adoption. Julia then met John "Bobby" Dykins in 1946 and would stay with him until her death in 1958. With the marriage effectively over, Freddie asked 5-year-old John to choose between he and his mother. John chose his mother, only to be given to Aunt Mimi Smith who raised him with husband George on Menlove Avenue in Liverpool. This freed Julia so that she could move in with Dykins. Freddie went back to sea and never saw Julia again. Young John ended up losing both parents.
There is an absorbing dynamic in the relationship between John and his father. From their first face-to-face meeting in 1964 to their bitter split in 1970, Pauline has written an interesting account of events from her perspective. She portrays Freddie in the best light possible and is critical of John's actions throughout the book. The first meeting between John and Freddie in 1964 lasted only 20 minutes. Freddie then continued to work as a waiter and later even released his own record to cash in on the Lennon name, but was unsuccessful. At the urging of Charles Lennon, John's uncle, he met his father again in 1967.
In 1967, John had obviously made an attempt to forgive his father for being absent during his childhood. He invited Freddie to live with he, Cynthia and Julian in his Kenwood mansion in London. John even gave Pauline a job as an au pair and let her live at Kenwood. John invited Freddie and Pauline to attend the premier of Magical Mystery Tour with he and the other Beatles. He also began paying Freddie an allowance equivalent to his earnings as a waiter. Finally, he bought and gave Freddie a house in Brighton following his marriage to Pauline and the birth of their first child. However, Pauline paints all of this in a dark light because she feels John owed much more to his father. Most likely the events of 1970 forever changed her opinion of John and she can no longer see the good things that John had done for Freddie.
In 1970, John underwent his much publicized Primal Scream therapy with Yoko Ono at Arthur Janov's Primal Institute in Los Angeles. Here he relived the pain of losing his parents as a child. John's repressed anger toward his mother and father was revealed. Janov told John that to exorcize the root causes of his neuroses, John must confront those who inflicted the pain on him. Upon his return to England, John summoned Freddie for a visit on his 30th birthday. Freddie expected a party and brought along Pauline and their child, as well as a birthday gift. John shocked Freddie by abruptly announcing that he was cutting him off completely. He stopped giving Freddie money and kicked he and Pauline out of the house in Brighton. Pauline goes into great detail and it is obvious that this single event created both pain and fear in Freddie Lennon that lasted for years.
From 1970 to 1975, Freddie and Pauline did the best they could on their own and had a second child. Freddie stayed home to care for the children and Pauline worked. It seemed that Freddie was able to erase some of the guilt for neglecting John by being a full-time parent for his two young children. Tragedy struck when Freddie was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 1976. Pauline contacted John and gave him the terrible news. John and Freddie spoke on the telephone and reconciled. John told Freddie that he regretted having gone through primal therapy. He and Freddie even made plans to visit again so that Sean Lennon could meet his grandfather. Unfortunately, Freddie's cancer progressed rapidly and he died shortly afterward. John wanted to pay for the funeral, but Pauline was still bitter and refused his money.
This is an emotional book full of unexpected details, but lacking in hard facts like dates and places. Pauline Lennon's writing is well done, but she tends to use some British slang that has no meaning in American English. There is very little discussion of the Beatles in this book, so I do not recommend this for general Beatle research. For those who wish to gain greater insight into what makes John Lennon tick, I highly recommend this book.
"That's My Life (My Love and My Home)" by Freddie Lennon. This was a song recorded by John Lennon's father, which was released on December 31st, 1965. John, who thought his estranged father was just trying to capitalize on his fame as one of The Beatles, was pleased when the song failed to reach the charts. Do note how much Freddie Lennon and his son John sound alike. (2.54 minutes)
"Daddy Come Home: The True Story of John Lennon and His Father" by Pauline Lennon may be purchased online.