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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 1, March 2014

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Patricia Prime
Auckland, New Zealand


His Name was Roger

Shortly after the war my aunt and uncle fostered a young boy as a companion for their two small boys. Roger's parents had been killed in an air raid. Their intention was eventually to adopt him. I imagine the boy came to live with my aunt and uncle in their cramped 2-bedroom flat because of a conversation that I never heard, as well as their desire to give an orphan the chance of a better life.

a label
pinned to his coat
the foundling

He was a strange-looking child with spindly legs, spotty face and cross-eyes, so that we children never knew which of us he was looking at. Anger crackled out of him like an electrical current seeking earth. In the cruel manner of children, we called him "Dodgy Roger" or "Roger the Lodger." He was teased unmercifully by my cousins and the children in my family because he couldn't throw or catch a ball, didn't swim, couldn't read or write. What I remember most about him was the smell – that whiff of wet serge trousers which I always associated with him.

Roger didn't get on well with my cousins and a year after unpacking his cardboard suitcase on the camp bed he was returned to the Children's Home.

unlocking
faltering fingers
the grim nurse

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