'Excuse me, please, Madam. I look to find Road. You know where is please?'
'Let me see dear. Oh yes, I should do. I've lived there for nearly fifty years. Was there anyone in particular you were looking for? I might know them.'
'I explain to you. My Mother have no husband. She not bad lady but her Father very angry. Call her nasty words. Say she must give up baby. Too much disgrace for family. So I go to other country and have happy time with new Mother and Father who very good to me. Now I come to England to find my, how you say? 'Heritege?'
'Heritage. Your ancestors and family history.'
'Yes, I want to find history of real family. I have this paper with address, so I look. Maybe is no good, all gone now, but I try.'
'The road is very near here. Why don't you come home with me and have a cup of tea, then you can tell me all about it. My legs are not so good as they used to be, and I can't stand for too long. It would be nice to have some company for a chat.'
'You are very kind lady. Thank you. I am called Maria.'
'Nice to meet you Maria. My name is Elizabeth but most people call me Betty. Come along. It's not far.'
Together the two ladies left the main road and after a few minutes' walk turned into a Cul-de-sac of a dozen houses. Five minutes later they were comfortably ensconced in old-fashioned armchairs at No. 7, sipping their tea from pretty china teacups, and eating homemade cake from matching plates.
'Your house is so pretty Mrs Betty. I think before will be problem as long road, but here is not many. My paper has no number, but only a few properties here so maybe you remember. I love cake. You make?'
'Yes, I used to do a lot of cooking before my husband died, but now my daughter-in-law does most of it, although I still enjoy baking when my arthritis is not too bad.'
'Excuse me. What is daughter-in-law? This I do not understand. I am sorry for my poor English.'
'It means my son's wife. They both live here with me but are out at work at the moment. They'll be home about six.'
'I not hold you then. I tell you everything so if you know to help me look further.'
Showing Betty the treasured pieces of paper, Maria began her story. From a young age she had known she was adopted, but had been brought up with her new family as one of their own. At first she had been an only child, but when she was two years old her sister had been born, closely followed by her brother. Her parents were fairly well off but had been told they would never have children, so had decided to adopt. She had never felt anything other than wanted, and they always referred to her as the lucky gift which changed their lives.
She had been devastated when they were both killed in a car crash, but had decided to spend part of her inheritance trying to track down her birth mother. Going through their personal effects she had found the letter, addressed to her, with the little information they had, almost as if they had known what she would want to do.
When she had finished Betty sat quietly for a moment. 'Do you know your Mother's birth name?' she asked the girl.
'Yes, it was Smith, which I think is very normal here in England. But she gave me my father name for my birth paper. Blythewood is not so usual, I think.'
Taking a deep breath Betty replied. 'I remember when your Mother became pregnant. You shouldn't speak ill of the dead but her father was a nasty piece of work and a bully. He wouldn't let the young lovers get married even though they wanted to. They were going to elope but then your Mother disappeared and we never knew what happened to the baby. Your grandfather told us she had died but most of the neighbours believed Lucy had been made to have an abortion. It's quite a shock to find you are alive and have grown into such a beautiful young woman.'
'So now my Mother is lost again. My father? He leave too?'
'He did for a while, to go to University. Then he became an IT consultant and travelled all over Europe for his business. He was in Switzerland when he was asked to install new computers in the college where your Mother was teaching English.'
'So they meet again? And now? They stay together in Switzerland?'
'Yes and No,' Betty smiled. 'They got married but came back to live in England.'
Just then they heard the sound of the front door closing and a cheerful male voice called out.
'Hi Mum, we're home. Hope you've got the kettle on.'
'In here love, but prepare yourself for a shock. We've got a visitor.'
Turning to Maria, Betty explained 'My name is Betty Blythewood, and that is my son John Blythewood, your father. You are the granddaughter I thought had been lost forever.
'Lucy, John. There's someone I think you should meet.'