Good morning. I am Adélaïde.
I was recently diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome last year after my great-granddaughter who is very much like I was at her age was also diagnosed. I do not have any problems with the diagnosis though I am still affected by loud sounds and communicating with others can be tasking. I wanted to pop in and say hello.
Hello, I am Stephen i am a web content writer and developer at an online essay writing service company.
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Hello Adélaïde. What a nice name!
I liked reading your life story on your profile page. Sorry to hear about your husband. So you were diagnosed at the age of 90?!
Hello and welcome.
Hello Adelaide, thank you for writing such a moving profile. There are so many parallels with my mother's life. She was born in 1929, I now believe that she had Asperger's, but no one knew at the time. Her father also worked in a bank all his life until he retired and was very good with numbers, he also had some said behaviours to do with tidiness and order, I suspect that the condition was passed down his line. He met my grandmother at the bank where she worked and they went on to marry. Both grandparents were overprotective of my mother, she was a constant worry to them, as she had so many classic signs of Asperger's. My mother married and had four children. She was detached from all of us and couldn't show affection. As a child I didn't know why she was different from other mothers, but I knew from an early age that she was. Now at 53 years of age, I am aware that I too have signs of Asperger's and I am waiting for an assessment, that my dear mother didn't have. She died many years ago before any understanding of the condition. It saddens me to know of the missed opportunities for me, my mother, father and siblings. There will be other families too who have had this in their gene pool for decades. We have to get this help right, now and for future generations.
I agree with Oscie your profile is very moving. Please share more of your experiences growing up with Autism. DId your parents move to England to protect you ? You're the first autistic person I have ever been in contact with that has lived through the war. Please tell us more Adélaïde
Southern France was the first home I remember. It was a quaint little place and sadly when I went back there I found it had been demolished. In the thirties especially the late thirties there was talk about Germany and the war which was coming like a storm. Some dismissed it and others truly believed it would be our destruction. My father never made a comment on the imminent war and nor did my mother. I imagine deep down they suspected what was coming but never said so to me. In the late thirties my father and mother announced to me that we were moving to England. I was shocked and upset. I liked where we lived and the idea of going somewhere else trouble me. But I had no say in the matter. A lot of our stuff remained in the house, we packed what we needed and were gone the next day. I can remember that the ship we went over on was overcrowded and the noise of all the moving about and sounds of chatting made my ears hurt. I closed my eyes to try and block out all the sounds. In England we were close to London and was living in a small place, nowhere near as warm and cosy as the home I loved back in France. When I asked my mother why we had left she smiled and said it was just a precaution and that if anything were to happen we would be safer in England. I remember the day very well when the war was officially announced. It was on what we called the wireless back then. There was to be a broadcast on the wireless. My father said he was going out for a couple of hours, he later told my mother that he had gone up to the mountains to be alone for a short time with his thoughts as he looked out across the fields of green. My mother and I had stayed home and we listened to the wireless. The reporter informed us that we were at war. I remember he said that the Germans had been given a short time to withdraw themselves from Poland and if they did not do this we would be at war. He then said they had failed to do so and that this country was at war with Germany. I remember how at the end of it my mother put her hand over her mouth and wept. I did not know how to feel or how to comfort my mother. I took her hand and squeezed it hoping it would help. A couple of weeks later father was summoned to leave to fight and my mother wanted to do her bit for King and Country so she left as well. I went to stay with a family called the Sterlings. They were very nice people and agreed to look after me and raise me for the next couple of years. I remember the last time I saw my father before he was dispatched. He was dressed in his uniform looking very smart and handsome and he crouched down to me and for the first time I can remember he hugged me, which you must understand very few father’s hugged their children back then. But he hugged me then and smiled at me and then he said goodbye. He kissed my mother and she wiped a tear from her eye. I watched as the bus carried my father away and I felt an emptiness inside of me and a horrible thought that I might never see him again. Thankfully I was fortunate enough to see my father again, he somehow survived through the War and my family remained complete. My mother said goodbye to me a couple of days later. She went away to a hospital in the city where it was too dangerous for me to be. I remember how before she left she was crying and kissed me and said I was being so brave and that this wasn’t goodbye. She hugged me and the hug was so tight it actually hurt. Many people did not return and now they remain just a memory of days long since passed. I do my very best to try and remember them all for their hard work and their sacrifice. The Sterlings father did not return home. There was three children in the Sterling home, Margaret the eldest at sixteen, Jonathon who was thirteen and little Violet who was just seven when I first met her. I had no siblings of my own and it took me an awful long time to adjust to life with them. They must have thought me very rude at first. I hardly engaged in chat with them and I tried not to make eye contact as that made me uncomfortable. But over time I got to know them and found that they were good company and we all got on. Mrs Sterling was a sweet lady and very beautiful. I could never forget my mother or replace her but during that time Mrs Sterling was like a mother to me and treated me as if I were her own daughter. The look of worry on her face and the pain in her eyes told us that everything was not ok and that she was deeply concerned about what might happen but she did what most of us did back in those days, she carried on and put on a brave face. When she got the letter that told her Mr Sterling was lost in the War I had never seen anybody take the news with such grace. She folded the letter and put it inside her bag and she held her head high and returned to the kitchen to check our soup which she been cooking. She must have felt awful inside but not once did she ever show it. I never saw her cry and I never saw her complain, not once. She was a truly remarkable woman. Her children did not take the news so well and I remember for weeks all of them were distant and poor Violet cried and cried. I did my best to support them through their grief but I was of little use I’m sorry to say. Of course in the end they adjusted but it was very hard for them. It was a terrible time for all and it was a time where you honestly could not say what was going to happen. The Germans had invaded Poland and a lot of people believed they would win the War. When I used to talk about it with the Sterlings Jonathon would often say he did not believe we would win, on one occasion Mrs Sterling heard him and gave him a clip round the ear. She told him to not think such awful things and to remain faithful that we would get through the War. Mrs Sterling was right of course. But at the time it was dark terrible days. I can recall how at night, despite us being in the countryside if a plane was heard approaching everybody panicked. Myself and the Sterling children would run to the windows and it would be like watching a power cut happening. Every house in the building would switch off their lights and the village would disappear in the dark. Mrs Sterling would switch off her lighting also and we would sit there in the dark and listen as the aircraft flew overhead. We could never be sure whether it was one of ours or an enemies so everyone would go in to the dark as a precaution. Food was another problem as was money. Food was limited and there was no time for being picky. Mostly we lived on vegetables, soup and bread. A big meal such as a roast dinner was a rarity during the War and if you did not want what was there you would have starved. I hated the soup but I never argued, it was that or go hungry. Once a month Mrs Sterling would treat us to something grand such as pork but not often. She was the only one with any money, working at the local post office and despite everything she tried to make life as comfortable for her children and myself as best as she could. She was also a most accomplished cook so even her cold soups were actually not as bad as I thought they were. Over the next few years we were assigned part time work to help out. Mostly it was women in the village as the men had been sent out to fight. Violet helped Mrs Sterling in the post office. Jonathon helped at the local farm, Margaret was helping in the church and I helped a couple, Mr and Mrs Short at the bank. Mr Short did not have to fight as his health was not strong enough. They were fine people and it was with them when I discovered that I had a real talent for numbers. What had felt new and horrible, in time became normality. I received letters from my mother every couple of weeks and it every couple of months that I heard from my father, though I kept his letters to myself as to no upset the Sterlings as they had lost their father. I still have the letters my mother and father had written to me. But despite everybody’s worries the War did of course, end. And about a month later my mother returned for me. She could not believe how much I had grown and changed. Gone was the young girl with short brown hair and in her place was more less a young woman with far longer brown hair. She was overthrown with happiness to see me again. Sadly I felt nothing seeing my mother again which I suppose was the Aspergers though at the time I felt guilty for feeling that way. I hugged her but I felt nothing at the time. Father returned some months later, he was a different man. The War had aged him and he never spoke of it. He was also bitterer now and not the fun loving man I had known before the War. My mother often said and she was quite right about it, the War changed not just the people but the entire world. Things were never really the same again. Some grew closer and others grew further apart. In fact I remember somebody in our village who originally had been a very kind and generous man actually took his wife’s life shortly after the War, he had believed she’d had an affair with a Nazi. Anyway this man actually hung for taking the other man’s life as back then you did indeed hang if convicted of such a crime. People changed. My father was one of them and so was my mother. Having been out working she decided to get herself a job again, against my father’s wishes her believed women should not work. But my mother would not hear of it and got herself a job, something I feel she would never have done before the War. Saying goodbye to the Sterlings was not hard for me, my lack of attachment and emotion made it easy but I feel for them it was harder. The children especially had grown fond of me and poor Mrs Sterling had lost her husband but as she had always done she put on a brave face and never showed her grief in front of us. She said to keep in touch which I always did and they did also. We were in touch up until Nineteen Fifty Nine when Jonathon wrote to me telling me of how Mrs Sterling had passed away from pneumonia. I wrote back how sorry I was and that I was here if they ever needed me. That was the last time we exchanged letters and I never heard from them again. And for me that was when I did not think of the War so much. I think many still thought of it but not really the fighting of the horrors but of the people they met. I thought of the Sterlings frequently and still do now, wondering how they are, if they had children each or if they have since passed on. I would love to have stayed in contact with all of them but lives change and the people you knew as a young person tend to disappear from your life almost overnight. Everybody I knew as a young girl and woman I no longer know and have not known for a very long time. But I do often think about them and hope that their lives are going well.
The memories are weaker now, they do that when you get to my age but the War and how my life was back then is a time I do not believe I will ever forget. And not all of it is bad memories for me, in fact I rather enjoyed living with the Sterlings. They were a wonderful family and I remember fondly dear Mrs Sterling with her radiant smile her wonderful children who were my friends for the next couple of years and the fun we had despite being in the middle of our world’s most awful years. A time I hope that this world will never experience again. As for my life after the War. As you know I went into banking and got married and had a daughter. My very late life has been a more relaxed one. I am now surrounded by even more family and I was diagnosed at a very late age. Perhaps a little too late truth be told, but I also felt I had nothing to lose but more knowledge to gain of myself. And I quite agree with you Oscie. We must get this help now and we must act, for ourselves and for future generations. This is something that the world should know about and people should not be kept in the dark or live in fear or ignorance of it. When I was younger I was a very confused girl and did not understand why I felt so different. I am fortunate to have lived to a very good age but had I not I too would have passed not knowing the truth as your dear mother did, god rest her soul. No one should feel that and now things are better and you can be diagnosed and that I think is a good thing. But more awareness of Aspergers is needed and together I believe we can make that happen.
having read this all my problems become so insignificant.