Author's Notes: Well, now that the summer holidays have started, I thought it'd be the perfect time to begin writing up my new book idea. I've been slightly inspired by my friend Frida, who is working on her own novel and is doing extremely well (search "Nightbird, Sing at Dawn" into FictionPress and you'll find it). This book is based in a time of history of which I have always been interested in. This first chapter has a bit of history, both British and just general history of the family I'm going to be following throughout.
The focus will be on Rhian (ree-an), but Arwyn (ar-win) and Lowri (lah-ow-ree) will be included as well. I'm still in the planning process, but I hope to upload a chapter a week or so. So yes, I hope you enjoy! Reviews would be nice if possible. Thank you - Amy
There was never a more loving, caring family. That's what was typically thought about the Kendrick's. You could've asked anybody in Cardiff, they'd of told you the same thing. People said that the key to the Kendrick's happiness was true love, a hard work ethic from the Mr. and Mrs., and three well-mannered children. This, to a certain degree, was all correct.
Mr. Owain Kendrick was born on May 13th, 1906 in Cardiff. Six years earlier, Queen Victoria had died and Edward VII had become King. Edward VII was commonly known as the 'Peacemaker', tightening good relationships between Britain and France. No one thought he'd be as upright of a King as he was. You could not blame people for being doubtful; Queen Victoria had been on throne for sixty-three years and people were used to her.
Mrs. Carys Kendrick (nee Jones) was born on March 29th, 1907 in Penarth. Both Carys and Owain had fore-filling childhoods. Ones spent frolicking outdoors all day with the neighbor's children and coming home in the afternoon to a 'marvelous dinner' made by their strict, but gentle mothers. Then, later in the evening, they'd receive a life lesson off their wise fathers who spent each day working hard to earn a living.
The Olympics were held in London during 1908, and pensions were approved, guaranteeing hard working families the money to live on into old age. Of course, good times never seem to last. In 1910, King Edward died from bronchitis. It was down to the twenty cigarettes and twelve cigars he smoked a day though regrettably. King George V assumed the throne, but four years later, Britain declared war on Germany. World War I. Luckily, Owain Kendrick was still only a child, and would not have been called up to join the army. The loss surrounding this First World War was tremendous. Both Owain & Carys lost their fathers. In 1924, at a memorial service, their first eyes met.
The lists of names of the fallen soldiers were being called out. Alphabetically, their family's names happened to come one after the other.
"Thomas Kendrick, a son, brother, husband and father. Michael Jones, a son, brother, husband and father". The two teenagers, grief-stricken in the moment of all the memories of their late parent, looked up. Owain's blue eyes were hazy with unmanly tears; Carys' green ones gave a look of pure empathy and sympathy.
After all the names were called, after all the tears had been shed and all the prayers had been said, Carys approached Owain with a small smile. Within just one conversation, they were courting. Within just one year, they were married. The same year, 1925, the political party 'Plaid Cymru' was created in Wales to support the Welsh language. A language the two could already speak on top of English. The newly-weds found a home in Cardiff, a city of which they had never strayed too far away from.
Carys, from an early age, had always been gifted in a certain field. If you had given her any type of fabric, she would have made you any sort of clothing in a jiffy. It was this aptitude which gave her a job opportunity. She started to make children's clothing. She made it from the comfort of her own home. Carys was a success.
She had a fabric supplier who had the finest fabric on the market and sold it for normal price and 10% of her profits. She had many customers, and business was on form. Owain need not have gotten his own job. However, he wanted to be the main breadwinner, not for dominance over finances, just for peace of mind.
Unlike many men, he didn't mind what Carys did with her money. Unlike many men, Owain wasn't sexist. A few weeks after searching for a suitable job, Owain landed a position as a postman. This was an ideal job for him, he enjoyed walking and he knew Cardiff like the back of his hand. With both incomes, the Kendrick's were doing remarkably well. One year into the marriage, at the age of nineteen, Carys had her first child with Owain. It was a little girl, born on March 14th. They named her Rhian. It was a fine Welsh name for a fine little Welsh girl. As she grew, it was apparent she had traits from both parents.
She had fine, silky, honey coloured hair from her mother. Her button nose was her father's, as were her perfect lips. Not too full, not too thin. Her eyes resembled both of their own; a mixture of blue and green, a sort of turquoise. Rhian was an immediate treasure to her mother & father. Though, they were careful not to spoil her. Rhian's grandmothers were all too keen to buy her pretty little dresses and plait her pretty long locks of hair.
However, Rhian always had preferred clothes made by her mother. It was a mystery to the little girl as she was growing up how clothes could make her feel loved, she felt as though each stitch was done with care. Rhian wasn't an only child for long. It was the year 1928. Not a bad year by all means, the year before saw the allowance of any woman under the age of twenty-one being given the right to vote. Carys, herself, was a firm supporter of Labour. It took a while to persuade Owain that the Conservatives were not as great as Owain's family made them out to be though.
On April the twelfth, Arwyn Kendrick was born. His name was quite common up in North Wales, and kept up the family's Welsh theme of names in general. His birth was nowhere near as easy as Rhian's was. It was exceptionally painful. So painful in fact, that it put Carys Kendrick off having another child for life. Arwyn was an early walker. According to Nanny Kendrick, he was up on his feet within months. He had messy brown hair and had inherited his Nanny Kendrick's shade of blue eyes; this was the reason perhaps why she was so fond of Arwyn.
In early October of 1930, Carys and Owain celebrated their fifth anniversary. The 'celebration' resulted in a third child. A complete accident, but once she was born, an accident that they were happy to have conceived. She was born on the twentieth of June. They named her Lowri. She was an adorable child who was instantaneously deemed cute, rather than pretty like her sister Rhian. She resembled her mother completely. She was a true daddy's girl when she was little, but loved her Nanny Jones to the point where she'd spend hours just sitting with her, rather than playing with other children her age.
1937 saw the crowning of King George VI. Owain Kendrick was very unsure when it came to new King. Being interested in the monarchs from a young age, he had learnt of every single one in history and enjoyed following them as they progressed through the years. 1939 however, was a very uncertain year for the Kendrick family.
It had been a year of misfortune. Early in the year, Nanny Kendrick had died of what everyone assumed to be natural causes. Owain, being the youngest of his bunch, inherited close to nothing. Nanny Kendrick didn't have much of an inheritance anyway.
Next, all three of the Kendrick children developed chicken pox, one after the other. Arwyn developed some sort of illness straight after. Luckily, he was alright after a month, but it had cost the family dearly to pay for medical bills. Finally, to top it all off, Owain lost his job.
Throughout the year, Owain had been monitoring the news on Adolf Hitler's rise in Germany. The latest news that Hitler was going to invade Poland, and that World War Two was inevitable, made him consider something. Now that he had no job…maybe joining the army would be the solution? All his children were being educated, with the exception of Rhian who was now helping her mother at home. Children in the working class like the three Welsh Kendrick's only had an education from the ages of five-eleven.
His wife was still doing well in business, and her income was supporting the family better than he thought it would after he lost his own job. After a night mulling over it, he explained to Carys about what he was going to do. Carys, at first, was wholly against the idea. She thought after losing their father's to war he wouldn't want to go near a battlefield. Then it struck her. Owain needed to work. He felt accountable for his family and their fourteen year marriage had worked when they were both working and feeling like a family unit.
Owain promised to send back almost every penny of his wage. Explaining to the children was a lot trickier. Rhian understood completely. Being thirteen, maybe she should have been a little more naïve about it, but she was very mature for her age.
Her intelligence mostly came from both sides; politics and the monarchy were well known to Rhian and she could discuss them for hours with her Mum, Dad or anyone who was willing to listen. The fact that she understood what was happening didn't mean she was dismayed though, and she found herself having a little cry into Owain's arms.
Arwyn was devastated. His father was his male role model. They'd have a kick about in the garden with Owain's old football and his dad would always let him try the froth on top of his beer. However, he was reassured that his Dad was going to be a legend, a brave soldier who was going to kill all the baddies and let him wear all his medals when he returned home.
Lowri was the most confused. She asked lots of questions, the main one being 'why'. After plenty of cuddles and soft words, she got the picture that he was going to another country to help the King. For an eight year old, she was pretty oblivious to wars and soldiers and anything of that calibre.
Owain Kendrick left home on August 27th. Carys was hesitant if she'd ever see him again. That day was the same day Carys found out what she'd have to do about her children in this looming war, and the thought of it was too much to bear.