Post-war England was no place for a unmarried Irish catholic mum to raise a child.
Even before she gave birth in Coventry in 1947, Bridget McGarry knew she must give up her baby.
“I was four when my mum and dad told me I was adopted,” Carol Tallis said.
She was always fearful the church would find out – if there was a knock on the door, I would have to hide- Texas Dave
“But I didn’t know anything about my mother until I was 20.”
Carol also did not know she had family in the Eurobodalla. She had a happy childhood in Coventry, where she still lives, was married and had children. When her adoptive parents died, she found the adoption papers in a suitcase.
“I sat on that for a long time ... my daughter said, ‘Come on mum, lets try and find out’,” Carol said.
In 2006, she traced her mother, who had left Coventry for Moruya, only to find Bridget had died two years earlier; but, via email, Carol found a brother, Bridget’s second child, music retailer Texas Dave McGarry, also born and raised in Coventry.
That connection had a bitter-sweet twist, Texas Dave discovered: “Amazingly, we grew up living only four streets from each other; Carol’s best friend lived two doors down from my house – she would have passed us nearly every day.”
They met when he flew to England and then, two weeks ago, Carol returned the favour and, in her first overseas trip, visited Moruya.
Bridget gave birth to Texas Dave in 1950. Despite the tutting and the frowning, she raised him on her own.
“Things were tough,” said Texas Dave. “Often, all we would have to eat was bread and butter.
“She was always fearful the church would find out – if there was a knock on the door, I would have to hide,” he said.