Richard Rayner's dad's apron

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Richard's father's Freemason apron
Richard's father's Freemason apron

This rather bizarre object, which amuses my children vastly, is my father’s Freemason’s apron. The one line story of my childhood, which I couldn’t bring myself to say this in this way until I was 25 because it was a sort of thing of deep shame, is that when I was ten years old my father embezzled a large amount of money, faked his own death, and disappeared. He came back into my life when I was at university, at which point my own life went off the rails. I was reading philosophy and law at Cambridge, and I started committing a lot of criminal acts myself, which is what he had done. I realized that the law wasn’t for me, and at some level I realized that England might not be for me at that time. But my dad came back, and the idea that he would belong somewhere was enormously important to him and so he rejoined the Bradford Freemasons, which he’d been a part of as a young man. That was an enormous part of his own quest to feel that he belonged somewhere and had an identity. When my dad died, my sister gave me this strange thing, which somehow I’ve never been able to get rid of.

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Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant