Long-lost Lennon (Victoria Lennon) is not a Lennon: Half-sibling of John Lennon
Blog :Voice Of Women and Families (VOW India) in India
Date: 8/3/2012 4:38:00 PM
Julia Lennon (née Stanley; 12 March 1914 – 15 July 1958) was the mother of English musician John Lennon, who was born during her marriage to Alfred Lennon. After complaints to Liverpool's Social Services by her eldest sister, Mimi Smith (née Stanley), she handed over the care of her son to her sister.
She later had one daughter after an affair with a Welsh soldier Taffy Williams(during the Subsisting marriage with Freddie Lennon), but the baby named Victoria LENNON was given up for adoption after pressure from her family.
|John Lennon's sister Victoria "Lennon" (who he never knew)-given up for adoption|
She then had two daughters, Julia and Jackie, with John 'Bobby' Dykins. She never divorced her husband, preferring to live as the common-law wife of Dykins for the rest of her life.
She was known as being high-spirited and impulsive, musical, and having a strong sense of humour. She taught her son how to play the banjo and ukulele, and bought his first acoustic guitar, even though her eldest sister strongly disapproved. She kept in almost daily contact with Lennon, and when he was in his teens he often stayed overnight at her and Dykins' house. On 15 July 1958, she was struck down and killed by a car driven by an off-duty policeman, close to her sister's house at 251 Menlove Avenue. Lennon was traumatised by her death and wrote several songs about her, including "Julia" and "Mother."
Marriage to Alf Lennon
Alfred 'Freddie' Lennon—always called 'Alf' by his family—was always joking but never held a job for very long, preferring to visit Liverpool's many vaudeville theatres and cinemas, where he knew the usherettes by name. At the Trocadero club, a converted cinema on Camden Road, Liverpool, he first saw an "auburn-haired girl with a bright smile and high cheekbones"; Julia Stanley. He saw her again in Sefton Park, where he had gone with a friend to meet girls. Lennon, who was dressed in a bowler hat and with a cigarette holder in hand, saw "this little waif" sitting on a wrought-iron bench. Julia (14 years old) said that his hat looked "silly", to which the 15-year-old Alf replied that she looked "lovely", and sat down next to her. She asked him to take off his hat, so he promptly threw it straight into the Sefton Park lake.
Despite standing only five feet two inches tall in heels, she often caught the gaze of men in the street, being attractive and full-figured. She was always well-dressed and even went to bed with make-up on so as to "look beautiful when she woke up". A nephew later said that she could "make a joke out of nothing", and could have "walked out of a burning house with a smile and a joke". She frequented Liverpool's dance halls and clubs where she was often asked to dance in jitterbug competitions with dockers, soldiers, sailors, and waiters.
On 3 December 1938, 11 years after they had first met, she married Alf Lennon after she had proposed to him. They were married in the Bolton Street Registry Office, although none of her family were present as she had not informed them about the wedding. She wrote 'cinema usherette' as her occupation on the marriage certificate, even though she had never been one. They spent their honeymoon eating at Reece's restaurant in Clayton Square (which is where their son would later celebrate after his marriage to Cynthia Powell), and then went to a cinema. She walked into 9 Newcastle Road waving the marriage licence and said to her family, "There!—I've married him." It was an act of defiance against her father, who had threatened to disown her if she ever cohabitated with a lover. On their wedding night, she stayed at her parents' house, and Lennon went back to his boarding house. The next day, he went back to sea for three months, on a ship bound for the West Indies.
The Stanley family completely ignored her husband at first, believing him to be of "no use to anyone—certainly not our Julia". Her father demanded that Lennon present something concrete to show that he could financially support his daughter, but Lennon signed on as a Merchant Navy steward on a ship bound for the Mediterranean. He returned after a few months at sea and moved into the Stanley home. He auditioned for local theatre managers as an entertainer but had no success. Julia found out that she was pregnant (with John) in January 1940, but as the war had started her husband continued to serve as a merchant seaman during World War II, sending money home regularly. The payments stopped after Alf deserted in 1943.
She gave birth to John Winston Lennon on 9 October 1940, in the second-floor ward of the Oxford Street Maternity Hospital in Liverpool, during World War II. Her eldest sister, Mimi, phoned the hospital and was told that she had given birth to a boy. According to Mimi, she went straight to the hospital during the middle of an air raid, and was forced to hide in doorways to avoid the shrapnel from falling bombs. She ran, as she later recalled, "as fast as my legs could carry me". Lennon was named after his paternal grandfather, and Winston Churchill. Alf was not present at Lennon's birth, as he was at sea.
The infant Lennon started at his first school in November 1945—Mosspits, on Mosspits Lane, Wavertree—so she found a part-time job at a café near the school. After numerous criticisms from the Stanley family about their (still-married), daughter 'living in sin' with Dykins, and considerable pressure from Mimi—who twice contacted Liverpool's Social Services to complain about the infant Lennon sleeping in the same bed as Julia and Dykins—she reluctantly handed the care of Lennon over to Mimi and her husband, George Smith.
In July 1946, Alf visited Mimi's house, 'Mendips' at 251 Menlove Avenue, and took Lennon to Blackpool for a long holiday, but he was secretly intending to emigrate to New Zealand with him. Julia and Dykins found out and followed them to Blackpool. Alf asked Julia to go with them both to New Zealand, but she refused. After a heated argument, Alf said their five-year-old child had to choose between his mother or him. He chose Alf (twice) so Julia walked away, but in the end but her son (crying), followed her. Alf lost contact with the family until Beatlemania, when he and his son met again.
She took John back to her house and enrolled him in a local school, but after few weeks she handed him back to Mimi. Various reasons have been suggested for her decision, such as Dykins' unwillingness to raise the young boy, Julia's inability to cope with the responsibility, or a punishment forced on her by Mimi and her father for "living in sin".
Lennon blamed himself, saying later, "My mother... couldn't cope with me."
During 1942–1943, Julia lived with her son at The Dairy Cottage; 120a Allerton Road, Woolton. The cottage was owned by Mimi's husband, and Mimi wanted Julia to live there because they would be closer to her house and also out of the Stanley house. As Alf was often away at sea, Julia started going out to dance halls. In 1942, she met a Welsh soldier named 'Taffy' Williams who was stationed in the barracks at Mossley Hill.
|Birth Records of Victoria "Lennon"|
She became pregnant by Williams in late 1944, though first claiming that she had been raped by an unknown soldier. Williams refused to live with Julia—who was still married to Alf—until she gave up John, which she refused to do.
When Alf eventually came home in 1944, he offered to look after his wife, their son, and the expected baby, but she rejected the idea.
Alf took John to his brother Sydney's house, in the Liverpool suburb of Maghull, a few months before Julia came to term. Julia's daughter, Victoria Elizabeth, born in the Elmswood Nursing Home on 19 June 1945, was subsequently given up for adoption to a Norwegian Salvation Army Captain (Peder and Margaret Pedersen) after intense pressure from the Stanley family.
Lennon was not told about Victoria's birth—who was later renamed Ingrid Marie Pedersen—and it is not known if he ever knew of her existence.
John 'Bobby' Dykins
Julia started seeing Dykins a year after Victoria's birth (although they had known each other before) when she was working in the café near Lennon's primary school; Mosspits. Dykins was a good-looking, well-dressed man who worked at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool as a wine steward. She later moved into a small flat in Gateacre with Dykins. He enjoyed luxuries, and had access to rationed goods like alcohol, chocolate, silk stockings and cigarettes, which was what initially attracted her. The Stanley sisters called him "Spiv", because of his pencil-thin moustache, margarine-coated hair, and pork-pie hat, and the young Lennon called him "Twitchy" because of a physical tic/nervous cough. Julia's family and friends remembered that he also had a fiery temperament, which could result in his being violent when drunk. Lennon remembered seeing his mother during a visit to Mimi's, when her face was bleeding after being hit by Dykins.
Dykins later managed several bars in Liverpool, which allowed Julia to stay at home and look after their two daughters (Julia and Jackie) and Lennon, who often visited and stayed overnight, at 1 Blomfield Road, Liverpool. Lennon and McCartney would rehearse in the bathroom of the house where the acoustics "sounded like a recording studio". Dykins used to give Lennon weekly pocket money (one shilling) for doing odd jobs, on top of the five shillings that Mimi gave him. In December 1965, Dykins was killed in a car crash at the bottom of Penny Lane, but Lennon was not told about his death for months afterwards, as it was "not [Stanley] family business".
Baird and Jackie later met their half-sister, Victoria/Ingrid, when they were present at the ceremony to place a Blue Heritage plaque on Mimi's house to commemorate the fact that Lennon had lived there. Stanley Parkes (Lennon's nephew) was on the ladder fixing the plaque to the wall and said, "I think I can see Ingrid" [walking towards the house]. Baird and her sister were surprised, as it meant that Parkes had seen Ingrid before, even though Baird and Jackie never had. When all three finally met for the first time Baird was shocked that Ingrid did not look anything like the Stanley family, as she had "pale blue eyes and fair hair".
|Victoria Lennon (identified as half-sister of John Lennon in 1998)|
Influence on John Lennon
Her death traumatised the teenaged Lennon, and for the next two years he drank heavily and frequently got into fights, consumed by a "blind rage". It contributed to the emotional difficulties that haunted him for much of his life, but also served to draw him closer to McCartney, who had also lost his mother at a young age. Julia's memory inspired songs such as the 1968 Beatles song "Julia", with its dreamlike imagery of "hair of floating sky glimmering", recalling Lennon's boyhood memories of his mother. Lennon remarked that the song "was sort of a combination of Yoko [Ono] and my mother blended into one." "Mother" and "My Mummy's Dead" were both written under the influence of Arthur Janov's "Primal Scream" therapy, and released on his solo album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in 1970. Lennon's first son, Julian, born in 1963, was named after her. She has been described as "to a great extent... her son's muse."