|The Family of Thomas Edward Nadin|
The Family of Thomas Edward Nadin and Neta Jean McTait in Torquay
The War brought together Thomas Edward Nadin of Torquay, son of Benjamin Nadin Junior and Hetty Esther Kirby (For the Family of Benjamin Nadin Junior and Hetty Esther Kirby, press HERE.) and Neta Jean McTait, of Birmingham, daughter of Peter McTait and Emily Pinfold (For the Family of Peter McTait and Emily Pinfold, press HERE.) to live in the same house in Torquay. (For the circumstances of their meeting and coming together, press HERE.) Thomas Edward Nadin was suffering from the after effects of rhumatic fever, a disease which attacks the heart, among other things. He was thus unfit for quite a few jobs. At one point he was a taxi driver, but taxi drivers were supposed to carry their client's suitcase in those days. He at one point sold cars. But unfortunately, for most of his life, he was only able to be a jack-of-all trades, fixing things for his mother and in his place.
At first his wife and him had nowhere to live as his mother was very much against their union. Fortunately his sister Ada Chamings, who had looked after him at home while her mother was working before she remarried, and who with her husband owned a shop and a place over it, took them in. So it turned out that Neta helped Ada with the shop, especially that Ada's husband Sydney Chamings also had a milk run to do. (Milk runs had to be finished by something like 7 am, which meant they had to be started in the dead of night.)
Later they had a place of their own with a garden that Thomas kept with great pride, and installed in it a hen run which he himself built and so was able to provide fresh eggs for his family. Of course hens attract rodents but their cat was a very good hunter.
Thomas's health deteriorated with time as was expected. He went through quite a few bad spells but managed to get out of it. In the late 1960s he went to Guy Hospital in London to see what could be done. They decided that he needed to have two valve replacements and that procedure was not done at the time. He wanted them to risk it. They refused. He knew then that his time was up, that nothing could be done. But when at the end of February 1970 he had another bad spell, his wife did not heed the doctor's warning that their daughter then in Oxford should be called back. In the end one of her sisters from Bimingham called her and told her to urgently go home. This is something which a student could not manage that quickly in those days. She needed money for the train, food for the journey, and so on. Her College friends saw to all that. Then she needed to take two trains for the journey from Oxford to Torquay. She phoned from Oxford to her big brother to tell him when she would arrive as he had a car and so could get her at Torquay's train station. By the time she arrived, her father was dead. Her big brother, already married, was there when he died on 1st March 1970 and was there waiting for his sister at the station a short time later. As they were poor, their father had to be cremated and his ashes dispersed in a special part of the Torquay Cemetary. As he was born on 17 August 1914, he was not yet 56 years old at his death.
Thomas and Neta had five children together. Unfortunately one died at birth and one having lacked oxygen at birth, had to be placed on the orders of the Family doctor who considered that Neta had quite enough on her plate with a young child and a sickly husband. So three children were born and lived with them, with large gaps between them due in part to the other pregnancies. All married and had children.
Their eldest, a son, married before his father died. He and his wife had two girls. Their second child, a daughter named Linda Nita Nadin, married in Oxford on the 30th June 1973 but settled with her husband Jacques Beaulieu in Montréal, Canada. They had three sons. She died on December 27th 2018 in Montréal. She was born in Torquay on 28th September 1948, and so was 70 years old and 3 months minus a day. Thomas and Neta' third child, a son, married a Scot lass and settled in Dunfermline, Scotland. They had a daughter.
Their daughter Linda had done very well at the Torquay Grammar School for Girls even though her parents were poor and that there were no books at home. She enjoyed her studies and was warmly encouraged by her headmistress and by some of her teachers, some of whom even took her to Stratford to listen to plays by Shakespeare. Her headmistress decided she should apply to Saint Anne's College, Oxford, the College where she herself studied, as well as Newham College, Cambridge. So Linda applied to both, putting as her first choice Saint Anne's College and as her second choice Newham. Her first interview was at Newham in Cambridge, where after the interview she was asked why she had chosen them as a second choice! The interview at Saint Anne's, Oxford, went well and she was accepted. It is good to remember that then there were very few women's colleges in Oxford: there were one woman student for ten men. Linda matriculated in 1967.
At that time of course, her father was still alive. A well meaning woman, when told that Linda was applying for Oxford, had told him that he should not put his hopes up as Oxford was not for poor people's children. All the Colleges then told by telegram the applicants if they were or not accepted. After Linda got her acceptance telegram from Saint Anne's College, Oxford, she had to send one to confirm that she indeed wanted the place offered. Her father went to see to that and showed proudly the acceptance telegram to the same woman! He was elated for his daughter.
Of course, that meant that Linda went up to Oxford in the Fall of 1967 to read English Litterature at Saint Anne's College.
She made many friends in College, some of which were Roman Catholics. Roman Catholics students had a special place to worship: the Roman Catholic Chaplaincy, housed in the Old Palace, St Aldate. The Chaplain was Father Michael Hollings, and his assistant, Father Crispian Hollis. Some of her friends took Linda to the Chaplaincy, and introduced her to Father Michael. He invited her for supper. They told him she was not a Roman Catholic, to which he replied that it did not matter. The athmosphere of the Chaplaincy then was absolutely remarquable. There were many converts and many religious vocations every year. Linda got on very well with Father Michael and she became a Roman Catholic on Ascension Day 1970, a few months after the death of her father. Her mother told her that her father would have been pleased, as she did not believe in anything much before to his great chagrin. I did not know her at that time although I too frequented the Chaplaincy since my arrival at Oxford in September 1969.
A while after her husband died, Neta did not feel as if she had any good reason to continue to live in Torquay. Her children had all left home. She swapped her Council House in Torquay for one on the outskirts of Birmingham, in a small place called Hollywood. (For her life after her move, press HERE.)
Some Torquay Photographs
From left to right: Cyril Day, his wife Bettie McTait Day; Neta and her youngest son, Marjory McTait Shaylor and Thomas Nadin