A snapshot of Dorothy Steptoe
My mum’s life before she became Mrs Redmond is still pretty much a guessing game. There are lots of suggestions of where she had been and why but not much substance. I have willed for a break through, and maybe, just maybe I have found one.
One grainy black and white photo that was taken in May 1953 could hold vital clues. The picture was in some stuff my brother had, he can’t remember where he got it, funny that. My first thoughts are who took it?
A picture says a 1,000 words, I look at it to find them.
The backdrop is the Steptoe family home in Dagenham. The house from what I can see is filthy. Beyond nanny Steptoe’s Tom and Jerry like lower legs is a carpet less staircase. The window is next to draw my eye, there’s at least one broken pane and dirt so thick you could draw your face in it, one resident has, ironically it’s smiling. It’s like a house of horrors.
The interesting thing though is my mum, she’s immaculate, and dare I say glamorous, especially for a 16 year old girl living in Dagenham. She’s obviously not living in this house, unlike the child she’s sat with. He’s covered in dirt, so much so I was convinced he was half caste at first.
The child looks to be about 2 to 3 years old. My mum is wearing clean clothes, hair is perfect and what looks like lipstick. She’s also wearing jewellery, something my mum never wore when I knew her, or thought I did.