These are the stories told by Lynda King, to her niece, Lynda Merz
1.Lynda was born in July, 1929 in Darjeeling, India. She was a twin, but sadly, her sister was stillborn. During her life, she always felt like part of her was missing, and often had dreams of her sister. Her father, a Colonel in the British Army was stationed in India, and she spent the first few years of her life living with her parents and older brother in an upper-class community. Throughout her life she had dreams about the foothills of the Himalayas, where the British army had relocated many military families during the monsoon season.
2. In 1933 her family moved back to London, and a few years later, World War II started. Her father was sent back to India and her mother could not care for Lynda and her brother, so the children were sent to live with various aunts and uncles in the English countryside. They were viewed by their cousins as an “intrusion”, and they used their story telling and poetry to try to earn a place with the families they were staying with.
3. Lynda’s mother suffered with mental illness after returning to England in 1933. She had gone from seven servants in India to living an ordinary life back in the UK. Her episodes of paranoid schizophrenia became more frequent over time, and she would often wander the streets. With her father away in India and her brother at boarding school, Lynda, 16, had legal status to sign the admission papers to institutionalize her mother in a mental hospital. This act weighed on her during her life, and she promised herself that she would never marry or have children as she felt that no child should have to bear the hardship that she had.
4. At age 18, Lynda was accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London. During her time at RADA, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. A friend’s family agreed to care for her as she was bed-ridden. After nearly a year, she was finally well enough to go outside. She was overcome by the beauty of the world around her. She would say for many years that on that first day of seeing the world that “every blade of grass twinkled” and “nature is beautiful and magical”.
5. After returning to RADA, Lynda embraced all the fun and excitement that a young woman could while pursuing her dreams. She formed lifelong friendships, including her dear friend Francoise. Lynda told many stories of the people she met at RADA, including Pat Hitchcock, daughter of famous director Alfred Hitchcock, and Joan Collins, who Lynda described as “wild”!
6. Lynda had a career acting in nearly 30 plays. She adored the stage and performed in a number of playhouses in London. John Osborne, famous British playwright, met Lynda in her early twenties and declared her his muse. She also had some success on Broadway.
7. In 1956, Lynda met Irish actor, Henry McGee, and the two fell head over heels in love! They were companions and kindred spirits for over 50 years. He proposed to her every few years, and she finally agreed to marry him in her 70s, however he died before they were able to marry. Years later, Lynda found great pleasure watching reruns of The Benny Hill Show, where Henry was his right-hand man and could be seen in every episode! Seeing her love in his prime brought Lynda great joy.
8. In the 1960s, Lynda began acquiring and selling antiques. She had a stall in a large building in Portobello Road, along with about 50 other vendors. She enjoyed visiting with other stall owners, including two of the Beatles’ wives! Lynda told stories of her famous friends from the acting and music worlds, and parties they attended filled with drinks and bowls of colourful psychedelic pills. Lynda always passed on these, focusing instead on enjoying the company. At one particularly memorable party, Lynda danced with Ringo Starr!
9. Lynda renovated Rosalynd Cottage, the 1650’s Tudor cottage purchased by her father, Colonel Ernest King, and enjoyed this retreat when she needed a change from the busy city life.
10. Throughout her life, Lynda stayed close with her friend Francoise (from RADA days), and the two women travelled the world together — Egypt, Greece, Switzerland and more. Lynda often used these travel destinations as places to acquire antiques. She also travelled the English countryside looking for antiques. Her brother living in Canada was also in the antique business, so the siblings shipped things across the Atlantic to each other to sell in their respective markets. In her final years, her room was encircled by photos of her life, which she happily enjoyed, and shared stories with her loved ones about her amazing life adventures.