Adopted daughter rode the school bus for SEVEN YEARS before she discovered the conductor was her real mother

  • Freda Pickering, 83, gave birth to Carole, now 65, in 1948 when she was 19
  • Carole was adopted by a couple who lived just seven miles away
  • Freda worked as a bus conductor between 1945 and 1982
  • Carole rode the same bus to school every day for seven years
  • She always knew she was adopted but only found Freda in 2005
  • Freda, now widowed, was unable to have children with her husband Ron

By Katy Winter

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A mother reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption 65 years ago discovered they had spent seven years as strangers riding the same bus.

Freda Pickering, now 83, was an unmarried 19 year-old when she gave birth to baby Carole (now Carole Davis, 65) in December 1948.

The little girl - who was her only child - was adopted by a couple who lived seven miles away from her mother in Aberford, Leeds, West Yorks, and educated at nearby Tadcaster Grammar School.

Freda Pickering with daughter Carol Davis, who she has recently been reunited with after giving her up for adoption at birth

Freda Pickering with daughter Carol Davis, who she has recently been reunited with after giving her up for adoption at birth

Freda Pickering from Wetherby who had been checking her daughters school bus for years without knowing who she was
Carole Davies 64 years-old from Birmingham

An amazing coincidence saw Freda (left, 83) and Carole (right, 65) ride the same bus every day for seven years while Carole was at school, with neither knowing of their connection

Each day young Carole caught the same bus to get to school - and Freda was the conductor.

Mother and daughter were within feet of each other on a daily basis for seven years without either knowing who the other was.

They only realised how close they had been when mother-of-two Carole finally tracked down Freda in 2005.

Widowed Freda said: 'It’s unbelievable to think that we were so close to each other for all the years Carole was at school.

 

'I don’t think I would have said anything even if I had known because I had to wait for Carole to make the first move.

'It’s nice to think that I was a part of her life when she was younger when I thought I wasn’t.

Carole Davis as a schoolgirl
Carole was given up for adoption by Freda almost at birth

Carole, pictured as a school girl, rode the same bus as her birth mother through-out her childhood

'My husband Ron and I couldn’t have children, and that’s the only thing I regret is not having a family.

'But now I have a big family - Carole has two children and grandchildren so now I’m a great-grandma.

Freda Pickering from Wetherby pictured as a bus conductor
Freda Pickering from Wetherby pictured as a bus conductor

Freda, pictured here in her bus conductor uniform, had Carole when she was just 19 years old

'It’s marvellous, I’m very happy at how it’s all turned out.'

Freda worked as a bus conductor between 1945 and 1982 and regularly worked with her late husband Ron who was a bus driver.

She added: 'I worked on the school buses which ran to Tadcaster Grammar every day.

'Ron drove the bus. We both could have seen Carole every day for all those years - it’s incredible.'

Freda, who lives in Collingham, West Yorks, was found by Carole in December 2005.

Carole had been adopted age five by Tom and Dorothy Freedman, and went on to train as a teacher before marrying in 1970, aged 21, and having two children.

She subsequently divorced and has since remarried.

Carole was living in Dudley, West Mids, with her children Michelle and Paul and it was Michelle who found Freda’s brother Gordon online.

Carole got in touch with a letter which said: 'Before you start reading this letter, I suggest that you make yourself a cup of tea, and sit down in your best comfy chair.

Freda's late husband Ron Pickering worked with her on the bus. The couple were unable to have children of their own

Freda's late husband Ron Pickering worked with her on the bus. The couple were unable to have children of their own

Wetherby bus station where Freda worked on the buses between 1945 and 1982

Wetherby bus station where Freda worked on the buses between 1945 and 1982

'No, it’s not bad news, but it is information that may shock and surprise you and be emotional for you.

'My name is Carole Davies, born on 05/12/1948. My birth was registered on 06/01/1949 in Wetherby, and I believe that you are my mum.

'I was adopted by Tom and Dorothy Freeman when I was aged five.

'I have always known that I was adopted.

'I don’t really know why you were unable to look after me, but whatever the reason, I believe you did what you thought was best, or had to do, at that time.

'I do not blame you, I am not angry with you, and I have always understood that it must have been a difficult and emotional choice that you had to make.

'However, I realise that this letter, coming like a bolt from the blue, must be a terrific shock to you, and understand that you may not want to see me at all, and for all sorts of reasons.'

Freda said: 'As soon as I read the letter I picked up the phone and rang Carole.

'It was so strange hearing my daughter’s voice. After all, I never knew what she sounded like before.'

Speaking today Carole said: 'My mum asked me if I went to Tadcaster Grammar School and said "Did you used to get the school bus?"

'I replied 'Yes, twice a day' to which mum said 'I was the bus conductor'.

'I had absolutely no idea that the lady who checked my bus pass twice a day was
my mum.

'It was a complete shock when we began talking about our past and my school life, and that was mentioned.'

She added: 'My adopted brother had found his family and I thought it was about time I found mine.

My daughter had found a missing persons' website and uploaded information up of who I was.

'I tried to find her myself but got absolutely nowhere.

'However, my daughter amazingly got a response from someone who looked up family ancestry as a hobby.

'I used 192.com to trace a number for the name I had, and the nerves I had were unbelieveable. I can remember feeling anxious, sick, not knowing if my mum would pick up.

Carole wrote to Freda after her daughter found her
The letter Carole wrote to Freda in 2005, telling her she was her daughter

The letter Carole wrote to Freda in 2005, telling her she was her daughter

'I asked "Is it Freda?", she replied 'Yes, is this Carole?' and I said "Oh hello mum!".

'We phone each other when we can and go up to see her as much as I can. It has been amazing to spend the lost birthdays and Christmases together.

'I don't remember anything about the bus conductor, and all along it was my mum. It's incredible how we've been able to find each other.'

Carole’s father was a Croatian exile who married another woman after a brief relationship with Freda.

Freda recalled: 'I was 19 at the time and I didn’t know where babies came from.

'One night I got this pain in my tummy. I thought babies had to be cut out of you but all of a sudden this baby dropped out.

'My mum was in the next bedroom and I went to her and said ‘Mum, I think I’ve had a baby’.

'I named her Carole because it was around Christmas time when she was born and I thought it was appropriate.

'Carole was a month or so premature so she had to stay at the hospital for a while.

'Every Saturday I would go up to see her and I was allowed one day visit when I brought her home, but the decision was made that she would be adopted.

'I knew that it was what had to happen, so although I wished I could keep her, I knew there was nothing I could do.

'Over the years I always thought about her, where she was living, whether she worked, whether she was married.

'I would have loved to see her but didn’t know how to get in touch.

'Now it’s lovely to be in contact again.

'Carole works so she can’t come and see me as much as she’d like, but we speak on the phone every few days and she comes to see me often.'

The comments below have not been moderated.

lovely story

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small world.. amazing story!

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NOT her real mother, but her biological mother. Her REAL parents are the couple who adopted and raised her. Archers, aim those red arrows.

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I am adopted, and I know who MY parents are. / And this also kicks some holes in the maternal bond theory - she saw her bio daughter frequently for years, and yet not once did she ever make the connection. Please continue with the red arrows.

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thank goodness all those old predjudices have been kicked into touch

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"'One night I got this pain in my tummy. I thought babies had to be cut out of you but all of a sudden this baby dropped out. 'My mum was in the next bedroom and I went to her and said ¿Mum, I think I¿ve had a baby¿." Good God! All of a sudden this baby dropped out"??? And then goes on to say, "I think I've had a baby."??? Is this woman a master of understatement, or what?

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did she not recognise her..supprised something did`nt ring a bell

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<I thought babies had to be cut out of you>.........the age of innocence, not like today...............

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I teared up reading that letter-it's lovely to see them reunited after all these years!

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Don't say "her real mother", it's so stupid - and offensive to her adoptive mother...!

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"Birth mother" would have sound better.

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A wonderful story and a happy outcome for both mother and daughter.

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