Amber Waves

A personal message from the composer of Children of Freedom

  It was a languid summer's afternoon in 1980. During a period of respite from the commercial merry-go-round, I was at home watching TV, and happened upon one of those popular afternoon magazine programmes and an interview being conducted by Mavis Nicholson, a popular afternoon magazine presenter. Mavis was talking with Second World War SOE heroine Odette Hallowes GC, MBE and holder of France's Legion d'Honneur.
  Mrs Hallowes (formerly Odette Churchill) was describing her wartime experiences with a mixture of bravery, love and such matter-of-fact humility as to render me speechless with wonder. Two phrases jumped out and hit me during this interview.
  She described how she considered her role of mother to be the most important part of her, and how the thought of her three daughters gave her daily strength, particularly during the times she was incarcerated, and how she came to label them her 'children of freedom'.
  When asked how else she was able to keep her resolve and will to live, she smiled, looked Mavis in the eye and said: "I have been labelled 'brave' by many people since that time, but you know I believe bravery is but relative to the cause..." In that phrase I heard a simple, raw honesty, born of profound personal experience; more inspirational and louder than a thousand battle guns. I was moved enough to try and channel my feelings through the writing of this song.
  I sent the only hitherto recorded copy of this song to Odette and she was kind enough to send me the following comments in reply:

"Dear Mr Evans, Thank you for the beautiful song you kindly said I had inspired you to write. I love the words and music, and I am very moved by your understanding of my feelings at the time.
"I am happy to say today we are a close-knit family and I see one or other of my daughters every day and my grandchildren... you will understand what a reward it is for me. They have all heard your tape and were very touched and proud.
"With all my very best wishes, Odette Hallowes."

  Odette Hallowes died on the 13th March 1995. It was also the day when a notorious gangster from the east end of London died. The media reported lasciviously on the demise of the gangster; Odette received a passing mention in the 'And finally...' section of the TV news bulletins.
  I never met Odette, but she has affected my life in a deeper way than I could ever have imagined a stranger doing. She also plays an ever-present (more often than not, taken for granted) practical role in the way I am able to conduct my day-to-day life in relative freedom.
  She chose to have her entry in Who's Who listed as 'Odette Hallowes, housewife' and it is to this sentiment and to the memory of a loving mother that I dedicate the writing of this song with heartfelt thanks, respect and humility.
  To Odette, housewife and mother, lest we forget...

Nick Evans, March 2003