Christopher Bethell

The Duke of Earl

As a child I often lied to people about where I was born. “Boston, Massachusetts,” I’d say. The truth was far less exciting – no one was as interested when I told them “Stockport”. That said, it wasn’t a complete fabrication, as I am a dual-national, American/English citizen. My grandmother, Grace, moved to Boston from Ireland in her twenties. There, she fell in love with my grandfather, Joseph “Joey” O’Donnell. I never met Joey as he passed away when I was a baby: he was still in America. I grew up romanticising his life and the country he lived in, to the point that I developed a fiction about him, believing it until four years ago.

In the summer of 2015, I drove from the east coast to the west coast of America in pursuit of my identity, my grandfather and the adventure I’ve always dreamed of.
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