Rough Start Ensured This Is No China Doll



The records of Doncaster Prison in England give her Christian name as Brenda Eileen Sims and brand her the illegitimate child of Kathleen Mary Sims. She was born March 10, 1938, and her skin was yellow with jaundice.

"(My mother) escaped and I was left there," Eileen Newton said of her rough start in life. "They didn't know back then that a jaundiced baby was a medical problem. To the Europeans you were either white or black. I sort of looked like a half-caste; that made it really bad."

So baby Brenda was hidden from the public well past her third birthday.

"I was in the prison for five years and four months, then when I did get adopted it was by the British Communist Party," Newton said.

In 1991 the British government opened all the records and Newton was able to obtain copies of the birth register from the prison, stamped Doncaster Borough Treasurer Audit 11 July 1939.

Newton visited the former prison site, and ran into a former matron at the prison, who was still living in one of the gatehouses, a Ms. Greenwood, first name unknown.

"She remembered me because I was one of the longest children to have been there -- hidden in the cellars ... She didn't want to speak to me at first ... She said I was unwanted, unloved."

Talking to Greenwood, Newton recalled sitting in a high chair. Greenwood told her that it was one of the days a couple was coming to adopt her and that at five, she was the size of a 2-year-old, and had no formal education.


Playing sports provided cover for Newton's church meetings.

Newton also remembered sitting at a long table with other children that she had never sat with before. Greenwood told her that was the day she was taken away from the prison.

"I remember (my new parents) putting me in the car and me wondering where I was going to go."

Her first clear memory of her new mother and home was being told to "look at the doggy." Not knowing what a dog was, she looked at the sky and was beaten.

Newton said despite the high rank her parents held in the Communist Party they were forced to adopt her.

"The idea was that (the Communist Party) were going to adopt war orphans that had no family. They wanted to train them in the underground complexes as idealists and turn them into spies and assassins... if they didn't do as they were told, they were killed. I saw other children killed ..." she said as her voice trailed off.

Newton is certain she was subjected to shock treatments and brainwashing.

Her mother was a staunch Communist. Newton has learned through her research that her adoptive father labored with the Nazi regime in Germany in 1937 and 1938.

Newton said she led a double life into her early 20s. Trying to blend into society as Eileen Newt, daughter of Faye and John Newt while becoming "Ben," a courier for the Communist Party made her feel schizophrenic.

She had trouble blending into public schools because she had no concept of play and good-natured teasing -- she assumed it was a test of her training.

On her 10th birthday, two rays of light came into her regimented world.

Newton met her Auntie Ivy, a woman full of laughter who seemed to dominate her mother.

"My aunt helped me go to Sunday school when I was 10 years old in order to blend in."

It was when she went to the church and sang hymns that Newton began to question the beliefs being drilled into her.

The first hymn she sang was, "Onward Christian Soldiers."

"That's what I was being trained to be, a soldier. The Party usually had their children -- the females -- as either baby makers or soldiers," she said.

Newton said her mother was not about to let the "gypsy-looking child" she had been forced to adopt in order to retain her luxury and power become a baby making machine.

"When I heard this hymn, ‘Onward Christian Soldiers' it just did something to me. I'd never had any music in my life until then," said Newton.

She went home thinking that she was going to Sunday school to learn about the new Communist leader.

"I went home and I raised my knives in the form of a cross and said, I promise to follow our new Communist leader Jesus Christ for the rest of my life," Newton said. "Needless to say I was put in solitary."

Believing the Party line was preeminent and that Newton couldn't be brainwashed, her parents sent her back to Sunday school.

They allowed her to play field hockey with the ladies' Doncaster team. Unlike sports teams of today, players were expected to arrange their own transportation to games. When she could, Newton gave her parents the excuse, "We had to play overtime," so she could secretly attend revival meetings and other church services. Afraid of being followed, she constantly looked over her shoulder.

"I had my world and it wasn't like your world ... I started seeing there was something different, but I didn't know what," Newton said.

While going to college, she worked weekends for a plant engineer at International Harvester in England where she met American workers.

Newton said the Americans thought the food was awful. They missed the everyday creature comforts like central heat, small appliances and variety of clothing choices.

Newton felt they were speaking her language. Another seed was planted -- life had more to offer.

Out of college, she prepared legal briefs for solicitors Dawson and Burgess.

One of the firm's partners was a man named Parker, and Newton connected with him, remembering him as the "wonderful bearded man who was the father I had never known."

One day she poured out her story to him.

In 1960 Parker helped Newton immigrate to the United States.

Newton loves her adopted land.

She is currently rewriting "No China Doll," the biography she wrote and self-published under a pseudonym in 1989.

Eileen B. Newton writes, "Freedom is liberty, independence, but above all, the absence of being afraid. Freedom is the place where I can learn the lesson of life, it is woven into my most joyous experiences."


Name: Eileen B. Newton

Occupation: Retired

Age: 67 (almost)

Birthplace: Doncaster, County of Yorkshire, England

Family: None.

Personal motto: Be myself, but be my best self. Dare to be different; to follow my own star.

Inspiration: To look forward with confidence and back without regret.

Greatest feat: Having written my biography will be if I can get it published.

Favorite hobbies or leisure activities: Jigsaw puzzles, making latch-hook rugs, knitting, walking and traveling.

Three words that describe me best: Caring, thoughtful, fun.

I don't want to brag but ... I'd like to think that I epitomize what life is all about.

The person in history I'd most like to meet is: Nostradamus.

Luxury defined: Being able to sit in my La-Z-Boy with Miss Pinto Bean, a princess in my own comfortable home or sitting on a bench in glorious, peaceful Green Valley Park.

Dream vacation spot: Central Coast of California -- especially Morro Bay

Why Payson? In 2001 I met Peggy Newman. A year later, almost penniless and homeless, she had me established here. Through her I found this town and people are quick to help those in need of every support system available with no thought of costs or repayment. A big thank you to all. I am now able to be a helper myself.

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