Jan 12 2020

‘Early Memories…’

Published by at 11:45 am under News

‘I think this is another Sunday morning photograph due to the lack of neighbours and kids out on our road. My sister Mary is on the left, that’s the Ma’ holding my little brother Tony and then we have my sister Catherine on the right. The Ma’ made the girl’s dresses and knit their cardigans. My older sister made the Ma’s dress. The little hedge on the right came from somewhere up near the local dump. The Ma’ said the little blue flowers on it are called “Veronica” and she loved it because that was the name of her little sister that died when she was only three years of age. Isn’t it gas all the same that the Ma’ never forgot that and always remembered her sister. And we always called it “Our Road” even though there was over one hundred houses on it. But I think almost everyone did that back then, they all laid claim to own their road or at least the part of it where they lived. There were some roads we were never allowed to play on because they weren’t ours. “Here young Coffey, get back around to your own road” or you might be told “Here young Coffey get down to your own end of the road”, territorial or what!

Now, when I have a good look at this photograph I can see all the oul neighbours who lived across the road from us, Mrs Lally, Mrs Keegan, Mrs O’Leary and Mister “Tomorrow” and Mrs Norton. We were never allowed to call any of our neighbours by their first name, they had to be called Mister or Misses. And if you ever answered any of them back in a cheeky way they’d give you a clout and if you told the Ma’ she’d give you another one. We were always taught to respect our elders and never to answer them back.

The field across the road from us was called the “Compound”. The Ma’ told me that when our family first moved into our house there used to be horses in the compound and sometimes if she left our parlour window open a horse would stick his head in to have a look around. When they moved in there were no baths in at that time because the Corporation was waiting for them to come in from England and with the War on, “The Emergency” as it was known in Ireland, everything was up in the air. Tony was my Ma’s 12th baby and there was another three waiting to follow him into our family.

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