Aug 05 2011

Holy Mary

Published by at 9:54 pm under News

I began my school days at the tender age of four years old. My mother brought me to Saint Catherine’s School on Rathoath Road in Cabra West. I can still see her face looking in through the classroom window making sure that I was alright. Although I was in Low Babies Class I was no longer a baby but a ‘big boy’ going to school. My first teacher was a Miss Courtney. A stern looking and very old teacher of about 20 years of age. From the viewpoint of a very small boy that’s how she looked as she ushered us along the corridor to the boys’ toilet.  In the end she turned out to be a very nice teacher who never raised her voice to us. I especially remember her because she would give each of the children in her class a little present to bring home on our last day in school before Christmas. All of the little gifts were displayed on her table for us to see. ‘Now children, hands up anyone who would like to sing a song for the class’. My hand shot up so quickly that my little arm almost jumped out of the sleeve of my brother’s jumper that I was wearing. ‘Ok so, you can go first’ she said as she pointed at me. I was chuffed as I walked from the back of the classroom and stood in front of the entire class of young boys. I bellowed out at the top of my voice ‘Old McDonald had a farm…’ After about ten minutes of rhyming off all of the animals I could think of she said, ‘Well done, now you can pick your present’. Straightaway my eyes settled on a little green plastic statue of Holy Mary. I knew from a similar one that my mother had at home that this statue could shine in the dark. Oh it was like I had won a gold medal at the Olympics. I had a great big grin pasted across my face. At lunch time when we were all outside in the schoolyard I stood in a corner with Holy Mary shoved up my jumper as my pals queued up to look the v neck at the glowing Madonna. It was a miracle indeed, it was magic how she could shine in the darkness of my brother’s jumper. I couldn’t wait to get home and go to bed so that I could hide under the covers and witness over and over again this wonderful vision of Holy Mary. Of course all my brothers and sisters had to have a gawk at it too. There we were, six or seven of us all under the bedclothes together and the older ones singing ‘Ave, Ave, Ave Ma Ree ee ah’. The poor Ma’ didn’t know what to make of it when she came into the bedroom. ‘I hope you’re not lighting a candle under them bedclothes’. Well I can tell you we all leapt with fright at the sound of her voice. ‘Is that Holy Mary talking’ says one of the sisters. ‘I’ll give yis Holy Mary’ says the Ma’ as she pulled the covers off us. When she realised what we were about she just burst out laughing. ‘Will yis ever get into bed…’ she said ‘and put Holy Mary under your pillow’. And so that’s what I did. The Ma’ put the bedroom light out and went back downstairs to make me Da’ his supper. But every now and then I’d take a sly peep under my pillow to say goodnight to Holy Mary.

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