May 12 2012

‘Me Ma’ said she’s not in…’

Published by at 12:44 am under News

We had the man from the Royal Liver with his Penny Policies, the Milkman from the Merville Dairy in Finglas, there was Frank from Sloanes, the Jewman from Mary Street, the Newspaper man, the man from Cavendish’s, Mister Talbot from Carnlough Road, the Priest, ‘Indian Teak’ the insurance man, the lady from Mary Street, the Gas Man, the Coal Man, the Chimney Sweep, the Mater Hospital Pools Man and probably another half dozen or more who came to our hall door looking for money at one time or another.

The only one working in our house at one time was me Da’ and they all wanting a slice out of his wages and him with rakes of kids to feed. The only one the Ma’ liked to see coming into our house was the Gas Man because he always left a few bob on the table after he’d gone. Many of our neighbours as well as my mother had loans from the Jewman, he called every Saturday morning at ten o’clock on the dot. Now the gas thing is that our house was the only house he called to because the Ma’ volunteered or maybe she was lumbered with the task of getting his money from the neighbours.  You see, they didn’t want anyone to know that they were getting loans from the Jewman and so to throw others off their trail they would give the money or the excuse to my mother.

I remember one time in particular when things were really tough and the Ma’ hadn’t a shilling to her name. We were all sitting around the fire listening to the Ma’s stories when there was an almighty knock on the hall door. Bejakers did we jump or what. One of my older brothers said he’d see who it was and off he trotted out the door and down the hallway. The Ma’ told us all to keep quiet and not to make a sound. We could hear a man’s voice talking to my brother. Next we heard the brother saying ‘Wait a minute and I’ll have a look’. He came back into the kitchen and told the Ma’ that the man from the Royal Liver was at the door. She whispered something in his ear and he turned around and went back out. It was then we heard him saying ‘Me Ma’ said she’s not in’. This was followed up with a slam of the hall door. When he came back into the kitchen the Ma’, with a grin on her face said to him ‘What did you say’? Suddenly it dawned on my brother what he’d said and as his face hit the floor we all burst out laughing.

Now some of these people who called to our house very often just turned the key in the door and walked into the house. More times than not my father would make them a cup of tea and maybe give them a slice of Batch Loaf. There was no such thing in our house then as bank drafts or standing orders, credit cards, plastic money, paypal, cheques or anything like that. The Ma’ and Da’ always dealt in cash…none of that fancy foreign stuff for us..

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