Oct 05 2014

‘The sister’s first job…’

Published by at 10:31 pm under News

A SInger


Here’s a great little story that the sister told me recently about her first job. You see, one of her pals from Killala Road went for a job interview when she was thirteen years old because she didn’t fancy going back to school where the nuns were teaching. She had gone down to Blackhorse Place to a sewing factory where some other girls from Cabra were working. The sister was also thirteen but she loved school and wanted to stay on there. Now what happened was that this young one got the interview on a Friday and was supposed to start the following Monday but they told her she’d have to work a half day on a Saturday and of course back then it was never considered overtime or anything like that, it was just a normal part of your working week. But on her way home the young one got the hump over this and when she got home she told her Ma’ about having to work on a Saturday and how she liked to stay in bed of a weekend. Her Ma’ told her not to worry because she’d have a word with Misses Coffey down the road about it.

Well there came this knock on our hall door and the Ma’ tells the sister to see who it is. In walks the oul one from up the road without a by your leave or anything to the sister and sits down at our kitchen table where the Ma’ is finishing off a cup of tea. ‘Is there one in the pot…’ she says to the Ma’ and pours herself out a cuppa. ‘…I have something to ask you Misses Coffey’. Now the Ma’ and herself were kind of pals as well as neighbours, do you know what I mean? They had moved into Cabra at about the same time during the war years or the ‘Emergency’ as the Da’ used to call it, so that’s how they knew each other.

Anyway she starts off telling the Ma’ about her young one going for the job and her being kind of delicate and all that and how she loved staying in bed of a Saturday morning. ‘Well…’ says the Ma’ looking over her glasses at the oul one ‘…what can I do about your young one because I know if it was one of mine she’d be out of bed before nine o’clock and helping me clean the house’. The oul one puts on this real Vincent de Paul face and reminds the Ma’ that the young is delicate and doesn’t want the job and asks her if the sister could go down to the sewing factory and tell your man in charge. Now the sister is there cleaning the fender at the fireplace and earwiggin’ in on the conversation. Then the oul one says ‘That’s why I came down to you early you see, because the factory closes at twelve o’clock and I wanted to give your young one plenty of time to get down there’.

So off the sister goes out the hall door and she putting on her coat and scarf and of course she’s muttering under her breath at how she’ll reef the hair out of that young one the next time she sees her. Now it’s a good walk from our house all the way down to Blackhorse Place, so it was a good thing that the sister was used to walking places with the Ma’. Sure they used to walk all the way over to Meath Street every other Saturday for the shopping for our dinner on a Sunday. And then they’d walk home again after getting a cup of tea and maybe a plate of chips between them with a bit of bread and butter each in a café in Thomas Street.

So the sister finally arrives at the clothing factory and asks one of the young ones that she knew from Cabra who the manager was. Well out comes this big tall man and asks her what she wants. So she ups and tells him the whole story about your one from up the road. Then when she finished talking to him he says to her ‘And what age are you then’? She looks up at him and say ‘I’m thirteen now and I’m still in school’. ‘Well…’ says he ‘…then you can have your friends job instead. You can start here on Monday morning at half past eight and don’t be late. Oh and bring your baptism certificate with you’. And before she knew where she was the poor sister had a job and she was so shocked that she hadn’t time to tell your man that she didn’t want it.

Anyway she turned up on the Monday morning and began her working life in the Rag Trade. She eventually made a career of this and in later years opened up her own business in city centre which proved extremely successful. I think she stuck at it for at least sixty years. SO there you are and there you be with that story of the sister and her first job…

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