Jan 07 2020

‘The Two of Us…’

Published by at 2:21 pm under News

‘This photograph of myself and my little sister Anne was probably taken in 1955. Because of the style of clothes we are wearing, I’m almost sure it was taken on a Sunday morning in our backyard. Anne had a head of beautiful blonde hair and would always have a great big yellow ribbon on top of her head. My mother was so delighted when Anne was born because she came after six older boys. Anne also became my Da’s favourite little pet, in his eyes she could do no wrong. Most of the little dresses Anne wore then were either made by our Ma’ or our next door neighbour. The little trousers I’m wearing in this photograph were made by the neighbour from an old coat she had, she made two more from it for two of my older brothers. My shirt sleeves are rolled right up because they were always too long on me and the same with the shirt tail, my Ma’ used to cut that short on most of our shirts and she’d give us the cut-off piece for a hanky. And that top I’m wearing probably once belonged to an older brother or two.

We were always spick and span going off to Mass of a Sunday morning. We were told to sit right up at the front of the church so that Holy God would see how clean we were. Anne and I were too young of course back then to understand why Jesus was hanging up on the cross over the Altar. We used to see all the holy people coming up to the Altar Rail for their Holy Communion and even the Oul One that would shout at us for standing outside her gate would be up there on her knees with her oul wagging tongue sticking out of her gob. I remember one time when I was only small and I was walking past her house and I was bursting to have a pee but I knew I couldn’t wait to get home and peed into her hedgin’ instead. You see, she always kept her hall door open so that she could spy out from her kitchen on everyone passing by her gate. Well somehow or other didn’t she spy me doing my thing into her hedgin’ and she came flying out at me like a Banshee. I heard the screams of her and so I took off down the road, still peeing if you don’t mind, after all I was bursting and couldn’t stop, she was roarin’ down the road after me and everyone gawking out to see what the shouting was all about. I ran into our house cryin’ and told me Ma’ what happened because my little trousers were wet and that. She told me not to pay any attention to that Oul One up there. She put a dry pair of my older sister’s knickers on me until my trousers dried, I had to wear an S Belt to hold the knickers up with because they were too big on me to stay up on their own.

When we got home from Mass we always had to change our clothes if we wanted to go out and play. We weren’t allowed to play in our good clothes because they might get dirty and we had to keep them clean for next Sunday. Us younger ones were always put out to play when the Ma’ was getting the dinner ready, my two older sisters would be helping with the dinner and sometimes the Da’ would help out as well. The older brothers would be upstairs lying on the beds reading their comics until the dinner was ready. Sometimes the Da’ would send one of the brothers to the shops for ten fags and a block of ice cream and a packet of wafers. After our dinner we’d get a thrupenny ice cream wafer that the Da’ would cut for us. Now, the trick with the wafer was to see who could make it last the longest. We never bit into it, we’d always start by licking the ice cream from around the edges and work our way in and slowly and deliberately as we could, take out time. That way it lasted longer and tasted nicer.

I remember a boy by the name of Eddie Mitchell giving our Anne a cross-bar on his bike and another young fella ran out onto the road with a stick in his hand and stuck it through the spokes of the front wheel. Anne and Eddie went flying over the handlebars and while Eddie was sort of alright our poor Anne was almost knocked out and had to go to Temple Street hospital in an ambulance. Poor Eddie ran off with fright because he thought our Anne was dead and that it was his fault. But our Anne was out and about in next to no time at all, thank’s be to God as the Ma’ would say. And so there you have it, me little self and my sister Anne…’

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