Two aunts and two uncles still lived at home, so I joined a household of six adults. I didn’t know any of them before I went to live with them. I have no recollection of my first weeks there or how I felt, but I have fond memories of living there.
My memories are just snippets of events. It was during and after the Second World War. I remember my aunts complaining they were unable to buy nylon stockings and having to draw lines up the back of their legs, making sure they were straight, so it would appear they were wearing stockings. It was such a big deal that when one of my aunts was getting married, I decided that I would buy her a pair of nylons as a wedding present.
My Grandfather gave me a half-crown piece (2 shillings and sixpence) and my Grandmother brought me to the town in the pony and trap so I could buy the wedding present. Of course, it was an impossible task as nylon stockings were not available, so I insisted on leaving the half-crown on the front left hand corner of where the wedding gifts were displayed. This is so clear in my mind - I can still see the coin.
- My uncle Packie carrying me home from a party on his shoulders, across the fields, telling his companions stories of leprechauns.
- The same uncle saying one morning that he heard the banshee wailing the night before and that one of the Berrigan’s, (neighbours), was going to die. I think one did die.
- Sleeping on a feather mattress and waking up in the morning, the mattress and me on the floor having slipped off the bed.
- The trashing and Jack McCann, an elderly neighbour who came to help, refusing to eat currant bread because he didn’t like “those little buggers” – the currants.
- My Grandmother making stir-about (porridge) every night and reheating it for breakfast. This caused a skin to form on the inside bottom of the cast iron pot. My younger uncle aged 15 and I would fight to be the one to scrape the pot.
- This younger uncle having a crystal wireless and letting me listen to a man talking. Oh, wonder of wonders.
- When churning butter, anyone who came into the house had to take a turn at churning or the fairies would steal the butter. I think they believed that, but it was a wonderful excuse to get a break from the tiresome chore of churning.
- Sitting at the base of the power or telephone lines on poles across the front field of the farm, listening to a hum and thinking it was my Mother and Father contacting me. I got a great deal of comfort from it. It didn’t make me sad.
My Mother came to visit once while I lived with her parents. I wouldn’t go near her; she was a stranger to me. I knew she was my Mother, probably because I had been told. I thought she was very pretty. Thinking back now, that must have been very sad for her.
I still hanker for that part of my life.