The Marriage of….

MARRIAGE OF MR JOHN MOLONY AND MISS KENNY

The marriage of J Molony and Miss Kenny took place on 30th January when the lonely surroundings of Coolmeen were enlivened by a gay wedding party. The ceremony was performed by Rev D Courtney, PP and Mr Martin Moloney cousin of the bridegroom was best man. The bride, youngest daughter of the late Daniel Kenny Coolmeen, was given away by her brother and looked charming in a biscuit coloured dress trimmed with chiffon and roses.

Miss Roche, Ennis, and Miss Mary Reidy, Boloughera were bridesmaids and were tastefully dressed in fawn colour cloth with hats to match. The wedding party were met at Kildysart by a number of young men bearing torch lights who headed the procession through the village. The guests were entertained at the home of Mr Moloney (Martin).

Unusual wording for this day and age?

The above report appeared in the Clare Journal on Monday 12th February 1900. The wedding took place one hundred and fourteen (114) years ago today.

Coolmeen is a townland in County Clare, Ireland. It is located on the north bank of the Shannon Estuary 7 kms (3.5 Irish miles) to the south west of Kildysart.

Modern road sign at the  cross roads

Modern road sign at the cross roads

Why my interest?

1. Mr John Molony and his bride with no first name were my paternal grandparents!She did actually have a first name: Margaret. She was the daughter of Daniel Kenny and Bridget Kelly. The Kenny’s were part of the reason for my auburn hair!

2. The different spellings of the name Molony/Moloney.
They were correct. John Molony & Martin Moloney were in fact double cousins, each related through both of their parents.** Years later my father served his time as a draper’s assistant to Martin Moloney & Sons, Textile Specialists.

3. The description of the outfits worn by the bride and bridesmaids.

Can you imagine any bridesmaid or flower girl today, being described as ‘tastefully dressed in fawn colour CLOTH’! Jen, Triona and Alice, I am looking at you three in particular! 😆

The giddy goose of my inner crafting eye is visualising the Misses Roche & Reidy, wrapped mummy fashion from a large bail of fawn cloth as sold by Martin Moloney & Sons! Do you think they got a discount. 😉

Bale of cloth

Bale of cloth

Let me take you back before this date in 1900……

It was in March 1878 that John was appointed Postmaster of Kildysart.

Besides running the Post office, John became:

  • Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths
  • Travel Agent for all the Trans Atlantic shipping lines
  • Insurance Agent,
  • The Inspector of Gunpowder and Gun Licenses.
  • An Import/Export Agent
  • He opened a grocery/bar, so stamps and postal orders were sold at one counter and groceries & liquor at the one opposite.

My grandfather was the man who anyone wishing to emigrate to America or England, went to for his or her Identification Papers.

Mind you, “The Licensing Act of 1872 forbade anyone to be drunk while in charge of a cow or steam engine on a public highway”. I wonder how that effected business on a Fair Day?

1907 Molony Family at Post office

1907 Molony Family at Post office

John & Margaret Molony with the first five of their eleven children, outside the Post Office in 1907. The babe in arms dressed like a doll, was in fact John. Sure ’tis no wonder he ran off to America in 1925! No. I don’t think he was wearing dresses when he went! 😉

John later extended his portfolio, as we say today, by buying a small farm – he had a large family to feed and rear, and the boys took their turn at bringing home the cows for milking and taking them back to the fields before and after school each day.

My grandmother worked in the shop as well as keeping hens, geese & a goat. I think a couple of pigs were under her charge too!

In the early 1900s there were many businesses and trades in Kildysart: saddlers, shoemakers, nailmakers, dressmakers, milliners, blacksmiths, tailors and millers. Alas, most of these no longer exist.

Moving forward to 1942/3 the following description of the Kildysert area is interesting.

Considered a quiet village in today’s world, Kildysart has minimarkets, hardware shops, a bank, pharmacist, clinic, veterinary clinic, credit union, garage, RC church, Community Centre, Quay Marina and seven pubs. Alas no mention of the Post Office.

The post office is now McMahon’s Chemist Shop, a name mentioned in the 1942 link above

The Post Office is now a Chemists shop

The Post Office is now a Chemists shop

*Not alone were they my grandparents, but there were many similarities unknowingly repeated in my life.

**This double spelling surfaced again in the next generation. My father, Dan Molony married my mother – Eileen Moloney, although she was born in Dublin, her paternal Moloney ancestors came from Murroe in County Limerick, across the mouth of the River Shannon from Kildysart County Clare.
The double cousins have come into play for some of my nieces and nephews, since two of my brothers married two sisters.

Barmbrack

Reading all the posts about pumpkin carving, then all the entries in 3rd Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill I began to think back to the Halloween’s of my childhood.

When I was a child Halloween was a family time. We had not heard of the American trick or treating. There were no elaborate costumes either. We did have masks made of flat card with holes for eyes, nose and mouth. Two pieces of elastic went round our ears to hold the mask in place.

Traditional fair included colcannon, apple pie, and barmbrack. No, spell check! I did not mean bareback, it was way to cold for that lark, the very thought makes me sh…sh…shiver!

Later in the evening, we had a dish of mixed nuts and in the days before we owned a nut cracker the hammer was used by my brothers to break the shells. It became a noisy competition, with raised voices questioning who was next to test their skill. Squeals of delight followed if someone managed to break a shell and leave the nut in one piece instead of crumbs.

Games included apple bobbing & snap apple.

Apple bobbing, is a game played by filling a large basin with water and putting apples in the water. The apples floated on the surface, we children then tried to catch one with their teeth. Using our arms was not allowed, and were often held behind our backs to prevent cheating! The first person to lift out an apple by grabbing the stem with his teeth wins a prize.

For Snap apple an apple with a coin inserted in it, is dangled from a string . The arms are tied behind the back and people bite at the apple. The first person who bites into the coin inside the apple wins.

I wonder if these games were invented by dentists? 😉

For our main meal of the day we ate colcannon, a traditional Irish dish mainly consisting of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage. It usually accompanied boiled bacon. Nobody, but nobody cooked a joint of bacon as sweetly as mammy or Nana, as she became known when the grandchildren arrived on the scene.

If I am honest, I was not fond of colcannon, I did a bit of pushing it round the plate, but the rest of the family wolfed it down in record time. We were thinking of the treats to follow and the fun and games afterwards.

Mammy made wonderful apple tarts/pies. Her pastry was special: Not quite rough puff nor flaky pastry either, it fitted happily in between. The apple pies were brought to the table warm from the oven, decorated in a snow flurry if icing/confectioners sugar and with a large bowl of whipped cream that was set in the middle of the table for those who liked it.

The finale of our meal, to accompany the cups of tea or coffee, was barmbrack.

Then followed the games and when excess energy was spent, we sat round the open fire and listened as our elders told stories. We heard all about the banshee, a ghostly old woman who sat on a gate post, keening and combing her long grey hair. There were scary ghost stories too, that made us frightened to climb the stairs to go to bed.

Barmbrack made a an annual appearance at almost every table across the land at Halloween. All the bakery shops had their own version. In our house Mammy had a well tried recipe that appeared like clockwork each year. It is a cross between sweet bread and cake and full of dried fruit, cherries and candied peel.

The brack was special because of the surprise it contained: a ‘gold’ ring (read gold coloured fine washer) was wrapped in greaseproof and pushed into the mixture in the cake tin before it was put in the oven to bake.

Barmbrack  rings

Nobody was allowed in the kitchen when mammy was slicing the barmbrack. The slices were not cut with her usual precision. The slices were set on their sides and overlapped in order to keep the ring out of view, then the plate was hidden until we had eaten the remainder of our meal. Mammy and only mammy, was allowed to carry the barmbrack to the table, with the plate held high over our heads as she walked around the table.

For several years I was the only girl in the middle of my four brothers, so I was given first chance to select my slice of brack, while hoping it was the one with the ring. Who ever got the ring was sure to get married!

There was a chorus of “Not that one” and “This one here has the ring” even though none of my brothers knew where it was. Magically in those early years, I somehow managed to pick the right slice. When My sister arrived and was old enough to join in she had the first choice and I think Mammy somehow catered for this by adding an extra ring to the cake mix.

Even when we outgrew the apple bobbing, a brack was still made with a ring in it, well almost every year…..

One particular year, I was happily working away in Dublin, the days were busy and the toy boys were fun to work with. The summer holiday season came and went and I worked on. Since I managed to suffer sun-stroke at least three times in Ireland, the thoughts of heading to warmer climes for annual leave during high-season was not my priority.

While crunching through the autumn leaves along the Grand Canal during a late October Friday lunchtime, a sudden gust of swirling leaves & cool air woke me from my day-dreaming. Immediately I longed for some warm sunshine on my back.

‘Warm Sunshine’! What was I thinking about, it was 29th of October and I had not taken my summer holidays! If I didn’t get my act together quickly, I would lose the holiday entitlement at the close of the year.

I quickened my step and headed back towards the office. On the way I passed a Travel Agent. I went inside to make a few enquiries.

“Do you have anything going out tomorrow” I asked?

“For how many people” enquired the young sales lady?

“Just me” I replied cheerfully.

Fifteen minutes later I left the building holding my tickets for a two week holiday in Sunny Spain leaving the next day, Saturday 30th October.

So Saturday was spent sorting, washing and pressing clothes suitable for warm Spanish sunshine. I was due to leave for Dublin airport late that evening.

With the bags finally packed and ready I came down to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Mammy was still bustling about and the aroma from the oven was inviting. Gazing at the kitchen counter, I asked “What’s in the oven?”

“The barmbrack, I thought I would have it ready before you go so that you could have a slice.” Answered mammy.

“Did you forget something?” I asked, turning to her with my hand held out. Sitting in my palm was a little greaseproof parcel containing the ring.

She looked up at me and we both laughed.

“Looks like I’ll not find my man this year!” I said adding the sugar to my coffee.

Arriving at the resort in the early hours of the morning, by body clock took time to catch up with the lack of sleep and the time change. I headed back to the hotel restaurant for lunch. I was seated at a table with three other young ladies. We introduced ourselves and I discovered that they were all from Belfast. Like me they arrived the previous night. Their journey had the added hassle of a couple of hours delay before take-off. Our chatter covered the journey, our resort and expectations for the holiday ahead.

Two gentlemen from a nearby table stopped on their way out from lunch. They were known to the girls as they had all travelled out to Spain on the same aircraft. One of the men stood behind my chair. I was introduced and immediately he said he had noticed me on my walk along the promenade during the morning.

At one point the man behind me, called Jack, wanted to tell me something so he placed his hands on my shoulders to tilt me in his direction. I do not remember the story he told but I do remember his laughter, the twinkle in his eyes and the touch of his hands. Later that night he danced with me and for the remainder of the week he sought me out when planning his activities for the day.

I discovered that Jack, like me, had reason to make changes with holiday plans. He wanted to have a week away earlier in October, but there were no places available. The only week free was leaving Belfast on 30th October.

That Halloween was thirty seven years ago today!

For some reason on that Hallowe’en morning when I first felt those hands on my shoulders I knew they belonged there, and without looking I had found the final piece of my life’s jigsaw that I never realised was missing. We made contact with each other by phone when I returned and met again at Christmastime. From then we travelled up and down the road every couple of weeks. We became
Engaged in February and married in July.

For many years Jack dined out on the fact that we met at Halloween. He told everyone that he thought I was wearing a mask, but by the time he discovered that it didn’t come off, I had my hooks in him! This was all said as he winked at me and gave me a gentle squeeze.

The little witch

Lisa liked Granny’s spooky old house. She stood at the door.

“Where are you going?”

“For a walk.”

“A storm is coming! A big black cat comes out in a storm. Don’t touch it!”

The black cat was on the path. Lisa was not scared. She patted the cat.

Too late she remembered Granny’s words!

Her teeth turned black, her skin was covered with green slime. Screaming she ran into the forest where she turned into a witch.

Now when it’s dark and stormy Lisa comes out to scare people.

Maybe she will come and scare you.

Cackle, cackle . . . BOO!

\\\////0\\\////

This is my entry for the 3rd Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST
hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill

The challenge is to:

Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children, using the words spooky, black cat, and cackle.

Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words (you can count black cat as one word) and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!) Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂

Post your story on your blog between now and Thursday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list on Susanna’s blog.

92 ~ Part 2.

Yesterday I told you that ‘92’ was built the year I was born. Granny, almost the age I am now, moved in a couple of months before I was born. She sold her corner shop that she lived over and worked in, since she married my grandfather in Aug 1909. He told her that he wanted to mark the occasion of their wedding with a gift and asked what she would like?

“I always wanted a shop.” she replied.

Her wish was his command and she happily raised her family and worked in the shop even after my grandfather had died in his sleep in 1942. She was tipped off in 1946 that there were to be major changes in the area, with the loss of many of her customers, so she heeded advice and sold her business.

Numbers 90, 92 & 94 Herberton Road

Numbers 90, 92 & 94 Herberton Road

By the time Mammy got to see number 92 from the outside, never mind the inside, Granny had settled into a routine. Mammy didn’t like it at first sight. Perhaps it was after the snow blinding whiteness of the previous months, the fact it was not the ‘home of her childhood’ that she was used to visiting, and the post wartime rationing that gave the place a dark drab look. That feeling stayed with Mammy for the fourteen years that Granny lived there.

We had no problem with visiting as Granny filled the house with laughter and sunshine. We loved the chance to go and stay with her. We went in pairs. I think Granny suggested it that way in case we got lonely.

Our days were fun filled. We were each asked what we would like for dinner, something that never happened at home. Mammy made one dinner for all of us, take it or leave it. No matter what she made it was tasty, we were hungry, so the plates were cleared in double quick time.

We might be in the middle of lunch when Granny would ask “Will we go to the pictures”? That question was always met with a loud chorus of “Yes, Yes, Yes! So once the dishes were cleared, we all trooped off to the pictures/movies for the afternoon.

One day, whichever brother was with me, tripped over his feet and grazed his knee. Granny Florence Nightingale soon had the patient cleaned up, with a ginormous bandage and a sucky sweet – she knew how to do it! 😉 She soon had us giggling and said that if the leg had not healed by tomorrow she could put the patient on the kitchen table and chop his leg off. Well now! We knew all about having legs off!

Our other granddad had a wooden leg. The fact that he died in 1922, when daddy was eleven, had nothing to do with it. We had heard enough stories from daddy and our uncles to know exactly what to do! Sure the boys had spent many an hour walking round the house with a ruler tied to the back of their knee to practice, in case they ever needed a wooden leg.

Granny told us she had a wooden leg, we were at the table at that time, so there was plenty of surreptitious peeping under the table cloth to check it out. Granny must had enjoyed our face making and voiceless conversations across to each other because she let it go on for quite a few minutes.

Eventually she told us it was not ‘her’ leg, it was a spare wooden leg and it was out in the coal hole. Now the coal hole was not actually a hole. It was a shed in the back yard where she kept the coal. Come on now, if I can have a cupboard under the stairs – in a bungalow, then Granny can have a coal hole, that is not a hole! Right?

So once again, when the dishes were cleared, we were marched out to the back yard. Our footsteps shortened and slowed the closer we got to the coal hole door.

Granny disappeared into the darkness.

We heard a bit of clattering and banging and wood scraping along the floor… then…

Granny appeared with the wooden leg of a table in her hand! It had a claw foot. I do not know whether we were relieved or disappointed, but we stood in mouth open silence for a couple of minutes. Granny laughed heartily and in minutes we were laughing along with her. You know to this day, I can still see Granny standing there in the doorway with that dusty old table leg with the claw foot, and hear her laughing.

Bath time was another high point. Granny made paper boats for floating and sailors hats for us to wear. She wore a hat too. I cannot swear, but I think the same pattern of folded paper was used for the boats and the hats.

The two of us were put in the bath together and we played happily while the dirt soaked off, then she washed our hair, our faces, necks and ears, while we washed down as far as possible, up as far as possible, not forgetting to give possible a scrub! All the while we were led in a chorus of sea shanties.

I remember staying with her on a St. Patrick’s day holiday weekend. We were all dressed and ready to go out, when re remembered we had no shamrock to wear on our coats. When we told her, she had a solution. Granny turned to a plant sitting on a shelf of the Hall stand. It was evergreen and shamrock like, though the leaves were at least ten times the real thing. Quick as a blink, she had broken off a bunch, divided it in two and pinned it on our coat lapels! We were wearing more ‘shamrock’ than any American President ever held in that cut glass bowl!

Slowly things began to change. Little things.

Granny would forget where she left her glasses, she might not remember where she left her purse. She would ask us the same question over and over again.

During school holidays we spent more time with Granny. She was minding us, but we were actually there to mind her.

She might send us to the shop twice for the same message. The dinner might be served without the potatoes, because she forgot to cook them. Our evening mealtime got earlier and earlier.

She soon made tea at 4pm. Every day.

By eight o’clock, we were starving again, growing children had hollow legs, remember. Mammy warned us to check that the gas was turned off after Granny had made the meals.

Granny would leave lights on, not put the guard in front of the fire and a time or two burnt her self on the gas stove.

My uncles and aunt noticed changes too when they visited. So it was decided for her safety that she should not stay living on her own.

She was still lucid and agreed that living alone was no longer the ideal. Of all the families, ours was the one where she felt most comfortable, but she refused to move in with us saying she would not be able to hold off interfering if we children were being chastised, so a residential home a short bus run away from us was selected.

Thus ended her fourteen year stay at number 92.

Granny lived in the home for about seven years, my brothers took it in turns to visit her each school day on their way home. The would check if she needed the evening paper, if so, one of them would go and buy it for her. I would go to see her in the evenings, my school was in a different direction.

In the early days she was able to go out alone and often hopped on a bus to our house. she would stay until after the evening meal and daddy would drive her back. One of us always went with him to take her back to her room, hang up her coat and make sure she was comfortable.

Slowly she deteriorated, her bag would be hidden in case somebody stole it. One day mammy walked across the room to open the window and outside on the window ledge, two floors up, was a bundle of bank notes rolled and tied with a rubber band.

Mammy lifted the bundle in and asked Granny why it was out on the ledge. It was Granny’s pension she had collected it that morning and put it out there for safe keeping. From then on, with the agreement of her siblings, Mammy collected the pension, gave her some pocket money and paid for what ever was needed. One of my uncles already looked after the major finances.

We were on the slippery slope….

  • Granny began to think I had been at school with her.
  • She introduced daddy as her son and not her son in law.
  • She never remembered having any previous visitors that day, even if we knew she had.
  • She constantly longed for sausages, telling us she had not had one for years.

Then there was the man.

She would point to the bottom of her bed and tell you about the man there. “He was no trouble. Very quiet. See those children? He is very good to them. He never laid a finger on them!”

She slowly sank away from us. On a good day we could steer her back to happy times and her eyes would light up for a few minutes.

Several times she became ill and we thought it was the end, but she rallied, never quite reaching the same step on the ladder of life.

She finally had a turn, but we had seen this so many times before, the staff were wonderful. Mammy, daddy and I were with her when she died.

That evening, at the dinner table daddy suggested we go en famille to say our goodbyes, so when the meal was over we drove back to the home. We gathered around the bed and daddy let us in prayer. Suddenly one of my younger brothers began to laugh heartily. Daddy stood up to his full height and asked for an explanation. My brother told him that Granny was always playing dead with us, and any minute now she would sit up and say: “Ha Ha. I fooled you all!”

We all began to laugh, Mammy and daddy included. It was how Granny would have wanted us to see her off: With laughter.

That was 12th July 1968.

We still talk about her and recall the laughter.
We loved the bones of her. Back then we never heard of dementia or Alzheimer’s, we just saw her as getting old, frail and her mind closing down. We laughed with her and never at her. We loved her.

RIP Granny (1884 – 1968).

92 ~ Part 1

Numbers 90, 92 & 94 Herberton Road

Numbers 90, 92 & 94 Herberton Road

During glorious July this year, my sister and I found ourselves with time on our hands one day, while waiting to collect a friend. We decided to go walking in the area, soon we arrived in a street that jogged at my heart strings. The three houses above played a part in my early life.

I knocked on that door in the centre, but got no reply. I wanted to ask for permission to take a photograph. We came away and walked on a little further. On our return we walked on the opposite side of the street. It was from there that I took this photo.

Heading back to find our friend, we travelled lightly, as I recalled visits behind that closed door.

Looking at the photo as I gathered my thoughts the other night, there seemed to be something wrong. It took me a few minutes to work out what it was.

When I frequented No. 92, the pathway was the width of the front doorway, you can see a line in the concrete where it was extended. The gate was removed, the pillar to the right was repositioned and new double gates fitted, the wall remains the same height. The steel framed windows have been replaced with PVC double glazing, All par for the course in a house of that age.

My problem is with the house on the left (No. 90), the wall has been replaced and the gateway moved to the other side of the garden, In the ‘old’ days,the paths and garden gates were side by side separated by a railing.

92 was built the year I was born.

Granny had moved in before I took my first breath. Mammy was not around when decisions were being made, she was far too busy in bed.

Yes, Mammy was confined to bed in a nursing home for months before I was born, it was one of the coldest and harshest winters in living memory. She had been sick all throughout the pregnancy and bed rest was prescribed in the hope of allowing me to reach full term. Alas, that did not happen.

There was no shortage of snow that bitter winter. Of the fifty days between January 24th and March 17th, it snowed on thirty of them. The snows that had fallen across Ireland in January remained until the middle of March. Worse still, all subsequent snowfall in February and March simply piled on top.

‘The Blizzard’ of February 25th 1947, was the greatest single snowfall on record and lasted for close on fifty consecutive hours. Nothing was familiar anymore. Everything on the frozen landscape was a sea of white. The freezing temperatures solidified the surface and it was to be an astonishing three weeks before the snows began to melt.

One quote I saw said:

‘It was pure black frost, night and day constant, and the snow was as high as the hedges. You couldn’t go outside the door without a good heavy coat on you. And there was no sky to be seen at all, or no sun.’

Daddy somehow managed to visit Mammy in the nursing home, he had to bring in fuel to light a fire in the hearth to heat her room (It was long before the days of central heating in Ireland), that heat came in the form of turf, hand cut from the family bog in County Clare, the previous summer.

Mammy never carried any of us for more than seven months, one for barley six, but six of her nine pregnancies still survive to this day. That barley six month sugar bag, born with no eyelashes or nails and porous skin, arrived two years ahead of me. He was fed by a medicine dropper every hour on the hour, was said to have lived for spite, but this month he is in Australia to meet his new granddaughter, his second.

No more than Mammy all those years ago, we never got inside No. 92 today, did we? I will return to it tomorrow and share my memories.

No Voice

Her voice disappeared. Gone. Not one croak, could she manage.

She had not been shouting or angry. No. Time with Granny was full of fun and once the school year ended on the last Friday in June, it was off to Granny for the week. They arrived on Friday and left on Friday, so Thursday was always their 4th of July.

In Ireland, the 4th July celebrations were not on the normal calendar of events, but granny had travelled over the ocean to visit a distant cousin, many a long year before and never forgot the excitement of the holiday. So here she was re-living the fun with her grandchildren.

They made a flag with coloured fabric and tied it to the yard brush. Jimmy had a feadóg stain, Joey played the washboard, Johnny was master of the spoons and Mary Kate provided the singing.

Who mentioned singing? Mary Kate lost her voice. Not a peep all day long  and the sucky sweets were no help.

Granny made warm drinks with honey and told her not to try talking, but use sign language instead. The boys, typical brothers, asked her questions all the time, but Mary Kate just shook her head and went to sit in a quiet corner with her new book.

The boys sat in a circle to practice the tunes they would play. Granny joined them with a large saucepan. Inside, stood glasses of juice. Once everyone had their juice Granny turned the saucepan upside down and began playing it like a drum.

Mary Kate, finished the mystery story and walking back through the trees she suddenly stopped. There in front of her on the narrow sun dappled path was a colourful tiny bird.

It was exactly like the one mentioned in her book: A kingfisher. The short rounded wings were whirring rapidly, it had green-blue upper parts with pale azure-blue back and a black bill. Mary Kate had never seen one in real life before and this was almost magical. The bird hovered for a few minutes before flying off in the direction of the lake.

Suddenly, finding her feet she ran to share this exciting news with Granny and her brothers.

“Granny, Granny, guess what I saw?” she shouted as she rounded the last bend.

Everyone turned in surprise.

“You found your Voice!” they chorused.

Tomorrow would be the best 4th of July, EVER!

♥x♥x♥x♥

This little story is my effort as part of The Fourth of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest  hosted by children’s author – Susanna Leonard Hill.

Write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 400 words about the 4th of July in which a secret is revealed or a mystery is solved!

If you wish to join in the fun, there is still plenty of time to take part.

Your entry should be posted on your blog between Monday July 1 at 12:01 AM EDT and Friday July 5 at 11:59 PM EDT, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official Fourth Of July Secret Mystery Contest post on Susanna’s blog from Monday July 1st. The post will remain there until Sunday to give everyone plenty of time to read, but the entry list will be closed at midnight Friday so Susanna has time to judge.

May the best one win!

Not guilty

Here we are at nine of the clock in the morning and not a child in the house washed.
Not a crumb has passed my lips and the blinds still tightly drawn. I better go pull them back and open a window or my neighbours will think I am dead.

Well, I am not dead – I think!

I had a late night. One of those nights where sleep played games of hide and seek, allowing me to win at about 4 a.m. When that happens I go into a very deep sleep for a few hours and wake in a thick foggy haze. Today I noticed a difference in the morning radio schedule…. The 6 a.m. news was only moments before the eight o’ clock bulletin, and now half the morning has gone and I have no homework to share with you.

Do I feel guilty?

ME?

I don’t know the meaning of guilt!

Right. Anyone for breakfast?

A bull whip Part two

Right class; who remembers A bull whip?

1bullWhip

bull whip from Wikipedia

Ach, come on now, sure it was only five days ago. There might be some excuse for me right now, sure aren’t I getting on a bit….. and drugged to the gills, so you can expect me to get a fact or three wrong. Right?

No way. Not with a legal eagle for a toyboy. He keeps me on my toes.

He swears on all dem big hard bukes. You know the ones….. Every TV drama about the law from Perry Mason, to Rumpole of the Bailey, The Good Wife or Kavanagh Q.C. have a wall of leather bound legal books behind a ginormous desk!

I bet my toyboy eats them for breakfast.

So where did I go wrong?

First off:

Brian reminds me that he joined the musical society after he left school, through a couple of lads who were already members at the time. He began by making some posters for a Talent Competition to raise funds… then he was asked to man the sweet shop at the intervals and slowly he became more involved. he remembers coming to see me at home, prior to Viva Mexico which was a production before Kiss Me Kate.

Secondly:

I did go to Callaghans for the whip, but they were not theatrical outfitters as I stated in my earlier post. They were saddle harness and horse-clothing makers, at 13 to 16 Dame Street, Dublin. That was why asking for and having the whip free of charge for the duration, made such an impression on Brian. I know I should have given the memory corner of my brain a big stir before submitting my homework to print, so with knuckles well rapped, 😉 I did a little research and found this humorous poster:

Callaghan & Co

Callaghans Poster from Wikipedia

P.J. Bourke, were theatrical costumiers, in Dame Street, Dublin, (1906-1994). They were in-laws of Eamonn Andrews – Presenter of This is your life (Uk Version). He married Grace Bourke, who lived with her family on the same Avenue where I grew up.

While looking for a photo of Bourkes, I found this interesting article from May 1993.

Gings, another theatrical costumier, was to be found on the other side of the street and I found a picture of Gings in Dame Street Click on the link to see it.

So I got there eventually, sorry it took so long.

A bull whip

Tilly, The Laughing Housewife teased us with a pun the other day:

I’ve planted a riding whip.
I’m hoping for a nice crop.

It was the second mention of a whip in recent days, so I decided it was a sign.

A sign to tell you a little story…..

Meet Brian

Meet Brian

I tease Brian that I knew him since he was wearing short trousers & knee socks. Not quite, but he was in his final year at school when we met at a newly formed Musical & Dramatic Society. We encouraged young school leavers to join, it gave them an interest, a way to mix and interact with adults of a wide variety of ages, to discover new talents and most important – kept them off the streets.

You may not have met Brian before, but you have certainly heard of him. He was the young man who conferred the title Grannymar on me way back in my late twenties. It was a joke to begin with, but everyone in the society latched on to using it, so it stuck. With time it became very much part of me.

Was he being disrespectful? Not a bit. With four brothers & a younger sister, I was well used to the nicknames they had for me!

Brian, now a retired Legal Eagle, spends his time between his homes in Dublin and Spain. All down the years he kept in touch, even if it was a post card from some exotic far flung shore.

One particular post card stands out. A very young Elly (just learning to read), ran to discover what caused the letterbox to rattle. She lived in hope that it might be another letter from her Nana, or a surprise from one of her relations far away.

On this particular occasion it was a Post Card addressed to Grannymar, at my address.

“It’s from Brian!” I was informed.

“It says: I am now an im pe cu nious Barrister. What is im•pe•cu•nious?” asked Elly.

“It means he has no money!” I said.

“Huh! Impecunious…. on Holiday in Ibiza?” Threw back miss Elly. *

Anyways…… the card was placed on the counter and off she went to play.

Right. Where was I? Oh yes, back to the Whip!.

I had a call from Brian the other morning while I was pottering around the house. He was walking back to his Dublin home after leaving his car in for a service. You see the world around you from a different perspective when on two feet, instead of behind the wheel.

Although it was a road he knew well and travelled almost daily when at home, he noticed something outside a house that made him think of me, So he phoned. I’ll keep you guessing for the moment, as it might provide an opportunity for a blog post at a future date.

I did ask if he had taken a photo, but no, he was more interested in sharing what he found, than taking pixtures!

“Anyway, I wouldn’t really like to without permission.” Says he.

“Then you should do what I do, and knock on the door and ask permission. You never know you might be invited in for tea and curranty cake. It might even lead to inspiration for your next novel.” I suggested.

“Did I ever tell you I did that at Bram Stoker’s house?”

Apparently not, so I emailed a link to the piece I wrote about Bram Stoker’s house.

Later that day he replied to my mail:

Excellent… but one could expect no more. Russian jewels bit amazing… imagine us giving a loan to Russia at that time… when some people did not have their breakfast.. should we not remind them of that now?!

He continued:

I remember when we needed the bull whip for Kiss Me Kate – you told us you walked into Callaghan’s, then in Dame St and said to the men there:

I have a problem and wonder if any of you gentlemen could help me?

I need a whip!

The rest is history – we got the whip – beautiful worked in plaited leather and it was there for all the rehearsals and the show – essential for rehearsal to get familiarity with its use.

You have not lost your touch.

Plaited bull whip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plaited bull whip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So there you go. I was a brazen hussy back then.

Callaghan’s, then in Dame St in Dublin were Theatrical Outfitters. I managed to talk my way out of the shop, with as we say in Dublin: the lend of a loan of a bull whip, for the duration of rehearsals and the Show run, without having to pay a rental fee!

Do you think I have changed?

The moral of the story is: if you want something, just ask. The worst that anyone can say is NO!  It does help if you ask nicely!

I spent quite some time trying to find a video clip of the Finale Act 1 of Kiss me Kate, to let you see the bull whip in action, but alas, I could not find a descent version.

* In our house the ‘no biscuits rule’ was set in place as soon as we thought of booking a holiday. Well, we all need to save our pocket money for our holidays. Right? ‘No biscuits’ actually applied to bought biscuits/cookies and sweets. I still filled the tins with home made cake and cookies.

I actually got away with that one…. For YEARS!