Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

My poor head

When someone intimates that you might have been dropped on your head as a baby, thus explaining all of your problems, eccentricities and quirks I tend to think “Haha, good one!”.  HOWever…

I found out from my mother recently that she had in fact dropped me on my head. Well not dropped me, I fell out of my high chair or off the kitchen table or something and had ‘a lump the size of an egg’ but sure you never saw anyone (doctors) and you’re grand aren’t you? Haha.


A lump the size of an egg? No doctor? What other horrors are lurking in my past…? I dread to think!

“Ah sure you’re grand.”


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Arranged Marriage

Out with The Granny recently, my sister decided to ask about arranged marriage. I can’t remember how exactly but it was relatively related to what we were talking about.

“So, did anyone ever marry the wrong person back in your day?”

“Yes, ME” replies The Granny.

“Oh no, I meant a person that wasn’t approved of or who turned out to be a nasty piece of work?”

All said in hushed tones across the restaurant table.

“Or were there any arranged marriages?”

According the The Granny, yes one of her aunt’s marriages had been arranged. Rewind to 1940s Wexford where it was all about the land you had and the living you could make from it. There was a local bar, Murphy’s, where a certain bachelor farmer would go from time to time for a drink or two and a chat with Mr. Murphy behind the bar. He was a man in his forties and he made it known to Mr. Murphy – who surely knew every man in the surrounding area (with and without a daughter) – that he was on the lookout for a wife.


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80 years young

So The Granny was 80 years young last week. She doesn’t look a day of it to be honest and we all know better than to make a big deal out of the number. My poor youngest sister, obviously too young at 13 to have remembered the last ‘special number’ birthday – 75 – made the rookie mistake of writing ‘Happy 80th birthday’ inside her card. At least she wasn’t foolish enough to buy a card with 80 on the front.

On her 75th birthday my uncle and his wife visited The Granny with card and present. From what The Granny tells us, she opened the card which had a huge 75 on the front and in disgust she tore it up and chucked it on the fire in front of them. In reality that didn’t happen because when we saw her a few days later the torn card was still in pieces in her living room. Lesson learned anyway – no numbers.

Poor youngest sis was only 13 then and had possibly forgotten that story a bit. Cue huge intake of breath when the offending hand written numbers were spied – disgusted face – closing of card. I spied them over her shoulder and made a joke out of it. Anything to stop her tearing up a card from the next grandchild who is teetering on the brink of not really giving a damn any more. Card was kept, or at least taken home. Disaster averted.

Earlier in the day, we paid a trip here…a country drive was a lovely way to celebrate the drive even if the place she actually wanted to see was closed. We’ll go back there another day.

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So I paid a much overdue visit to The Granny last night with my sister. Well my sister was there long before me and I, having been to an event in town, was hmmming and hawing about going until my sister sent me a text saying

“she really wants to see you and she’s got photos out”

So I got my bags and baggage (of which there was lots) together and headed off. And indeed the photos were out in force. There were lots I had never ever seen before and others I hadn’t seen in a really long time.

She told us a story about Mary. We’d heard it before. Mary was a neighbour and friend of her mothers, our great grandmother. Mary liked little ornaments and things and apparently had a vast collection which she loved and when asked could tell you where any one of them had come from. Of course Mary passed away. The Great Granny was passing the house a few days later. To her horror there was a skip outside the house and what was in it? All of Mary’s beloved ornaments, ditched outside the house like rubbish, unwanted. This prompted The Great Granny to make the decision to give away her precious things to the people she wanted to have them before she was too old or sick (or dead) to do it herself. So she gave away things like furniture, her sewing machine, particular pots, a silver teapot and so on, family heirlooms some of them, to whoever she felt would appreciate them and deserved them most.

Now The Granny has a similar idea in her head. Despite the fact that The Great Granny only died about 9 years ago, if even that,  The Granny sees 80 looming on her horizon (next birthday) and is on some sort of mission to get her things in order. She has thrown out untold treasures, photos, clothes, crockery, silver cutlery and Lord knows what else. She doesn’t like giving things away to charity (unless it’s us :P) so they all go in the bin.

Anyway, so that explains why she has been digging through old photos. Some of them were tiny little things no more than 2 or 3cm high…she has a tendency to cut them. We managed to find a small few photos of our Grandad where he hadn’t been cut out or coloured in which was nice. My sister pilfered those into an envelope she had with other photos for my dad, mostly of him as a young child.

Aside from the many photos she had of her two sons, there were lots of herself too. Some I had never seen before of her when she was as young as 18 and then a few from even before that. There’s a lot to be said for keeping photos in an airtight biscuit tin. There were photos there from the 40’s and even one from the 30’s and they were in perfect mint condition! Then we had a few letters, one she had written to an uncle of hers for Christmas 1938 wishing him a very happy Christmas. One from her younger sister telling about their brother ‘doing a line with Mary. She’s very nice. I think it will be a match’. She was right, they are still married now 🙂 No it’s not ornament Mary!

Before we left we were promised that next time, she’d be getting the newspaper clippings out. I’m not sure how happy I am about reading a lifetime worth of obituaries but there might be a few gems in there too 🙂

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You’d have to wonder what prompted it so late in life, but The Granny sought out her marriage cert and related documents recently in the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages or wherever such ancient documents are kept nowadays.

It’s almost 60 years since she got married but a lot less years have passed since her marriage was unceremoniously ended, and even that preceded the untimely death of my grandfather about ten years later, alone in a bedsit in Bray.

The man behind the counter of whatever office she was in kindly offered to go fetch her documents for her. He came back several minutes later with her marriage certificate and her permission cert or whatever the proper name is for the signed cert from her parents allowing her to get married. This had to be signed by both her parents as she was under 21 when getting married, not unusual in 1949 I’m sure, she was a bride of just 19.

She was not very happy to discover that the priest’s name was filled in incorrectly-she knows his name as the priest in question was her uncle, my great grand uncle (I think?!) but they had left out one letter, rendering him with a different last name entirely. She asked to have it changed.

The name of her mother was also incorrect and she was much maligned that any future generations seeking to trace back their family history as she has done, would find she had been born to a mother called Elizabeth and married by a complete stranger called Fr. Horan when neither was the case. So she has asked for both to be changed.

I’d wonder what prompted her seeking out the documents but I have to remember that she entered the last year of her seventies last week, possibly age is playing on her mind. Getting things in order while she can, considering her next birthday will bring her to her eighties. Funny how these things happen, I still wouldn’t put her anywhere older than about 72 or 73 and there she is almost in her eighties! Hopefully those young-looking genes are ones that I’ve inherited 🙂

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Cash flow

So, last night myself and my sister went to pay a visit to The Granny. We hadn’t phoned beforehand so there was a bit of a lull between our two rings of the doorbell and actually being verified, identified and allowed in the front door. Luckily it wasn’t raining!

The Granny had had a bit of a shock yesterday and proceeded to tell us the whole story. Her being her, she can’t tell the short version of the story and even though it all occurred on Tuesday, the story began with a bag of spuds bought last Saturday. Don’t ask.

The short(ish) version of the story is this…new (shorter) opening hours at the post office meant that she had missed collecting her pension for the past few weeks and so collected a big wad of cash there yesterday.

Wad of cash

Wad of cash

The lovely lady in the post office wrapped it up in a money bag for her and she popped it into her coat pocket which buttons shut and off she went to the supermarket a few doors down to buy a few groceries.

When she got to the till she put her hand in her pocket – no money :O She had a small amount of cash elsewhere to pay for her few little things and then went to the information desk to ask if the money had been handed in. No such luck. At this point the lovely lady at the information desk calmed her down while helping her search through her things again, then whisked her off for a cup of tea – “a beautiful cup, you’d think they’d boil all the oxygen out of the water in that kind of a place but it was lovely!” – and went off searching several times for the money along the aisles etc. while checking back with The Granny to see how she was doing.

Eventually she was ready to leave and decided to head back to the post office one more time since it was now re-opened after lunch (must have been a long cup of tea!). She queued up again, got to the counter and explained her predicament to a different lady behind the counter, not sure if she had been pick-pocketed or dropped it or what. The lady leaned over to her co-worker, said something to him and he turned to The Granny and said “Oh it was YOURS was it?”

Apparently some young lad had picked up the packet of money in the post office and handed it in. The Granny reckons she thought she had slipped it into her pocket but may in fact have just dropped it on the floor. The pity is that nobody noticed while she was there and that they never took the name of the guy who handed it in either…she really wants to find out who he was so she can give him ‘a few bob’.

Moral of the story – be very careful what you do with big bundles of money and there are still honest, decent people out there 😉

Of course she wants to get rid of the coat and it’s matching scarf now because they are ‘evil’….

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