Readers Stories, — May 4, 2009 18:22 — 0 Comments

Prejudice – a tale in 8 parts

At home, my mother insisted on the daily recitation of the Rosary.




In our teenage years, my elder sisters’ suitors calling to our house would cock a cautious ear to the living room window and choose to ‘wait out’ these devotions.

 

But we were taught respect for our Protestant neighbours.   Only later when it came to relationships that might lead to marriage was the boundary made clear. 

 

‘What’s wrong with a good Catholic girl?’ 

 

Some Northern people hinted at physical differences:  Their eyes are too close together’. Protestants were considered dour and unwilling to smile. Some Protestants considered Catholics dirty, disloyal and sinful.

 

Our identity was often given away by our names:  on the one side, William or Elizabeth; on the other, Patrick or Bridget.  I was fortunate to own a neutral name. 

 

It stood by me in the early 1970’s when I became part of the cosmopolitan South Belfast in my late teens.  Well, cosmopolitan by our standards.   Holy Land terraced streets of destitute students and nurses, of indeterminate religion or none, surrounded by religiously-segregated ghettos like Lower Ormeau and Donegal Pass. 

 

a story in 8 parts .. Part 2 soon  … more later …

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