Maura: Grandparents’ deaths

My earliest memory is of waking up in the pram and being given a bottle. I also remember being carried downstairs each morning in my pyjamas to get a miniature cooked breakfast with the family.

I recall having measles, with the lights out to keep the room dark and a tilly lamp burning (the same tilly lamp I keep today). I was bundled in a quilt on the armchair and constantly fussed over.

I remember going off to bed in the winter, with a hot brick wrapped in an old blanket to warm the bed and a china dog clutched in my arms (I still retain that dog too, now bearing the marks of my early handling!). 

One day, rummaging in the cupboard in the attic bedroom, my hands touched something furry! I promptly went into hysterics. It proved to be a fox fur belonging to my aunt Margaret. The sight of it with its tail, paws and eyes made me yell ever louder!
My aunt Margaret taught me all the Irish songs and my uncle Pat taught me letters and numbers. I had a little abacus and with it we would play numbers games.

At this stage of my life I cannot remember what my parents looked like although I must have seen them every day. I call still call to mind however my grandparents, aunts and uncles as they then looked. My grandmother died when I was just three and a half years old in May 1940. My grandfather followed her just six weeks later. I can still see my aunts crying and the host of people who came back and forward to the house when the ‘wakes’ were held. Most of all I can see in my mind’s eye the glass hearse with the black plumed horses.

My aunt Cassie took over the household when my grandmother died. The question just did not arise of me returning to my parents’ house.

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