I have just spent two wonderful weeks in Newry with my Mum Bridie, as I have done many times during the past thirty-two years. This time was much like any other; the same laid-back time, same views from my bed-room window. The only difference is the size of this wonderful town, I mean city! It is forever growing and the thing we call progress is very evident. All great things and more to come.
This time for the first time in my life, I listened to the ‘old school’. The characters that are few and far between, reminiscing about a bygone age. My mother with a head full of memories and me clinging to her every word in case I might miss something. I think this comes with a certain maturity. When we are young, stories of the ‘old days’ are not of interest – they are now!
I thought about my father Tommy. A strict man. A person who never said much about anything or anyone. He was the fittest man I ever knew and in the early 70’s he took young lads from the streets and taught them to swim, box and keep fit etc. His idea was to take them from the trouble of the times and give them something else to think about.
Indeed it was the very same man who tried to teach me and my sister to swim. What a disaster that was and my fear of water never left me. I wonder if he knew half of the mischief we got up to. If he did he never said.
I looked from my window to see the school I attended – St. Clare’s. What memories I have of my infant years there! The nuns frightening me to death, the big tree in the play-ground, the ‘big girls’ toilets down those steep steps and in 1959 the nuns telling us that the eclipse of the sun meant the world would end! And we all believed them! Now I look back and remember and smile. Memories didn’t matter way back then.
The view from my window is of a great city but sadly, full of people who no longer have time to stop and talk. People always on the go and in a rush. And so many strangers! Is all this because Newry has become a city or just a sign of ‘modern times’? What will be the memories of the present and future generations of Newry children?
How will they relate the ‘old days’ in Newry?
… Agnes: Sleeplessness …