"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Friday 15 May 2015


Another flash back .A summer day on the way to the shore. Sand dunes covered with course grass. An empty cement bag made a  good slide. Sand dunes are good to run down as well .Soft sand makes for a soft landing. 

On the way home from school in my early years another slide on grass flattened by a succession of small behinds down the river embankment. It was a bumpy ride. 

In winter, slides on the road with fifteen or twenty kids taking a run and sliding on a path  of ice made by many feet taking turns hour after hour.. 

Not many had roller skates. Skate boards unknown.I do remember boys with bicycles that didn't have a seat, wheels but no tires or treads on the pedals. 

Nobody, absolutely nobody had a car. Not even the parish priest. He did have a bicycle. He was a short round Irishman by the name of Dermot O'Reilly ,irreverently known as Pop by non-Catholics among us. 

There were three mail deliveries; morning,mid-day and afternoon. Three trips daily by a postman to the station with a covered basket on two huge wheels with handles for pushing or pulling. No postwomen until wartime. 

A letter could be delivered the day it was posted. Trains were frequent.

Nobody had telephones. I remember the first red telephone boxes being installed in the neighborhood. We could dial zero without putting in a penny. Hanging around the telephone booth was good for a couple of hours of entertainment at first. 

Another option was to gather under a street lamp and tell ghost stories. Martha had the most amazing stories about her uncle. Later  we realized it was  an escape  from reality into  fantasy. Martha lived with brutal grandparents . Her single mother had gone off to America and left her. We listened enthralled and never doubted the stories for a minute. 

Most families had five or six kid and  had moved from two storey tenements in older parts of the town .

Kids congregating was natural . Our games were myriad.

There was no swimming pool, arena or organized sports.

None of  our activities were organized. We skipped rope, played beds with a peever (hop-scotch) bounced ball ,played hide and seek, races, guessing games and played cards in the lobby or close when it rained. Often.

There were circle games with songs. None were about winning  so much as who finished last and 
had to be IT. Usually the youngest or otherwise slowest. 

We walked to the woods in Spring and picked snowdrops. In May, mayflowers and marsh marigolds grew on the riverbank.

I looked for fairies there. 

"Down along the river bank ,some make their home
They live on crispy pancakes of yellow tide foam. "

The  summer I could read that was all I did. Pushed two wicker chairs together and read every book  in the house. Not iall suitable for an eight year old. 

I read it anyway not understanding so not coming to any harm. The Scarlet Letter  I read that summer. 

Childhood came to an end at fourteen years old. Though secondary education and post-secondary 
education was free, a student had to qualify to continue past legal school-leaving age.

Bursaries  were provided for those qualified  but family support was necessary for a person to continue school as opposed to going to work. 


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much - that was lovely on a rather gloomy day.

Anonymous said...

A marvellous world filled with the innocence of childhood and simple pleasures.

Anonymous said...

You have been a walking [ rolling ] camera since infancy........

Anonymous said...

Pity it took so long for your writing ability to be noticed. They used to pay by the word but mostly, all, were guys.

Anonymous said...

I really do hope that the children of this generation will have such fond memories of their childhood.