A Night to Remember....


We had one of our traditional Christmas nights out last night, one that I look forward to each year as I get to catch up with some ex-work colleagues. My attendance could not be confirmed until the last minute, which meant a frantic search for a last minute sitter. An excellent one stepped up to the plate and as I drove him down to Grandad's house I thought, what a great opportunity for WiiBoy to spend some quality time with him. That thought sparked some spontaneous memory flashes, tripping through my brain as I drove...

Thinking of the many weekends I spent on sleepovers in my Nanny's house as a child. How we all loved our Nanny and adored our sleepovers with her, on our own or in small groups. A memory, like a Kodak moment popped into my brain.... four of us head-to-toe in a double bed with Nanny in the single bed beside us. The giggles as we chatted and teased each other! The laughter at my brother's antics, blessed as he was amongst us little women. Then we'd  quieten down when she sang to us.... 'When the red, red robin goes bob, bob bobbing along....along...' (the clean version!) We'd join in in the chorus and then clamour for 'more, Nanny MORE...' And Nanny would continue to entertain us. We'd eventually fall asleep,  really late. It was probably only 10pm but to us we felt we were awake for hours! Simple times... lovely memories.

Our Nanny was an amazing Dublin woman, a Liberties Lady who had a difficult life as she was widowed as a young mother of 9 children aged from 4 to 12 years old. Left to raise them in a 2 bed council house on a meagre soldier's pension. Not easy and we think we have it hard? She herself was born, in the early 1900s weighing an incredible and unheard of 15lbs, into a large family living in a flat in Dublin's Inner City. I always remember her telling us how, as a child, she heard the first gunfire shots when the 1916 rising started that Easter Monday....

With WiiBoy happily ensconced with Grandad and his dog I made the dash home to get ready and leave the house in double-quick time for my rendezvous with Mr Jazzy and co. We couldn't find the restaurant we were looking for and as we walked further down Dublin's Aungier Street we headed deeper into a Dublin Inner City area and even deeper still into the recesses of my memory banks....

As we passed by Whitefriar Street Church I was instantly brought back to more childhood occasions. I see my mother's uncle, my great-uncle K and my Nanny's brother-in-law; a tall old man full of character and stories and totally toothless, who lived in a flat down the lane beside the church with his sister. He was an amazing man who played Santa for my mother and her siblings every Christmas as there was no money for presents. He brought them to the Gaiety Theatre panto every year too. A tradition that was continued in time with us grand-children. I then thought of his sister, my Great-Aunt S, who was a seamstress in the very upmarket Switzers store on Dublin's Grafton Street. A very high profile job in those days. I can't remember her face now, she passed away well before him, but I do remember the clothes she made for us. Especially the dress and fur jacket she made for my December Holy Communion. I also remember how she was a very last-minute kinda gal, who apparently liked her tipple, and the panic as said dress was not delivered until the very night before my big day! Oh she was a character, our great Aunt S... I recall that she liked to sing and dance also ;-)

However, it was the church that held some special memories that I'd recently shared with my WiiBoy. Whitefriar Street church is where my mother would get the bus across town to every so often, just to get some of their Holy water. Whether she believed their holy water was holier than anywhere else's is anyone's guess! Whitefriar Street Church is also where the remains of St Valentine are held in a specially created shrine. Most years, on or near my St Valentine's Day birthday I'd be brought to pay my respects to my patron saint....and to get some more of their holier than thou Holy Water! Great -Uncle K ate his dinner out in a local cafe every day and I distinctly remember one birthday meal treat taking place in that recommended Diner. Turned out that calling it a Cafe or Diner was being way too generous. I reckoned, at that young age, as I waded my spoon through a bowl of soup swimming in grease, that the correct term for such an establishment was definitely a Greasy Spoon..... shudders. I did take a look for a dodgy looking cafe but it thankfully no longer exists!

We eventually found the very nice restaurant we were searching for and joined our party, where we had a lovely night reminiscing with friends.

I wondered, nay hoped, that we were setting up some special memories for WiiBoy too and maybe even a new tradition has begun for him.

A boy should spend some quality time with his Grandad.....

xx



Note: Photo credit: cliparttoday.com

8 comments:

  1. I LOVE to hear the stories from way back. Here's to interesting memories and may Wiiboy create many of his own!

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  2. @Di: I'm only sorry that I can't remember all teir stories and that they're not around to tell me more!

    Thanks for your comment:-)

    xx Jazzy

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  3. A lovely continuity that I really envy. I sometimes feel sad that my children have a childhood totally different from mine - partly my fault, of course. I walk down Aungier Str to work every day, by the way!

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  4. What can I say? I am now so glad that I tried really hard to make sure that my kids got to know my parents, even thought they lived on the other side of the Irish Sea. I just hope that they and Wiiboy will treasure the memories of time spent with their grandparents xx

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  5. @Truf: No, not your fault. You can't help where you live! You do the best you can;-)Go say HI to my patron saint for me!!

    @Blue Sky: I suspect your children spent more time with their grandparents then WiiBoy has with his to date. He doesn't 'do' old people! I don't think there was much chat the other night....but he did help walk the dog, twice. We need to encourage more of these visits I think...

    Thank you for your lovely comments here and on twitter

    xx Jazzy

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  6. Whay a lovely post. Wow, 9 children from 12 to 4 is 9 children in 8/9 years! Were there twins or did she have one every year? I sat here trying to imagine the sleeping arrangements of 9 kids in a two-bed house.

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  7. Lovely. I hope you had a good time out and about. Sometimes there is nothing better than getting away for a little bit. And I bet he had a blast with his Grand-dad.

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  8. Absolutely - it's good for everyone! Glad you had fun.

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