Sunday, July 12, 2009

" Reading between the lines "

Almost half a century ago living in a very remote part of Ireland there was not much in the way of education or even schools to go to. Mothers and Fathers never felt very comfortable talking to their children about the facts of life, or anything in the grown up world. There were no TVs or any real way to learn from the outside world. There were not even very many people to learn from. Whatever we learned like everything else, we learned the hard way.

Now, I am not complaining about how I had to learn. I would never want it to have been any other way. "Reading between the lines" became my only way of learning. I have gotten very good at it. This has helped me in the Corporate world even today where they spend their time only telling you the parts of the story that they want you to hear.

Then I was 11 years old and did not know anything about the facts of life. But what I did know was that: I was told there was a Santa, but my brother almost got me killed with the broom finding out who the real Santa was. I was having my doubts about the "truths" of life.

My family were as Irish Catholic as you can get. My mother who should have been a preacher, or a nun talked God to me all the time. Trying to "read between the lines" you quickly start to think; Was God just another Santa or someone who wanted me to have no fun?

We had an old car that never seemed to run, except a few times in the year miraculously it would be in the driveway ready to go. Then we would be told we were going to visit my grandmother. This was heaven to me, but there was always that fear that I would not get to go!

You see one of the children would always have to stay home to herd the cattle. Lucky for me my brother was older and he was into Elvis. He saw staying home as a great opportunity to practices being Elvis. Even if it was only to the cows, while my Mother the boss was gone.

Off we would go on the 50 mile Journey to my Grandmother and Grandfathers'.

When we got to grandmothers I found out the reason for the trip. It was to bring me to stay with my grandmother. My grandmother was lonely since my grandfather was completely deaf. She needed me to talk to, which I was more than happy to do.

After my family went home, grandmother and I sat down to one of our many long talks together.
I found out from my grandmother in one of our talks that, one of her neighbors' grandsons (Stevie) was staying with them for the same reason I was staying with my grandmother.

Like all children do at that age Stevie and I got to know each other fast. We were the only children for miles and we grew very close, spending all of our time talking and dreaming together.

At 14 Stevie was older than me and he did not have to go to school. My grandmother had enrolled me at an old school a ways from her house. where I walked everyday. "Life was good." I was going to school and when I came home I was the only child, and I had Stevie as a friend. In my mind at the time it was all anyone would want in life. however nothing stays the same, especially at that age (even if you want it to).

One day coming home from school I noticed something red in my underwear and I got so scared. After a day it only got worse and I thought I must have eaten a piece of glass or something. Well after a few days it got better and I was also felling a lot better but I still did not want my grandmother to know.

What children do not always know at that age is, grown ups know everything. My Grandmother sat me down beside her and said we have to talk.

She said in a very different voice than I was used to her having:

"You are young lady now"
"You will get this every month"
"Do not wear white at that time in the month."
"Keep all the boys an arm length from you."

And that was it!

I went outside and sat under a tree and tried to "read between the lines." What I came up with was not very pretty. I remember thinking: "Well now there is no Santa, and there might not be a god, but this I will have every month forever." (at the age of 13 you live forever). But even all
that did not prepare me for a week later when I saw a car pull up in granny's lane.

Granny's Lane

It was my mother and father coming to bring me home. "Reading between the lines" at a later date I determined that my grandmother had sent a letter to my mother giving her the news.

Since I was "a young lady now" and my only friend was a boy, and not a catholic boy at that I needed to be under the watchful eye of my mother the boss.I was back at home never to return. but for a visit to my Grandmother the woman I so dearly loved.
"The end of my childhood".

"A young lady begins!

The spot that my grandmother sat in many years ago, in our many long talks. While my grandmother has gone to heaven,many years ago. Her memories and the flame from the fire is still there 50 years later

Many years later I found out that Stevie had moved to Australia, had changed his faith to be a Catholic, and died at a very young age.

I will always love you Stevie!