herald

Monday 11 December 2017

My tears as I said a last goodbye to my childhood home

A young Anna at home
A young Anna at home

My first memory of the house I was brought up in is me, aged three or four, eventually being able to see over the kitchen table.

Before that I was so small I could never peer over the table top.

So I will always remember the day that I could see all the cups, saucers, salt and pepper and the plates laid out for tea. I was all grown up!

These are the kind of things that come into your head the day your family home is sold.

My mother recently made the wise, brave and exciting decision to sell the house that she lived in since the early 1940s.

She will be moving into a lovely new apartment and so this week all the family convened in Dolphin Road, Crumlin, to say our goodbyes.

Cry

I had a teeny little cry the week beforehand. It wasn't that I was sad for her, because Mam is very happy to be moving on.

It was more that things were changing and the place that had been our base, and her base, for decades was gone.

Myself and my five sisters did the final packing up and then walked around the rooms with Mam.

We told stories, including the one where my youngest sister Eleanor, aged two at the time, climbed out onto the roof extension through a small window.

Aged 14 at the time, I had to coax her back in, as I was too big to get through the window.

Eventually after promising her chocolate and sweets, she came towards the window, I put my hand out and dragged her in. By her hair!

We took in the views of the back window - a factory that used to be Savage Smith.

When we were children my younger brother Kevin used to take some of dad's bottles of Guinness to swap them with some factory worker through the fence for bottles of red lemonade.

We took in views of the front window - out into the big field that was in front of our house.

In that field, we enjoyed years of Halloween bonfires, training with the local running coach 'Musher' and meeting our friends on our roller-skates.

Forever

And we all made our way out of the house for a final picture in front of the door. Mam locked up and we drove off.

I am lucky that my Mam is still alive and healthy. And she has a brand new future ahead of her.

The house is gone, but the memories are all still there.

I may not be able to go through the doors again, but the sound of seven children running around a small council house in Crumlin, and a mother and father doing their very best for us all, will live on in my heart forever.

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