Remembering: Tea & Bickies

We invite you to bring a childhood memory and to share your story with the group over tea and biscuits. As we head toward Remembrance Day, we remember the many years that have passed.

Held at the Victoria Community Health Co-operative Clinic at 200-1075 Pendergast St at Cook St. Elevator entrance is next to La Taverna.

“Growing up”? in Ireland – Vanessa Hammond, VCHC Chair
I had the opportunity to “grow up” in South Asia, Ireland and England. We moved back from South Asia, where my father had been posted, to Ireland, when I was 8 or 9 and spent all or much of the next 14 years there, definitely the formative years.

The whole family ambiance was one of churches (The Kellswater Reformed Presbyterians, and Church of Ireland in Randalstown), close to each other in Co. Antrim but far apart in theology and social attitudes, and both rather gloomy and unwelcoming in contrast to the colourful, inclusive Hindu and Jain temples with which I had been familiar. But there was also the constant presence of the “old ones”, the Tuatha Dé Danann, Fir Bolg, Fomorians, and the Milesians, and all who had gone “beyond the ninth wave.”

They were part of everyday conversation and an integral part of my mother’s writing for publication and
for broadcast by the BBC and RTE, and my aunts’ plays. We were careful not to let any metal part of the
farm equipment touch either of the dolmens in the field behind the house. There was also a fierce
insistence on education, including the assumption that we would all be fluent in English, French, Latin
and, by absorption more than formal education, be able to speak as Gaeilge.

Apparently, Ireland was poor during that time. We, my many cousins and I, had no idea about that. We
had horses (yes, cart horses) to ride, streams in which to tickle or angle the trout, trees to climb and
many ways to have endless fun. Living close to Lough Neagh (largest lake in the British Isles) we could
swim, row, sail. I learned to fish, love horses as much as I had loved elephants, and take responsibility
on the farm.

We also had a sense of time and place and continuity.

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