Mother. (Episode 15).

25 08 2016

It’s amazing how a simple conversation can lead to a road trip, and to revelations about a person I thought I knew, but obviously didn’t, well not completely anyway. But then who does?

Out of the blue Mother asked whether Derry was far from here, “Here” being Drogheda. I asked why and mother responded with a story I’m certain she’d never told me before.

Before long I’d learnt that she had been based in Eglington during the second world. She had been desperate to become a Wren, and as she freely admits, it was mostly because of the uniform. ‘It was so smart’.

But she also admitted that she needed to get away from the man who was eventually to become her husband – my father. ‘Stage fright?’ .

Having applied she was delighted to be accepted into the Wrens and so began her great adventure. Handsome Naval Officers, Benbow’s ballroom dances, a stunning view of the coast line, an old bicycle with many trips made on it, and the beginning of a beautiful and long lasting friendship.

Her name was Olive, and she was to become mother’s best friend, adopted sister, and an auntie to me. And it all began at a Naval base perched high upon the hills overlooking the River Bann.

We decided to revisit, packed a bag, fuelled up the car and headed off. During the journey Mother produced a small black and white photograph from her handbag. ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find that memorial’?

It seemed like a long shot but there was no harm in trying I thought. But in truth we didn’t try that hard the first day. Mother was beginning to feel weary and after so much time spent in Eglington she wasn’t sure she’d be up to traipsing around Derry city.

But we did in the end, after a good rest at the “Happy Landing Pub” , and upon landing in the city, ear wigged a guide showing tourists around the old cities walls.

And then out of the blue mother pointed down a side road to a monument that looked familiar. ‘I think that’s it you know’. And so it was. We even managed to identify the step mother and Olive and been photographed on. How uncanny.

And what I found to be even more uncanny was the number of times I’d passed that memorial on business trips in recent years without ever knowing that mother had been there more than 65 years ago, together with my Auntie Olive, may she rest in peace.

Mothers day 2










One response

1 09 2016

Reblogged this on Be Like Water.


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