ma with peggy
Ma (on the left) on her last visit home, with her good friend Peggy

My mother is 87 today. She was born at home on July 14th, 1926 in Doon West, Gurteen, County Sligo, Ireland. Bastille Day. But her birth certificate says she was born on the 7th. So she gets two birthdays. The legal one and the real one. When her father went up to Sligo, somehow a mistake was made. Whether it was him or the registrar is lost in the mist of time. The middle girl of three. They didn’t have an indoor toilet yet and the house was heated by turf in a large fireplace which was where they also cooked. The slate roofed, whitewashed cottage had only three rooms back then. She walked to the one room school across the fields and never went beyond sixth class. She was a tomboy with platinum blond hair and blue eyes who grew to be a beauty. She couldn’t carry a tune or dance (such Irish traits) but she was an excellent horsewoman and golfer (other Irish traits). But now she is sad. She misses her home and wishes she was back in Ireland. At 87 she is afraid to travel. So I’m working on a plan. I’ll tell her I’m taking her to the grocery store then drive to the airport and bring her home. There are details to be worked out. Getting a new passport without her realizing what I am up to and packing without her seeing me. But I’m pretty crafty. It’s twenty years since she has seen home, she won’t know the place.

Published by Kate Eileen Shannon

Artist, Crafter, Writer, purveyor of ephemera and bagatelle


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