Just A Memory

Just A Memory

A Story by Marie



 

Sometimes when I am alone in the cool, calm stillness of the evening, my mind goes wandering back through time, to another era and place, to the days of my childhood in the mid 50’s.

 

My native place (Listowel, Kerry, Ireland) was a very busy market town in those days, before factories of various sorts were built which spewed forth onyx black smoke from very tall chimney stacks, and big fair days disappeared into the mists of time.

 

I grew up in Charles Street, a very quiet street off the Main Street, where youth and age lived side by side, with a healthy regard and respect for each other. Where dogs lay out stretched in the noon day sun, absorbing the heat and oblivious of the many children engaged in playing ball up against some uncomplaining neighbor’s wall. Some other children would indulge in skipping and jumping rope, while more would sit on the curb and road in a little group, huddled together, playing with dolls and teddy bears, and pretending to be ‘grown ups’.

 

Traffic was almost non-existent then. The donkey and cart, and the pony and trap were still in vogue, traveling at a snail’s pace, in comparison with today’s cars which disappear with speed which would more appropriate to a race track.

 

Two main events took place during the long lazy summer months which always brought a flurry of excitement into our usually mundane lives.

 

One such event was the appearance of the steamroller which came to flatten the newly laid surface on the road, of tar and stone chips. We were so small in stature that the steam roller seemed like a gigantic mechanical monster. As it chucked along growling loudly and noisily, we provided it with a guard of honour, running beside it on either side of the street at a safe distance, as it rolled up and down the road ad infinitum.

 

The second event which took place during those glorious summers of fun and freedom was when our local milkman - Martin, brought his hay cart out from its long redundant winter sleep, to draw hay from his rented fields at the top of our street, to the barn at the back of his hours. He would always stop his horse so we young ones could climb aboard the hay cart and have a long leisurely drive from the top of our street all the way down to the end. We sat like wooden icons for the duration, daring yet afraid of falling, legs dangling like icicles from an overhanging cliff.

 

The hay glistened in the sunshine like golden thread, and Martin never once objected to us taking some hay, so we could have a ‘hay fight’ later.

 

Drawing hay took place over a couple of days, and we were always a little down cast when it ended.

 

Martin lived on a street at the other end of town, right next door to The Market, which was very convenient for both buying and selling his livestock.

 

Each day, morning and evening, Martin walked his cows from one of the rented fields at the top of our street, through the street, to his home for milking. One could open their front door to go out and come face to face with one of them! Once in the barn at Martin’s house, the cows were milked and duly returned to their field once more.

 

At 7.30pm each evening, hail, rain, sun or snow, regardless of the weather, Martin brought fresh froth milk to his customers’ doors. They eagerly held out their gleaming jugs to receive the snow white milk from a stainless steel measure which Martin dipped into the little tank which sat on a frame at the front of Martin’s sturdy bicycle. They would later pasteurise the milk themselves on double cooker on their ranges.

 

Those days are now no more, they are long gone, leaving behind them golden memories which continue to live warmly in my heart and provide me with ‘fodder’ to regale my grandchildren with during the long dark evenings of Winter. I hope the memories will not die as I shall, but live on for at least another generation.

* The photograph is of our dear neighbour and postman, Denis Carroll, a first cousin of my late Mam's and he is having a little chat with old Mrs. Moloney as he goes on his rounds in Charles Street...

© 2024 Marie


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Featured Review

The life we knew as children; that way of life is a vanishing memory now. The farms are being bought and sold by foreigners with no connection to the land while overseas corporations do the planting and harvesting. It was a simpler life and arguably, a better world. I enjoyed the read. F.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Marie

1 Week Ago

Yes, I agree, Fabian. Life is so very different now from life as we knew it growing up. So pleased y.. read more



Reviews

Tremendous journey back in time. You paint the scene well.

Posted 1 Week Ago


Marie

1 Week Ago

Thank you for kindly reading and commenting, Thomas. The world back then was a very different world... read more
Serene, simple, innocent--what a better place and time you knew as a child. Though separated by a vast ocean and cultural differences, the scene you portray is not unfamiliar. No cell phones, internet or video games, I think you (and I) experienced a time much healthier to grow up in. I like your Mr. Martin with his hay, cows, and his snow white milk. I'll bet he never needed psychiatric counseling. I feel your sorrow for it all being gone, and am sad. Progress took it away, I suppose. A wonderful tale it is that I have with my first morning cup of coffee.

Posted 1 Week Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Marie

1 Week Ago

Hello Sam and thank you for your most kind review of my story. I agree, we both grew up in healthier.. read more
The life we knew as children; that way of life is a vanishing memory now. The farms are being bought and sold by foreigners with no connection to the land while overseas corporations do the planting and harvesting. It was a simpler life and arguably, a better world. I enjoyed the read. F.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Marie

1 Week Ago

Yes, I agree, Fabian. Life is so very different now from life as we knew it growing up. So pleased y.. read more
Fabulous Marie. Sooo evocative and atmospheric. How well you capture the vanished Past. Exceptional ✨️✨️✨️✨️✨️

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Marie

1 Week Ago

Thank you for reading and for your very kind and generous comment, dear red93...
Lovely write Marie. It is good to remember close friendships.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Marie

2 Weeks Ago

Thank you for kindly reading, iTry. Life was so different back then, it has a special place in my he.. read more

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Added on July 7, 2024
Last Updated on July 7, 2024

Author

Marie
Marie

Kerry, Ireland



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