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"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

found...wandering amongst the shelves...

After a whirlwind post holiday cleaning frenzy, I am back at the computer with cup of tea in hand. I tend to do these intense sweeps of the house every so often and end up dusting bookshelves which have been breeding small communities of Hooville, I'm sure, for some time...anyway there at the back was an old photo album my mom had put together for me some years back and it contained a few pictures of my Grandma O'Gorman (my dads mom).

Yup...thats how I remember her...always smiling with those shining eyes of hers, which by the way, all of her children luckily inherited. My recent searches through online ancestery sites has turned up a lot of info on my dad's dad's family but no matter how much information I feed the computer, I am at a dead end with this side of the tree. I have heard that the Belfast records office had a fire in the '50's and most records up until then were destroyed so I keep trying, hoping some where in a dark corner will magically appear the Leitch/ Heaney papers of which my Grandma Molly was one of. Anyway I'm not sure what those said records will turn up, dates, names, birth places, dates of emmigration/immigration and so on and frankly what does it really matter? Well for one thing, my Grandma died when I was 14 and I never had any serious conversations about her life in Northern Ireland and what sort of stories would have brought them to Canada in the 1920's. I know now that her father was a Protestant who died in Belfast and his family wouldn't allow the body to be buried in their own neighbourhood. My Grandma and Great Grandma were a Catholic family from Falls Road so there's all that political craziness involved. I am always wanting to time travel for one reason or another and to spend ONE day with my Grandma as I am at this age would be one of those times...The picture above was in 1964...I was 2 years old and she had already had a whole life lived...

Here we are at my Holy Communion.

This is probably the last time I saw her when she came for a visit out west.
As I was making my tea I was thinking really hard...what did I remember about her?

She used to bring us donuts on Sunday from the bakery where she worked.
She sang to us, sometimes in Gaelic.
She loved to dance a jig at family parties.
She smoked Players Plain cigarettes.
She loved her beer.
She was always saying "Jesus, Mary and St. Joeseph!"
She took me for trips to Kensington Market on the subway.
She once walked for miles from the bus stop, through the park with me to watch me go horseback riding.

I'm sure there will be other things that will pop into my mind but for now I keep her pictures close to my heart.
When we were in Belfast, I imagined her on the same streets we were on, as a young girl.
So if you have elder people in your life, ask about their  life and keep it in a corner of your mind. Find out who they were before they were your Granny or your Great Uncle. Get them to sing you a song from days gone by or tell you a story of school day antics.

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