Denny (yes the bacon makers) have got me thinking. They’ve come up with a new campaign called ‘Home is’. You think up what home means to you and tell them by uploading a video, a picture or sending them a text.
I’ve been thinking what it is that makes Home feel different to every other house. Obviously it’s the people inside and the expectation of what will happen once you get in the front door, but more immediate than that I think home is turning the key. I never feel excited when turning any other key, but your own front door is like a ticket to your own personal Narnia. Just one turn and you get to escape from the cruel world and into the safe haven. It’s the feeling of those small pieces of metal touching and working together to come up with the perfect combination to allow you enter your own wee space.
I often think of Mum when I’m turning the key, as she would always call out on opening the front door, bidding hello to whoever was in the house to greet her/or not greet her as often the case would be with us telly-friendly teenagers!
When Mum moved into her own house in Galway she told me once she would never tire of opening the door to her own house. I know the feeling. Home for me is turning the key.
So times are tough and frivolous spending is apparently out the window. I recently found my self in the shopping mecca that is Dundrum Centre on the heels of a business meeting that didn’t go anywhere. I was having a typical shopping day, frustrated at the clothes falling the wrong way on my body, or vice versa! That was until I stepped off the escalator and saw it.
It was perfect. Lined. A grey-ish purple colour. Suitable for work and play. Ridiculously expensive for my current financial mini-climate. Luckily for me, Mum’s words rang through my mind. ‘If you like it that much, you’ve got to have it!’
It’s not that Mum was a big spender, in fact she spent most of her time in second hand shops. But Mum loved just the thought that a new dress, skirt, top would bring you so much joy. So I thought of Mum and banished the screaming panic I could hear coming from my Laser card.
She was right you know, sometimes you’ve to ignore a recession and find the joy in joblessness!
Hearing RTE Radio 1coming from the radio evokes strong memories of my Mum. I never registered until recently that I used the sound of Radio 1 as a Mum-locater for years. Mum had a small portable radio which she used to bring with her from room to room. I could always locate her by the sound of Morning Ireland, Pat Kenny, Gay Byrne or whichever of the RTE presenters was accompanying my Mum while she ironed, made the dinner or just had a cup of tea. On occasion they’d even join her on an excursion to the washing line. The radio was an integral part of our household soundtrack, jovily announcing Mum’s presence in a room.
As a teenager I remember trying to block the Sunday Miscellany from waking me up after a Saturday night on the town. Mum would have the radio on over Sunday breakfast, volume turned to the max, giving the ghettoblaster sound systems a run for their money. How Mum managed to get Dolby Surround Sound-like volume from two AA batteries, I’ll never know!
Being the fourth child of a family, I’m pretty used to the idea that there is no photo record of my existence until I’m about 15. [Insert melodic violin music] My parents weren’t great photo takers, or so I thought. This was until I realised we had reams and reams of diapositivas or photo slides. My sister recently purchased a scanner which has allowed us to upload some of the photos to 21st century technology. It’s been one of the most amazing family journeys I’ve ever been on.
Seeing the old photos of family time before I was around feels like entering a time machine and being given a ’Christmas Carol’ opportunity (but without the need for all the bah-humbugging). Of course I’d seen photos of the family before, and without even realising, I’d imagined my own family world centred around these snaps. Seeing Mum with her 70s gear on, being a young Mum with young children opened up a whole new chapter of our families’ story.
Mum and Dad and my siblings all lived in Spain for six years and I’d never really pictured that life as anything but an extended holiday, so I relished the opportunity to peer in on the family celebrating all the young birthdays with ‘Felicidades’ instead of ‘congratulations’ on the cakes.
Mum had three children under 4 in Spain, it wasn’t until they returned to Ireland that they had me (their Irish sprog). There’s even photos of that too. The photo above is of my Christening, by far the earliest photo of me I’ve ever seen.
It’s amazing as now with the digital age all our family photos are so accessible, and easy to share. There’s something to be said for putting the work in before getting a treat like these old slides!
Mum believed in a pretty laid back approach to parenting. I can’t remember her ever really giving out much. Inevitably, I was duty bound by my adolescence to push the boundaries on occasion and have to be told off. Mum used the ‘dissapointment’ card to great effect. She would never say she was angry or annoyed …just disappointed. It was always the worst thing to hear. I would have way preferred an over-reactive barrage of words about what I’d done wrong, that I could have shrugged off as parental misunderstandings of Generation X!
If I’d really misbehaved (eg. house party) I’d be sure to receive a crushing ‘I don’t know when I can trust you again’ from Mum. The beauty of this emotional blackmail was that there was nothing that you could retort even half effectively with. I remember just having to skulk back into my bedrooms feeling deflated. Mum 1 : Me 0