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Before the roof went on, we bought it! Six months later, on the 6th April 1968 we moved into our brand new home, in a new development, in the town land of Pettycannon….they called it “Esker Lawns”.
For some twelve months it was anything but a lawn but, rather, a mud bath and then a dust bowl until some order was established by the newly convened “Esker Lawns Residents Association” who put some manners on the place. All the couples that came to live in the estate were kept busy developing gardens, making babies and hanging out washing. For a time, one of the elders of the village (God rest him, Harry Lynch) pronounced from behind his counter, that we were to be known as “Nappy Hill”. We all struggled to get by on the meagre pay of the flat seventies and to keep our respective heads above water, our children fed, clothed and, as far as possible, out of any serious trouble.
We expanded from a household of four to one of six souls – plus one – he, too, became a commanding member of the home and so we became known as “Guapo’s mammy and daddy!” Guapo, of course, was our hairy pooch whose calling was to lie in the middle of the road on the junction outside our house and cause the cars to go around him; or he would like in the long grass of our side garden because we couldn’t afford a lawnmower…and only the occasional hire of one from Dick Fallon kept too many complaints at bay from the green fingered neighbours!
Time has marched on since then; the 1974 Church extension – when I was almost excommunicated by (the late) Donie Coghlan P.P. as I dared question the cost of the “new extension” – to the excellent restoration of the present St. Mary’s, headed-up by the indefatigable Fr. Joe and his team. All our four lads and lassies have flown the coop and set-up house, to continue the family business of baby making. Now that we are the proud “Nanny and Poppy” of eleven grandchildren (two by consent of our niece) we are on our own, rattling around in an extended house. Only when they come to visit is the kitchen filled to its complement.
With our absence now, for most of the summer months, it seems a shame that the house is idle and lonely with only the alarm active. It is unfair, too, on son John that he must tend the grass cutting (a bit of de-ja-vu?) when he has over an acre of his own to cut. So it became decision time. We must downsize. As it says in the Good Book… “and so it came to pass…” we saw our ideal cottage – in Kerry. Just like your man, Caesar, we came we saw and we were conquered. A few days before Christmas, whilst visiting daughter, Ruth and family, the cottage came on the market and without a second thought a cheque changed hands to claim our prize. We had applied for our visa to add to Tralee’s immigrants! Blennerville look out! April is fast approaching – Quane’s boozer and the ‘dirty pint’ as our (Kerry) grandson calls it, to slake the thirst.
There is no going back. The decision has been made final by the “Sale Agreed” sign at the gate of our Lucan nest. We are downsizing by half, going from 28 to No. 14. The removal truck is booked and sadness is starting to set in. Rooting out 38 years of hoarding is trauma enough but parting from friends and neighbours, with whom we have shared joys, parties, woes and even holidays – to say nothing of booze cruises – is a problem. We have grown up with them, as have our children with theirs. They have been our crutches in days of need; our laughter in times of joy and, in between, always dependable and supportive. How can we ever say Goodbye or Thank you for such loyalty? OK., we won’t …. We will stay as true friends and neighbours, even if we will be in another parish…a bit down the road. That is a promise. And why not? After all the new address is “Lohercannon” and that, strangely, is much the same as “Pettycannon”;…so maybe we are not moving at all!!!
Marjorie and Bob Whelan
28 Esker Lawns.