Time once more for another episode of the Loose Blogging Consortium. Our topic for today was chosen by Gaelikaa.
The coincidences I have chosen are all to do with marriage.
On this day sixty nine years ago my parents were married. They both had the same last name, although they came for opposite sides of the country. I arrived six years later and with time developed a mop of auburn tresses. The gene for this autumn glory skipped a generation but came down to me from grandparents on both sides – my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother Margaret.
John my paternal Grandfather grew up in a small village in Co Clare. He was over six feet tall and a noted athlete in his young days, particularly in the long jump, high jump, putting the shot and the hop-step-and-jump.
Once, while jumping over a six-bar iron gate, he slipped and fell heavily on his right knee. When it became evident that the injury was incurable he travelled across the country to Dublin’s Richmond hospital by canal barge, to have the leg amputated from the knee. The stories of the journey, the surgery, no anaesthetic and his hair going white, were often repeated and embroidered to an open mouthed audience of John’s grandchildren as we sat round the fireside of our youth. On occasion some of my brothers were found tying pieces of timber to their knees in order to try walking with a wooden leg! 😆
John was looked up to in his village and the surrounding areas as a scholar and philosopher. People were constantly coming to him for advice and he was known far and wide as ‘The Professor’. He was familiar with Plato & Aristotle and had a good knowledge of the classics.
When a vacancy occurred in the Kildysart Post office John applied and got the job. He moved into the heart of the little village situated on the River Shannon in West Clare. Besides running the Post office he opened a grocery and became the agent for all the Trans Atlantic shipping lines. Next he bought a farm in Ballinacragga and on the 30th January 1900, he married for the second time, a farmer’s daughter, Margaret from Coolmeen. They were blessed with 11 children.
Margaret, my paternal grandmother was a mere twenty three years of age, while her husband was many years her senior. He had married for the first time the year she was born 1877. He died twenty two years after they married, when my father was eleven years old. Margaret survived in widowhood for another thirty three years.
Exactly one hundred years after Margaret was born, I walked down the aisle with a man who had been a widower. He was married for the first time the year I was born. He also walked with a limp, the spoils of war gained in Burma during WW11.
It was many years later that I was handed a cutting from an old Co Clare weekly newspaper. The cutting was from 1900 and it was a description of the wedding of a local Postmaster – you guessed it, the wedding of my grandparents. The piece went on to tell us that the bride was wearing a biscuit coloured dress, almost the colour I wore for my big day – Ecru.