Interview with Mary

These extracts are from an interview with Mary who grew up in Straid, a townland at the foot of Glendun. The local village was Knocknacarry, just down the road from Mary’s home. Her mother was Scottish and her father was born in Glendun.
Interviewer: What school was that, that you went to?

Mary: Knocknacarry School. Mhmm. That was the school which is being converted into houses now, two houses. There were two schools with folding doors. And there was the boys school and the girls school. And Master and Mrs Doherty taught in the boys’ schools and Miss Wilde and Miss Healey taught the girls. There was infants, senior infants, first class, second class, third class. I don’t know how further than that it went up but do you know by the time it got up to the top they moved from class to class and presumably the same number. I must have been in the seniors at that time. I must have been ready to leave school whenever the boys and girls became amalgamated. I was at three different stages at the school but we were never taken, we never had a photograph taken with boys and girls together when I was at school. But I was there … just when I started … but then you see I suppose people would say that I was lucky but I felt very unlucky, I was posted to a secondary school in Ballycastle and I wouldn’t stay.
Interviewer: Which one was that?

Mary: The Convent. Because I was an only child and I never was away from home and I was very attached to my mother and I didn’t know until my father announced that I was to go to Ballycastle Convent. "Please will you not let me go to Ballymena because there’s a bus takes you to Ballymena to the Convent and takes you back home and I would be at home" and my father maintained that I was far too cheeky to travel on the bus to Ballymena and it wasn’t allowed. So I was sent to Ballycastle Convent and I, well I just wouldn’t stay. I stayed a year and that was my education. A terrible disappointment to my parents, especially my father and then of course I had, he had made his mind up that I was to go to Ballycastle I still wanted to go to Ballymena. I got my chance and that was it.
Interviewer: What was the Convent like?

Mary: Very strict in those days, not the Convent of today, very strict. You had…there was this huge place, this big reception area and you went up this big broad, broad staircase, up to your dormitory. That we climbed up to the dormitories and I don’t know, you know I wasn’t, I wasn’t clever enough to count how many rows of beds there were in this dormitory.
Interviewer: Yes.

Mary: But I know there was a nun had a wee room and she slept in every dormitory. One different nun slept in every dormitory and you better say your prayers and you better be quiet and you better get to bed and get to sleep because you had to be up in the morning for 8 o’clock mass. Every morning.
Interviewer: What time did you have to go to bed at?

Mary: Oh we had to go to bed at, study was after tea and close at 7, whatever study for an hour or couple of hours and perhaps there was a recreation hall. I honestly don’t know what we did for recreation unless we, perhaps there was music and we danced about. I don’t know. Anyway bed early, prayers early, up early. You wouldn’t have got up the stairs during the day. That was it. You came down in the morning to go to mass. Something I don’t remember where you kept your outdoor coat. Whether you were allowed up with it or whether it stayed downstairs. I was very homesick. I was an only child. There was nobody at that Convent of girls that I knew when I went there.
Interviewer: Nobody from school?

Mary: Not at all. If there had been anybody from my school I would have stayed at it. There wasn’t a being at it but I must say I got to know people. Yes. I got to know girls. I got to know a lot of the girls and they were so nice but they didn’t understand how I felt. They would hardly be there on their own. Most of them had families there, another sister. Either an older sister or a younger sister or whatever and each group of pupils belonged to a house. There was the purple house, the green house, the red house and you had badges to correspond with the colour of your house. Right. Mine was the green house. I don’t know how they chose you to get into this particular house nor why. Like I wasn’t, I was too sorry, too upset, too tired, too worried, too distasteful of the place to want to know any details about it and what was happening. Whatever was happening I just took for granted and that was it.
Interviewer: What type of subjects did you do?

Mary: Every subject and then I never, I had to do subjects there that were never done at the Primary School. Algebra, French, Latin. You had to take two languages. Latin and French and we never did Algebra at Knocknacarry School. So we had to do Algebra and well perhaps, Knocknacarry School wasn’t backward in any way. The subjects that we were taught were quite well taught, do you know what I mean.
Interviewer: Did you wear a uniform?

Mary: Oh of course. Oh a uniform. A brown gym dress, pleated with a special belt and a brown jumper with a collar and a tie in the winter and an orange, it was brown and orange the colours there were, an orange blouse in the summer time with a tie. A brown Burberry coat and a brown nap coat for the winter weather, long brown stockings, brown knickers for the winter time.
Interviewer: With your name on everything?

Mary: Well of course. How would you know? You brought your own blankets with you. Not sheets or pillowcases. You brought your own bed clothes, towels. Shoes.
Interviewer: How often were you allowed home?

Mary: Well you would be allowed out if someone came to take you out but never otherwise. On a Sunday if it was a nice Sunday one of the nuns or two of the nuns would have taken you out for a long walk along Leyland Road and a row of girls with the same uniform on them tramping up. In the end I didn’t stay. My father was terrible good because he would have cycled over to see me from Cushendun. We had no car and he would have cycled over from Cushendun and brought a big box of goodies. Yes and one day I was caught going upstairs to get something out of this box. That was a sacrilege nearly. Oh I was given a row. What was I doing and did I realise that I wasn’t allowed back up the stairs? I said yes I did. I knew I wasn’t allowed up the stairs. I suppose they got over it. And then we went to the Ref for our meals.
Interviewer: The where?

Mary: The Ref, the refectorey, or maybe that’s not the proper pronunciation for it. And there was about 8 sat at the table, four on one side and four on the other and our cutlery with our names on them all. Our cutlery with our names, I have them still. Not the names, the initials. Whenever we were finished using them they were put into a jam pot with hot water. That was how they were cleaned.
Interviewer: What was your favourite subject?

Mary: I had none. I liked religion. There was a very nice teacher and she was very good and I learned a lot of things there, more advanced than you would learn in the catechism in Knocknacarry School but anyway.
Interviewer: So how did you convince your parents that you had to leave?

Mary: Well I think perhaps they had spoken to the Reverend Mother and they decided that this is going to lead me into bad health and I wasn’t going to be able to stick it and if I could try it for the rest of that year and board out in a house and go to the school. By this time I had got to know a few of them but I was boarded in this house and there was a girl in it and she was from County Down, Margaret Magee, her and I got very friendly but do you think we had a room a piece in this house that we stayed, oh no we shared a room and we got our breakfast in that house and we were brought down the stairs to…. it was a house with a basement and that is where we had our meal in the morning and I suppose then after we got the meals during the day, I forget what we did for the rest of the meals, whether I brought a lunch, whether I got my lunch at the Convent I honestly don’t remember that part of it but anyway we had to got back up then for study. I suppose we come home for our tea and had to go back up for study….Oh we had to go back up to the school for study. So the year went over and then they decided that they had enough and I had enough and it was best to leave it like that. Oh and I’ll tell you another thing part of the uniform, a beautiful brown blazer, dark brown blazer and it was, do you know it was all done right round with braid, with gold and brown braid the colours of the school. And a big badge on the pocket of the Christian Brothers, not the Christian Brothers, the Convent School. Oh no, no, no. Whatever it doesn’t matter. The Convent Badge was on it anyway. That was the Burberry, the blazer and the Nap Coat.
Interviewer: It would have cost a fortune I’m sure.

Mary: Absolutely and you had to get your mother or whoever, aye your mother it was, she had to get those tapes with your name and sew them on to all your blankets, all your clothes, all your underwear, all your everything. Actually I went to school very early, very young because the numbers in our school in Knocknacarry they were always going down and they were always trying to keep, even the holidaymakers when they came here they went to school.
Interviewer: Isn’t this something to do with the teachers got paid for the amount of pupils they had?

Mary: Well I wouldn’t know that. Well I thought it was just because the school had to be kept open. One teacher would be dismissed probably.Interviewer: You had two in the boys and two in the girls.

Mary: Aye that’s right.

Interviewer: But do you say there would be two heads.

Mary: No, no. I don’t know. I wouldn’t know whether Master Doherty or Miss Wilde you know as far as I was concerned Miss Wilde was the Head Teacher in the girls’ school and Master Doherty was the Head Teacher. I know I was at school very early but I was at school very early because the numbers were always going down and they didn’t want to lose their two teachers naturally and I was taken to school by a girl that, she lives in Rasharkin now. She got married and went to live in Rasharkin. She’s older a lot than me of course. She took me to school and she took me by the hand down the road because the numbers had to be built up and I was always standing in tar and falling in tar and I come home and do you know how my mother took the tar out?
Interviewer: How?

Mary: Because it was sore it was scratched. With butter. She would rub butter on it.
Interviewer: You were always falling in the tar. Why was there always tar about?

Mary: Always doing up the roads in the summer time and do you see there was better summers in those days you must remember. We had great summers in those days. The holidaymakers would come from Glasgow, loads of them. Some of them still come but there was far more in those days and they all went to school to keep the numbers up for the time. Do you believe that?
Interviewer: Was the school on in the summer?

Mary: We never got our holidays until the haymaking, until the corn cutting season. We didn’t get our holidays in June at School.

Interviewer: No.

Mary: No. It would probably be, maybe August. We went to school in those hot days and we were all plastered with tar and those people would always come. I could show you the photographs with Cottinghams, McKays, different people that were on holiday and they’re in the group because they came to put up the numbers in the school I don’t know how but anyway that’s how it was.
Interviewer: Your shoes, did they get ruined?

Mary: Well now you had wee white shoes on, wee white laced shoes, you know gutties.
Interviewer: Yeah.

Mary: You know canvas shoes and my mother, my mother was a great woman she would be able to take the tar out of a stone but anyway that’s beside the point. You don’t want to hear about that. My mother was from the North of Scotland. She didn’t belong to Ireland at all.

Editor Note: It was common practice for local men to go to Scotland to find work, at least for part of the year. There is a strong connection between the north-east of Ireland and the Scottish lands which lie just 13 miles across the Irish Sea at the closest point. On a clear day the Western Isles and the Mull of Kintyre are visible from the Irish coastline.
She was born near Fortwilliam, she was married before she came over here because when my grandfather, my father’s father, lived up Glendun and he was a Gaelic speaker. And he was taken up to Queens University to make a record of a song at one stage. Well anyway my grandfather was a wise old man and he, as I say my father and his family were all born up Glendun. I don’t know where they were born but that is where they lived in this wee holding and my grandfather knew fine well that he couldn’t rear a family up there because he didn’t have enough land and he didn’t have enough way of making money to rear them so he decided that he would go to Scotland and take his wee family all with him. Whether they got a train to Larne or whether they got a boat from Cushendun or Torr. My father died at, he was born in 1885 and he died in 1981 I think. Wait a minute. You see things go out of my head now. My father was born in ’82 and he died aged 96.
My mother belonged to near Fortwilliam and she was a lovely person and she was also a Gaelic speaker of the Scotch Gaelic. But she could converse with my grandfather. So anyway that was that. My grandfather and mother took their wee family over to Scotland and they only went the length of Ardrossan. That was presumably where the boat docked. That they went over and they must have known people in Ardrossan from here who were already there and they got a house in a tenement. It’s like flats what they would call it nowadays. Well anyway they got this house and what it cost them I don’t know and whether this is true or not I don’t know. My Grandfather, God have Mercy on him, was supposed to open a wee sweetie shop but there was so many people buying things on tick. That didn’t work. So he went to work at the docks and I believe it was a very, the creator I suppose he made money but it was difficult and hard and dirty. My father bought a ticket because he wanted to go to California that was it and being the youngest my grandmother said, my grandmother, daddy being the youngest didn’t want him to go to California. "Danny don’t go to California, don’t do that" and she says, "I’ll give you the money for the ticket and you give it to Tommy for he is no good anyway. He works in a, do you know where they put bets on, in a betting office. You give him the ticket, I’ll pay you for it and let him go and you stay at home", because my father was a joiner by this time. So my father did what his mother said, good boy, he wasn’t married or anything at this time I’m talking about and my Uncle Tommy went to California and do you have any idea at all or I’m sure you could find out the big year the earthquake was in California. So anyway away went my Uncle Tommy to California and there was an earthquake there, just as he arrived but he was not killed or caught in it. You could maybe find that out for yourself.
My mother didn’t know my father’s people at that time. My mother had two sisters who were down in Ardrossan from Inverness-shire, from near Fortwilliam where they lived and they were my Aunt Mary and my Aunt Jessie and they were, they had good jobs, they were very good jobs in those days. One was the Priest’s housekeeper and one was the Priest’s cook and my Aunt Mary and my Aunt Jessica my mother’s sister were such lovely people. They would have given you the skin off their fingers. They never got married and they were with this priest who was called Father Lynch he had been of Irish descent and by this time he was down in Ardrossan where my father was reared and my mother was by this time, my mother was doing tailoress. She was learning to be a tailoress in Glasgow, one of them big shops. A better class shop in those days and she would have her weekends off and some weekends I suppose when she saved the train fare she came down to my Aunt Mary and Aunt Maggie and Father Lynch allowed her to come down and stay there and she met my father. My father and mother got married in Scotland and my mother never thought she would be leaving Scotland because her mother was alive at this time. Her father was not alive and she was coming to Ireland and she thought it was the back of beyond and so it was in those days from Inverness to Straid. My father was up Glendun with an old uncle and that’s where daddy stayed for a couple of days to come over to see his own father at Christmas time.
But anyway my father was going away back to Scotland because they didn’t get holidays in those days as they get today. His two days was up, Christmas and he must have got a lift down from Glendun maybe in a horse or cart and he was getting what they call the Mail Car, the car that brought the mail and he was getting it back to where perhaps wherever he was going to collect the train to get the boat but anyway my Grandfather was standing on Straid Bridge because it was a lovely bridge at Straid Bridge with a wee burn running in below it in those those and my father and although it was Christmassy time it didn’t matter it was nice weather. My father came on down to say cheerio to his father and my grandfather says to my father "Danny this is going to be a very big day here in the afternoon and my father says "Why, what is it going to be?" Well he says, "Well do you see that house and farm is going to be sold today" and my father says "and what, would you like it?" and my grandfather says "would I like it"? "Would I not love to end my days here and so would your mother".

My father stayed and he bought it and he had to go home and tell his wife Hughena that she was leaving Scotland and all our own people and she was bringing this two and a half year old thing over to Ireland. So I’m sure she wasn’t too happy. Would anybody be? But anyway she came over and any of the country people if there is any of them remember anything about my mother they’ll tell you that she was a lovely woman and she had such a hard life because she had babies after babies after babies that never came to anything, miscarriages and I don’t know what not because of the Rhesus blood group. I was the first and only one that lived. There was a little girl called Eileen and she’s buried, you will see her name on the stone, she must have lived a wee while for she lived enough to come home from the hospital, they were all born in Ballycastle hospital in that time. I was born in Scotland you know that but the rest were born in, well I don’t know whether there was any more born in Scotland because I was two and a half when we came here. So my poor mother had to parcel up everything and leave her people and I’m sure she never got up to see them before she left because travel wasn’t very easy in those days you know but anyway over we came and I don’t remember anything about it. Well anyway my father was only the kind of a man he was he couldn’t have lived through it either but he was of a jollier type and my mother used to say ‘I was so sorry watching your daddy making coffins to bury wee boys’. She was a great house woman, she was a great housekeeper and she would make jam and she would bake and she would churn. Now she never churned in the North of Scotland but anyway before she ever left Scotland and she was living with her in-laws she decided that she would make jam one day.

Interviewer: Right.
Mary: So my father was out working and when he came home from his work, daddy came home from his work and my mother was standing stirring this, whatever kind of jam it was and my mother said, "Danny, would you tell me this when or how does this jam thicken". "Oh didn’t you know you put a wee taste of cornflour in it". Cornflour in jam, oh God. We laughed that hearty I forget what happened. It thickened and I’m sure it wasn’t jam at all by this time. Well she would bring out the oven pot and she would bake cakes. Well maybe not cakes so much as soda bread scones you know but anyway we progressed in Straid until we got a parafin cooker, two, there would be two flames on it. One would keep the oven and the other would just be for boiling up things if you were in a hurry, paraffin and the oven was heated by this paraffin heat and then she started baking cakes. She used to make beautiful things in that. She had patience. She made me frocks and she made me skirts and she made me suits and made me jackets. She made me all sorts of things. I was kind of spoilt. She didn’t know half the devilment that I was getting up to. Well we used to, I had girlfriends of course, they all got married except me. I was the lucky, or unlucky one I don’t know which. I don’t know. Oh well you see we used to have, on a Sunday we would have these wee fellows, there was these wee boys and wee girls. Well we weren’t that wee then we were past the, we were high up in school, you know we were quite, we had notions about boys and the boys had notions about girls and do you know where we used to go some Sundays?
Interviewer: No.

If my parents had known I would have got shot. Up to the, up above the caves, up to, what do you call it, Camle’s Hump. To fly kites. That was the excuse.
Interviewer: And did you fly any kites?

Mary: Oh aye. Oh well now we had a nice wee time to ourselves. We did a bit of chatting and a bit of talking and a bit of futtering about. Nothing very wrong I can assure you. We were really only all pals together but unfortunately the one that I went up to see or the one that I would have been interested in he died of TB. Well anyway that’s that. That’s where we went some Sundays and if my parents had known especially my father he would have been so cross but anyway my mother was innocent she didn’t think I could do it. There was harm enough; if I had have fallen off the cliff…very dangerous. And we used to walk round the back road and we used to meet them round the back road and we used to have a wee chat with them hanging over a gate somewhere. It was great altogether.

Lord and Lady Cushendun lived in Glenmona (where the Society’s office is now). Mary recalls visiting the grand house for a special treat at Christmas.
Mary: Well at Christmas time Lady Cushendun came round the schools, McNeill. Well anyway they had the Christmas party for the poor tots for the schools and we were told to come down at a certain time and they would show us the pictures. And when we went into this big dance floor it was a polished floor and they had it covered with tarpaulin. And we had to sit on the floor. And we had our mugs. For our tea. I suppose we saw the pictures first. But anyway they had one lady and she was a housekeeper, part-time and she lived about and she was the housekeeper I don’t know what she done in Lord Cushendun’s but she worked in it. So anyway we were all sitting on the floor and mugs in hand and on comes the pictures. We never saw pictures before and this voice from behind saying oh, oh would you look at her stark naked and so real looking too. (She had on a low necked dress.)
Interviewer: A low necked dress?

Mary: Aye they thought she was naked. "Oh would you look at her stark naked and so real looking too." Well anyway we saw the pictures and then we got our tea and Paris Buns. I hated Paris Buns. Even in those days I hated Paris Buns but my mother could bake you see that was a wee bit different. A lot of the mothers could bake, not only mine. They were great bakers. They probably had a big staff Lord and Lady Cushendun. Lady Cushendun that was his second wife you know.
Interviewer: Did you remember his cousin Ada McNeill she lived in Glendun House?

Mary: Oh surely. She used to come round the schools. She was a great Gaelic speaker. And we were amazed, like she wasn’t a Catholic and she was speaking Gaelic. It wasn’t the done things you know. She was a very nice person Miss Ada McNeill. She was a lady, she was. Miss Ada wouldn’t be here all the year round. She would only be there, you know, I suppose she spent the winter in London maybe… Well anyway that’s that. And as far as that… when the pictures were over and we got our beaker of tea and our Paris Buns and whatever else we got, I don’t think they made sandwiches in those days, they weren’t fashionable and then we got our coats on us and on our way out they had a wee few Dolly Mixtures wrapped up in a wee bag and we everyone got one of those on the way out. That was Christmas time. So there you are.

The Sunday after Corpus Christi saw the Procession to the Mass Rock, people of all ages became involved in the preparations.
Mary: When I was a child at school Procession Sunday was a very important day, very. Well anyway the children that made their First Holy Communion that year were dressed in their white dresses and their veils and wreathes and their mother made them a basket of flowers all, a basket all decorated with flowers and I don’t mean bought flowers I mean wild flowers, I mean garden flowers and they were cut up, they were broken up in small pieces and four children were what they called in those days strewing flowers. Strewing, but I don’t know whether that’s a word or not but we had to strew the flowers and we were walking in front of the Blessed Sacrament with our Holy Communion or Confirmation rig out on us and veils and wreaths and all and our wee basket of flowers and in front of the Blessed Sacrament we were strewing flowers. And the Blessed Sacrament would come along with which ever Priest was carrying the Blessed Sacrament and one on each side of him and four men from the Parish with the canopy. Well you go along that road then from the Church to Miss Wilde’s gate. That was the teacher that lived, the teacher and her sister lived there and then you start up that awful trek up to where the old altar is. I’ve been when I could and you go up there and they do Mass and a sermon and there’s a special Priest asked from, some of the Diocesan Priests are asked down and the preach on a platform thing that they erect up there for the Priest. Well they had this arch over the gate and along the Procession route from there to Miss Wilde’s gate, the entrance to the old altar on the Sunday previous to this Procession the names of the people that went through these arches were called out and you had to go and collect the flowers which you thought you would need wherever you wanted to go and get them and we used to go down to Miss Adas and Lord Cushendun’s. Everybody would be looking for flowers. And then we would go to Lord Cushendun’s and see what we would get there and then we would go round to Perry’s, Rockport. I don’t know that we would get very much there. Maybe we never even went there, I don’t know but there was so few places that you could get flowers. It was pathetic but anyway. They had to be gathered and the arches had to be done and it was Miss Healey, God Rest Miss Healey, the teacher in Knocknacarry School for years did up the old altar itself on the day of the Procession and it was all done beautifully with beautiful white and red flowers and intertwined. There is a wire mesh thing over the altar. But then in those days it was a Procession. They processed back to the Chapel again not like what it is today. They don’t do that now any more. They don’t process back to the Chapel any more. They just disperse at the old altar. Then they came back down through the road and you go back into the Chapel again and you had Benediction. Aye. St. John the Baptist Pray for Us, St. Holy Angles Pray for Us, that kind of thing. Well we came down and we had that in the Chapel and that finished it and then your parents collected you with your wee basket and no flowers left in it. It was nice.Ladies on one side and men on the other side. Now it’s all mixed up and they’re all higgledy, piggledy everywhere. There’s no strewers, there is no children strewing flowers.
To attend the dances people came from near and far. The crowds, the music, the atmosphere… at Christmas time people looked forward to these nights. Mary remembers the excitement at some of these dances when men did the asking and women tried to be in the right place at the right time (coincidently).
Mary: Dancing, it’s different now. This jigging about. God help you. You don’t know what it was like at the dances in those days. It was lovely.
Interviewer: Was it?

Mary: Yes and the girls and all sitting round and some nice fellow would come and ask them to dance. You didn’t ask them to dance. Only if the ladies choice was called out, maybe in the ladies choice if you thought that perhaps you had a chance because you nearly knew what was going on or who was going with who. Well there was Christmas night in the Bay Hotel and it was a huge place in them days. Christmas night we went to the dance in the Bay and there was a fireplace in the middle of it at this time on the right hand side past where the toilets are where the kitchens and things are well there would be this big glowing fire when you went in because of course if you were going to a dance and you were like me you couldn’t get there quick enough and you would be frozen and you had to walk down the road from Straid to Cushendun and maybe you got a lift home on a bike and maybe you didn’t or maybe somebody would have a car and somebody would give you a lift. But I got one night with a car and I was in hysterics because he drove so quick, well I thought I never would see the house. He had a wee notion of me anyway but it didn’t work out. He was a wild bad dancer. He was all splaw-footed and he always had to be first on the floor and he couldn’t turn at the corners. It was just up and round. Christmas night was the Bay Hotel. But my mother being what she was she would be fit to make me something so this particular year I don’t know what it was she made Margaret my cousin and I skirts and blouses. It’s not something that you would be really going to the dances in much in those days. It was a nice dress but I can’t understand. We must have wanted what we got, we got what we wanted but she made Margaret and she made me, Margaret had a cream, beautiful cream blouse and I had what they called an electric blue in those days. And I think my skirt was navy and I don’t remember what Margaret’s was but anyway we come into the dance the pair of us and my mother at the door. Now you’re going to that dance in the Bay Hotel and if I hear of you, either of you being outside that door during the dance you’re in for it. If I hear tell of you, do you see the odd people come from different places and we were kind of innocent critters, "Would you like to go for a walk to the caves?", you know, but we weren’t as soft as that. So we all promised, oh we would have promised the earth. So that was all right, so anyway we went to the dance, I suppose the pair of us walked down to the dance, that was the Bay Hotel, that was Christmas night. The next night was Boxing night and where do you think it was on Boxing night, McBride’s Hotel. So we were allowed out to it too. We had behaved ourselves very well and we were allowed out to that. So we got to that to and what we were wearing, I don’t know we would hardly go in the same skirt and blouse. If you saw a boy coming at a distance and you thought he might be going to you would hide behind somebody. Well there was some awful bad dancers and they didn’t realise it and there they would have you stuck round that hall. Anyway that was that and then we got to McBride’s and that was Christmas night and Boxing night. Then the next night was New Year’s Night. Cushendall, at the school. We all wanted to go to that but we didn’t know how we were going to get to Cushendall. It was a bit far to walk. But anyway I went up on my bike and Bobby came to the door, "Bobby I’m up to see, there’s a crowd of us wanting to go to the dance in Cushendall tonight would you ever take us into the dance in Cushendall". Bobby thought for a wee while and he says, "Well Mary it’s like this I’ll take you in if you court your way home." I says, "You take us in. We’ll maybe walk home but we’ll get home. You take us in." So he came and took us in. So that was that. That was New Year’s night. Then came the 6th of January. It was Dicks as they called it in those days, McFetridges. So of course there was that. I don’t know who I went with, some of my pals. We could walk up there from Straid it wasn’t far. So up we went. A wee narrow hall. Very, very narrow but long and then a wee shop at the top of it and cloakrooms. So anyway that was the 6th of January and that just about finished the celebrations. Christmas Night, Boxing Night and the 1st of January and the 6th of January and we could close attendance down after that.
Well I was told that until I was 18 I couldn’t be going out with anybody. That was time enough. Your parents couldn’t be bothered with people coming to the house, fellows coming. No not at all. There was none of that in those days. In for cups of tea and get to know them, no, not at all. But maybe every house wasn’t the same as mine. I can’t tell you that because I do know that I have friends, the older sisters would have got to get in a boyfriend but ones that would have been about my age wouldn’t have been taking them into the house. They would be going out to meet them outside. That was the way it was. It was funny that wasn’t it?

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