Adieu! Adieu! Adieu!

I received this very warm-hearted comment from: Adrienne Foley nee Fogarty (birth name Geraldine O’ Neill) on May 3, 2012 at 10:59 am.

Marie Therese,
I just want to say that I am very sorry to hear of your uncle Willie’s death, I never had the good fortune to meet with him face to face, but I did speak with him over the phone a number of times in recent years, as he was a friend of my birth mother (a sister of Helen) and was able to tell me a lot about her from early childhood, which I will always be grateful to him for. Being adopted, very little information is given about our background!!

Fr. Willie filled in a lot of gap’s for me and I will never forget him for that. I also read what you put up about my Aunt Helen and the Still, it was really nice to read it and sad ……as to your question, ‘was your uncle present at either funeral’??? I can tell you he was at Helen Doyle’s funeral and did serve communion too, as I received it from him myself, without knowing it was him!! Until it was said to me later in Belfeild GAA by Helen’s son Nicky jr. If I had known it was him, I would have thanked him for all that he told me about the woman who gave birth to me, sadly I never got the chance to do that. He was a lovely man, very friendly and very funny and I’m glad I plucked up the nerve to ring him when he was above in Maynooth College. I’m so sorry for your great loss. xx

At Galway Races

Here where the course is,
Delight makes all of the one mind,
The riders upon the galloping horses,
The crowd that closes in behind:
We, too, had good attendance once,
Hearers and hearteners of the work;
Aye, horsemen for companions,
Before the merchant and the clerk
Breathed on the world with timid breath.
Sing on: somewhere at some new moon,
We’ll learn that sleeping is not death,
Hearing the whole earth change its tune,
Its flesh being wild, and it again
Crying aloud as the racecourse is,
And we find hearteners among men
That ride upon horses.

By William Butler Yeats.

Thanks Adrienne, I’m sorry that you never got the opportunity to meet him, you would have liked him very much. I know other folk who were dying to meet him and they too sadly lost out. He was the kind of person who never pushed himself on people, but he was always hoping patiently that they would make the first move. He would just never impinge on people. I think that behaviour pattern stemmed from being in Japan for nearly half a century. I could be totally wrong, it could have been just the nature of him as a person. He was very shy to the back of it. I don’t necessarily agree with that stance, as it has sadly proven to have had too many repercussions regrettably for other people.
It’s a consolation to you anyway, that you got to talk to him over the phone several times. So I reckon, that’s better than nothing. I also said the same thing to others who also got to talk to him in lengthy conversations over the phone.
He was a man with people skills. I expect it went with the territory.
I always remember my mother saying that he had a very whimsical sense of humour. He was fond of going into fits of laughter, even at his own jokes. I found that comical and would laugh at him laughing at his own jokes.
He carried other people’s pain an awful lot too. It showed so much in his stooped down demeanour at those times. Like the weight of the world was on his shoulders.
I still bleed for him as I do my mother. They were so much alike in nature.
I remember on one occasion accompanying him on a visit to somebody he knew very well, who owned a pub in Wexford town. I think the pub has long since changed hands. I wonder if it was Helen’s sister’s husband? I’m not sure at all? It could have been a spouse of a cousin? Then again his cousin married into relations who had a pub in New Ross, so it mayn’t have been the latter. The name of the pub escapes me momentarily. It had an Irish name.
This photo is of a solitary swan at the Still pond. Not taken by me, I should add, this time around. It has to be a male Mute swan with such an enormous neck?
They would have all grown up together at the ‘Still’. Helen, also knew Joan-Carmel, my mother very well. So she must have known your birth mother as well. It was very painful  listening to stories about my mother. So I can surely empathise with you very much on that score. I hope the adopted family treated you well? I know that I would have given my right leg to have been adopted by the right people, instead of ending up in a horrible industrial *school*.
I climbed these steps to the Ferry Carraig Hotel so often with my uncle Willie, who took me out to dinner, to make up for the lack of being cared for in the past. One always knew one was approaching Wexford town environs by the yellow growth, which was in abundance on the rocks on the motorway and the surrounding areas.
It heartens me to hear you talk openly online about being adopted. There is immense freedom that goes with being ‘out’ about such a thing. I kept my life a secret for most of my life and it was unbearable. It was used as a weapon against me so much by some nasty people, that I just had to come clean in order to remain sane. It may distance one from some people, who cannot bear their dirty linen to be aired in public, but if they can cope with it that way, that is their choice.
We always made sure to get a comfortable long sofa so that uncle Willie could rest his long legs on a footstool and gaze out peacefully at the beautiful scenery at Ferry Carraig. He loved it there.
It’s great that you know who you are and where you came from. When I studied for the HIgher Level Junior Cert in German at a VTOS course in Enniscorthy, I had a brilliant German teacher. She was the daughter of Dan O’Neill, the infamous bone-setter from Myshall, Co. Carlow, of whom the whole country descended upon with bone ailments and  the latter could subsequently find themselves in a queue with a horse. That’s the gospel truth! I often wondered if there was any connection between Helen and them? Although, I think that the name Neill/O’Neill was plentiful in that neck of the woods. The daughter, I think, teaches at Colaiste Mhuire (Bride?) in the Shannon area of Enniscorthy. Well, she did in years gone by.
I visited Myshall very often in the past with a person (who was based in Enniscorthy town) whose father, a retired teacher from the area, had died. It’s such a tiny hamlet, not far from  Bunclody.
Thanks for giving me info about my uncle attending your aunt Helen’s funeral. It tells me that he was obviously in fine fettle at the time. They were both mad into horse-racing. They lived for it. My uncle loved going with them to Galway. Not to mention the hunt on St. Stephen’s Day who gathered outside Doyle’s at the Still.  And the Point to point at Gowran. They were all very horsey people.
Your aunt Helen was a superb cook and made apple tarts to die for.
Thanks too for your lovely comment.
I think you should make contact with Joan Doyle-Ryan of Monageer. There would be no family connection on your side there. She knew your aunt very well, as she grew up at the Still for a time when she was very young. Joan is a rare breed. She was one of the most kindest persons I’ve ever encountered as too were all belonging to her.
I’ve noted that your adopted family completely changed your name?
Photos of Wexford: H/t mazc77
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One thought on “Adieu! Adieu! Adieu!

  1. Hi Marie Therese,

    What a beautiful letter thank you so much, I’m sorry to say I only saw it yesterday as you popped into my mind and I decided to check to see ” if ” in fact you had replied, now I am so glad I did. I’ve just been reading some of the stories you put up here about your life…. you should be very proud of yourself and how far you have come in dealing with all the hurt and the lies you encountered, regardless of what life has thrown at you over the years ….you survived . I think you are a wonderful, talented , strong gifted women so keep on writing and I love the photo’s !!! “It’s better out than in” as they say and it heals the child within us all to speak out ….

    I just finished reading Evelyn Doyle’s second book during the summer, about when her father gets them out of the home and moves to England. It’s horrific what happened to her and many other’s.

    Also Martha Long’s ” Ma He Sold Me For A Few Cigarettes” and ” Ma I’m Gettin Meself a New Mammy” are great, she has more but I haven’t read them yet….something to do over the winter. I may rush off now, kids to bring to a match, sorry my reply is so short but I hope to here from you again soon.

    P.S. Just to add, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence either ! Adopted people suffer the lies, hurt and ill will from other’s too.

    We should never hide where we came from or who we are, just to ease someone else’s mind and keep their secret hidden, after all ….we did not ask to be brought into this world but yet we pay the high price of someone else’s mistake all those years ago !! Our lives, names etc., changed forever ……the unwanted ! On a lighter note, keep up the studies and we’ll talk soon.

    Do keep in touch my email is aidoballydaw@hotmail.com

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