Stories from Drumreilly Active Age Group
Writing with Adult groups
I was invited to work with an active age group who were planning to publish a book about the area. I really enjoyed working with this talented and enthusiastic group in Drumreilly. In the early stages using an oral approach was very helpful. everyone soon forgot that the mini-disc was recording and just enjoyed shared conversation. I am delighted to say that the group went on and published an excellent book of stories and memories of the area.
Here are three of my favourite stories.
The Crolly Doll
This is a story I have told many times to my own children.
Santa and his reindeers were very active in the forties and fifties, as well as today. I had a secret wish, and hoped Santa would be listening, and that my wish would come true.
I was about eight at the time, when Christmas Eve came around and we were all busy doing our jobs, getting the house spick and span. Of course, baby Jesus' birthday is very important, but Santa came first, so our jobs were finished in record time.
Our socks were hung on the mantelpiece. The fire was let out, as we didn't want any obstacles in his way, as Santa came down the chimney. A bottle of stout and a piece of cake were left for Santa as well.
Every one of us went to bed early, although it was hard to sleep with the excitement, but we were told that Santa and his reindeers would pass by our house if he called and we were still awake. We couldn't let that happen.
Morning came early, and my two brothers and I checked to see was his milk and cake gone. So it was, then down to the kitchen to our stockings. As it was pretty dark at that time of the morning, my brother shone his torch around while we lit the lamp that hung on the wall.
I remember to this day, when I looked over where my stocking was and there was my secret, a beautiful Crolly doll with lovely rooted blonde hair and eyes that opened and closed. She was beautifully dressed and even as I write, this story my heart fills with gladness.
By Mary McGovern
When I was about fourteen, I got the opportunity to look in the window when they were making the dolls. I went to the Tech down there in Loughinure and we cycled down to Crolly. I wanted to see where they made the dolls.
I loved that doll.
It had a beautiful face, just the kind you could wash and wipe. Something like today, but it was a very special at that time. Not delph - no I wouldn't look at a delph doll. And you could sleep it; a doll to sleep in our time was a big thing. It was a doll you could sleep and stand up. It would open its eyes. She had beautiful blonde hair that you could brush. I can still picture it.
We'd had dolls with papered faces that had no eyes, only a mouth. You know the kind of dolls; painted dolls. So when I was a child, I used to look in the window, and I used to say to my mum, “I'd do anything to get that doll.”
I had it for years till my cousins came up to live in our house I didn't see the doll any more. But I'm sure they got as much fun out of it as I did.
I still love dolls, you know.
I remember choosing the doll in the window. I didn't think I'd be lucky enough to get her. But my mother thought differently.
Told by Mary McGovern