Growing up in the ‘typical’ Irish family of eleven can have it’s challenges, the biggest one of course being space. We used to play hide and seek a lot but every easy hiding space was already taken by an older sibling, one of my earliest memories was of my brothers face ..from behind the oven door window…it was a bit tight in there with the roast chicken.. “you’re getting warmer” took on a slightly different meaning those days.. (I smelt like roast chicken for quite a lot of my childhood… I was followed by a herd of cats everywhere I went, I was tasty those days but not in the way I wanted to be…)
One day when I was about ten my Ma sent us out into the woods to play hide and seek, we were told to count to 1,000 and then come find her. We couldn’t find her but when we went home she’d moved house. No really, she did, she moved to Conlig, Co. Down, then came back in the afternoon to pick us all up.. which reminds me of this;
A large family, with (only!) seven children, moved to a new city. They were having a difficult time finding an apartment to live in. Many apartments were large enough, but the landlords objected to the large family.
After several days of searching, the father asked the mother to take the four younger children to visit the cemetery, while he took the older three to find an apartment.
After they had looked most of the morning they found a place that was just right. Then the landlord asked the usual question: “How many children do you have?” The father answered with a deep sigh, “Seven…but four are with their dear mother in the cemetery.” He got the apartment.
(I think my Ma was doing much the same thing, pitched up in Conlig with no kids, got the house and then came back for us lot…)