Ireland's Child Care Institutions during the 20th. Century. Fo'T: The most vivid and passionate stories - banished babies, cruel orphanages, old abuses of power - have concerned things that went unnoticed, or at least unarticulated, at the time. News has often had to be redefined, not as the latest sensation but as that which everybody knew all along yet could not say.

Monday, September 06, 2004

A Day in 1962

DATE: 1962>>>>> Hard to know what time my day started at but as it was the Farmer priest who was calling me to serve mass I guess it was very early. Being able to tell the time in these gulags wasn't given any priority. We kind of went through our day too the sounds of bells. There were bells for every f**king activity.

A bell to rouse you, a bell to tell you to line up for washing, a bell to tell you to line up to receive your bit of toothpaste - two lines for the toothpaste as some of them were being tested with colgate while the other line got the gulags own brand.

A bell to tell you that washing yourself was over and a bell to tell you to get dressed. A bell to tell you to make your bed. A bell to tell you to line up for inspection. If you had a "tide-line" on your face you were put on the list for the Office. If your bed was not made properly your name went on the list for the Office.

Being put on the list meant you were going to be punished. A bell to tell you to line up for leaving the dorm, you were marched down the stairs into the yard where another bell told you to line up in ranks. You had to stand to attention in the yard whether it was raining, snowing or whatever.

The black garbs would then issue the instructions "Attention, Right Turn, Go Ahead " and rank by rank we would troop into the the "Ref", that's what we called the refectory. Once inside you had to stand to attention with your hands joind and one of the black garbs would begin to say the "Grace Before Meals"..."Bless Us Oh Lord, For These Thy Gifts..." where we all had to join in and finish saying the grace.

I could never understand why we had to thank God for what we were about to eat: lumpy, salty, foul tasting porridge and a skinner (thick slice of bread) with dripping, also a dishwater called tea, or was it cocoa, or maybe oxtail soup; it could also have been epson salts or that other stuff, very oily but it gave you the runs too. Jesus Christ Almighty it was f**king slop, to give this fare to pigs would be illegal and insulting to them.

Imagine that! Thanking God for THAT. Oh, We each had our own aluminium mug, plate and some of us even had weird shaped thingys. After saying the Grace a bell went telling us to start eating.

THE KNITTER