They don't make Marys anymore. The word on the birth certificates is the traditional name has been cast aside in favour of fancier imports. Attended a confirmation yesterday and the din got up from chat on the resistance from today's young wans to taking granny's granny's granny's name. Not wishing to let a good lament go to waste, it got me thinking about the Marys in my life. The memorable ones, the influential ones.
Mary C - bucktoothed teacher in 6th class. Sprang up from the hearth of the Gaeltacht with a swagger in her stride to ply her trade with fire and brimstone. The only woman in our town in 1985 brave enough to wear sun glasses over her head in winter and indulge in the commonly frowned upon practice of draping her jacket over her shoulder thus leaving the sleeves to fend for themselves in the breeze. This was viewed as an indicator of immodesty by some but recognised as an important status symbol of Bridge players by social climbing snobs who longed to be plucked from the lowly obscurity of the rare game of Twist in their living rooms. She was also the first teacher to give the thumbs up to letting our imaginations roam free, even if that meant some questionable dream sequences being reported under 'my summer holidays'. In possession of a distinctive voice, I enjoyed mimicing her from behind corners to scare the bejaysis outta the comrades. And I was always grateful for her unfashionable discretion when a gang of us were busted for robbing emblems of the biggest blessed Mary of them all on a school trip to Knock. You got the feeling that if only she were 20 years younger, she might've kept watch. One more time for the road *clears throat* 'CUINIS A CAILINI!'
Mary G - Mary has never really been a fully signed-up, card-carrying member of my gang as such but since around the age of 12 till the present day, Mary and I have been colliding on and off across the mountainous terrain of life. Last time I saw Mary was a few years back as she rounded the corner at the bottom of our road out of view having quietly sneaked out of my folks' house after retreating to my old bedroom, digging out all the packed up 45s and 33s (vinyl, brethren. Ask your parents), divorcing the sleeve notes from their covers and leaving them strewn across the floor, while the rest of us clinked glasses in the kitchen. Bouncing in well after midnight, with her half a mile radius of wine bottle opener curls in the door in front of her, she handed me a plastic bag containing a dog-eared copy of a Dan Brown book, knowing full well I hate Dan Brown, and knowing full well that I know that she hates Dan Brown. But sure that's the kind of her. Her literature studies were steered off course by the arrival of her son and there's a whole other world she dreams of when she stares out that window of the sandwich bar she works in. I must give her a ring so we can meet up and dine out on our unfulfilled fantasies for an evening.
Mary M - Mary would generally be known by the English version of her surname but god pity the fool that addresses her by anything other than her Irish name. This is the woman who protested at a temporary english written sign on the road outside her house by painting over it and insisting (successfully) that they lay down the 'correct' version. A language fascist, in short. Mary and I started work together on the same day. She the administrator, me trying to administer some self-confidence and belief that I knew what I was supposed to be doing (not a notion). We went on to spend four years trading banter, ideas, fighting over the radio dial and over the actions of cute hoor politicians. We only ever had one serious disagreement; it concerned money and was institaged by me. I've regretted it ever since but to her credit she never let it corrode her affection. In many ways, she reminded me of my mother, teaching me the unteachables of operating in the workplace and the value and correct formalities you can't put a price tag on. Her other enduring lesson was to surrender the universal obsession with seeking an answer to every woe that comes our way. Sometimes you have to let things be. Sometimes there just isn't an answer. "I know you're not the biggest believer a stór', she says to me on the phone at Christmas, "but would you for god sake say a prayer this illness doesn't develop any further. There's an overseas coming up in work and I've no intention missing out on a freebie". Can't keep an indomitable woman down.
Mary Coughlan - Mary's been singing the blues to me for years with the conviction that she's lived every word. More an interpreter of songs, but you only have to listen to 'Doublecross' for proof she knows full well what its writer meant. First time I saw Mary was in the early ninties in the famous Rotterdam Bar in Belfast, encased in her own world, yawning them out of her with all the fragile force of a woman on the brink. Turns out she was and thankfully sobriety has modified her rage in to something just as humorous and informed.
I could say Mary Robinson at this point; McAleese never really did for me with her irritating deference to Rome, but I'm going to go with the singer Mary Margaret O'Hara for her unrivalled whooping and hollering. She only managed to stump up one album in the last 20 odd years but she came at the world sideways, with out-of-focus shots of her sh*t with just enough definition to make you feel it. Perfect for when nothing else can quite capture your own.
Join in and raise a cup to your Marys, tell yer tales, and keep your fingers crossed that the name Ann doesn't go out of fashion soon; the Marys haven't a patch on them in my world. Terms and conditions apply*
*OP will not accept liability for any indiscretions posted.
I know 2 Marys under 2.
1/2 the women I work with are over 50 and called Mary.
Brilliant Hestia...although I must disagree on Mrs. McAleese..she's my favourite Mary ever!
What about Mary who got a new job working for a bank? That Frank took advantage something shocking!
I know a small Mary........ Snigger....
...and don't forget to mention some boys are called Mary. Let's not forget them. There are a small number of 'em, even smaller number that'd admit it! God bless the oul middle name.
Alot of girls are called Mary something, but they drop the Mary and call themselves their middle name. My sister is one of these... So I suppose I've a lovely Mary in my life.
I love the name.
Proud Mary keep on burning... I love the name Mary, we had a minder when I was really small called Mary and I LOVED her, a fantastic lady. A friend of mine has a 14 yr old daughter called Mary and I think it's really nice that she chose that name. Thumbs up for Mary Robinson too, a really amazing woman!
Starting off with my all time favourite Mary, my Granny. She was a tiny wee woman, with a sharp mind and a wicked sense of humour. Her life story is the stuff of books and Downtown Abbey (her being representative of the downstairs in the upstairs downstairs scenario) and the half of which I only learned about after her death. I only wish I’d known more before it was too late to ask her about it all. Not that I’d have had the nerve. Her story only proved to me what I’d long known; that she was a very strong woman who’d gone through more in her life than others could have coped with and she still came out the other side with a glint in her eye and an infectious giggle (normally reserved for the most inappropriate moments). We lived with her for the first few years of my life, resulting in a bond between us akin to mother and daughter that never weakened. I loved that woman and I get misty eyed every time I see a Fry’s chocolate cream (her fave).
Mary L, my 3rd and 4th year national school teacher. A bit of a sadist who took her own unhappiness out on us kids. She’d been left at the alter a couple of years previously but continued to wear her engagement ring on her right hand. It was not only a painful reminder to her (I assume), but also served as a well disguised knuckle duster when she took to slapping us across the face. I still meet her every now and then and when she speaks to me so fondly I wonder did I imagine it all… Then I talk to my former classmates. B!tch did be crazy. Not influential but certainly memorable in a PTS kinda way.
Mary Black. The first tape (remember those?) I ever owned. Bought for me by my Da and I was told to learn a few songs. Which I did. Every party piece I had as a child consisted of him on the guitar and me belting out an old song given a new twist by Ms Black and myself in turn. There was rarely a wet eye in da house when I crowed out Song for Ireland. Which leads nicely into my next Mary…
Mary Mc, my singing teacher. A lady through and through, whose patience with me was a true virtue. It was thanks to her I got to visit every county in Ireland before my 14th birthday as we travelled to competitions and gigs the length and bredth of the country and in later years we toured (hark at me! Not as glamourous as it sounds, believe me..) North America. I never really enjoyed the performing, truth be told, but I loved the opportunity it afforded me to get out and about. It was a sad day for us both when I hung up my vocal chords, but we had a good run of it. I’m still in touch with her.
Mary of Dungloe. I attended a few of these with my friend who was a local. Can’t remember a single one of the Marys but have very fond memories of the craic we had while there. Including getting kicked out of the Dome for hurling abuse at Hugo Donkey, I mean Duncan. Ah memories…
And last, but certainly not least, my old pal Mary Jane. You may know her by another name. She was always my recreational drug of choice. Alas, I realised we had to part company when I was spending more on her that I was on food. Surprising really when you consider how much I ate when I hung out with her. Anyway, it was time to grow up and say goodbye a number of years ago. Or rather au revoir. I’ve promised myself that I’ll do a Willie Nelson and reacquaint myself with Mary Jane when I’m 65. So girls, if you hear about a wizened wee woman being busted by the DS for her home grown (not spuds and lettuce) stash somewhere deep in the country, it’ll probably be me. Might get HippyChic to start perfecting a cake with a file in it....
Not primarily a Mary but I want to give a shout out to Sister Colette Mary who taught me how to crochet in primary school, dont know how I swung it but she taught me one to one aswell. She helped me with my first crochet project, a pair of baby booties as a present for my Irish dancing teacher.
[quote="Finicky Fi":7op2xzw4]I know 2 Marys under 2.
1/2 the women I work with are over 50 and called Mary.[/quote:7op2xzw4]
do you really??? im delighted to hear that.
no, really, i AM.
i wanted to call our baby mary, but my OH said i was being boring and put the foot down. i havent heard of ANY marys being born at all in years and years and years. over 20 id say.
The first Mary (and the best) has to have been my nan. An amazing woman who reared 8 children (and losing another two) whilst my grandad played at farming. She rescued a lady from being drowned by her brother and father. The lady was a bit "slow" and not really able to care for herself very well. That lady helped her rear the 8 kids and lived with my nan till she died. My poor nan was devastated. She rented out rooms to lodgers and fed half the over 70s on her street. For all the pure good in her she had a shocking sense of humour - locking my grandad out in the rain EVERY night that he went to check the weather nearly pissing herself laughing as she did it, wrapping a feral cat in a lodger's bed before he got into it etc. Her brother never quite recovered from the time she broke a chair over his head but she assured me that he had deserved it.....
Mary P - an amazing english teacher who gave me the confidence to speak up in class. There wasn't a peep out of me until I was about 14. Shyness really can be crippling.
Mary G - The most useless article I ever came across in my career who shoots ahead of everyone around her mainly because she gets dug out of trouble so much. It helps that in a farming town where the family name got her the job in the first place that that name and wealth that goes with it is still important 15 years on. You learn that life isn't always fair but its better to not be her than have your colleagues loath you