Reflections

Nazareth House A Trip down Memory Lane by Marie Kennedy

Over the past forty-five years I often drove past Nazareth House as the building was in progress wondering what was being built, little did I think in the future I would be employed there as a carer and I am still enjoying caring for the residents. When Nazareth House was opened, it was a retirement home. The residents were independent and self-caring. As some of the residents became dependant and needed care there was an infirmary opened upstairs where the dining room in now. There was a bedroom where the storeroom is now and another bedroom at the other side of the kitchen. As the residents became less independent and needed constant care there was an increase in staff numbers to assist with the extra workload. I have always worked the night shift. The shift starts at 9pm to 7am. I worked three nights and four nights’ alternative weeks. There was only one care assistant on duty to cover all corridors. The Sisters were always on call if needed. Sister Matthew was the nurse in charge. She was such a hard worker, as were all the Sisters. Many of our residents back then drove their own cars. They could co0me and go as they pleased. The door was not locked until 9pm. One resident Mrs Boyd-Barrett retired at 65 years and loved her time in Nazareth House. She wrote an article for the Sunday Independent and compared Nazareth house to five star hotel. She did voluntary work in the Pro Cathedral in the office. There was great community spirit with staff and residents. The residents would meet in little groups and did arts and crafts. The Sisters helped to show the how to make crochet cousins, lamp shades, knitted dolls, wicker trays to mention but a few of their talents. They all helped each other with their skills. My two daughters worked in Nazareth House during their school & college years. Marie worked in the kitchen with Sister Veronica who gave her basic training and skills in cooking which she still uses today. Marie is now a teacher in St Vincent’s Secondary School, Glasnevin. Una, our other daughter worked, caring for the residents. She worked with Sister Paula, who gave her the basis of her training teaching skills that has stood to her through the years. Una is now a C.N.M in St James Hospital. They both enjoyed their time working in Nazareth House. I feel privileged to be a part of this history and to all the lovely people I met through my career in Nazareth House. I hold all these memories and experiences with me through my 45 years.

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 Marie is a night Care Assistant on Artane Donnycarney Unit

 My Favourite Things

A new version of “My Favourite Things” for the generation who first enjoyed this wonderful musical.

(It’s even better if you sing it!)

“Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting, Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings, Bundles of magazines tied up in string, These are a few of my favourite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses, Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses, Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings, These are a few of my favourite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak, When the knees go bad, I simply remember my favourite things, And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions, No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions, Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring, These are a few of my favourite things.

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin', Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin', And we won't mention our short shrunken frames, when we remember our favourite things.

When the joints ache, when the hips break, when the eyes grow dim, Then I remember the great life I've had, And then I don't feel so bad”.

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 The Bed Time Story

Today, I am taking you back again to my young days, where the old folk were an important part of the family life. They sat by the fire side, Grandad smoking his pipe and telling us the great stories of his youth. We found it hard to belive some of them. There was a story of the local village innkeeper, who served the ‘Black and tans’ so named because of their uniforms. England was at war at the time, and had no troops available to quell the 1916 rebellion, so felons were released from prisons and sent over to Ireland. Army rules were not applied, and the Irish soldiers were massacred by the mobsters who spent their time off in Rita’s Pub. She paid dearly for the profit, as a bullet aimed at one of the soldiers went through her leg, as she sat at the counter entertaining them. She was ostracized for life, when the 1916 rebellion was over, no self-respecting villager would be seen dead in her pub and she limped her way to oblivion

I remember my brother told us that the master in 5th class punished them by putting them out across the sill of the open window, with their top half gazing out at the cows in Masons Field. He pulled down the window to keep them anchored, then took out his strap and walloped their back-sides for not having done homework. We left that school at 14 years of age well educated and able to cope with whatever life had to offer us. Some of us went far, others steered the middle course and then there were others who never did a stroke of work. They sat on the bridge by the river chewing tobacco by day and went up to Moran’s Pub at night and waited for someone to stand them a pint which they cradled for the night while entertaining anyone who would listen with their stories, great tales indeed but all fiction.

Graandma was a small little lady. She wore her hair pinched back into a tight bun which was kept in place with hair pins. She read us great stories with witches and fairies, full of magic and wonder, and we were right in there with the best and the worst of the characters through terror and tears, to laughter and delight as we waited for the magic words that ended the tale:

‘And they all lived happily ever after’.  

Eileen Kerr

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A Poem by Jenny Joseph 

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple! 

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Letter to a journalist.... 

 

Well, you dropped in and found us all sitting in a circle gazing into space?

Are you the guy who wrote that article about how we were being treated in a nursing home?

Well what would you know about it you have never lived here?  Let me spell it out for you.

 I lived in my home for many years and finally wound up here in Nazareth House, when my memory clock stopped ticking.

All went fairly well until I forgot to eat breakfast and dinner and tea times were spent relaxing in bed or on the couch lost in a book. I always loved reading and had now become “fiction” myself as I was totally off the rails and living in another world!

 So - my family decided it was time to unload me and get me anchored. That is how I wound up in Nazareth House Nursing Home. Oh!!!! But the laugh is on them - I used to do the housework, the cooking and all that boring stuff until I came in here. Have you ever been in Kelly’s in Wexford? You Have?

Well the food here is every bit as good, but there is a bonus, because here I am a lady of leisure, with a wonderful staff at my beck and call and the house is like one of those  stately homes the tourists pay into when visiting Ireland. If they came here they would be gob smacked.

What do we do with our spare time you ask?

 There is no spare time. If we are not out touring or having a sing song or quiz or making something in art and crafts and then there is the drama class where we improvise fantasise and are game to handle anything that is thrown at us. In the drama class I was to have a tiff with the lady beside me. I told her exactly what I thought of her, (in fun) she did not take it all sitting down however, I got a good strong dose of my own medicine while the Drama tutor edged around, keeping a rein on things. My goodness, it was such fun.

Here I am living in my 80’s in a great place with all the days spinning past.

 We are definitely the chosen few and you can add a few pluses to that. Then take your hats off to the young people of today who are looking after we  ”Old Ones” of yesterday. Where is heaven you may ask, if you look around you will see we live in it.

 by Eileen Kerr,a resident of Nazareth House Nursing Home

10 June 2015