Memories.....

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Memories.....

Postby macliam » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:24 pm

I just got off the phone with a friend back home, who asked me if I knew a "Mickey Fitz" whilst I was running the factory in Co.Tipp. I said yes, that he and his cousin Batty had both worked for me - and I remembered the pair of jack-the-lad blackguards they were. Mickey looking like a young Dave Allen, but with curly hair and Batty never quite managing to lose the 5 o'clock shadow - probably because he had 3 kids under the age of 5 years old.

I recalled how Mickey would come to pick me up in his old car to take me to the factory, before I got my own - asking me how the landlady was treating me and suggesting there might be more than board on offer...... wink wink. The two lads took a young townie, fresh back from time in England, under their wings and reintroduced me to Irish ways. I also recalled how they taught me that education did not equal cleverness, Batty couldn't write, Mickey could, just, but they were as smart as paint and kept me on my toes. That was forty years ago this year - and I'd heard nothing of them since.

So, it seems that Batty's life fell apart and he found refuge in the bottle (sadly not uncommon) - and, in his case, it left him with damaged kidneys and a need for dialysis. Mickey was a "pioneer", a lifelong teetotaller who had "signed the pledge" as a teenager (also not uncommon). He was told that Batty's time was up unless he had a kidney transplant and volunteered to be the donor, this was last Christmas.

But the reason my friend was telling me was that the transplant had been a total success and Batty is now out of hospital. But unfortunately, Mickey had some undiscovered heart problem and never awoke from the anaesthetic. If he did nothing else in his life, Mickey showed the meaning of loyalty and he's taught me another thing - after 40 years the memory of someone you haven't seen for all that time can reduce you to tears.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis
Last edited by macliam on Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Memories.....

Postby Derbiean » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:20 pm

That is profound.

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Re: Memories.....

Postby macliam » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:33 pm

I can't help but see the pair of them as twenty-something rogues, never serious and a twinkle in the eye - if ever I needed to organize anything for the factory, one of them would know "a man who can...", cash down, no questions! The guy who brought hardcore for the car park I needed to build ... but only on days the local Gard wasn't working, the guy who came to put bars on the window of the store-house .... and spent days hammering at reinforced concrete because he had no power tools (the finished job was brilliant, but it took him 5 days to earn 50 Punt!!)

I had gone back just as the age of flares ended and straight-leg jeans were "in" ...... in the UK but not yet in Ireland. That and my denim or check shirts and waxed yellow boots caused a few comments - and it was Batty who I overheard saying "Sure he's not Irish at all ... there's a touch of the Yank about him!" ... but then, any city boy would have got the same. They helped me grow up in the real world.

That's the way they stay in my mind's eye, part of an important episode in my life, so it was hard to hear the news today. I don't know if I should try to contact Batty, it has been so long, but I'm sure he's shattered by the turn of events. I just hope he stays on the wagon to make best use of Mickey's sacrifice.
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Re: Memories.....

Postby pakefield » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:10 pm

Brings a tear to the eye. Maybe they were dyslexic or just slow starters who got left behind at school. Having qualifications can mean you were good at remembering stuff but in the real world you need more than a good memory.

Remember talking to the warden at Cley nature reserve, his Dad had been warden before him but his son would not be able to take over as he did not have the right degree. I think he was in the Army at the time but definitely not at Uni and maybe not Uni material but he had grown up learning all about the reserve and how to care for it. And he was close friends with all the local farmers so could get them to work with the reserve in the way his Dad and Granddad did and do. But these days it is all about the correct qualifications.
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Re: Memories.....

Postby blythburgh » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:41 am

Sad and uplifting story at the same time.
Keep smiling because the light at the end of someone's tunnel may be you, Ron Cheneler
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Re: Memories.....

Postby Derbiean » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:17 pm

macliam wrote:I can't help but see the pair of them as twenty-something rogues, never serious and a twinkle in the eye - if ever I needed to organize anything for the factory, one of them would know "a man who can...", cash down, no questions! The guy who brought hardcore for the car park I needed to build ... but only on days the local Gard wasn't working, the guy who came to put bars on the window of the store-house .... and spent days hammering at reinforced concrete because he had no power tools (the finished job was brilliant, but it took him 5 days to earn 50 Punt!!)

I had gone back just as the age of flares ended and straight-leg jeans were "in" ...... in the UK but not yet in Ireland. That and my denim or check shirts and waxed yellow boots caused a few comments - and it was Batty who I overheard saying "Sure he's not Irish at all ... there's a touch of the Yank about him!" ... but then, any city boy would have got the same. They helped me grow up in the real world.

That's the way they stay in my mind's eye, part of an important episode in my life, so it was hard to hear the news today. I don't know if I should try to contact Batty, it has been so long, but I'm sure he's shattered by the turn of events. I just hope he stays on the wagon to make best use of Mickey's sacrifice.


Maybe you could contact Batty might help you both to share some memories.
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Re: Memories.....

Postby macliam » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:10 pm

Derbiean wrote:Maybe you could contact Batty might help you both to share some memories.

Aye, but there's the rub. Given the different way our lives turned out, Batty might not appreciate being reminded..... 40 years is a long time, sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie.

I'm thinking on it, but I don't have any contact details anyway. The friend who told me had just heard the story and wondered whether I'd known Mickey, as he had still lived where my factory was located - and it's a very rural part of the country. I'd guess Batty is still around there too, but short of asking my friend to chase back through the hospital, there's now way I'd find out from here.
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Re: Memories.....

Postby Derbiean » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:40 pm

macliam wrote:
Derbiean wrote:Maybe you could contact Batty might help you both to share some memories.

Aye, but there's the rub. Given the different way our lives turned out, Batty might not appreciate being reminded..... 40 years is a long time, sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie.

I'm thinking on it, but I don't have any contact details anyway. The friend who told me had just heard the story and wondered whether I'd known Mickey, as he had still lived where my factory was located - and it's a very rural part of the country. I'd guess Batty is still around there too, but short of asking my friend to chase back through the hospital, there's now way I'd find out from here.


Yeah possibly, if you somehow manage to find a way to contact him you could leave him a short message to say you heard about Mickey, how sorry you are and if he'd liked to catch up sometime you'll be there, that way if he does take you up on it I think it would be okay despite how differently your lives turned out.

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