The Great-Grandmother’s Warning
The Glen area of Derry City lies between Rosemount and the Northland Road. The Rosemount shirt factory dominates the skyline and it provided work for the women. Because of the lack of work in the town for men, many fathers went to England for employment. Wives stayed at home or worked in the shirt factories, hoping that the extra money might help them get out of the poverty trap.
In the 1940’s when a couple married, they
usually moved in with the parents of the woman. The small terraced houses
were overcrowed, often having one family to each room, three or four
families to a house.
The grandmother had always looked after the children, rocking them to sleep in her rocking chair. When she died she was mourned deeply and terribly missed by her daughter and grand-daughter, who both worked in the Rosemount factory.The empty rocking chair was a sad reminder in the corner of the kitchen.
One day in the factory, above the loud noise of the
machines the mother heard the sound of a rocking chair. She tried to
convince herself that she was hearing something which wasn’t there but
the more she tried to ignore it the more insistent the sound of rocking
became. Then she heard her grandmother’s voice crooning a lullaby,
just as she had done in life.
When they went into the kitchen, the neighbour wasn’t to be seen. The chair was rocking furiously in the corner. No-one was there.
The neighbour was sitting in the back yard, sick but otherwise recovering.
When they related what had happened to alert them she confessed that just before she had taken ill, she had seen the chair rock but had thought that it was a draught from the window.
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