Saturday, 12 November 2011

Chamberlain street

Well after a long break and much nudging from friends, I'm back.

As I said in my first piece I was born and spent my first years in my maternal grandparents' house in Chamberlain Street, the house it seems was always full of people and it was always full of music. My uncle Willie was a very accomplished musician; he played the drums in the local dance bands and with the local Concert orchestra; he also played piano and had a working knowledge of practically  all instruments. He was also an artist of some note, I have some of his paintings, he was an historian, an inventor and gifted craftsman and a major influence in my life. My mother played the piano and sang, my aunt Lily sang as did my uncle Jim. My uncle John managed  a local Ballroom. My cousin Claire played piano and sang and danced with the local theatre group.
The Doherty family lived across the street from us and that entire family was musical. Mr and Mrs. Doherty both sang in the Opera and all their children inherited their talent. John, Gabrielle, Vincent, Mickey and Paddy were all accomplished singers and entertainers and John and Gabrielle played the piano. Gabrielle sang professionally with local dance bands and in local Broadway productions and eventually moved to the United States in the nineteen fifties and continued her career there. My family and the Dohertys were constantly in each other's house, exchanging songs , practising new ones and starting impromtu parties,
It was a fabulous way to grow up except that I was too young to appreciate it at that time because I thought that everybody lived that way.

As well as the musical Dohertys coming and going at all hours of the day and night, the house was a gathering place for all my uncle's musician friends so at a very young age I was exposed to the music of Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Bing Crosby (my uncle's favorite) and a very young Frank Sinatra (my mother and aunt Lily's favorite) as well as Dick Haymes, Helen Forest, Bob Eberle and Francis Langford.Being the youngest in the house I got all the attention from the musicians and was in awe of these men who dressed in tuxedos and seem to find that life was such fun.
Little did I know at that tender age that my life's path was already being chartered.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Birth of a blog.

Well, after much prodding and coaxing from family and friends I have started a blog. I don't know how  interesting my literary meanderings will be, but I'm told that this can be very therapeutic; anyway here goes.  My first problem it would seem, not being the computer whiz that my son is or that even my grandson is, for Pete's sake, is that I cannot move this darn  THING down to begin a new paragraph, so until I can work this out, this piece will look like one long paragraph..
OK. got it now.
My kids seem to think that my experiences  and memories are worth documenting but others will be the judge of that no doubt. I was born in Derry City (formerly Londonderry, formerly Derry--it's an Irish thing, I'll explain later) October 8 1940, at 28 Chamberlain Street, the same house that my mother and my three uncles and two aunts  and five cousins were born, and we all lived there together until two of my cousins, Adelaide and Geraldine, moved to London England with their mother, my aunt Vera, and her husband Ted, a native Londoner, in 1945 when the war ended, - that's World War 2. When my Father returned from the war, he, my mother and now my year-old sister Veronica and I moved to the new pre-fabricated houses that sprung up in the U.K. after the war, thereby making us suburbanites, a new word in 1946, and where I would spend the next 10 marvelous years.