Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Holding Your End Up

I was commenting on John Gray's blog this morning when I was reminded, as we are, of this old phrase of my mother's.

The life lessons of an Irish mammy.

Along with never marching off to visit anyone with "your arms the same length", "holding your end up" was another essential one.

"Holding your end up" involved:

Writing thank you notes for everything and anything tossed your way no matter how awful or badly knitted or even wrapped in newspaper.

Never letting the family secrets out of the cupboard.

Not wearing raggedy underwear in case there was an accident and then the whole hospital would be talking about you and yours. Forever amen.

As soon as you landed on Irish soil, no matter how long away, you were put on the phone to every aunt, uncle, cousin and grandparent to tell them you'd arrived and to give them all the news. Hours I'm telling you. Hours.

Table manners: The right and the wrong way to hold the fork. And always decline seconds of everything. Never be the first one into the chocolate box.

QED: Make sure everyone knows how well you were raised.


  1. Oh yes,
    much of these I have reminded my children. Now my mother at 17
    did not pass on much.
    Most came from my grandmother :)

  2. FHB - Family hold back was one my brothers teased about for years!

    AND as you were about to go through the front door - "Have you got a handkerchief?"

    Thanks for the memory!

  3. OWJ:

    The same the world over, isn't it. I remember red painted nails being classified under "vulgar" and thick ankles being a sign of "peasant blood".

    Oh Lordy, we could write a book!


  4. GM:

    There is definitely a book in it for sure!

    Though it's probably already written :)


  5. I had to look up the meaning of not arriving "with your arms the same length."

  6. Linda:
    I passed that one on to my children too and they follow that rule. Always.

  7. I had to look that up, too. I was also taught not to arrive empty-handed.


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