Friday, February 22, 2019

My Three Sheilas


Sheila (alternatively spelled Shelagh and Sheelagh) is a common feminine given name, derived from the Irish name Síle, which is believed to be a Gaelic form of Cecilia.
Word/name: Latin Cecilia, via Gaelic Síle
Related names: Cecilia


And a unique Australian definition (apropos of nothing):
Sheila — Australian slang for "woman", is derived from the Irish girls' name Síle (IPA: [ʃiːlʲə], anglicised Sheila).

I have 3 Sheilas in my life. Which when you think about it is extraordinary. Friends are thin on the ground at my age. And the fact that I moved to Newfoundland when I was 60 (I'm now 75) didn't bode too well, one would think, for new friendships. But these comparatively newish friends are very important to me.

They don't know each other. One is in her fifties, one in her sixties and one is in her seventies.

They are all as different as chalk and cheese.

The oldest Sheila makes me laugh until I am just about sick. We tell each other the most astounding stories from our youth, stuff we've never shared with anyone, ever, and we fall down, howling, thigh slapping, snorting, catching our breath. We share a very highly developed sense of the ridiculous and an art for self-deprecation.

The middle Sheila has been a friend since I moved here. We have traveled a lot together, gone to Ireland together, nurture each other, commiserate with each other. The other night over dinner she said earnestly to me: "You know if anything ever happens to you I'd visit you no matter where you were, right?" And I know she would. She brings me soup and hash and I know she'd feed me no matter what my condition. But it was a lovely thing to say and I will treasure it because sometimes we wonder, right? Who's gonna visit when we are drooling and incontinent and mindless. Well, I have one. Signed up in advance.

Baby Sheila I have known for a while. She was one of those instant friends. It happens so rarely. To me, anyway. Did you ever meet someone and you just know instantly? It's happened to me a few times and unfortunately they are all dead now. This time maybe she has a chance of outliving me. I have fun with her. She has a great understanding of aging, living with her 90+ dad and like me, comes from a dysfunction junction of a family of origin. And she's great at pointing out the assets and not the liabilities of life.

Picture above is one I have as my wallpaper. I was hoping to make it into a card, like I do, but the words weren't coming. What words come to you, if any?

48 comments:

  1. I love the stories of your three precious Sheilas, and how lovely that they are each in different decades of their lives.

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  2. I hope your Sheilas stay around for a long time. I thought that "heap" on the porch of that picture looked like several women all rugged up in blankets, so I enlarged the image and there IS a face in the far right in front of the window. Are those things fishing pots?

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    1. You're right. Those are lobster pots. Big industry here, cod, crab, lobster, shrimp, mussels. I do love fish.

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  3. I don't think I know any Sheilas. Of course being an Australian, I immediately read you post title the wrong way.

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    1. So all women are Sheilas according to Oz lore, Andrew? :D

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  4. Somehow - like River - I combined the title and the picture, seeing a row of blanket-muffled ladies sitting at the porch. But on enlarging I can see that it is just a heap of (Help! equipment for catching of lobsters, the name of which eludes me even in my mother tongue rigt now). I like your story of the three Sheilas . I also know of no Sheilas at all, but then it's a very uncommon name in Denmark.

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    1. I love how you and River see the muffled women, a lovely image. Sheila isn't that common in Ireland either so astounding to have such 3 of them in my life.

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    2. And River had the word even ... lobster pots (hummertejner in Danish) Thanks!.
      I had to look up just how many Sheilas we have in Denmark. The answer is 514. Less than one in thousand.

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    3. And that photo. It is so "out of time and space"-peaceful. It reminds me of long summerdays as a child. Inside my head it does not want to be made into a post card.

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  5. About the pic. They don't call Newfoundland :The Rock" for no reason.

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    1. You've got that right Silvermarc, you can really see it here.

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  6. What a coincidence! I have three Sheelas in my life as well. One is married to my first cousin and lives in Australia. Another is actually a Muslim Shehla, my friend's daughter who considers my son as her brother, and another Sheela who is a medical doctor married to my cousin with whom I normally stay when I to to Chennai.

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    1. Truly it is Ramana. I love the alternative spellings!

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  7. Sounds like some valuable friends. I'd love to have a friend like the first, who would have me doubled up with laughter every two minutes! And someone I could share absolutely anything with, no matter how outrageous or disgusting.

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    1. As rare as hen's teeth as you know Nick. You'd never think it to know her casually as she's quite proper but for some reason we've tapped into this outrageous thing together and get snooty looks from other cafe patrons, which makes it more uproarious. Like badly behaved schoolgirls.

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  8. A get well card? May you find a peaceful harbor from the stormy waters of life.

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    1. Oh that is an excellent suggestion Tom, I will mull that over and send you a card in gratitude for the suggestion.
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  9. Why can’t I have even one friend like your three? I’d be so grateful and appreciative, I think. You are fortunate indeed. You must be a very nice person and good friend material yourself, not something that comes easy to me.

    How about ‘Safe Haven’ ?

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    1. I do feel fortunate Friko. I try and keep my heart open which is challenging at times (past hurts) but I am getting better at it. Wearing the world like a loose garment - well I try.

      Thank you for the suggestion, yours and Tom's gives me meat to chew.

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  10. I don't know any Sheilas personally -the first to come to mind is Sheila Hancock - multi-talented lady (once married to the late John Thaw who played "Morse" on TV).

    Beautifully peaceful photograph, love the line of washing drying in the breeze! Words? Dunno.... maybe "Waiting for the tide to turn - and it will!"

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    1. I remember Sheila Hancock great actor. Yes something about the tide or uncertainty of life away from harbour. Great ideas from everyone!
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  11. How fortunate to have 3 friends still, much less 3 Sheilas!! Claudette was my friend who I clicked with right from the first time we met and we stayed close until her death, despite my moving 1000 miles away. Its been 6 years and I miss her daily. I am down to 2 friends, friends not acquaintances I use the word friend carefully.

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    1. Me too Candace, the tides turning really reveal friendship and loyalty. I miss my BFF friend Helen more than words can convey, friends since we were 6 and she died 2014. So sorry to hear about Claudette. It is harder to form friends as we age and of course there is not the long standing history either. I did put myself out there with "young" Sheila. And braced myself for dismissal or that awful "let's do coffee some time." But she is equally enthusiastic. Having said that I have been approached by others by there is something missing and I do that "let's do coffee" thing.

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  12. Darn, another thing I've never thought about ... who will visit me if I'm in a nursing home one day? It's a good question.

    I like this entry about your good friends, Sheilas all.

    -Kate

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    1. Ah but you're still a baby K, time enough to mull the nursing home. Me? I'm getting there but I'll go down fighting!

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  13. Amazing to me how we cope with lost of family and support, but it we care to remain in the world, either look for or just plain attract new family. My blood family fell apart, irreparably,in about a month's time. I knew I needed human contact, and set about finding it. My three Sheilas have different names, but their ages coincide, and I am so happy we have each other, starting only three years ago. Guess I was a fast looker!

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    1. I'm with you Joanne, my family of origin is a shambles and I'm not with an SO so friends are very important. I don't actively replace I just wait and see what happens and suit up and show up also when invited even tho I want to curl up with a book and isolate.

      Congrats on your "new" old buddies :)

      We are fortunate.

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  14. Are those lobster traps sitting out there, waiting for the next boat to leave?

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  15. Oh, about the photo--when the day is over, and the work is done, may you have a safe harbor in which to dock your boat and await the next sailing.

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    1. Yes, lobster traps awaiting instructions. :) I am very taken with the pic and keep looking at it and the lovely day I spent with a dear friend just having our picnic and talking to strangers who didn't stay that way long. A perfection of a day.

      Thanks for the suggestion!

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  16. I only met a Shelia (she spells it incorrectly obviously) a few years ago and in her 40s, she's the age of my older children. Other than that, I'm the only Sheila I know so I'm impressed that you know three.

    Sheila

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    1. Hi Sheila!

      Something quite lovely that a Sheila is commenting here. I knew a Shelia way back too. Tho most here on the Island spell it "Sheilagh" in the Irish way. Gh being silent.

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    1. I like that Gemma - lots of great ideas here.

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    2. I saw how the homes are fit in between all the rocks and the boathouses between the water and land and everything just seems to be exactly where it will fit in.

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  18. Old friends, good friends, new friends - what a rich way to live :)

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    1. Yes, I feel very lucky but we all have our down days too, at least I do, c'est la vie. But yes it is magnificent in it's riches.

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  19. Perhaps a “blank” message inside the card would suffice? The photo is just lovely; it’s West Coast Ireland that so obviously isn’t West Coast Ireland; those houses are a giveaway that maybe this harbour is on the Atlantic but not the east side. By the way the washing on the line is the little gem in the scene; I could watch washing fluttering in a sunny breeze all day.

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    1. I leave my cards blank on the inside, Anne and put the poem on the back, kind of my "brand" now as so many lovely the poems, I make them unsentimental and relevant to the photo.

      I have a lovely washing on the line one if you would like to have a copy. Send me an email with your addie and I will mail to you.

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  20. I too like the laundry out on the line. Great photo, so much there! The only Sheila I know is Shelagh Rogers on the radio, and there you are with three of them! Lovely relationships.

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    1. Thank you Annie, I would have taken you there if we had time when you visited. Long haul of a drive up to Salvage (great name).

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  21. I knew a Sheila in elementary school. She has been married twice and divorced once. One husband was a newspaper columnist. Her second husband is a well known author of books. As for the photo, it looks unique.

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    1. Boy your Sheila certainly went for the writers, does she write herself?

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  22. "She brings me soup and hash" made me wonder just what gifts I would appreciate the most from a good friend. Lasagna and coffee would be a good start!

    You do well to make new friends, i'm terrible at making the leap from acquaintance to friend

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  23. Her pea soup is like nothing I've ever tasted before, heaven in a bowl.

    Lasagna, tho it has to be good, is one of my faves too. And dark roast coffee beans ready to grind. Bliss.

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