Wee Min McCarthy


 'Wee' Min McCarthy, 85

I got out and the sister got in, in an old tin bath in the working kitchen, or the scullery and filled the bath. Who’s first? Here's me, I'd rather go first than go in the bath after you! Aah dear…

You wouldn’t get into Sandy Row on the Saturday. Sure the Shankill's the same. There's not a shop in it...I remember my mommy taking us on the Saturday up the Shankill. And we'd go way up on one side, right up to the top and down the other side til we got to Biddies'. And then when we were there we had our tea, you know, she said, “Now that's your tea there you get what you want, you get nothing when we go home!”

But Sandy Row, sure its empty now on the Saturday...see, if you see twenty people there you're lucky. There's nowhere, sure you have nothing in the Row! Sure the whole bottom of the Row is all old. And then there's all the empty shops. They only use them coming up to Christmas and they open them and sell the old things up to Christmas and you can take them home and they don’t work and when you come back to tell them they're not there! Eh?!

Oh I remember the Row when it was the Twelfth of July, you wouldn't have got near. Sure with all the bands and the music on Boyne Square, a bonfire at every corner, and you could have sat at it and enjoyed it! Now I don’t even go out to watch the twelfth day. I watch them on the TV.

I’ve worked with Catholics and the friends I have from bingo are all Catholics. And they know I’m from Sandy Row, they say, “Here’s the Sandy Row one!” and here’s me, “well I don’t live in the Falls, so I don’t!” you know, bantering! And they laugh!

We were evacuated during the war. Aye, we were out, I was evacuated til Ballywalter and I remember, Mrs. Gibson you called her. And there was a whole lot of us. And God love him, there was a wee boy and he used to wet the bed, oh god love him, he used to wet the bed every night. And she used to send us out you know – to catch frogs. And we used to catch frogs and she used to have a big pot that used to sit on the ring, it was never off like. But she used to boil the frogs and there used to be like a soup tin, and give it to him at night. We used to sit and look at him, I used to be I would've cried me eyes out and then he says to her, “I don't want it! I don't want it!” “Drink it, drink it!” and then he'd drink it. Says it would stop him peeing the bed. And made him drink the water from the frogs.”

Oh I love the wee hokey shops and all. My daughter has a skeleton, she calls it Bernard. And here's me, “give us it.” And she goes, “no mommy, it was Davie's. She says no.” and I says, “let me mind it for ye!” What are you going to do with it? I have a big hook outside, and nothing on it, and I'd hang Bernard on, let him hang there and let him blow in the wind!  I'll put a Santa suit on him for Christmas! Haha! and there she was, “is your head gone in your old age?” “Don't you worry, you'll come up that street one of these days and you'll see Bernard wafting in the wind, so you will!” 

“I've had a good life. Can't say I haven’t. If I was to do it again I would do the same again. No regrets! I don’t bother nobody, and if I can help anybody I'll help them and that's it. And if I go out and they talk to me, they say hello I’ll say hello back, if they don't I'll say all right, I won't talk to ye no more, I'll not say hello again. Isn’t that right?”

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