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I hang over the sill of our third-floor tenement on Ladyburn Street.
Some folk use a pillow so their ribs don’t hurt, but my granny says no
one should be hanging out the window that far or that long to need a
pillow. Granny would not be pleased to know that I have to stand on
the dining room chair to reach the window and I need to climb up on
the ledge to unlock and open it. “I’ll skin you alive if I catch you
climbing up on that window ledge” is what my Mammy says.

The climb skins my chin and bruises my knees. I am strong compared
to Cathy Tonner and Jean Kane, who are bigger than me, and I can
run faster and push harder while in a queue for rationed sweeties.

Today as I hang out the window, my ribs hurt. There are welcome-
home banners hung out second- and third-floor windows, upstairs,
across the street, up and down the street. Mrs. Kane and Florrie
Hurst’s Mammy are trying to connect a third banner between their
second-floor windows and are laughing. Daddies are coming home
from the war. Francie Donnachie’s and Joe Morrison’s Daddies
came home last week.

Copyright 2002
Timshel Literature

When Jean and Rena Kane’s Daddy comes home that next day, they don’t want to come out and play. So I go into their back green to swing on the maypole their Uncle Danny made from the clothesline. When Uncle Danny is drunk, which is often, he doesn’t pay any attention. I know he will not be telling me I can’t play on their maypole today. I watch their scullery window to try to catch another glimpse of their Daddy in a soldier’s khaki uniform, with his soldier’s hat tucked into a shoulder epaulet.

People cry, drink, sing, and talk to friends and strangers, inviting all to share in the festivities. My Mammy tries to laugh and joke with them, but I can tell she is trying too hard. Her iris-blue eyes are still looking at something far away.