The Rosary 1955
On February 16th 1949 I married Joan Flanagan in St. John’s Church, Waterford at eight o’clock in the morning. The priest who officiated was Rev. John Flynn, my wife’s first cousin, the best man was Jack Flanagan and the bridesmaid was Irene Murray, both first cousins of my wife.
I was employed by Irish National Insurance Company Ltd. As a clerk, and my pay was four pounds twelve shillings and seven pence weekly. My wife earned three pounds a week working as a book-keeper in Jack Flanagan’s Fish and Poultry business, and our rent on 30 St. Ursula’s Terrace was nine shillings and sixpence per week.
Pregnancy dictated that my wife quit her job in June of that year, and it soon became obvious that my income would not support us, so I went “moonlighting” as a free-lance pianist for local dance bands. The rates were one pound for an 8–12 dance, and one pound ten shillings – maybe two pounds – for a 9–3.
In time, we moved house to 46 Lr. Newtown, and by 1955 I had my own dance band, still moonlighting, the job was slightly better, and I had four children, but that’s another story.
At the outset of our marriage, my wife being a religious woman, it was decided that we should say the family Rosary every day. So, each evening after dinner, the family would kneel down, elbows on chairs, and recite the five decades of the Rosary plus “the trimmings”. The latter consisted of prayers for deceased family members, for the souls in Purgatory, for the canonisation of Blessed Martin etc. etc. and took half as long as the Rosary.
But, what with travelling all day and moonlighting until four or five in the morning, the Rosary had a hypnotic effect on me and I would “nod off” after the first decade. I just could not stay awake and only responded with “Holy Mary, Mother of God etc.” whenever my wife gave me an elbow in the ribs, which was frequently! She was a pragmatic woman, God rest her, and it was agreed that however short my night’s rest would be, I would not be disturbed before 8 a.m., and if any of the children woke during the night, she would get up and attend to them.
I came home one morning about 4.30 a.m. after playing at a dance, fell into bed exhausted, and fell fast asleep immediately. I was not to know that one of the children who was teething had got my wife out of bed five or six times, and she was exhausted too, and her temper not the best. When the child woke again and cried fit to wake the house, she prepared to get up yet again when she beheld me fast asleep and snoring gently.
It was the last straw! She decided that I should be the one to get up and see to the child now crying loudly. To that end, she gave me a smart elbow in the ribs and got the instant response “Holy Mary Mother of God” etc. Well, worn out as she was, that good lady just had to laugh as she resignedly got up and soothed the child, and she told this story many times against me over the years that followed.
About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017
There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.
Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.
Thank you for dropping in today and you can read the previous chapters of The Colour of Life in this directory: