20 years after my mother had died, I moved to a hilltop in Ireland. There were three or four other houses sparsely spread there. Ours was a private arena made all the more so by high hedges. One of the neighbours turned out to be a fellow traveller in that he too had left the big city and decided to live with his family on and from the hilltop. It also underpinned our friendship that we had also been to private Colleges not to far from one another although there was a few years between us.
One day, he called on me to help him to put a small but awkward table into his attic. On helping him, we discovered my help was unnecessary. However, on entering his attic I was confronted with a well-kept Aladin’s cave of various memorabilia. I found amongst them a thin, largely pictorial, black and white book which drew my attention as there were pictures of the old City we used to live in. At the time, I was building websites and any opportunity to finds pictures then was a godsend and I asked if I could borrow it. “Of course” he said and not only that he offered me some others as well.
Weeks past. I was pressed with other matters and was unable to look at the book. So, one Saturday, in a moment of quiet, I thought I had better do so and get the book back to my friend. As a lover of books myself I hate people borrowing them and never giving them back. I picked it up off the desk and began to flick the pages simply looking at the images as they flashed by. The book had been written in circa 1974 and was intended to indicate the plans for the future of the City whilst showing the way it was at that time. It was a gem. What attracted my immediate attention was that it had the name Langan on the front and one of my best friends in school had the name. But it wasn’t him. I then flicked again through the pages with greater intent and wider width when suddenly to my shock and horror one of the pages fell to the floor. I realised in a moment that the glue on the binding had dried from years of being packed away.
With great worry, I quickly picked the page off the floor and made a vainglorious attempt to try and return it to its place. In doing so my eyes fell on the content of the page which was little else than a picture on each side taking up half the page of, basically, an A4 sheet with a short statement below them. Concentrating more on my efforts to return it to the binding which was never going to happen – dry glue is dry glue – when suddenly, I was peering at the image of two women standing in a street in front of a small dwelling engaged in conversation who had absolutely no idea they were being photographed for obviously it had been taken from some distance.
One of the women was my mother!