Friday, January 21, 2011

Mai


My godmother died today in her 91st year.

As a godmother she was a complete failure.

As a human being she was a complete success.

Mai Medlar tended towards the slightly dressier end of the family. She always presented well.

She was born on Usher's Island within three doors of Joyce's Dead. Her father ran an undertaking business in James's St. and she was a true child of the Liberties.

She married Harry Ledwidge, from James's Terrace, Dolphin's Barn, in 1954, and they emigrated to Penge, London, England. Harry was a great guy. Mai worked in a factory and was a barmaid in the area. They had no children. Harry died in 1966 and Mai returned to Dublin.

In her later years she lived in Iveagh Trust, in Patrick St., and when she was not able to manage there she went to the Molyneaux Home, in Leeson Park, where she was well looked after.

Mai took people at face value. By that I don't mean how they projected themselves, but what they were. She had an instinct for people. She saw right through them and related to those who were genuine.

She was always young at heart and open to change. She lectured me on Fat Frogs when I hadn't a clue what she was talking about.

I had the honour to give a talk on her father, PJ Medlar, in the Dublin City Library and Archive, last year (2010) which I dedicated to her and which she was thrilled to hear. The family were ordinary Dublin people. Not many of the ilk left.

May she rest in the peace she well deserves.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Mai took people at face value. By that I don't mean how they projected themselves, but what they were. She had an instinct for people. She saw right through them and related to those who were genuine."

This is powerful and rare. One hopes it led to a very engaging life. She was a very special lady.

D.

Anonymous said...

Mai and I shared a room many a time in B'brack. Lots of laughs. She was as straight as a die, and full of fun too. May she rest in peace.

N

Dáithaí C said...

Pol,

These memories of lives completed are important - thanks for sharing.

blackwatertown said...

I didn't know your godmother, but I offer my condolences to you.
I'm lucky enough to have a good one myself. She's a good human too.

Póló said...

Just thought I should post some remarks I made from the altar after Mai's funeral mass in Dolphin's Barn church.

___________________________

Mai was born on Bloody Sunday, 21/11/1920, on Usher's Island. Her Uncle Larry was at the fateful match in Croke Park on that same day.

Her father had an undertaking business in James's Street and her mother, Tess, was the daughter of Christopher Burgess, a shoe and bootmaker, three doors down.

In 1954 she married Harry Ledwidge from St. James's Terrace, just around the corner from this church. Later, she lived in Iveagh Trust in Patrick Street.

When she could no longer manage there, she went to the Molyneaux Home, in Leeson Park, where she was very well looked after.

She was always meticulous about her appearance and she put a heavy premium on good manners.

But she accepted people at face value, regardless of creed or colour. If you were genuine, Mai would engage with you and, more affectionately, she'd blackguard you.

I was looking for a sympathy card to give to Paddy. Unusually, and quite by accident, I found one which expressed exactly what I wanted to say and which I think Mai would endorse.

      ____________

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I'm not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.

      ____________

She was my godmother.

May she rest in the peace she well deserves.