ack to Wigan Gasworks
ONomanewan am. Immo.
MOLLY WALSH anon. •••••••■•••• ......... .0.an tttttt
I FEEL a little as if I have been
the subject of an experiment with a time machine, and 1 could easily go all philosophical on you and ask questions like what makes you you, and me me ? A visit to Lancaster and the blizzard conspired to give the effect of going backwards in time. Until Monday, I was still almost in the present. I had spent a pleasant weekend with two old friends. True, the combined effect of having left the family circle, of being rather marooned in the house by the weather, and, as happens when old friends meet, the conversation being a mixture of bringing each other up to date with happenings in our lives and reliving old experiences, was rather to give an impression of timelessness. BUT on Monday the smell of the gasworks in Wigan trans ported me right back to a time 22 years, four babies and several lifetimes ago, when I first turned down Chapel Lane and found Actons Walk and Nana Hughes who took me under her wing and made her front parlour into my private maternity home. Nana Hughes still sits in the same chair, though she is a shrunken old lady now. The grate still gleams blackly, though I gather it is now done with enamel and not with black lead.
The big iron kettle is still at the side of the fire ready to make tea at an instant's notice. It is Nana's sister who must now get in the coal before it gets too dark; Nana no longer can don her shawl to run to the top of the street, but she sits there with her 85 years of living, so much of which she has communicated to me in so many teatime conferences in that small, bright kitchen.
wHEN, as so often before, I go to the Shop at the top of the street for a loaf of bread---" Tell him it's for Mrs. Hughes, and don't let him give you a sliced one "—time seems indeed to have stood still, for the man asks, as casually as though it were only yesterday that I was there and not II years ago on just such a day as this, after the health of the "fanlielYi "fanlielYi li s suitably impressed to hear that Mary, who was born the day after that last visit. sat for her 11+ a fortnight ago, and I reciprocate when I hear that his son is at London University. The slow journey back to London through the snow-clad Midlands was a suitable transportation back to the present. but the time machine had not quite finished its tricks, for in the post was a letter commenting on something I had recently written in this column from a friend Whom I have not seen since we were both girls in gym slips. She is now the mother of nine children. This letter brought another of my selves back to life.
pltUT back to the present and '-' "Talking Together." it seems that we must talk a little more about her quarrelling children. I hope I do not seem to be labouring a point or making it seem as though it loomed too large on the horizon.
A small confusion has arisen owng to a sentence being missed out of the article as I originally wrote it, which left it unclear what I really thought. I personally do not think it is a good idea to usc this particular behaviour problem as a direct basis for a child's spiritual formation. I think this for two reasons: firstly, because it is so easy to give a child a false conscience front which many problems can develop later in life; secondly. on the whole I think it is as well to interfere as
little as possible directly the child's spiritual life, which is after all its relationship with God.
As parents, it is surely our job to provide the teaching of faith and love of the law of God and of the Church and to leave the actual growth to the Holy Ghost,
fN regard to plays on radio and • television a reader writes: "You have raised a point that hes been in my mind for some time about radio and television plays as being fit for family viewing and listening. " I do not wish to control other people's programmes, but I think mothers could demand that television and radio plays should be graded for adult audiences and then we should know in advance which to put on. Do you think we could write to the B.B.C. and demand this ?" Yes, I do think so, and to do something about it now, before we forget, might be an extension of the Editor s ideas on the special kind of mortification that these modern times demand. There are many things we should take action about, and so difficult to get down to doing it. But this is something which does affect many families very intimately and is our business very clearly. So Why not do it this weekend ?
In the meanwhile, I have come to the conclusion that, at the present stage of my own family's development (one 11-year-old and one 15-year-old at home). it is safer not to turn on any play that one is not sure about. though this is often an act of self denial for adults.