Mary Bailey


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As always, when I’m on the train, I am assailed by memories, some of which are unpleasant. So I write.

Under no circumstances should you buy into the belief that you are a lowlife or a low-class person even if you were born and raised in a one-room house and had to share a bed with siblings.

So what if your breakfast consisted only of leftovers from the previous evening’s dinner? What if you had to walk home in the boiling sun for lunch while the other children bought lunches from the nearby shop? Chances are, your lunch was healthier and the walk home and back to classes strengthened the muscles in your legs.

Do not be intimidated because some children living in big houses have some unimaginable horror stories about the lives they endured.

In the 80s I was a teen mother attending teachers college and on my way home for Heroes Day weekend, I walked past a group of four young men sitting by the roadside in my district. I politely said hello because I knew them well. One proceeded to tell me what he wanted to do to me. I ignored the crude comment and continued walking. ‘Hey $&@@€ gal. You should be happy when a man calls out to you. Look where you’re from!’

Immediately the other four men came to my defense and said to him, ‘Don’t sit with us. Why would you say that to Mary?’ Satisfied, I went on without a backward glance.

If you had a mother who would sell her last goat or pig to buy textbooks for you, you are coming from somewhere. If she washed and ironed your white blouse so that you had a fresh one everyday, you were loved. If she would wake up in the wee hours to make you a cup of tea and something to eat then walk with you several miles in the dark to catch the early bus, there’s no greater love.

If she would dare to put her life on the line and confront any predator who tried to harm you, that’s unconditional love. If she made sure that you went to church and always participated in church activities, you were raised well.

Your past shouldn’t define you but it should influence you and shape who you are. Even if you were left by the wayside and raised in an orphanage do not be disheartened.

I have so much more to say but my train has reached its final stop and I have to alight. Later.

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