The Home of Three Generations!
The year was 1904, and the house was one of twenty situated off Fountain Street. 12 Victoria Street was a two up two down terraced house on, what I thought of as, a very steep street in Londonderry. Granny’s house was about half way down on the right side. I remember, as a young girl running down the street, catching hold of the down spout and swinging into the entry way. I was always grateful for that down spout; as I don’t know how I would have slowed down without it! Going to Granny’s was always a highlight for me and many of my siblings and cousins. I have few significant memories of my childhood; however, Granny and her home are memories that will never leave me.
Over the years three generations of my family lived in that cozy, welcoming little home. The first generation was my great grandfather Johnston Alexander Love who married Isabella Fisher Chambers in St. Augustine’s Church of Ireland, The Wee Church on the Walls; on 5 Oct 1903.
In the very early days of their marriage they lived on William Street; which is where they had their first daughter, Evelyn Courtney. Shortly after Evelyn’s birth they moved to their new home in The Fountain.
Alex and Bella, as they were known; expanded their family and had four more children. Sadly, Evelyn Courtney died at only sixteen months of age; and is interred in the Derry City Cemetery. John was born in 1905, followed by William in 1908, Kathleen in 1910 and Jane in 1912.
As will happen, over time; the children of Alex and Bella married to move on and create their own little families. Their youngest child Jane, known as Jeannie to her family and friends; married in 1936. She, like all of us tend to do; moved into her own home with her husband. However, Jeannie didn’t move far from her ancestral home; she moved just a few houses away into 20 Victoria Street.
About 1936 Alex and Bella had purchased and moved into a new home in Abercorn Road with their other three children. At that time Jeannie along with her husband Robert and their young daughter moved back into 12 Victoria Street; her childhood home. As their family grew so did their home; Robert was a carpenter by trade and used his skills to continually upgrade their home.
This is the home where they raised their eight children. The home where my mother, their eldest daughter; Kathleen grew up. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away when I was only two, so I have no memory of him. However, I do have many memories of my Granny. Granny’s house was where we were spoilt; the home where my siblings, cousins and I played as children. The home where we just couldn’t get in trouble with our parents; as Granny continually said, “leave the children alone”! She was our “protector”; she was the one we all loved to go to Church with; probably because she always had a little bag of sweets in her handbag for us. She was also the one who pressed sixpence into our hands when it was time for us to leave. She was the one who I loved going to the neighbourhood bakery with to pick up fresh baps in the mornings for breakfast.
Number 12 Victoria Street was a place I loved; it was the home to my Granny, a lady I adored. I think of her often and wish we had more time together. Six days after my 10th birthday, in 1971; my family immigrated to Canada; and the frequent trips to Granny’s house were no longer to be. Luckily we moved back to Ireland in 1973 for two years; which gave us more time with family and my Granny; only to return to Canada again in 1975.
Trips were made back and forth to Ireland, Granny even fought her fear of flying and flew to Canada; but it was just never the same. As families do, we became “scattered” to various parts of the world; the frequent trips to Granny’s house, for me ended in 1975.
12 Victoria Street holds many great memories for me; and my Granny…. well, she showed me what a granny should be. When I’m lucky enough to carry that title, I hope I do my Granny Wilson proud!
“The Peace That Passeth All Understanding”
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