Dreenan School

Moments of Being

What a plunge into the past - what Virginia Woolf would call "Moments of Being". The past, present and future are all there, inextricably intertwined. All memories of school between September 1962 and June 1964 which flood into my mind today just like many other days.

Jack Convery and my sister Anne, both in the classroom, but one year ahead and my ‘seniors’. Jack, sitting over his writing paper:

Between [his] finger and [his] thumb

The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Jack has a difficult task to catch the blobs of ink from that ‘squat’ black fountain pen, and to dry them up before they spoil his composition. Jack, however, moves with dexterity and, with his blotting sheet, soaks them up before they leave their mark on his paper forever. Years later, when my own daughter Dafne was at primary school and "between her finger and thumb, the squat pen" lay, I would look at her at home doing her homework and plunge back to Jack and his pen. Dafne would have loved Jack’s pen because what she really wanted to ‘dig with’ was not a fountain pen with cartridges, but a fountain pen to be filled with ink from that wonderful ink - well.

Elizabeth and Neil McKee in the same class as myself. What a plunge again - Elizabeth arriving at school one day with a new pair of red woollen tights (I think a birthday present from her bigger sister). How envious I was, as I think many others in the school were, of those red tights. We had never seen such beautiful and novel things before. Then there is Neil standing there reciting his tables or I wandered lonely as a cloud.

Then of course there is the teacher who is a woman and my mother. I can change the order of these three words - teacher, mother, woman - in any way but the result is always the same - a model for me to strive to live by. Years later, I also find myself in those three same roles, but not in Dreenan School but in Trento, Italy. My work has allowed me to keep those roots very much alive also with Dafne and my husband, Gabriele. Recently, one of my students went to Ireland to interview J. B. Keane for her thesis. When she returned she asked me to help her transcribe the interview because she had taped it in his pub and had some difficulty in interpreting some words. In this interview, J. B. Keane talks about the importance of women in his life and at a certain point he says "I doff my hat to women".

Well, I doff my hat to my Dreenan school teacher, mother and woman, and to all those people who attended Dreenan School with me.

Irene Diamond - Trento Italy.

1962 - 1964