emigrated from Ireland to join my father in Canada, in addition to a steamer trunk full of clothing and other necessities, my mother carried this little black suitcase with her. Inside of the suitcase were the items she most treasured, bits of a life that once was, including images of a past in which my father was a child, as well as some in which my parents were young adults.
By the time I came along the little black suitcase lived under my parents' bed, and was filled with photographs. Now it is here with me in my home. I have such fond memories of time spent trolling through the photographs in that suitcase. Sometimes, when my mother was doing her household accounts, I would sit on the floor at the foot of her bed, and draw out the images which most appealed to me. Then, I would plead with my mom to set aside her task, and tell me about the people in the pictures. Sometimes Mom would send me packing, but every now and then she would oblige me.
The little black suitcase is such a treasure to me. As a child, emigration seemed a romantic ideal to me, and I would daydream about the little suitcase shifting and sliding around their cabin, as the sea rolled and tumbled under the ship on which my mother and brother travelled to a new world.
This post was inspired by an article in the Irish Times authored by Fintan O'Toole. It can be viewed at http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2012/1208/1224327637420.html
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