Faith, Hope and Charity?


Maeve Binchy writes about Christ Deliver Us!

To be young is to be riddled with doubt; to be young in the 1950s was probably the worst and most drear time of all.

We had begun to hear there was a bright colourful all-singing and all-dancing world out there, a generation of bobby-soxers having a great time, but we saw little signs of it at home. The air was heavy with what people might think or say or what conclusions they could draw, none of them good. Too much exuberance was bad, too little was moody.

But the optimism of youth shone all around us – while everything joyful might seem unlikely, nothing was impossible. Confused and frustrated we may have been, with a feeling that there was something definitely missing from our lives, but we didn’t really know exactly what it was.

I spent a lot of the 1950s hoping that Marlon Brando would reply to one of the many letters I wrote to him beseeching him to come and live with me and explaining that I would look after him properly. Astonishingly, he resisted this tempting offer and sent series of broody postcards thanking me for being a member of his fan club. At the girls school we all talked with feverish excitement about the First Night of marriage, which in everyone’s mind would be the First Sexual Experience. We had practical concerns like: did you go down the corridor to the bathroom first or might that look too eager? The imagination of the decade did not stretch to pre marital sex or rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

I had a very happy if slightly bewildered childhood. I couldn’t quite understand why, if I was so good and well behaved, God made me fat. This was unfair of God. But then on the other hand I saw poor children sitting on Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge with thin shivery faces and a cardboard tray for pennies in front of them. Why didn’t God let them have a winter coat and a fireside like we had?

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