Around the time, we made the move to 228 Springtown, I saw an advertisement in the news paper for Stork Margarine which announced a free cookery book could be had by putting your name and address on the coupon and sending it in. When the cookery book arrived in a little over a week, the recipes, and step-by-step instructions, were accompanied by pictures in vivid colours of the finished product: Swiss rolls, sandwich cakes, afternoon tea scones, cream puffs, all kinds of fruit pies and a recipe for Christmas cake, which I still use... In our new life we not only had separate bedrooms like swanks, but I was determined we would soon eat like swanks.
The possession of the Stork Margarine Cookery book, however, didn’t necessarily lead to an instant tea table of what granny called “dainties”. Food was still rationed and sugar, a critical component of any cake, was in short supply. That was the beginning of my long and successful career as a smuggler.
The first time I made the journey to Bridgend mammy went with me. But she got very nervous at the possibility of losing the contraband at the British Customs. Mammy had an inbuilt fear and deep distrust of uniforms or anything she perceived to be connected to British officialdom. So she took what she felt was the prudent course of action: she hid the butter and sugar in her knickers, which were loose, and voluminous and, well secured with elastic around the knees. Her plan worked and we sang the rest of the way home.
Sadie Puri ?"she hid the butter and sugar in her knickers"
Bridgend, and soon, Burnfoot,had, I believed, all the necessities required to achieve an entry into Swankdom, and, soon came to the conclusion that the smuggling operation had to be streamlined.. Not only were there a limitless supplies of butter and sugar, but also t knitting wool, very scarce in Derry at the time, not to mention Sharps toffee in abundance.
That was when I came up with the idea of making mammy a petticoat with large pockets. She was not a vain woman and never had enough money to even consider fashion, but she was delighted at the size of the pockets. She also said the frill of broderie anglais I had added around the bottom, gave it “a little bit of style.”.
Mammy wore this style of petticoat for the rest of her life. After she came to live in New York she carried her paper money in the pockets. When she felt she had accumulated a certain amount, she asked me to take her to the bank and handed the money over the counter in bundles of one hundred dollars to a sometimes startled bank clerk. Once when we went to one of the better Chinese restaurants for dinner, and she insisted on paying. After she reached down to get the money out of her Burncrana pocket, Ruby’s late husband Michael, laughed so much, and so hard, that the waiter came rushing over to see if everything was all right. Fortunately, the lighting in the restaurant was dim.
Thanks to the Stork Margarine Cookery book, and some other events for which I have no rational explanation, I arrived in Swankdom But like so much else in life I was no sooner there than I lost my appetite for it and have spent the rest of my life avoiding it like the plague.