In 1956, a Hungarian refugee came to our halldoor with a suitcase from which he sold an eclectic collection of items. What I begged my Mam to buy was this small statute of St Anthony with the Infant Jesus. It cost 1/6d. (one shilling & six old pennies. That is less than 10p in today's money but my Mam felt it was a lot of money at the time).
I was nine years old. Fifty-four years later that little statue still stands on my dressing table. It accompanied me to boardingschool where it helped ease my homesickness. In 1970 it went with me to London & returned with me to Dublin from London in 1978.
Most of the time I am unaware of it. But whenever I take it up to dust or whatever, it brings back happy memories of my childhood, teenage years and all the years after, that brought me to the 62 year old woman I am today.
It also gave me a great interest in Hungary. Having read James A. Michener's 'The Bridge at Andau' I wonder: did the man who sold my Mam that statue make good his escape from Hungary by crossing the bridge at Andau?
Today I have neighbours from Hungary and we are good friends. They can come and go between Hungary and Ireland as their beloved country is now free.