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24 September 2014

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Curls of the Past by Marion Riley

Please tell us about yourself:
Born in Limerick, Ireland. Emigrated to Manchester aged 14. Worked in Madrid, Geneva, Sardinia (for the Aga Khan). Speak Italian and Spanish reasonably well and less well French. Worked as medical secretary/unit secretary for 20 years.

Married with two children aged 15 and 32. I have two grandchildren, one is 12 months old and the other is three-years-of-age at the time of writing.

Member of the Manchester Irish writers. Poems and short stories published in anthologies. Also won and have been short listed for many poetry and short story competitions.

Love meeting people from other cultures and nationalities. My hobbies are cycling, squash, swimming, languages, gardening, playing the piano, reading and writing.

My ambitions are to live long enough to see my son’s children as I had him late in life, and to have a novel published, don’t we all?

What is your story about?
My English maternal grandmother who lived in Co. Kerry during the time of the 'Black and Tans' and the civil war.

By saving the life of an Irishman she risked her own life and those of her family.

She and her two daughters, one of them my mother aged six escaped by horse and cart to a beach where they huddled together in the dark before being rowed out into the wild Atlantic at dawn, where they were rescued by a British coal boat.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
I was always very proud of being Irish and hardly ever let on my grandmother was English. This was my opportunity of making “amends”. Two days prior to storytelling circle, I found her silver white curls in an envelope which inspired me further to write about her.

What was the experience of making your digital story like?
Exciting. Exhilarating. An opportunity I wouldn’t have missed for anything. Listening to other participants, I realised how much wealth of material everyone carries inside them no matter how “quiet” their lives seem to be.

It gave me ideas for stories and reinforced how poignant and transient life is. The team were welcoming, warm and supportive, offering advice yet allowing us the final say in our own precious stories.

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