At the time of writing, speculation is rife throughout the city that major job losses are on the cards for Bausch and Lomb. Waterford Crystal workers are still at a loose end as to whether their jobs and pensions are in any way secure and numerous other smaller enterprises in the locality are shutting down, laying people off and putting others on short time pretty much on a daily basis.

The financial hardships facing our country are on everyone’s lips at the moment – can you think of the last time you had a chat with someone where the situation didn’t come up in some shape or form. We who rode into adulthood on the back of the Celtic Tiger are justifiably becoming more anxious by the day.

So it was refreshing to speak to a couple of older members of my family recently, who fondly recalled similar tough times in their youth when, in their own words, ‘we had nothing, but were so happy’.

One of them showed me the following poem, penned anonymously, which, they reckon, really summed up the simple, frugal and best years of their lives. Seeing as the economic downturn is already resulting in a drastic cut in our spending habits, it was nice to talk about something other than money. Who knows, maybe my own generation will eventually recall these years as memorable – in a good way.


“We met and we married

A long time ago

We worked for long hours

When wages were low

No TV, no wireless, no bath,

Times were hard

Just a cold water tap

And a walk in the yard

No holidays abroad

No carpets on floors

We had coal on the fire

And we didn’t lock doors

Our children arrived

No pill in those days

And we brought them up

Without any State aid

They were safe going out

And played in the park

And old folk could go

For a walk in the dark

No valium, no drugs

And no LSD

We cured most of our ills

With a good cup of tea

No vandals, no muggings

There was nothing to rob

We felt we were rich

With a couple of bob

People were happier

In those far off days

Kinder and caring

In so many ways

Milkmen and paperboys

Would whistle and sing

A night at the pictures

Was our one mad fling

We all got our share

Of troubles and strife

We just had to face it

That’s the pattern of life

Now I’m alone

I look back through the years

I don’t think of the bad times

The troubles and tears

I remember the blessings

Our home and our love

And that we shared them together

I thank God above”