Saturday, April 14, 2012


Playing in my Grandmother's garden
One of the grandchildren who is having a sleepover at our home tonight has a bit of a lengthy bedtime ritual. As well as storytime there is "My Day" in which he and whomever is settling him down recount and share with each other the events of the day. We managed to get through these without waking his little sister who was asleep in the same room.

When he requested the lullaby that "Mummy always sings" I was flummoxed - for one thing I can't sing and secondly he couldn't recall the words of the lullaby so I could have a crack at it. As he was quite insistent I dug down into my long-term memory and recalled a little prayer that my paternal grandmother used to say to me when I stayed with her overnight.

My grandson was quite happy with the "lullaby" that my grandmother used to share with me and has now settled down for the night.

There are four corners on my bed
There are four angels overhead
Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John 
God bless this bed I lay upon.
My grandmother, Mary Tierney

I have just found the second verse to this on the internet but am glad that I hadn't recalled and shared it with my grandson as he is a sensitive little boy.

And if I die before I wake
I pray to God my sould to take,
And if any evil comes to me,
Blessed Lady waken me.

I am now recalling the many happy times I spent with my grandmother, Mary Tierney, at Brighton-le-sands during regular visits and in school holidays and wishing that I had listened more intently to her stories. I can, however, more than fifty years later remember all of the words of the hymns she used to sing with me!


Karen Ball said...

What a lovely story! My Dad used to read our well-loved bedtime stories and insert changed endings or words. I remember the giggles and laughs when we tried to correct him, but he insisted that his newly edited version was best.

Nancy said...

What a touching memory, Jill. Don't you love it when memories cross generations and connect them? I'm sure you told your grandson just a wee bit about the history of the lullaby you sang to him -- and he and your grandmother "met."

The photo of you playing in your grandmother's garden is adorable. You (or whoever it is) looks so happy.

I have never heard the lullaby your grandmother sang but the first two line in the last verse remind me of a little prayer my mother taught me: Now I lay me down to sleep/I pray the Lord my soul to keep./ If I should die before I wake/ I pay the Lord my soul to take. My husband thought it was appalling the first time he heard it, that death should be mentioned to a child going to bed!

And the hymns your grandmother taught you -- maybe you don't remember the stories she told but having the hymns by heart because of her is very precious.


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