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Twelfth memories from the Fifties
Born and growing up on the Raven we got to know many of the
lads in the local bands. I was
active in the Boys Brigade and got to have a pretty decent childhood.
The Mini Twelfth was held each year in
And I remember the Twelfth day from the mid to late
Fifties. My mother would get the
flasks of tea going and sandwiches prepared, and the rugs and deckchairs would
get put into the car. Off we would
go to Tate's Avenue and find a suitable place to grab the kerb and set up our
wee family. Eight of us in total.
The waiting for the bands to come was always the slowest
part to the day. A multitude of Men
with scripture laden vests would always come first, damning all who were without
salvation, as to where they would spend eternity.
It always struck me that these men believed we were all sinners and they
were the saviours to mankind.
The bands would then come.
Ravenhill Silver Band was there with all their heavy equipment.
My uncle was there, in the Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band.
There were the flutes, the accordions and of course the noisy kerb side
A special memory that I will keep is of the young girls in
the York Street Girls' Accordion Band. Some
of these girls might have been eleven or twelve and the accordion looked to be
so large on their little bodies. Pulling
them out and pushing them in all the way to Finaghy was more than a labour of
It was always so colourful to see the banners fly in the
breeze, sometimes it made reading what was on the banner more difficult.
I used to remember and love to see the horse drawn
carriages, the horses so neatly groomed and their manes platted and curled.
Rosettes adorned them and the carriage men were so well dressed.
I sometimes was afraid of the men carrying the deacon poles. As a kid
sitting on the ground I felt like these deacon poles might hit me on the head as
they walked by.
The bands came by, the lodges too and the number of men
that my father would wave or shout at amazed me.
He knew such an awful lot of people when I being so young knew such a
Lunch and snacks would come out and the people all around
us would be envious of the food we had prepared.
My Mum was brilliant in this department and always made sure if we were
going out, we would be looked after. A
bottle of Fanta, or
The Twelfth was the most memorable time of the year.
But the bonfires the night before, in
Many years we would go to Scarva on the Thirteenth of July
to see the Blackmen. My mum always
liked the Blackmen because the country walks being smaller always seemed to
attract the Silver and Pipe bands.
The Twelfth is a wonderful experience, both for the
onlooker or the participant
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