Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 48 > Page 95 - Kieran Ballah Remembers M.J

Page 95 - Kieran Ballah Remembers M.J

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/6/1 (154 reads)

didn't go anywhere, you stayed home and your mother looked after you. And Eva had this TB which was being cured. And my grandmother was in the next room, grand? mother Najia from Louisbourg. The last two years she stayed continuously in Sydney. How my mother got through all that, I'll never know. And there were 7 of us children in that house, living, when I remember. And you know what?--that we went tested for TB, and we never, ever came in contact with it--the school tests came. Negative on all of it. That's how clean she was. She used to keep their dishes separate, wash them separately, separate dishwasher and every? thing, never mixed the dishes up. She went through all of that, all those years. Anyway, Eva got better. While she was get? ting better, those two years, also, my sis? ter Najia died at 22 with the TB, in that same house. So she's got Joe, and Najia, Eva, and Grandma--she lived to be 82. And Najia died very fast. She didn't last long. Once she got to be 6 months, she had gal? loping TB they called it then, I think. Just went right through her sys? tem; killed her fast. But Eva was determined she was go? ing to get better. And she got better. She got up, and she had to learn to walk all over again. In the prime of her life, eh? Twen? ties. She learned to walk. I re? member seeing her going down the hall, and them holding her, teach? ing her how to walk again. She was so thin. And she eventually got married, lived a full life. Died young, she died at 59, I think. But she died of emphysema--it wasn't the TB or anything--just congestion--asthma type. That's what killed her. But she was mar? ried and living in Ontario for years. Had a good life. And owed her life--owed it to Joe, my old? est brother. Who died, couple of years, after, of cancer. He died before Eva. She used to feel bad that he spent his savings to save her life. She couldn't do a thing for him. You know, he was filled with cancer. He died while she was still living. But we always thought the miracle was the money. We didn't have a penny. Eva was going to die. And this money came out of nowhere on this novena that--Mum just said, "I'm going to make the novena," and she prayed, and by golly, on Monday we had $15,000. Always thought it was a miracle. I believe it was, myself, you know. If there ever was miracles, that had to be a modern- day miracle. And for him to give it all up. Now, he gave it all up, and he went into the Brothers, for, oh, a couple of years, I think. Went to the Brothers in Montreal. Thought that was to be his life, and it wasn't. He came out. But he kept $3,000 in the bank, of the money he won. And he had that till he got married. (What's the number of the house on Townsend Street?) 458. It's two houses up from the Academy--a three-storey house. I remember that house very well. That's where all the music was. Even with all that problem, that's where the music was, in that home. That's where the singing was and the happi? ness was, in that home. This article was edited from interviews by Pam Newton, made as part of an Ethnic and Folk? lore Research project of the Beaton Institute, under the direction of Elizabeth Planetta. Our thanks to Fred McMahon, Marjorie MacGibbon Ball, and the Ballah family, for photo? graphs. Thanks to Fr. Frank Abbass for help and encouragement with this article. ~ 40 YEARS OF SERVICE TO CAPE BRETON ?? Wc't Ctjtl&ren;*0 Ati 'oriet' of (Hapc Breton O INTAKE problem identification; referral HOME STUDIES PROTECTION support services; crisis intervention FOSTER HOMES ADOPTION all ages, in permanent homes CHILDREN IN CARE | Suite 7, Provincial Building, 360 Prince Street, Sydney, Nova Scotia B1P 5L1 (562-5506) I SINGLE MOTHERS counselling; support jjag commopnity's responsibility is to protect our children! counselling; support "A UNITED WAY SERVICE AGENCY"
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