Patricia Robinson (nee Clifford), like many others, left Derry in 1954 to find work.
Now, 63 years later, Patricia has been celebrating her diamond wedding anniversary with her English born husband Jack, in Melbourne, Australia.
Patricia took the time to recall her life’s journey so far recently through her daughter, Jackie, when contacting the Journal’ from thousands of miles away with a copy of a photograph from her Diamond Wedding celebrations.
She recalled growing up in a very different Derry to the city we know today and a much less urban Bogside area.
“I was brought up in Joseph Street, my parents were Cassie and Paddy Clifford, ” said Patricia.
“It was next to the cattle market and we always had to remember to close our doors on market day as the cows were being driven down the street and many a time a couple would wander through any open doors!
“All that area was then torn down but I remember it as a good community where everyone seemed to know each other. It was hard to adapt when my family were moved from the street in 1949 to an aluminium bungalow in Creggan Heights.”
Patricia left Derry in 1954, aged 18, to go to find work in Morecambe, England. She met her husband, Jack, at the Savoy Restaurant where she was working as a waitress. Jack was a commis chef, then aged 16.
“We married in 1957 in St Mary’s Church, Morecambe and later had two daughters - Elaine in 59 and Jackie in 64, ” continued Patricia.
“We went back to Derry quite a few times: the last for my dad’s funeral. He was Paddy Clifford, an ex-fireman on the Swilly Railway. There were a lot of changes to the Derry I left.”
Patricia and Jack emigrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1989 to be with their eldest daughter and two grand daughters, as she explained:
“Our youngest, Jackie, married a Melbourne lad who gave us a grandson.
“We are in our 29th year here and love the country, the people and the climate.
“We lead a happy life. Jack enjoys golf, gardening, fishing and painting whereas I love reading, TV and being a grandma.”
While she loves her place in the sun’, Patricia said she still thinks of the Derry she once knew, and also had some advice on how to reach 60 years of marriage.
“I sometimes reminisce about the Derry I knew and how simple life seemed then with the shirt factory, the Capitol dance hall, the pictures and the Yanks, ” she said.
And the secret to a long marriage?
“Honesty and consideration for each other, ” she smiled.
“As the old advert used to say, we would give each other our last Rolo!”