First Day

Christine O'Mahony: Eating Plasticine

Christine O’Mahony was born in 1952 in Northampton. As a young child Christine spent time in Nazareth House children’s homes with her two sisters, before returning to family life in Camden, London aged five. Christine attended local C of E and Catholic primary schools and a local Catholic Secondary School, also spending time in hospital aged seven.

Here Christine talks about being taken to school for the first time.

  • Christine O'Mahony
  • Christine O'Mahony
  • Christine O'Mahony


One day I was in the playground of the children’s home and this woman who worked for the children’s home, she came and she just, I don’t even remember her saying anything to me, she took me by the hand and we walked out and I was absolutely astonished, you know, nobody had ever done that at all, we walked out of the gates and then she stopped outside a shop and just said, ‘Wait there,’ and she went in the shop and she came out and she brought me out a packet of pastilles and I was overwhelmed, I was completely overwhelmed, I mean to be given a free gratis packet of sweets from someone, I was absolutely astonished and, you know, really pleased.

And then she took me and she took me to school and I don’t think it was the first day for other children, you know, I think – my memory is that we went in the middle of the morning and that there was, you know, she just kind of handed me over, she didn’t say a word to me at all, through all this, for all I know she might have been deaf and dumb, you know, I don’t know. And all I remember about that school is kind of sitting in a corner eating plasticine.

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