Life

Radio review: No frills about what kids write

Nuala McCann

Grown-Ups Read Things they Wrote as Kids Podcast

Grace and Emmanuel RTE Radio 1

It's not twee, it's not cute... this is a laugh-out-loud podcast because children tell it as it is; no frills and no niceties.

Grown-ups reading out their childhood writings does not sound so promising, but it is the direct way in which children wrote that snares the listener.

The podcast is recorded in front of an audience.

Take Nick's sad Christmas letter from when he was seven years old: “I had to give my dog away because he was digging too many holes. Our cat died. He got run over. I would just like ANYTHING for Christmas.

“(My mum wrote on the back: PS: Our cat did NOT die).”

Olivia had to write a poem for biology class that had to be Valentine's Day themed and about biology.

She penned: “Ode to My Ovaries” and almost failed the class for it, but Ronnie McFee wrote about testicles and got to read it in front of the class, the grown-up Olivia told the audience. She still sounded a little peeved.

Getting to read her poem out loud as an adult was a kind of payback. It begins:

“Full of tiny life-giving eggs,

“You're the reason men stare at my legs.”

And it goes on:

“Riding the crimson wave isn't that bad,

Except when I'm hungry, or bloated or mad.”

This is worth a listen.

For some people in life, it feels like the odds are against them from the beginning.

In February 2011, a young Irish woman Grace Farrell froze to death in an alcove of St Brigid's Church, Manhattan, on the coldest night of a New York winter.

Emmanuel Touhey knew her because she was his childhood friend... he was with her in a children's home in Drogheda. He moved on to Washington and things looked up for him. Her life did not turn out so well.

When he read about Grace's death, Emmanuel wrote an article about her - he wanted her to be remembered as more than just a grim statistic.

This was a poignant story – not least for Emmanuel's memories of growing up in a children's home.

These were very warm – one nun, Sister Stella was, he said, his “rock” - a positive slant on a system often portrayed as grim and cold.

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