When I was just a nipper
Myself and my friend Dave
Took our pennies down to Mattie’s
Our very own Alladin’s cave.
It had every kind of treasure
A little boy or girl could need
From Yoyos and caps for guns
To Comics we could read.
We’d spend ages just staring
Deciding on our buys
Would it be Lucky Lumps or Nancy Balls
Or maybe some Bullseye’s.
I’d be often sent there with a note
On a message for me Ma
For anything from Bread and Milk
To 5 Woodbines for me Da.
When we’d be thirsty from playing football
Using our jumpers for a goal
With our pennies pooled to buy lemonade
Up to Mattie’s we would stroll.
A great big bottle of Crystal Spring
We’d buy to quench our thirst
Then the argument would start
Over which one would go first
Whether penny chews or caramels
Or broken chocolate, never whole.
We’d hope Carmel wasn’t serving
We’d even pray that it was Noel.
Especially on a Sunday after dinner
We’d be sent up for Ice Cream
Noel always gave a bigger wafer
Then we’d walk home in a dream.
The highlight of my week
Was when my comics would come in
I’d get the Topper and the Beezer
I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
The next day when I’d finished them
Back to Mattie’s I would go
And Mattie would let me swap them
For The Dandy and Beano.
When the girls hit their teenage years
And started going out to dance
They swapped the Bunty and Mandy
For Picture Love and True Romance.
From fuel to keep us warm
To the food that kept us fed
From the Cornflakes for our breakfast
To the Cocoa before bed.
From babes in prams to adults
Mattie served the multitude
So from all the neighborhood
We’d like to offer our gratitude.
Eamonn O’ Hara 12/04/22