Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bill and Jack

“You need me because I am the key to what you want. I am the key to finding Bill.”

Bill Sullivan and Jack McGilligan left Cork in 1950. The two friends hatched their escape from a life promising nothing but farm labouring and dead ends, and put all their money together to buy two one way ferry tickets to Liverpool. They hitch-hiked from Cork to Dublin, and ate nothing for two days except a small stack of sandwiches made from bread and cheese taken from Jack’s father’s larder and two batches of soda bread that Bill's mother had given them. Jack knew his father would be livid, but he doubted he’d ever see him again, much less face the beating that he would dole out for such a show of disrespect.

Bill, however, didn’t sneak out in the dead of night without so much as a word. He woke his mother in the early hours and explained himself.

“I’ll send you what I can Ma. Don't worry about me. Wait and see, I’ll come back a millionaire. You won’t have to worry about a thing” he said as he bent down to kiss his mother goodbye.

His mother wiped away the tears that streamed down her face, and knew there was nothing she could say that would make Bill change his mind. He was just like his father. Charlie Sullivan had been a stubborn and determined man, right up until the day he died, and Bill was just like him. She wouldn’t have Bill any other way. She knew he'd be alright.

When the two friends landed in England they vowed they would never let each other down. They would work together to make their decision to leave their hometown the best decision they ever made.

“Nobody and nothing can come between two friends like us,” said Bill.

“Next time we see Ireland, we’ll be rich men. We’ll buy the whole town!”laughed Jack.

Neither of them even saw Ireland again.

Ten years later Bill and Jack...

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