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Living in your own country something to savour

MY family and I were forced into exile in England in the 1950/60s. I was only 13 and, though the memory is not so painful now, I still recall the overwhelming sadness we felt that day on leaving extended family, friends and country and the prospect of the permanency of our emigration.

Sure, I was able to make holiday visits from time to time which, though joyous, only served to re-inflict the pain of loss when departure time came again.

After 10 years, I emigrated to Australia, where I still live. Now much further away, I can't get 'home' very often. Three times in 45 years, to be exact. I still have siblings in England but, apart from wishing to see them, I don't feel drawn to revisit. Ireland is still where the heart is and I hope to get back for another visit.

Locally, my wife's family lives 1,000 miles away in another Australian city; a two-day drive, or a two-and-a-half-hour flight away. Seeing them often is not realistic.

I have a daughter in Africa and a son in Singapore and I can't say "... see you in June" to them, either.

To those people who must to and fro between city and country: count your blessings and be thankful that you are living in your own country.

JOHN CUMMINS

Adelaide, Australia

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