Jim and I were pawing through yet another box of mysterious items. I pulled this out of a box of early thermoplastic items (hairbrushes and buttonhooks).
I assume its a decorative darning egg, but what do I know about darning? The 2-inch long egg unscrews at the "equator" to reveal a smooth hollow, probably too short for my darning needle.
It looks like a pleasant big bead.
"I think it has a tiny lens. What is it -- look through," Jim says.
"No, its a hole," I say. I look around on my cluttered desk but can't find my darning needle to poke it through and prove I'm right. I set it aside to move on to other treasures.
Yesterday, I pick it up again and really look through the hole. "Really looking" is my technical term for what Jim does by second nature and for what I have to discipline myself to do. This is why I don't have patience with 3-D comic books -- you have to relax your eyes and really look. I enjoy jumping to conclusions: nice Victorian bead to keep secrets in.
I look. Nothing. I turn it around. Oh! A picture! The Blessed Virgin. I run and show it to Jim. The eagle eye sees more. Two pictures. And a label. The right edge is obscured. Apparition at K... August 21 1879.
Jim may have better eyes, but I have access to the internet. I google on "apparition 1879." The results are immediate and surprising:
The Apparition at Knock, County Mayo, Ireland.
My great-grandmother Maggie Keville was 14 then, and living down the road a piece near Shrule. I wonder if it was big news. Apparently there were lots of cures happening. Okay, maybe there were a few other things going on:
Apparitions and the rising tumult of social change. I wonder... Maybe it was about that time that Maggie decided she needed to get the heck out of there and set her sites on America.
Knock Folk Museum One of the museums of Mayo. Documents the apparitions and miracles.
Mayo on the Move. Account of the apparition
Our Lady of Knock on the Mary Pages.