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Sheila's Take




“In a boisterous, complicated, loving and very large Catholic family, Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan found her voice. Now, in the journey back to the world of her past, she brings us compelling stories, full of hard-won wisdom and grace, and the best description of the snowsuit imprisonment I've ever read.”

Karen Levine - CBC Producer

The memories are firmly rooted in a Canadian/Irish Catholic upbringing, yet Kindellan-Sheehan manages to capture, with clarity and insight, moments and experiences we can all relate to: seemingly innocuous yet unforgettable and life-altering.

Cindy Durack, Journal of Irish Studies


Sheila’s Take is a book of memory with cognizance. This unique collection of short stories, the focus of a sharp eye and ...

READ MORE... an easy smile, is told with the voice of a poet and the touch of a common, everyday sensibility. Ms. Kindellan-Sheehan brings to life the memories of an Irish childhood and young adulthood, concluding with the bittersweet circumstances of mid life.



My mother never ate lunch with us, but drawing in her knees and cupping her chin, she’d listen to our adventures.  When we finished eating, she’d tell Kay to sit at one end of the blanket, me at the other, placing the little ones between us.  ‘Watch over each other; I won’t be long.’  Off came the pink and white-striped halter and the sun skirt, and with them the trappings of motherhood.  In their stead stood a tall, handsome, big-boned woman in a black bathing suit.  Without looking back at us, without pausing to test the frigid water, she’d wade in past her waist, sprinkle both shoulders with icy water and in seconds dive, disappearing into the St. Lawrence.  We held onto one another on the blanket, afraid we had lost her, afraid she had left us, afraid the river had claimed her.  In those long seconds I felt lonely, and small. Then, with the grace of a dolphin she’d rise from the river with water tumbling from her dark curls and begin her swim.  The smooth cutting stroke and confident rhythm of her long arms propelled this amazon into a thing of beauty that years before had captured my father’s heart and now took ours. In these rarefied moments she was someone quite apart from us, and we burst with tenderness that this remarkable wet creature belonged to us.  Then, perhaps for the joyous freedom she found in the river, my mother would laugh aloud, becoming once more the ‘laughing Margaret’ of her university days. From afar, leaning forward on the blanket, we’d sit in awe.


Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan
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