I actually wrote this on May 22nd 2012. When we went to the new version of the website at the start of this year I thought we had lost all the old articles. Now I’ve found a way of finding old articles from old caches taken and saved by another website. I’ve cut and pasted it from there to here. I’m posting it now for no other reason than that I want to save the article and add it to this site.


As I write this, my wife Kelly is on her way to Dublin airport to catch a plane back to America to start a new life.

We came to Moville in November 2002 but have been separated for more than 6 years.

She stayed in our back house for the last week, firstly so that she could sell the stuff in her house but also so she could see more of her children before she left.


It was in 1982 that I first met her when she came to London with a friend.

I was having a drink after work in a pub called The Two Chairmen in The Mall.

As it got towards closing time my friend Peter asked me if i knew any good nightclubs we could go to.

As it was a Tuesday night I wasn’t sure what would be good as I only ever went to clubs at weekends.

Cafe Des Artistes

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go myself but I said that there was a club in Chelsea that I went to called the Cafe Des Artistes, which was good.

It had a bar, restaurant and disco but I wasn’t sure what it would be like on a Tuesday night.

We soon discovered this after we got there by taxi and paid our way in.

Six only

There were only ourselves, two American girls and two Egyptian guys.

I said to my friend Peter that unless we moved quickly then it would be a long, lonely night for us.

The Egyptian guys obviously thought the same thing as they went over and started talking to them.

That seemed to be it.


However, I said to Peter, “on your way up to the bar you have to walk past them.

“Just say “Are you two girls American?””

So, off he went – but he walked right past them.

Oh dear, I thought.

However, on the way back with the drinks he did say it.

“How did you know we were American?” they asked.

And it was a long lonely night for the Egyptian guys.

First Pick

As Peter made the initial move he had first pick and chose Kelly.

She was 19 at the time.

Don’t Say Goodbye

At the end of the night we were all leaving to go our separate ways but Peter didn’t want to say goodbye so as they were walking away he went after them and asked if they had a bar at their hotel.

They said they did so we went over there and got drinks from the night porter.

We showed them around London for a week and then they went on to Paris.

Next Year

The following year the girl that I went out with sent me a letter saying they were coming to Dublin and would Peter and I like to meet them there.

Unbeknown to them Peter was actually married so he couldn’t come.

I told them I couldn’t come either.


However, I had decided to give them a surprise as I knew what hotel they were staying in which was in Lucan outside Dublin.

I flew over there and found that Lucan was quite a bit outside Dublin.

I called the hotel and they said they were full.

I decided to go over there anyway.


I asked for the girls at reception but they were out.

I was there for a couple of hours before I saw them go to the bar and order some soft drinks and sat there.

I went and sat beside them but said nothing.

After about 10 minutes the girl who I had gone out with looked at me and said “Gerry?”.

They said I could stay in their room for the weekend as they had a spare bed.


I remember in the morning that while they thought I was still asleep Kelly put a dress on top of me and took a photo.

She was a lot of fun and we hit it off.

The girl I went out with said in later years she saw that something was happening.

However, I went home and they went home too.


Then, two years later, I got a letter from Kelly saying she was coming to London and she’d like to meet up with myself and Peter.

I decided that I would keep it as a surprise for Peter and I would arrange she would just turn up at a pub where he was.

However, he said he couldn’t make it on the Thursday.


So I told her I was going out for a drink with a friend, Toby, and invited her along.

The next day Toby told everyone at work “Gerry’s going out with a cracking American girlfriend”.

I said that she was not my girlfriend but Toby insisted that she was.

One girl at work who I got on well with and I had thought might be interested said “Has she got a white stick?” somewhat sourly.


On the Friday night I called Peter again to go for a drink but he said he couldn’t make it.

So, I took Kelly out for a drink along with another friend, Clive, who had worked previously with me in London but lived in Folkestone on the South Coast.

He noticed that we hit it off and told me to go after her.

However, I didn’t want to take her from my friend Peter who I was going to call on Monday again.


Clive decided to take matters into his own hands and said “Why don’t the two of you come down and stay the weekend in Folkestone” and Kelly was keen to do that.

By the time Monday came along I didn’t bother contacting Peter and he didn’t know till years later that she had even been over.

I went out with Kelly for a couple of weeks before it was time to go back.


On the last night I asked her to stay.

She said she had to go back as she had just been accepted at nursing college.

I said I could take her to Moville for a couple of weeks.

She enjoyed her time in Dublin and is of Irish origin and I think that swung it.

The next day she said that she had to go back to the hotel both to get her stuff and tell the rep who was looking after them that she wouldn’t be going back in case they waited for her.

Back Soon

She said she would be back in an hour.

An hour went past and she didn’t return.

Two hours went by and she didn’t return.

I was thinking to myself that she must have seen sense when she went back to the hotel and gone home to start her nursing degree course.

Maybe she had never intended coming back but just said that to get away.

I was thinking that I was stupid to think that I should have been so lucky.


Then the doorbell went.

She was as good as her word and had come back.

We did come to Moville and she loved it.


I remember writing a song about it soon after called Don’t Say Goodbye.

The lyrics are:-

Don’t say goodbye in the morning
You can stay here for a while
Don’t walk away forever
You can stay here all your life.

She still had to go back to America after that.

She said she would come back but had to sort some things out.

College or Me

It seems, when back over there, that her family were telling her to go to college.

However, her friends were telling her she should ‘go for it’.

And she did.

She came back.

We had lots of fun and have heaps of memories.

I took her everywhere in London.

Engaged and Married

We got engaged a year later and the following year we married in America before coming back to London where I had bought a flat in leafy Maida Vale just opposite the BBC recording studios where we would often see stars like David Bowie go in and out from our balcony.

Because Kelly had a medical condition it was difficult to have children and it took us another 5 years before we had our first.


We had to pay for fertility treatment from Professor Winston, who went on to be Sir and then Lord Winston, and who nowadays is on lots of TV programmes.

Indeed one time we were there to see him, after Rhea was born when we wanted to have a second child, Professor Winston was interrupted by a call from his wife.

He apologised and said that she was only supposed to call in an emergency.

It was an emergency but a good one.


It was his wife saying that the then Prime Minister John Major wanted them to go to Number 10 that evening for tea with him.

Our daughter Rhea was a test tube, or IVF baby.

The treatment worked at the first attempt.

There’s a few amusing stories I could tell you about the treatment but I won’t here.


I remember on the day when we were to get news of whether the treatment had worked or not Kelly wanted to walk round the park.

She didn’t want to sit at home waiting for the call.

When it came to be time for the call she decided that she would continue to walk around the park and I would go back and take the call.


However, by the time I got back there the call had come and a message left on the answerphone.

All the call said was “Your test was positive”.

What did that mean?

It sounded good but medical people tend to speak like that, i.e. without telling you exactly what it is.

Why didn’t they say she was pregnant or not pregnant?


She came back.

“Well?” she asked.

“I’m not sure” I said.

“What did the message say” she asked.

I said “It just said that the test was positive”.

“That means I’m pregnant, you idiot” she said.

Laughing and Crying

And at that she grabbed hold of me and was both crying and laughing with delight at the same time.

Nine months seemed a hell of a long time to wait.

Those were great days as we checked the two books we had to see what stage Rhea was at now.

We checked it weekly and I couldn’t wait till the week went by to see what size she was now, first the size of a nut then a grape and then a strawberry, then a plum and then an orange.


As Rhea was an IVF baby Kelly had to go into hospital as soon it was her time so they could monitor her there.

It was three of the longest days of my life as I stayed with her and slept in a camp bed by her bedside.

The night before she had the baby she had contractions all night and I was awakened by them every ten minutes or so.

Birthing Pool

In the morning, she agreed to go into the birthing pool as that helped induce it and that was the way she had wanted to give birth.

The midwives told me that I should go and get some breakfast whilst I could down to the restaurant.

I had only just sat down for breakfast when it came over the intercom “Could Gerry McLaughlin go to the birthing pool area immediately”.

Off I went breakfastless.

When I got there things had calmed down a bit.


She was in the birthing pool without her clothes surrounded by three midwifes.

One of the midwives said to me “Often the fathers like to get in to share the experience”.

What they were suggesting was that I whip off my clothes and get into the pool with her.

I declined the offer.

That Night

It wasn’t till that night that Rhea was actually born.

I was the first to see her come out.

She was all purpley blue.

I wondered if the afterbirth had come out first till I suddenly saw her open her eyes and blink.


The midwife asked me to cut the umbilical cord which I also declined despite their best entreaties.

Soon after, I was left alone with the baby as Kelly had to go off for minor surgery.

She soon fell asleep but as I couldn’t see her breathing I rushed out and got a midwife to tell her.

She told me that she was fine.

Best Years

The next two years were amongst the best of my life.

I took my new daughter about first in a front pack and then a back pack.

“Look at him, proud as punch” said one elderly neighbour to Kelly as I took my daughter on my back down to the little breakfast place at Little Venice Canal where I would pop little bits of strawberry into her mouth.

She still loves strawberries and will eat the whole punnet if she sees them.

Ended Badly

We decide to go for IVF treatment again and it succeeded on I think it was the 2nd attempt.

However, this one ended badly.

We were told at 20 weeks that the baby had brittle bone disease and would probably die before birth, at birth or soon after and even if it survived it would have to be carried about on a pillow as any slight touch would break its bones.

Kelly was told that she should have it aborted but refused.

She carried it a further 22 weeks before she went into labour.

I remember as we waited for the ambulance that I wished that whatever happened, happened quickly and it didn’t drag out over three days like last time.


At the hospital we were in a special room and when the midwife went out I noticed something different about the machine monitoring the baby’s pulse so I went to get the midwife.

She came in and immediately they started to put everything into operation.

They had told us that the baby might not live long but they said they might have to rush it to another hospital where we may miss seeing its short life.

We told them to give it every chance.

Biggest Fear

Kelly had told me the one thing she dreaded was an emergency rush through the hospital corridors on a trolley with the stirrups on, legs apart.

That’s exactly what happened as I followed behind.

They gave Kelly an epidural but told her that it would take 5 minutes to take effect and every second was precious.

She told them to start straight away.


It was one of the bravest things I’d seen as they basically cut her open and took the baby out whilst she was not under any anaesthetic.

As soon as they brought the baby over for me to hold they told me that they wouldn’t be taking it to another hospital.

They said it had only minutes to live.

Pulse Rate

Every 30 seconds or so they would give me the pulse rate.

First it was 90 then 60 then 45 then 30.

Each time I hoped they would announce a higher pulse rate but each time it was lower.

And then there was no pulse at all.

The End

“That’s it”, the surgeon said finally, announcing the end of his short life.

I tell you, it is not a nice thing at all to have your baby in your arms and watch its life ebb away.

I was bereft.

I remember the surgeon coming over at one point and rubbing my hair which I appreciated.

Poor Kelly missed it all as the epidural had taken effect and they couldn’t even give her the baby to hold in its last minutes and she doesn’t remember any of it.

I don’t think Kelly ever really recovered from that blow and the drip, drip effect of it over the years probably contributed to our marriage breakup.


We had Robbie a couple of years later, this time with a new treatment of pushing fluid through the system which opened it up for a few months.

This time Kelly had a Caesarian so once again I was handed him straight away while Kelly was out of it.

My main memory of that was of the midwife leaving the room and I was terrified that I was on my own with a new-born baby.

I was left once again, quite literally, holding the baby.


My other memory was of the midwife coming back in again with a bottle for the baby.

I do remember being astonished at the power of suck in a new-born baby as Robbie was virtually sucking the bottle out of my hand.

He finished the lot in just two or three minutes which astonished me again.

He’s still a very good eater today.


We came over to Moville in November 2002.

As most of you know we split up about 4 years later.

You know how things go in marriages.

On Her Way

As I write she is being taken to a new life in America.

Our kids will go there during their school and college holidays.

She wants to start work again and she has opportunities there where there are none here.


As readers know I’m currently barred from America because of an administrative mistake on their part.

In America you only get two weeks holiday a year and as I expect that she’ll want to take that when her children are over so I would expect that it may be a very long time before I see her again.

The Old Song

As she waited for her taxi to Derry I played the tune of the song I had written about her so many years ago.

“Don’t say goodbye in the morning
You can stay here for a while
Don’t walk away forever
You can stay here all your life”.

I didn’t sing the words but she would know well what they were.

But it’s final this time.

She has gone away and this time she won’t be coming back.


But thanks for two fantastic and beautiful children, kiddo.

And thanks for all those great, great memories, good and bad.

I’m just so glad I went down the Cafe Des Artistes that night so long ago.

If I had just gone home that night, as I thought was the sensible thing to do, I would never have met you – and I would have been a lot poorer for that.

Farewell – and I hope things go well for you!