My grandfather, Patrick Joseph Killen, (“Pop”), was born in Downpatrick, County Down, in 1897. He sailed with his sister Margaret for America in 1911, and arrived in New York on his 14th birthday. Many of his family were already here, but, sadly for him, his older sister Mary stayed behind, and he would not see herRead more..
Posts Tagged ‘Photo Album’
My mother, Patricia Duffy, was born December 7, 1927. She was one of two children raised by Rose and Frank Duffy in Oakland, California. Frank Duffy and his brother came to the United States from County Cavan, Ireland. Frank had a small grocery store in Oakland, which afforded them a lovely home near a smallRead more..
When we were children, my brother and I spent our summers in southwest Donegal in the village of Kilcar, with my mother’s people. Our parents sent us there so they could build their business in Buncrana, a tourist town 100 miles north. For me the journey southwest was an opportunity to switch one thriving locationRead more..
My wife, Bridget Heaney, was born on June 7, 1944. She was one of 10 children raised by a single mother in Cavan, Ireland. Her mother eventually moved to England (Newbury) in search of work, and it was in Newbury that I met Bridget. I was 23 and she was 19. At the time, IRead more..
“Kate, be careful when you get to America, the streets are full of gangsters!” That is what my grandmother, we called her Nanna, heard before she boarded the ship to America in the 1920s. It was advice from her brother, Jim Connolly, who bonded her and paid for her third class (steerage) passage. As the story goes, Kate ConnollyRead more..
My father Cyril DeFever grew up on a dairy farm near Detroit, Michigan. His parents had immigrated to the U.S. from Belgium. My mother, Marie Clancy, the daughter of an insurance man, was Irish. Her grandfather grew up on Turbot Island off Connemara. Her uncle Robert Clancy was a U.S. senator. Dad boxed as a young manRead more..
Christmas, 1959 One Christmas was so much like another in those years, to borrow a line from Dylan Thomas. My mother began the preparations in autumn. The plum pudding was stirred for good luck, then tied in gauze and seamed in a bowl on top of the our wood-burning Stanley stove. The big square ChristmasRead more..
I can hear her now – “If I weren’t Irish, I’d be ashamed of myself!” ℘℘℘ Yes, my mother was Irish, and full of Irish sayings, and they came out whenever she was provoked by a situation requiring a fast one-liner. They were usually preceded by, “As my mother would say.” After hearing them forRead more..
My maternal grandmother Kate and I were very close. As a child I would go to Jersey City to stay with Kate for two or three weeks during the summer. As I got older, she was as much a “girlfriend” as a grandmother. Over the years, I learned bits and pieces of the story ofRead more..
My family never celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at our house. When I got older and realized how Irish I was, I asked my mother why. She said she did not approve of all the drinking and she wanted her children to identify with their English background. Also, my father’s Protestant relatives from Boston were veryRead more..