I’ve been carrying this story around since I was ten years old. It’s like a rum-shaped bracket that a DIYer would keep on the oddments shelf, knowing that someday, it would fit something, somewhere.
In 1959 the parents and two remaining children of a family, left their 2up2down in the Fairgreen, in Limerick and flew to Boston. The other five or six children were already living in Boston and by now had persuaded the parents to shut up shop and leave Ireland for good. Brendan, who was one of the boys still at home, was in class with me in CBS, Sexton Street. I envied Brendan’s blessed release from the tyranny of the Christian Brothers and wished that I were in his shoes.
To my knowledge, American wakes were not common in big towns at the time…though many a poor country household was abandoned forever and allowed to perish in the elements. I remember a happy hullabaloo in the house and on the street on the night of their departure and the Limerick pipe band playing them onto the turboprop in Shannon Airport.
I never heard of the family again, but on going though my parent’s effects after their death, I came upon a magazine. It was an edition of the monthly staff magazine of the Boston Edison Light Company, and five members of the family were featured on the cover. They were all dressed in the working uniforms of the Company, with the company logo emblazoned on their jackets. They looked to be hale, hearty, and thriving.
Here in 2009 this scenario started to play out again. You’d imagine that in the intervening 60years we’d have learned how to hold our own?