Posts Tagged ‘toast’

The motto on my family’s coat of arms means “Of ancient Irish stock.” In case you didn’t already know I am really proud to be from that stock.

Grew up on, “There are two kinds of people in the world. The Irish. And those that wish they were.”

And a bit of, “You know what I would want to be if I wasn’t Irish? Dead!”

All to be taken in good humor, of course.

But I am most proud of the Irish female. There are plenty of tough Irish women that have made a difference in the world. I have written about some of them. Mother Jones being just one that quickly pops to mind.

But there are none that I hold in higher regard than Mary Elizabeth Dornan Kelly and Margaret McCabe Lennon.

One was my Irish Nana. And the other was my Irish Granny. One I knew very well. One I didn’t. I loved them both.

They arrived on the shores of America on their own. As single, young women. Their families left behind to seek a better life. To work and find opportunity that did not exist for them in Ireland at the time. Armed with nothing more than a letter of recommendation and the promise to board with relatives that had come before them. One arrived in the late 1920s to the big city of New York and the other made her way to the little state of Rhode Island in 1930.

I can only imagine how difficult it was for them.

Both were devout Catholics. And beautiful. And smart. Just a matter of time before two handsome Irish men had the good fortune of meeting and marrying them.

The Nana stayed in the U.S. and raised four children. The Granny went back to Ireland with a husband and four children. They would complete the family with three more children born in Ireland.

I always feel really blessed that the children of these two women found each other in the United States. And had my brothers and me.

So, on this March 17th, I will be raising a glass in their memory. To my strong, beautiful and brave Irish grandmothers. Without them I would be nothing.

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