Monday, October 20, 2008

Only the Good Die Young

(Uncle Barney and My Dad in the back) (I am the in the dress second from the left)

My people are Irish. My fathers people came over through Ellis Island in the early 1900's. My mothers people arrived in Canada first, and then NYC where my mother is the only sibling to have been born on American soil. Both my families are solid New Yorkers as far as I am concerned.

Mom and Pop were married for several years when her brother informed them that IBM was hiring and that Dad should go apply for employment since they needed chemists. The story of Dad landing the job is legendary, where his soon to be boss came into the waiting area and unbeknowenst to Dad he was the head honcho, conducted the interview that subsequently landed Dad a job.

Everyone who has ever worked for IBM knows that the it does not stand for International Business Machines, but I've Been Moved.

And our (at that time) little family was moved from idyllic New York State to the Bluegrass. We left our entire families behind. All my Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents, cousins, and tons and tons of relatives that form the spider web of relations that had fled Ireland in the late 1800's and early 1900's for the promised land.

We became Kentuckians in no time, immersed in the culture. I am certain made my Mother's hair curl when we would use the term "ain't" and our northern accents suddenly took on elongated vowels. Our memories of New York faded. The land of our origin may as well have been a million miles away.

Every where around me were the families of my friends that included Aunts and Uncles, cousins and Grandparents. Mine were a million miles away. And somewhere in the heart of a little girl I missed my family that engulfed me and surrounded me as a much younger little child.

And so began the anticipation of every summer either we would load up the family station wagon and head up North or Up North would come to visit us! And the most reliable, the one that you knew you would see every year no matter what was Aunt Pat's family.

Mom and Aunt Pat had a special bond. Mom was Pat's first birthday gift, born exactlly one year apart they shared a birthday.
(Pat on the left, Mom with the more beat up leg)

And you can tell for the multitude of photo's that the angels were inseparable. That bond ensured that we would see Pat and her family every year. Aunt Pat and her husband Barney and our three cousins would make the trek in their variety of recreational vehicles which varied wildly over the years.

This one is my favorite.... (I am the girl on the left) (in the dress)

I refer to this camper as the Silver Bullit, but I think it actually is called something else.

To make a long story short, Aunt Pat passed away in 2003 and Uncle Barney passed away last week. My sister and I along with her husband made the trip to Florida (where pat and Barney had retired to during the 1980's) with my Mother for the funeral. We joined the shrinking members of my extended New York Irish family on my Mom's side.

This is the second time this year we have gathered to mourn and celebrate the life of one of our own.

And it is two times too many.....

As one of the grandsons said in his eulogy, "They say only the good die young, and he died 89 years young".


Lisa said...

I'm sorry you lost your uncle Pat -may he Rest in Peace.

I love the pictures, the one of your mom & Aunt Pat is just precious. I would have that nostaligic photo proudly displayed.

Very interesting read, yes, seems the good do die young way too often.

Lisa :-] said...

The older generation is fading quickly. Only one of my Dad's siblings is left, but she is 91 years old and has Alzheimer's. So sad to see them go.

Paul said...

Fare thee well, Barney. That photograph of your mom and Aunt Pat is one for the ages.

I always used to joke that I'd wind up living in an Airstream trailer in some remote harbor town. If it ever happens, I'll call my abode the Silver Bullet.

The Grammy is not doing well--anemia, pneumonia. I should write something.

Robbie said...

Beautiful pictures. Sorry for your loss Mary. I hope there are no more this year for you.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Great pictures! Sad that your Uncle died, it is like an end to a chapter in a sympathy. I have had it with funerals this year too..some years are worse than others. Do you still wear dresses? Or did you just get dressed up for the picture:)

Beth said...

I'm sorry about the loss of your uncle. It looks like you have a loving and close family, and that's a real blessing.

Loved the picture of the cousins in front of the Airstream!

All my best,

Tressa Bailey said...

I am so sorry for your losses. So good that you have these pictures and such lovely memories to share though. God Bless.

Nelle said...

Mary so your Mom and her sister were "Irish twins". That is a wonderful picture. New York is so full of Irish and I wonder if your family met many Irish people in Kentucky. I hope your Uncle had a proper Irish wake. My husband's Mom is one of 9 children, they all live in R.I. and only a few of their children moved away. I know my husband misses the huge family gatherings but we go for the important things.