So, I have been living back in the City since January 1st. I like to walk. I had done a number of walks around the neighborhood. I kept adding to my distance and soon I felt ready to challenge myself. I decided to walk out to St. Patrick’s Cemetery to visit my Grandparent’s grave. I had only an old email from my cousin to go on. I would walk out there and then up and down rows trying to find the grave. The first two attempts I registered over 11,000 steps each time. This time, I had reached out to my cousin again and this time she told me the gravestone number. I actually had it already but didn’t know that was that number on the original note.
This time I succeeded. I found my Grandparent’s grave but still not my Uncle Frank. Uncle Frank was a firefighter here in the city. As I recall, he succumbed to Black Lung. It was a hazard that many firefighters endured back then. Thankfully, the equipment has improved.
Now that I know where my Grandparent’s are, I will make more trips out there. It is a challenging walk. Though, thanks to my cousin Mary, this time the steps were a lot less as I didn’t walk up and down through all the stones. Had I gone deeper in, or realized the number I had written down was the number of the grave, I might have found them earlier. It was good though. Being stuffed up due to Covid it is nice getting out. I rarely see anyone out on my travels, so even though I carry a mask, I don’t have to wear it all the time. There is also a little store on the way so I can stop in there and get something to drink.
I could have given up, but I didn’t. Just like my life, I continue to push forward. I found my Grandparent’s grave and spent a little time with them and talked with them of all the fond memories. The last I had with my Grandmother was when I worked a couple of blocks over and would stop over for lunch. She would usually make me a mac and cheese with tomato. It was amazing. She also had tried to teach me Gaelic. I can be a bit dense, but managed to retain a few minor phrases, such as cupán tae. Though my cousins taught me, Póg mo thóin.
I loved my Grandparents and spent most weekends with them. My Grandmother was the one who got me walking great distances. We used to walk downtown from her home at the corner of Oak and Bank Streets. Many times, she would walk us down to the Thomas Chew Boys and Girls Center. Sometimes, it would be downtown to Columbia Street and Cosmos Pizza. We walked everywhere. So go figure when I was going to St. Patrick’s School and often had to sit with the Mother Superior to wait for my da to come and pick me up. I was given cookies and milk but one day had enough and decided to walk to my Grandmother’s. Little did I know that it didn’t take them long to call the cops. Oh my God, I knew where she lived. It was about two miles from the convent to her house. I remember getting there and she asked where my Father was and I told her I walked. I am surprised she survived the day. She quickly called around. She was notorious for chain smoking her Kents. She would often light one from the other. She was an amazing, loving, caring lady.
My Grandfather was a nut. my memories of him were the bomb. Whether it was spinning tops on the cement slave under the tree in his yard, or parading all of us up to Deckie’s for penny candies. All of our cousins together all in a parade. Grampie would give us all a little money and we would load up with Squirrel nuts and Bazooka bubble gum. Of course all of the cousins would get together on Sunday morning. Off to church on Sunday morning at Sacred Heart, often in the choir loft with my Uncle Kenny who was a renowned Irish Tenor. He inspired my love of music. Afterwards, we all would be back in my Grandparent’s house with Dunkin Donuts that my older cousins picked up.
Saturday night’s with my Grandfather was usually spent watching Lawrence Welk and followed by the Saturday Night Mystery Movie with a rotating cast from Name of the Game with Robert Stack, Heck Ramsey with Richard Boone, McCloud with Dennis Weaver, Columbo with Peter Falk as well as a few others. That inspired my love of mysteries.
The impact my time with my Grandparents can never be understated. My love for them is undying. It was so great to be able to spend a few moments with them again.
On my way out, I was surprised to see a turkey. Odd seeing one in the cemetery.
I always get a kick out of a tour through the cemetery. All the Irish names are represented. There are the McCarthy’s, the Sullivans, the Murphys, Doyles, Coynes, and just about every O’—– name. Well it being St. Patrick’s, is there any wonder.
The thing is, I may not have found my Grandparent’s the first or second time, but I persevered and with my cousin’s help, I found them. Now I know where they are and can visit any time. Though, now that the heat of the day is kicking up, I might be driving until Fall’s cooler weather returns. I still need to find Uncle Frank, and my Uncle Kenny. Never give up, keep pushing through.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.
Emma Morgaine Croft