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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mary, Margaret and Eileen, Sisters in Concert

West side of Chicago, 1929
Where my father-in-law grew up

My father-in-law was one of six children. There were three girls and three boys and truthfully, I am not really sure of the birth order. I only know that my father-in -law was the youngest.

By the time I was married into this large Irish Catholic family, all of his sisters had passed away and only the three brothers remained. So all I know of the sisters is anecdotal.

Unfortunately, my father-in-law's mother and father, had both  died by the time he was six, or somewhere near that age. Some of the these details are a bit hazy for me, but I think the oldest sister, Mary, was only sixteen or so. She kept those kids together and raised them up.

I often heard stories about Aunt Eileen, she was the one that had twelve children, ten boys and two girls. I sometimes heard stories about Aunt Mary, but I never remember hearing much about Aunt Margaret. So truly, my facts are very, very weak on all of the details of the day to day:  how they managed to adulthood in one piece, paid the bills and stayed together.

Queen of Angels where my in laws were married,
 My mother-in-law said it was the longest aisle in the world.
What I do know is this: my father-in-law was a complete package. He loved his wife and his children and worked everyday as long as he could, to care and provide for them. He never felt sorry for himself, he never was cruel, rude, selfish or unfair. When he walked in the door at night, he rolled up his sleeves and said "Rose, who needs a bath?"  He washed floors, did laundry and dishes and modeled a behavior that by example taught my husband to be a team player on our home front.

What does this all have to do with his three sister?  Everything. For they must have been his teachers, his guide posts, his mentors.  From them he must have learned how to love and work together: in thick and thin. (and they had much more thin than thick as this was 1929)

As I said earlier, I never met them, I don't know too many details about them, but I have been the recipient of all of their efforts via their brother (my father-in-law) and their nephew (my husband).

 Everyday I am grateful for their lives, and how by extension, they have touched mine.*

*I am sorry that I never met these ladies as by all accounts there were marvelous.

1 comment:

  1. They sound like wonderful women and I am touched that you wrote such a lovely tribute for them on Mother's Day.


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