Monday, March 17, 2008

The Wearing of the Green

St. Patrick's Day MySpace Glitter Images

I'm not really Irish, but I do feel entitled to celebrate St. Paddy's Day as the "adopted" daughter of an Irish family. Growing up, my neighborhood was mostly a mix of Italians and Irish (with my grandparents and a number of my aunts and uncles living on the same block). Although everyone lived together in peace, there still was an earlier version of segregation on Sundays -- each ethnic group had their own Church -- the Italians attended St. Anthony's Church and the Irish went to St. Vincent's (and they were located just a few blocks away from each other). Of course, there was also a smattering of Protestants, such as the Clintons' United Methodist Church, which was a block up the street from my house. See All Roads Lead to Scranton.

The older couple who lived across the street from us was Irish, the McCauleys, who were parents of 5 boys, including a priest (of course). I was the age of their grandchildren, but I was the daughter they never had. People in the neighborhood called me Judi McCauley (and some of the older people still do). I was so much a part of the family that I had my own room at their house. I spent a lot of time there, especially since they had a library filled with books that I hadn't yet read. I always vacationed with them, when they traveled to visit their various children and their families.

It was Matt McCauley who taught me a love of the Irish, especially the music (such as Danny Boy) and the stories and lore. Like any good Irish lass, I've visited the homeland, Ireland.

Of course, my hometown of Scranton itself is a great place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, with the parade and annual Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Dinner. This year, Hillary Clinton attended the parade, of course. See Parade-goers adore Hillary. In her honor, the bars opened 2 hours later than their usual 7 a.m. opening time for the pre-parade libations. Ireland's Prime Minister Bertie Ahern addressed the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Dinner in Scranton on Sunday.

In honor of my Irish heritage, I'll be wearing my green today, wishing all:

Beannachtam na Feile Padraig


Anonymous said...

Jaysus but you were up early this mornin'! ;)

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you.

PS: Our town had different churches for different ethnicities as well. St. Patrick's was the Irish, St. John the Baptist was German, and Mary Queen of Peace was the Italian's. Weird how that used to work wasn;t it? I remember the uproar when they combined the schools.

Aurora B.

JudiPhilly said...

I don't even want to say what time I usually get up (although the time stamp on this comment may give a clue).

Although we had plenty of ethnic Churches, Scranton avoided the Catholic school problem because there were fewer separate schools. The local Catholic school I attended, for example, was Lithuanian (now closed), but it encompassed a number of other nearby parishes.

Philly had many more schools, with much agita as they began closing/consolidating, even today.