Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pluck of the Irish

Because of my Irish roots, I know something about the stubborn bravery of Irish women. When she was only 14 years old, my grandmother stowed away on a boat (all by herself) to come to America from Ireland. Later, as a young mother, she was left with four children to raise when her husband died after being run over by a crane in a steel mill. She used the company's settlement to establish a number of businesses on Bay State Avenue, a street adjacent to the mill. Surviving Prohibition and the Great Depression, Josephine Bridget Donahue became known as the "Duchess of Bay State." No one messed with her. Maybe it was that charming brogue -- but, more likely, her relentless approach to the task at hand kept enemies at bay.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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