Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Irish Grandmother

Each year as St. Patrick’s Day draws near, memories of my courageous Irish grandmother come flooding back to me. When she was only 14 years old, she 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 at the CF&I steelworks. 

Grandma used the company’s settlement to establish a number of businesses on Bay State Avenue, a street adjacent to the mill where her husband suffered that fatal accident. 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 brave approach to dealing with the problems at hand that kept enemies at bay and friends so close.      

I’m very happy Grandma never lost that Irish brogue. It was always such a treat listening to her interactions with employees, customers and family members. I have to add that she made the best scones in the history of the world! Wish I had one of those delicious scones right now.

Although Grandma Donahue passed away many, many years ago, I still miss her every day.     

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  • Beautifully written..what a glorious story about an extremely courageous woman..stowing away at age 14..I love the trust youth have, complete surrender. You were blessed with a pioneer for a grandmother whose courage you are now passing on to many..Tks Betty Jo!

    Much Continued Success,
    Judy Joy Jones

    By Blogger Sam Smith, At 1:07 PM  

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