Friday, March 15, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Memories...

I'm excited. I am submitting a piece to the Got Green Blogfest 2.0. I just happened to have a piece about my Irish Grandma and this seemed like the ideal place to share it. I'm looking forward to seeing the other entries. Thanks for visiting.

St. Patrick's Day brings up thoughts of my Grandmother, Catherine Chapman, who was born in Ireland in the late 1880s. She was a feisty lady who lived with my family from when I was seven. She often told stories of coming over on the boat and working as a domestic; she was an excellent cook and baker. As someone who creates scrapbooks now, I wish I had kept a diary of her best stories.

My fondest recollections of her are from St. Patrick's Day, HER Holiday. My sister and I would come home from grade school in the afternoon. Mom and Grandma would have the parade on the television- Channel 5. Jack McCarthy would be announcing the marching bands and joking with New York City's Finest in Blue as they passed in review.

Grandma Chapman would make us cups of hot tea and bring out hot cross buns with butter and those bakery cookies shaped like shamrocks with green icing or sprinkles on them. We'd watch the parade together and soon Grandma would talk of relatives I'd never met and of the Ireland of her childhood- which sounded less romantic than you might think. Afternoon would slip into dinner time; I'd eat my corned beef and cabbage with her stories dancing in my mind.

As the years went along, life got busy and it wasn't "cool" to watch a mere parade with my Grandma- teenage things you know. Grandma continued her tradition without me ( maybe with a little Jamison's in her tea).

When my children were old enough, I tried to instill an interest in the tradition but it never seemed quite the same. Although my kids liked the cookies, without my now departed Grandma, the magic was gone, that special feeling she created. Perhaps Grandma sprinkled leprechaun dust on those cookies or it was her ties with the "Old Country" that warmed a dreary March day. Whichever, I dearly miss my "Wild Irish Rose" of a Grandmother.


Mark Koopmans said...

hey Suz,

Thanks so much for sharing such an awesome memory :)

I'm sure Grandma Chapman is laughing today :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and yours :)

David P. King said...

What a wonderful tribute to Catherine. Thanks for sharing your memories with us. It's good to meet you! :)

M. J. Joachim said...

You have some wonderful memories, my friend. St. Pat's Day didn't quite carry on the same energy with my family after my dad passed either. It was his holiday and those memories will be cherished forever. Top o the morning to you!

Heather M. Gardner said...

Well done!

~Sia McKye~ said...

But she left a wonderful memory of special times. That you can remember them so clearly means they touched your heart. That's worth a lot.

Suz said...

Thank you all for your comments.
Mark- Felt good to share the memories in an appropriate vehicle. Happy Blogfest 2.0.
David- Good to meet you right back. Funny to hear you call her Catherine. She was always Grandma. Catherine means she had another life besides my Grandmother. Ah, but that's another story.
M. J.- Keeping the memories alive with you.
Heather- Thanks for your help.
Sia- She was a big influence. I think I turned out more like her than my Mom.
This was lots of fun. Hope you enjoy the actual day whether you've got a spot o' green flowing in your veins or not.