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28
Wed, Sep

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Hello everyone. How are you all holding up? The Calvary is on their way. No I don’t mean Joe Biden (but that was great news) the vaccines are finally here.Hurray!! I for one cannot wait but only when the medical and essential workers get there’s. We are eternally grateful to all of them. God bless them all as they continue to put themselves at risk for our survival.

I guess its official now that our Chicago parades have been cancelled. I am sure the organizers are doing something digital with all our talented musicians and dancers. Keep checking in here this newspaper is loaded with all the upcoming events. I remember when I first came out here my sister would  tell me to go to the Irish American heritage center as they had a newspaper with everything  happening around the city and suburbs. Talking of the Irish American heritage center I was sad to hear that past President Tom Boyle had passed away in December. I first met Tom when I was hired reluctantly on my part by the manager Alan Duggan at the Irish American heritage center. I was over there with a few friends we jokingly complained to him that the service was slow and it was a long walk from the fireplace to the bar and he needed some cocktail waitresses. Alan response was yes we do. You’re hired. I laughed and told him no thank you.

I already was nursing during the day and had an evening job to help facilitate my travelling expenses to see this wonderful country before I made my exit back to London. Hopefully to resume my Special Ed gym teacher position which I loved and Sorley missed my little students. Anyway to make a long story short I was talked into taking the position and ultimately became the first cocktail waitress. I made myself a uniform with a black waistcoat or vest as they say here. I added a white tuxedo blouse, black pencil skirt. Black Payton high heels. (Which I soon ditched a few hundred blisters later for flats)I actually enjoyed it. I was meeting lots of new people as I really had no social life at that time. On a few occasion I was asked to open up the bar for the presidents after Sunday Mass.I had no clue what I was doing so thankfully Tom Boyle would come behind the bar to show me how to pour a decent pint of Guinness. Listen, its sacrilege to mess up an Irishman’s pint of Guinness. Trust me I was very grateful for my lessons with Tom. I didn’t agree with his politics but I never forgot his kindness to save my bacon. I can’t remember how long I stayed. I’m sure it was less than a year. 

Few years went by and a new tall, handsome manager was hired .Mr. O’Keefe. Very popular with the ladies. He loved to hear my stories when I was the first cocktail waitress. Right Conor.(kidding) You can tell by now if you follow my column. I did not return to London. I settled for a husband and two beautiful kids. So I would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations to my daughter who just passed her driving test after just turning seventeen. I know she is young but trust me I was her only teacher back in March.She was determined to get her test by the end of the year. I was sewing masks seven days a week so taking her out driving for a few hours every day was a great interlude for me .I had her drive on the expressway into the city and all over the suburbs She was a great pupil because she listened and followed direction easily. She passed with flying colors in December. Truthfully I would rather sit in the car with her than some of my friends who shall remain nameless. (Hope they don’t read this)

As you parents can guess she has taken over my car. She loves to get up at the crack of dawn and pick up coffee before she starts her virtual school. The novelty will soon wear off when I start asking her to pick up groceries. She cannot wait till school resumes so she can drive herself to school. I could never imagine driving myself to school in Ireland. First of all you were a girl so driving lessons were wasted on you. Upon saying that I used to drive a little A35 up and down our lane when I was fourteen years old. Luckily for my family our neighbors were few and far between. My brother Hugh was a year older than me. I remember helping him study for his driving test.I would cut up the cornflake box and draw the road symbols on the cardboard until he knew them off by heart. I also covered the answers in the Highway Code book and by the end I knew it off by heart. He passed with flying colors I was very proud of him. I was happy to help him too though he did promise to show me how to tune up my guitar to concert pitch. I miss him. He is probably playing his guitar in heaven having a sing song with Mum and Dad.

Stay safe and healthy till next time.

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