One of the things that's cool about my slight relationship with Michael O'Connor Clarke is that it has spanned four countries--US, Ireland, UK and Canada in about six months.
He and his wife have manage to do something, a great many of us wish we could have gotten done. His dad, not young in years and currently dealing with ill health is posting the compelling stories of his life onto a subblog of Mike's site which you can find here. You'll quickly note that Michael's dad has the fine style of a tradional Irish story teller.
MIchael emailed me because, through his dad, Michael's family has just had what you might call a "Global Neighborhood experience." I'll let him tell the story:
Sometime around March of this year, I got an email from a lady named Valerie, complimenting me on the "great story". Once I figured out she was talking about Dad's writing, not mine, I replied to thank her, clarifying the authorship of the thing. She explained that she'd come across Dad's story by Googling for information about the Dublin church both she and her mother were married in.
This is where it gets really interesting...
I shared her kind words with my Dad, copying Valerie on the message. At this point, she brought up another key piece of information. In Dad's story, he writes about being born and raised at 32 Offaly Road, in North Dublin. Valerie's Mum, it turns out, was raised in 34 Offaly Road.
I got Valerie's Mum's name, then called my Dad and said:
'Da, does the name Rosie Mulvany mean anything to you?" to which he replied: "Son - where is this going? You're talking about my first girlfriend!'
Back in the lanes, the girl next door was one Rosie Mulvany.
To cut a deliciously long story short - my auld fella and this Rosie
knew each other for years growing up in the rough end of Dublin, but
they hadn't seen each other since the mid-1940s.
Then it gets weirder. It turns out that Valerie, her Mum
Rosie, and various other family members now live in Caledon, Ontario -
45 minutes away from where I'm sitting right now in Toronto.
When my Mom and Dad were over for a visit six weeks ago, we all piled into the car and drove out for a grand reunion in Caledon. It was a day filled with tears, laughter, and the warm, beautiful music of Irish voices sharing their love of conversation.
At one point in the evening, Valerie presented us with a beaten up old Pyrex dish. It had been given to Rosie as a wedding gift by my grandmother, Bridie Clarke, some time in the late 50s. It was a simple, chipped old Pyrex dish, but the tears streamed down my Da's face like rain.
That, right there, is the power of the Internet. The power of Google. The power of blogs.
It's a global neighbourhood, baby (no matter how you spell it."
Thanks Mike. That's a great story to take into Christmas week end, and maybe into the book. Best wishes on your Da's health.
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