My parents fought all the time. One particularly horrendous episode lasted for months without a break. My brother and I used to hide in our rooms. You did not want to be anywhere near their line of fire. My mother was an alcoholic, my father a rage-aholic. Both of them were “Irish.” I use the quote marks because they called themselves Irish, even though they were both born in Buffalo, NY.
My father’s mother was born in County Clare, Ireland. I never met her, though I have her to thank for my dual Irish citizenship. I have never been to Ireland. After my mother died and I was making an attempt to connect with my father I invited him on a trip to “the old country.” Even bought the tickets. He first accepted the gift, then declined. I can’t remember why. I can’t remember what I did with the tickets either, but I didn’t go.
I never met any of grandparents. They were all dead before I was born. My parents rarely talked about them, and when they did it was chiefly to complain. Alcoholism. Abuse. Neglect. And so on.
In an earlier post I wrote about this same topic:
“My parent’s never told me anything about my Irish heritage. The Book of Paul was my way of trying to make sense out of the way my parents behaved – or why they even bothered having children in the first place. One time when I asked my mother what her father was like, in an effort to understand where I “came from” and how “she got that way”, she immediately broke down, sobbing uncontrollably:
“He was…a…bastard!” she sputtered, immediately followed by father’s contribution to the conversation: “Gooddam it! Why are you upsetting your mother?”Read More