Interestingly, on Mom's birth certificate her name was entered simply as Martha Cavanaugh, with no middle name; and yet on her baptismal certificate she was given the name Catherine Martha Cavanaugh. Since she was always called Martha, I had assumed this was her first name and Catherine was her middle name. Now I'm not so sure.
Thinking about my mom today brought to mind others in her family: her sisters Margaret, Rose, Mae, and Lu, and her brother, Bill. These weren't Mom's only siblings, but the others died young, long before I was born; and so I never knew them. It also reminded me that I know so little about my ancestors.
|Martha & John McCarthy-1930s|
According to that same birth certificate, both of my grandparents were born in Ireland, but no city or county is given, just the country. Perhaps my son, Ethan, who has been doing a bit of genealogical digging can uncover some of the hidden Irish roots of our family tree.
|Mom - RN|
After my grandmother's untimely death, my grandfather, Tom Cavanaugh, remarried. All in the family agreed that this second wife, Bridey, was a less than pleasant stepmother. I can recall my father speaking about her only guardedly when my brother and I were present. I got the impression that she was very unkind to my mother who was still quite young when her father married Bridey. I'm pretty certain that as a young boy I met her at least once, but the meeting was apparently unremarkable; however I do remember accompanying my parents to her funeral in Bridgeport.
|Mom and her sister, Edna (c. 1920)|
Mom continues to speak to me, to guide me even now forty years after her death. T. S. Eliot said it pretty well...
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Happy Birthday, Mom. Thank you for your goodness and for all you did for me and Diane. We love you and miss you.