Back to school supplies now line the shelves of Kentucky stores, in preparation for a mid-August return to school. As I loaded up a cart with pencils, glue sticks, crayons, and markers, I reminisced about how much my grandmother valued education.
“Stick to the books,” she used to say. “A good education will stand to you in years to come.”
And she was right – my education was my ticket to America.
After Irish people crossed the Atlantic to the New World during the 19th and 20th centuries, parents worked long hours to send their children to college. A good education was prized above all else, seen as a ticket out of poverty by Irish Americans.
With four school aged children, my pile of school supplies quickly mounted. A smile spread across my face, as I remembered an amusing anecdote from years ago, about how the Irish value education.
So here’s my little story, which I hope will bring a smile to your face too.
A wealthy Boston socialite hired an Irish maid who unfortunately was not
very diligent or attentive to her duties. One day this fine lady accosted
Molly. She took her gloved finger and wrote her name in the dust covering
the top of her grand piano.
“Look!” she exclaimed. “I can write my name
in the dust.”
Molly just smiled and folded her arms.
“Ah yes, ma’am,” declared Molly. “Isn’t education a
grand thing altogether.”
I bet if Molly had been fortunate enough to receive any schooling, she would have left this fine lady in the dust.
Slán agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom