America, 1948: My sister remembers

From my sister Pat, who was 6 1/2  in Oct. 1948:

“New York: Going out on the roof and being amazed. But also feeling very closed in and trapped with all the buildings and no grass. I am a farm girl at heart.
“Immigration: standing in the lines for hours with all our stuff and being so tired, and Mom being worried that she or Daddy would not pass the physical exam. I think they still did the eyelid exam for something or other then.”

Very vivid– I hardly remembered any of that.  Did they do a test for exposure to  TB?  I always test positive for that, so if they didn’t it’s just as well– imagine having to go back for that!

TB was still pretty common in Ireland at that time– the new government, with Sean MacBride’s political partner Dr. Noel Browne as health minister, finally changed that.  There’s a fascinating Wikipedia article on Browne.  I’m glad our dad campaigned for his party just before we left.  Thanks for your input, Pat.  (You see how I always get sidetracked on another topic!)

One Response to “America, 1948: My sister remembers”

  1. PJK Says:

    Now I’ve read all that Wikipedia article on Noel Browne; it mentions the disgraceful peformance of the rest of the Irish government at the funeral of Douglas Hyde. At the time Catholics were discouraged from attending any services in Protestant churches. But ” Browne had earlier … managed to snub the Catholic hierarchy in 1949 when he was the only minister to attend the Church of Ireland funeral of Douglas Hyde, first President of Ireland.”
    And there’s a poem by Austin Clarke on that same event (Clarke doesn’t mention that Browne at least was present):
    “At the last bench
    Two Catholics, the French
    Ambassador and I, knelt down.
    The vergers waited. Outside.
    The hush of Dublin town,
    Professors of cap and gown,
    Costello, his Cabinet
    In Government cars, hiding
    Around the corner, ready
    Tall hat in hand, dreading
    Our Father in English. Better
    Not hear that ‘which’ for ‘who’
    And risk eternal doom.”

    1949: Not exactly enlightened times in Ireland!

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