Today in My History
Bev's 65 x 365
Cast (updated 7/16)
MEMORIES OF NORA
17 March 2021
When I think of Ireland, I always think of Nora.
We met Nora when we went to Ireland for the first time in 1988. This was our big trip, spending my father's savings, taking all seven of us to England and Ireland. We had contacted Nora and told her we would be arriving and I guess made arrangements to call her when we were settled in our hotel.
It was mid-summer, so it stayed light very late. We called her when we settled in and she came to meet us--but it was about 10 p.m. and the only restaurant open in Dun Lahghaire, where our hotel was, was McDonald's. So our first taste of "Irish cuisine" was a Big Mac!
We went back to Ireland a couple of years later, without the kids, and used Nora's home as a base of operations while we explored the country. Nora also drove us around to various scenic spots. I remember her taking us to the family pub south of Dublin, where she was greeted as a queen and we were taken to a semi-private room away from the crowd in the main pub--we later learned this was considered a very rough crowd, which is perhaps why we had a private room!
She was always so gracious to us and regaled us with her stories and took us to wonderful places like Glendaloch and Powerscourt that we probably would not have thought to explore ourselves. I remember her talking to us about the weather -- if you can't see the mountains, it's raining; if you CAN see the mountains, it's going to rain.
I don't remember how many times Walt and I traveled to Ireland to visit Nora and Walt went once or twice by himself. I loved spending time with her and getting to know her children and grandchildren.
I never saw a grandmother so proud of her grandchildren and so involved in their lives She was an inspiration and the kind of grandmother I wanted to be, but could not because of the distance between here and Santa Barbara.
Nora never thought she would be able to come to the U.S., but she actually made two trips here. Her cousin died and left her some money, so she came to California and we had such a wonderful time showing her the state. I always remember how she changed my perception of the hills around here...and how it's all in how you look at things. Each year, I love the rain because it turns the hills a beautiful lush green and I hate it when the weather starts to warm up and the green dies and all you see is dead vegetation covering the hills. But Nora said she loved our "golden hills" and how tired she got of seeing "green" all the time!
The last time I saw her was at Alice Nan's wedding in 2006, the last time she came to this country. She came with her ex-daughter-in-law and I took the two of them traveling while wedding preparations were taking place. The best memory of that week was the bunch of us going for manicures and pedicures.
I've made a video of that adventure. About halfway through the video, Nora discovers she's ticklish and the rest of it is so funny ... so very "Nora."
We were able to have a Skype conversation with her shortly before her death. She had cancer and had lost a lot of weight, but her daughters got her all made up to look beautiful.
The church from which Nora was buried has streaming video available so that people who are unable to get to the service can watch it on their computers. We got up at 2 a.m. to attend (in my pajamas!) Nora's daughter Ailbhe made opening remarks and I was surprised that she welcomed the people who were watching around the globe, including her ex-daughter-in-law in England, her grandson in Costa Rica, and the Sykes and Baur cousins in the United States. She and the priest both talked about how Nora had planned her service and was disappointed that she would be unable to attend. But she had chosen the readings and the music that was performed.
I'm so happy to have been able to
know Nora. She was such a special woman.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Nora liked her cocktail and Paddy's was her whiskey of choice.
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This is entry #7662