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Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Quick Story - The Hickey's Circa 1950s, NYC

Sometimes in life, you take what you can get in the way of stories.  Even if they are anecdotal, they can still be very telling about someone.  In a recent short visit with my aunt, I asked her about her grandmother/my great grandmother, Johanna Coughlin Hickey, and her grandfather/my great grandfather, Patrick Hickey.  She said that they were quiet people.  She added that Patrick had such a thick Irish brogue that it was hard to understand him at times.  As for Johanna, I wonder how quiet she really was.

My aunt said that she did get to visit them in NYC as a child.  She lived on Long Island (as did my dad, her brother).  It sounds like on occasion, she had the opportunity to stay in "The City" (specifically, Manhattan, New York City in Greenwich Village) with her grandparents.  She mentioned Christopher Street as a street they lived on.  I threw out Bleeker Street and Charles Street and she agreed, too, that they had lived on each at different times.

She said that with at least one of her visits, a trip to the A&P was needed.  That is one of the grocery stores in New York.  I wonder if they are still in business.  The official name is The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company.  I must admit that after over 100 years in business, I am not sure the name exists any longer.

The trip to the grocery store was a bit of a walk.  Johanna and Patrick Hickey lived in the city with their mode of transportation on foot.  Even today, most city dwellers would agree that is how they get around - on foot and with the assistance of public transportation.

My aunt indicated that during their walk to the A&P, Johanna chatted it up with everyone that she knew along the way.  This seemed to be everyone.  They even knew her by name at the grocery store.  She introduced her granddaughter to all that she encountered.  Let's also just say that the trip to the grocery store took quite a while.  I'll sum it as "social hour" from the sounds of it.  I also think that is wonderful.  She had the fun of visiting her community and friends along the way and involving her granddaughter in what was probably one of her favorite outings.

I love quick stories like this that get thrown out by my relatives of those who came before us.  I can now wonder if my gift of gab, social interaction, and just a "hello" to others comes from my great grandmother.  Thank you, Johanna Coughlin Hickey.  Your warmness and friendly spirit lives on!

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