Saturday, November 22, 2014

Doris Kearns Goodwin & Some Good News to Share

I'm sure many of you know her name.  She's been on PBS, talk shows, and has made guest appearances on Meet the Press and even Oprah.  There are few people I would give up a Saturday to hear, but she is one of them.  New York native, but proud Red Sox fan, she thrilled the audience at Barnes & Noble with stories of presidents, their successes and their woes.  She spoke of her meeting with Daniel Day Lewis, during the filming of the movie Lincoln, and how he would maintain the persona of the president even between scenes being filmed.  In the early morning hours while visiting the White House and the Clintons, they went from room to room identifying where Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, and other notaries slept.  She shared how she was the first female allowed in the Red Sox locker room.

I noted that as she spoke she was talking history by weaving stories.  And then she concluded by saying just that.  As a child in New York she listened to her father and neighbors and understood that the personal narrative is the way to reach people.  Later her father would have her tell him the outcome of baseball games, not by giving the score, but by recounting the game play by play.  He wanted the story of the game.

Maybe that's why I connect with her.  I see history as a story.  I tell my 5th graders that and my college students as well.  Make it personal.  Make it connect with their lives, and they'll listen.  I was fortunate to be surrounded with the same types of people growing up.  I was a quiet kid and still am.  I would listen to my dad's recounting of life in the Acre.  I'd hear the old timers at St Pat's tell their stories of swimming in the canals and getting their knuckles slapped in school.  I've always wondered what to do with those stories.  That's why I started this blog.

And that leads right into some good news.  It seems a publisher has been following the blog and has asked me to author a book on the stories of the Irish in Lowell.  I'm very excited about it, and very intimidated.  I think we're all put here for a reason.  Perhaps that is why I do what I do.  But anyway it's real and happening.  The story of Lowell's Irish should not come just from my small circle.  That's why I am reaching out to you.  I want, no, I need to hear from you.  What's your family's story?  How did your family get here?  Why Lowell?  What was their challenge?  Their joy?  How do you express your Irishness?  I'm going crazy trying to find photos of neighborhoods, school photos, church events, holidays that show the Irish celebrating family and culture.  Think about it. 

I was so fortunate to be brought up where I was and with the people that made up my circle of family and friends.  But as time passes our stories are fading.  In the last year we have loss so many of our older members who had stories that could have been passed down.  This is our time.  The next generation needs to know how the story of Lowell's Irish began and continues.  Please join me in this adventure.  (Interested? Email me: )


  1. Wahoo!! Whatever I can do to help let me know!

  2. Great news, Dave! Well deserved! Be happy to share a story or two, if/when needed.

  3. That is such exciting news! My dad was the storyteller in our family and I try to remember his stories. I would be happy to share the history of my Irish ancestors in Lowell.