Looking back, my impression of my Grandmother, Margaret Lundy Coote, is one of a quiet, nervous woman who did not seem have a lot to say. I think she was nice and that she loved us, but she was one of those people who just seem to be lurking behind the scenes. I don't recall ever having a conversation with her about herself, probably because I was an immature self absorbed teenager. I am sure we talked about me and my life, just not about hers. My grandfather Stephen Coote, on the other hand, was loud, boisterous, laughing and fun, he was technicolor, she was black and white.
|not their house but it probably looked like this|
I tried to find Coolrawer on a map of Ireland, it's not easy. Coolrawer is not a town or a village, it is what is known as a townland, the smallest division of land in Ireland. On the map it looks like a loose collection of farmhouses and farm land. The closest town is Charlestown, in County Mayo about 7km away. Other than farming, there wasn't many options for local employment So Margaret and most of her siblings joined the exodus from Ireland and immigrated to the US.
|Agnes Lundy and her parents|
Martin Lundy was the next sibling to immigrate. Born in 1898, he was working in England, outside of Manchester, as a coal miner in the 1921 English census. He sailed to Boston, via New York City in 1923, he wasted no time and applied for citizenship two years later. Agnes arrived on 25 March 1925, Martin was her sponsor. Finally, on 19 May 1929, Margaret arrived in Boston sponsored by Agnes. I cannot find her in the 1930 census, but I would guess that like her sisters, Margaret worked as a domestic servant.
|Stephen and Margaret|
By 1932 Stephen and Margaret were married. My Uncle Tom was born in 1933 and my mom in 1935. A few months after my mother's birth, Margaret went back to where she came from, back to Coolrawer, Sligo, Ireland. Her mother had broken her hip and her father needed help on the farm. My Grandfather remained in Boston looking for work but he too eventually left the US and returned to Ireland, not to the city but to a farm. His plan was to return to Boston once the old folks were taken care of.
Stephen and Margaret and their two small children moved into the two bedroom thatched roofed cottage of Thomas and Mary Lundy. There was no running water, no electricity, and no indoor bathroom. After dark the house was lit with oil lamps and there were two fireplaces to heat the house. They had no car, their transportation was their own two feet.
|The Cootes in Ireland|
Time went by and still Stephen and Margaret remained in Ireland. Thomas Lundy died in 1948, leaving Stephen to run the farm. Margaret had five more children. They had made a life for themselves in Coolrawer. But my grandfather had an ace up his sleeve, two aces actually. His two oldest children were American citizens. My Uncle made his way over to England where he was able to join the American Air Force and ended up of all places, Boston. My mom left Ireland at age 17, on November 9, 1952 she arrived in Boston. Her aunt Katherine Lundy Gulley Sharkey, who had left in 1908 was her sponsor. And that is how she too, went back to where she came from.
|My technicolor grandfather|
On October 14th 1963 Margaret and Stephen became citizens of the United States of America.