Great-grandmother Delia McGeoghegan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   My great-grandmother lived an amazing life. At age 17, she immigrated from Irelandto the United States because, as she once told me, "They said in America the streets were paved withgold." She was young and strong, and made the journey alone. In America, she met her futurehusband, with whom she had seven children. Even with raising a family and keeping a home, she worked as amaid and a caregiver. She worked until she was 85; in her later years she cared for a doctor 20 yearsyounger than she. My great-grandmother was healthy and hardy, though a small woman. She never learnedto drive, so she took the bus or walked.

After her husband died and her children had their ownfamilies, she remained self-sufficient. At 93 she was up on a ladder painting her walls and tending her lawnwith an old-fashioned push-mower. Most importantly, however, she always listened and offered advicegleaned from decades of living.

Much of what I know about her is what my mother told me andstories she shared with me. I knew her at the end of her life, when she was strong for her age but becomingsmaller, more hunched, more wrinkled and more deaf. Yet she is still one of the most fascinating andadmirable people I have ever known. I remember listening to her Irish brogue and her reminders to"Speak up, dear. I'm as deaf as a post." I remember sitting at her 1950's-style Formica andchrome table, eating delicious homemade gingerbread and drinking milk from a big, pink Maloware teacup. Iloved her pink teacups and, knowing this, she gave me one. I treasure it, now more than ever, and keep it ona table in my room. I also remember sitting on her overstuffed couch with pea-colored, embroidered throwpillows, listening to my parents talk to her. I remember being terrified of her stairs; they were so long andsteep that I clung to the banister in fear of my life and wondered how a wobbly old woman made it up anddown many times a day.

One aspect I remember well was her faith; she was a truly piouswoman. Once, arriving for a visit, we found her deep in prayer with her smooth, black rosary beads. Myfather whispered that she was praying for us.

I love my great-grandmother, and wish I could havespent more time with her. When she died, my mother wrote a note to my teacher, explaining what hadhappened. She took me out to the hallway and talked to me about my great-grandma. She said that shesounded like a beautiful woman who came alive in my mother's note. As she spoke, my throat became tight.Tears slipped down my cheeks as I thought of her wrinkled, wizened and kind face. All I have left of her aremy memories - and a pink teacup.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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