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HISTORY

BY: JAMES F. O’NEIL

WHAT’S IN A NAME?  O’NEIL, O’NEAL, O’NEILL, O’NIALL

Of course, we young Catholics growing up in Chicago learned of the exploits of “Uncle Hugh”: how he bravely fought the bloody British English Anglican Protestants of Queen Elizabeth I.  How he died bravely for Roman Catholicism and has been revered through the centuries in the Celtic-Gaelic rich hagiographical tradition of Ireland.  I always pictured him fighting Essex, Uncle Hugh looking like Errol Flynn, handsome as all get out, or Tyrone Power.  Those black-and-white movies fed my young imagination.  And on it went, wars and outrages, through the awfulnesses of Cromwell’s later reign and more, through “Sunday, Bloody Sunday…” and…

But for now, I want to share some bit of what is/”might be” the True Word:   Hugh O’Neill (Irish: Aodh Mór Ó Néill; literally Hugh The Great O’Neill;    c. 1550–20 July 1616), was an Irish Gaelic lord, Earl of Tyrone (known as the Great Earl and was later created The Ó Néill.  O’Neill’s career was played out against the background of the Tudor conquest of Ireland, and he is best known for leading the resistance during the Nine Years’ War.  Hugh O’Neill lived in England from the age of nine as a protégé of Queen Elizabeth I.  (Really!)  He was proclaimed Earl of Tyrone in 1585.  The crown used him as an ally in Gaelic controlled Ulster, warring against the Scots.  (Do the Scots know this?  The Scots-Irish folks?)  However, by 1595, he had issued a challenge to Tudor power. (What went wrong?)

Warring followed; promises were made; treaties were broken.  Lands were bartered.  A queen died; a new king, and throughout a nine-year exile, Uncle Hugh was active in plotting a return to Ireland, toying variously both with schemes to oust English authority outright and with proposed offers of pardon from London.  It was not to be (but almost…).  Uncle Hugh O’Neill died in Rome on 20 July 1616 (probably).  Controversy still remains about his role in Irish history: what his ultimate goal was for the people or the land or for his own power.  (Talk with a British historian, for one.)

Today the ancient O’Neills flourish in Ireland, Europe, and the New World.  Clan organizations and meetings are held regularly, and the family organization is recognized by every possible Irish historical governing body.  As they were for over a thousand years, the O’Neill family has once again returned to a position of cultural leadership in modern Ulster.  The unique and difficult history of the family has allowed it to see beyond the sectarian divide of the recent past.  The clan’s goals now state that they strive for a future that prizes peace and economic development across Ulster.  [Wikipedia]

 oneil arms shield

It is a common misconception that there is one coat of arms associated to everyone of a common surname, when, in fact, a coat of arms is property passed through direct lineage.  This means that there are numerous families of O’Neill under various spellings that are related, but because they are not the direct descendants of an O’Neill that owned an armorial device, they do not have rights or claims to any arms themselves.

The coat of arms of the O’Neills of Ulster, the branch that held the title of High Kings of Ireland, were white with a red left hand (latterly, the Red Hand of Ulster), and it is because of this prominence that the red hand (though a right hand is used today, rather than the left used by the high kings) has also become a symbol of IRELAND, ULSTER, TYRONE, and other places associated with the family of O’Neills.  The red hand by itself has become a symbol of the O’Neill name, such that when other O’Neill family branches were granted or assumed a heraldic achievement, this red hand was often incorporated into the new coat of arms in some way. red handThe red hand is explained by several legends, with a common theme but of a promise of land to the first man to sail or swim across the sea and touch the shores of Ireland.  Many contenders arrive, including a man named O’Neill, who begins to fall behind the others.  O’Neill cuts off his left hand and throws it onto the beach before the other challengers can reach the shore, becoming the first to touch land and win all of Ireland as his prize.  These legends seem to originate (or to have been written down) in the 17th century, centuries after the red hand device was first used by O’Neill families. 

northern_ireland_ulster_banner_flag

Currently, the official flag of Northern Ireland is the Union Flag of the United Kingdom.  However, from 1953 until 1973, the Ulster Banner (also known as the Ulster flag) was used by the Parliament of Northern Ireland; since its abolition, use of the flag has been limited to representing Northern Ireland in certain sports, at some local councils, and at some other organizations and occasions.  Despite this, the Ulster Banner is still commonly seen and referred to as the flag of Northern Ireland, especially by those from the unionist and loyalist communities.

* * *

The national flag of Ireland–frequently referred to as the Irish tricolor–is the national flag and ensign of the Republic of Ireland. 

255px-Flag_of_Ireland.svg

 

The flag was adopted by the Irish Republic during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921).  The flag’s use was continued by the Irish Free State (1922–1937), and it was later given constitutional status under the 1937 Constitution of Ireland.  The tricolor is often used by nationalists on both sides of the border as the national flag of the whole island of Ireland. 

The green pale of the flag symbolizes Roman Catholics, the orange represents the minority Protestants who were supporters of William of Orange, who had defeated King James II of England and his predominantly Irish Catholic army.  (It was included in the Irish flag in an attempt to reconcile the Orange Order in Ireland with the Irish independence movement.)  The white in the center signifies a lasting peace and hope for union between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland.  The flag, as a whole, is intended to symbolize the inclusion and hoped-for union of the people of different traditions on the island of Ireland, which is expressed in the Constitution as the entitlement of every person born in Ireland to be part of the independent Irish nation, regardless of ethnic origin, religion, or political conviction.  (Of course, there are, and have been, many exceptions to the general beneficent theory.  Green was also used as the color of such Irish bodies as the mainly-Protestant and non-sectarian Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick, established in 1751.  PROTESTANTS FOR SAINT PATRICK!)

So ends the Irish history lesson for this, Saint Paddy’s Day, 2018.  There will be no test, no quiz.  No papers are required.  Only remember some Irish Prayer, and  

 erin go bragh 2018

©  James [aka Seamus] O’NEIL  2018

* * *

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat.
Go raibh cóir na gaoithe i gcónaí leat.
Go dtaitní an ghrian go bog bláth ar do chlár éadain,
go dtite an bháisteach go bog mín ar do ghoirt.
Agus go gcasfar le chéile sinn arís,
go gcoinní Dia i mbois a láimhe thú.

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

 

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BY: JAMES F. O’NEIL

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is a Christmas song recorded in 1943 by Bing Crosby, who scored a top ten hit with the song.  Originally written to honor soldiers overseas who longed to be home at Christmastime, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” has since gone on to become a Christmas standard.  It has a beautiful message of being at home with family during the most wonderful time of the year.  The song has been recorded by Perry Como (1946), Frank Sinatra (1957), Josh Groban (2001), Kelly Clarkson (2011), Pentatonix (2016), and by many other artists.

* * *

“Home Is Where the Heart Is.”

“A House Is Not a Home.”

“Home, Home on the Range”

“A Man’s Home Is His Castle.”

“Home Is Where Your Story Begins.”

“There’s No Place Like Home.”

You Can’t Go Home Again

“Where is your home?”  More than once, I have had to list “former addresses.”  Most of the time for a job application: “for the past ten years.”  Or once when I applied to the Governor a few years ago for a position on a local board: “all previous addresses.”  “Where do you live?”  Most of us have had to do this applying for credit, for some license, or for a gun purchase.  Certainly, those of us who have gone past second grade are so familiar with “Name-Address-Phone Number.”  And we learn quickly, so we’re not lost, or for identification purposes: “Do you know your address?”  Sometimes a post office box–P.O. Box 357–or rural route, R.R. #6, is the only way correspondence can be addressed to a person.  Even some addresses are the name of the place where a person lives:

christmas-biltmore-candlelightBiltmore Mansion at Christmas  Asheville, North Carolina

Recently, my wife and I had an interesting breakfast conversation that began with our considering “downsizing” again, disposing of more of our “stuff.”  We laughed that our present home was 860 sq. ft. downsized from our 1800 sq. ft. home we left six years ago.  Our talking led to a short list of some homes we’ve had in our married life: size and characteristics.  For the next few days, we thought up some questions about our residences.  By later in the week, we had compiled a list of something about each.  We realized each possessed a unique quality.  A house has its physical dimensions, furniture, character and style, and “story” to be told, if but one.  We had more than enough for talking about.

So where to begin?  How to begin?  We found ourselves conversing about kids, and jobs and illnesses, and once or twice humming “Our house is a very, very fine house with two cats in the yard…”  (Even though we once had four cats that never went out.  So many memories of times.)  One question we settled on first, though, was “How did we get there?”  Nothing to do with a U-Haul or moving van.  Was it climate-related?  Job-related?  Did it have to do with our health? The size of the family?  (Our one-bedroom wedding apartment, then into a new apartment a year later, “with a room for the new baby” in our garden apartment in Palatine, Illinois.)

Or was it a move to some place just because we “liked” something bigger, better, newer?  (Our move from a 7th-floor condominium apartment, with its garbage chute and elevators and condo restrictions, but which overlooked the beautiful Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, Florida, to a house with a yard and trees and lawn to cut.

moorings-point-fort-myers-1987

The Moorings Point  North Fort Myers, Florida

We tired of high-rise condo living after three years.)  We concluded our exercise with an “Oh,-the-places-you’ll-go” moment

oh-the-places-youll-go novelreaction.com

with an inventory of questions, including a “best overall,” a “worst,” a “best financial decision” to “lousy deal.”  We had answers, and a major event for each separate place, to include “Why did we leave?”  Then came more inquiring, for example, what changes made a place more comfortable or perfectly matched to our lifestyle (the one house we had built)?

mcmahon-construction-1981

     McMahon Avenue Home Construction  Port Charlotte, Florida

In our fifty-plus years together, we have undertaken two MAJOR migratory events, moving from Chicago to Minnesota (in 1966, for 14 years), and moving from The Land of 10,000 Lakes to the Sunshine State of Florida (in 1980).  In any event, all our house-home-stories begin with our apartment hunting in summer 1963, before our October wedding.  And so it goes from there.

A favorite and important story-within-a-story we relate often is about my driving with a teacher-colleague to his job interview in Minnesota.  He needed a reliable vehicle: our 1964 VW was chosen for the February weekend trip, the back of the car loaded with bags of sand and salt and shovels.  We were prepared for weather events or highway problems.  (There were neither.)

While Lennie was being interviewed on that cold Saturday morning, I was passing time in the Dean’s waiting room, paging through magazines.  A young man entered, then inquired what I was doing.  He heard, then told me to spend some time with him.  He was a departmental chairperson.  I ended up in conversation, just chatting; he presented a program description–and offered me a job.

My friend and I did pros-and-cons for the 300-mile trip home.  I took the job; we moved in July 1966.  He declined his offer; he could not afford the move with his family.  And that was the beginning of that story.

Some persons never move, never leave.  Ever.  (Some of my former students still live in their original bedrooms in their first and only house.)  Others have made annual moves, for whatever reasons.  (“Join the Navy.  See the world!” came out of World War II–and stayed as a popular slogan, and reality.)

join-the-navyHowever, Americans, says the Census Bureau, are staying in the same house longer between moves: from 5 years, on average, in the 1950s and 1960s, to about 8.6 years in 2013.  The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average American moves 12 times during his or her lifetime.  Since our wedding-apartment in 1963, we have had eighteen (18) addresses and moves.  Surely, we deliberated many times over with questions like those asked during our recent activity.  For each dwelling, we know why we chose it instead of another. 

History of the home (structure moved into town from a farm, original Homestead building site).  How we lived in it. 

sanborn-farm-home-1976

SANBORN FARM HOME   SANBORN, MINNESOTA

How we loved it.  How we made a family.  How the family grew, then decreased (graduations and marriages).  How we responded to forces around the home (weather, landscape).  How the house-home became part of us. 

This analytical time for houses, homes, and addresses has been fulfilling–even despite some hurtful memoriesofatime past or pain that might have arisen.  Overall, though, looking back at our downsizing exercise, we find we are now in a good place and time to look back at ourselves and our lives together–and how “nomadic” we thought we were.  However, “if we had it to do all over again . . .”

* * *

“We can’t separate who we are from where we are.  People are rooted in time and place, so our psychic space is generously seasoned with memories of physical territories.  …  The geography of our past is part of memory.  …  Every human emotion is seeded in the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of specific environments.”  — Sam Keen, Your Mythic Journey: Finding Meaning in Your Life through Writing and Storytelling (1973, 1989).

 * * *

“Country roads, take me home…” (John Denver); and then “I’ll be home for Christmas.”

©  James F. O’Neil  2016

melby-house-mabel-minn-1975

THE MELBY HOUSE OUR FAVORITE-IST OF THEM ALL  MABEL, MINNESOTA

 

BY: JAMES F. O’NEIL

“Awards can give you a tremendous amount of encouragement to keep getting better, no matter how young or old you are.”  –Alan Alda

I have not been much of an award recipient in my days.  I might have received a penmanship award for cursive.  Maybe a spelling ribbon (never first: Eleanor Wagner always got 1st Place).  No swimming trophies–unless you count the one for perfect attendance, no matter what the Chicago weather in summer.  No high school valedictorian.  Definitely not a magna-cum-anything in college.  The retirement plaque was a reward, kinda, for endurance.  That’s it.

Until recently.

I’ve been blogging for three years now on WordPress.com.  I‘m happy.

Now I’m happier.

I’VE BEEN NOMINATED FOR THE LIEBSTER AWARD.  JAWOHL!

liebster-award-nomination

Yes, Mimi, at Mimi’s Corner, nominated me for the prestigious Liebster Award.  This award is conferred upon those whose blogging is noted, from the original German translation of “liebster” as “beloved,” or a term of endearment used only for VERY close friends; but also it can designate something “personal” or “greatest” or “favorite” or better “a personal favorite.”

It’s mainly a fun way for bloggers to encourage each other, and partake in the fun of blogging.  And the nomination comes from another who has been nominated. And on it goes. 

I carefully considered the requirements and the fun and sharing it might be–and how it would be a different kind of memoriesofatime posting from my usual. 

I decided Why not?  Why not share, for this is one of my blog goals anyhow.

I replied to Mimi: “I accept.  I humbly thank you for doing this for me.”  So you can find her blog site at   https://talkeasysite.wordpress.com/

There are a few rules for a blogger to follow to qualify for the award; I would like to let you know that I have complied:

RULES FOR THE LIEBSTER AWARD

If nominated for the award, and accept, write a blog post about the award in which you

Thank the blogger who nominated you with a link back to his/her blog

Display the award on your blog

Answer 11 questions asked by the nominator

Nominate 5-11 other bloggers

Create 11 new questions for the nominees

List these rules on your post (for others to know what is coming.  Not so bad.)

Mimi asked me these 11 questions about myself.  Very interesting information here for you, my readers.

11 QUESTIONS FROM MIMI MY NOMINATOR:

  1. When did you start blogging and why? I began blogging in May 2013, thanks to my younger brother, Denis. He encouraged me to publish my stories of growing up and to share my memories.
  2. Who is your role model? My dad, Mortimer J. O’Neil. He raised me, taught me the O’Neil ways of to be a gentleman, to work hard at whatever I do.  He was funny, kind, street smart, happy, sad, religious, patriotic, union, reliable, and more.  I respected him always as a kind of “elder statesman,” filled with wisdom when needed.
  3. What is your favorite book and why? I would choose a play, Shakespeare’s Othello. Yes, not a novel, not the Bible.  But the best Shakespeare did–for human weakness, love, lust, tragedy, marriage, evil, friendship, jealousy, treachery–all condensed, with some beautiful poetry, and a good story, too.  It’s my favorite.
  4. What country would you like to live in? I have been to Turkey and Greece; I’ll take Turkey. I have been to France and to England; I’d take England.  I have this primal urge to visit Iceland.  Maybe Ireland.  I’m happy to spend the rest of my life here in the United States, right here in Florida.
  5. What is your greatest strength? My greatest strength is my greatest weakness: over achievement. Perhaps some OCD thrown into the mix with my INFJ, and my bi-polarity.  Blend it all together with a bit of dusty shelves and chaotic sock drawers.  You get the picture.
  6. What do you fear most? Having a stroke and being incapacitated, relying upon and being a burden to others.
  7. If you could be an animal, which one would it be and why? No doubt a cat. I was never a cat lover.  However, since 1973, we’ve had seven cats, off and on.  From what I know of them, their lives, their little feet, I’m for them.  Oh, a black and white tuxedo, a Sylvester, of course.
  8. What is most important to you in life? FAMIGLIA. HEALTH.  PEACE.
  9. What is your favorite movie? My 100 Best Movies. My 10 Best Movies.  My Best Movie to watch over and over, to laugh, cry, and feel good?  “And the envelope, please.  IT’S A TIE!  CASABLANCA and SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE!”
  10. What would you want to change in your life if you could? I know from the Butterfly Effect (a concept that small causes can have large effects) that my whole life would be different were one thing changed. (See the movie The Family Man, one of my favorites.)  So I want to change nothing, despite everything that I ever thought about changing.

    11.  What makes you angry?  Angry?  How politicians, mostly learned lawyers, are so    stupid and do such stupid things, pass stupid legislation, get involved in stupid situations, forgetting the law, the Constitution, and their constituents: the voters.  (It’s more upset-ness than anger.  ANGER from religious intolerance, and bigotry with violence.)

Then I was to make a list.  Some of this you have NEVER known.

11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT MYSELF

–I used to be 5’10 ½”; now I am 5’9”…

–I had a cool tie collection with many tie-tacks.

–I have a Cross pen fetish.

–I am a member of NSS: The National Sedentary Society.  (We never meet.)

–INFJ

–I babysat for a WW2 Flying Tiger pilot’s baby son.

–I never was accepted into Northwestern U., but was by the U of Minnesota.

–I will eat almost any kind of soup, especially what my wife brews.

–I drove a mail truck; I also once or twice drove a school bus. 

–I have walked in snow up to my butt.

–I had a fantastic ride in a real WW2 B-17 bomber ($400 for ½ hour).

Now I will share a list of other writers whom I follow.  There are many others I read daily and could recommend.  But look at these for now.

https://theliterateshow.wordpress.com/

https://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/

http://teachezwell.me/

http://skinnyandsingle.ca/  

https://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/

http://jilldennison.com/

https://hintsandechoes.wordpress.com/

https://thisonpurpose.wordpress.com/

https://thebestthingsinlifeblog.com/

https://susanmillard.wordpress.com/

https://onesunnyplace.wordpress.com/

NOW HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINATED BLOGGERS TO ANSWER:

Who is the most important person in your life today?

Have you seen a good movie lately?  What made it good?

Did your schooling connect to your life?

What makes you angry?

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

For a person you loved deeply, would you be willing to move to a distant country knowing there would be little chance of seeing your friends or family again?

What is your most treasured memory?

Which sex do you think has it easier in your culture? 

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? 

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as your dinner guest?

What do you like best about your life?

* * *

So, OK?  HOW DID I DO?  DID I WIN?  DO I GET THE AWARD?

© James F. O’Neil  2016

 

LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD Cross Calais Pen 2016

 


 

 

 

January 1986: Thirty Years Ago.

What is an accident? “An accident is an undesirable incidental and unplanned event that could have been prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence. Most scientists who study unintentional injury avoid using the term “accident” and focus on factors that increase risk of severe injury and that reduce injury incidence and severity.” —Wikipedia

“Normal Accident”: “The kind of accident one can expect in the normal functioning of a technologically complex operation,” said Professor Charles Perrow of Yale University.

 Was it the failure of the O-ring, or was it the failure of NASA at the time?

 What is/was “an acceptable risk”? “Acceptable risk is a risk that is understood and tolerated usually because the cost or difficulty of implementing an effective countermeasure for the associated vulnerability exceeds the expectation of loss.” –Wikipedia

 * * *

SHUTTLE TO NOWHERE?

We ALL

have

SEEN/BEHELD

THE ESSENCE

of life–

Something wonderful (73 seconds in humanEarthTime) is about to happen.

AND IT DID!

We ALL

have

SEEN/BEHELD those

touching the face of GodMETAphor:

To touch is to be destroyed:

“this mortal coil” is shuffled —

SHUTTLED off…

             At the time of the explosion, people applaud, as we do at the time of the brilliance of fireworks, at the time of the glory of pyrotechnics–and then the reality of human life set in–and tears of horrorshockloss. Yet, nevertheless, the brilliance, the beauty, were there.

We have applause at separation–

and//we//did//applaud//at their

s e p a r a t i o n     f r o m    t h i s    l i f e

while they touched the face of

GodMETAphor

 * * *

© James F. O’Neil 2/86

 Question_mark_(black_on_white)

 

 

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