When my wife and I moved into our current apartment almost twenty years ago, we had bought the place from a charming, old Irish couple, the Doyles, who--approaching the age of 90--had decided, with not-so-gentle-nudging from their children, that it was time to go into assisted living.
They left the place practically spotless, in immaculate condition. And with two young children and a puppy, my wife and I moved our stuff in in a frenzy. Even after all this time, it seems there are still paintings we haven't hung, books we haven't alphabetized, boxes we haven't unpacked.
Over the weekend, as we were preparing for our long-awaited renovation, I came upon an old corrugated box and opened it up. Inside there were dozens and dozens of hand-written letters in their envelopes.
"These aren't yours, are they?" I said to my wife.
She read one or two and shared a couple with me. It became apparent they were letters to the Doyle's from a long-lost relative. The letters didn’t interest me, but in amongst the clutter, I found a Diary, an experience of a young, Irish immigrant to America. His triumphs and travails. His hopes and dreams. And his struggle as a stranger in a strange land.
I think it’s all pretty interesting. So for the next few weeks, or however long it takes, I’ll be excerpting some of what I found in this space.
Starting, with any luck, tomorrow.