1937 Letter from Ellen McGrath 
to 
Mary Daly Hackett
 
 
 

15 y K, Vedado

Havana, Cuba

        July 2, 37


Dear, dear Mary:

                Your letter to Elenita* has just come in.  Oh my eyes are blind with tears.  How do I know at this minute how it is with you and Tony.  Mary don’t cry out now if I talk of Tom but I did want to meet him.  I’m will remember him as a little boy when he first went to school, a lovely little rosy-cheeked lad.  Well, I have been worrying for Tony, because Victor told his mother, tho he didn’t tell me that you were not so well, and that Tony was sad.  victor is an only child, Ellen is an only child and Tony is an only child.  They will be very much alone by-and-by.  We all married very late. 
They are all three good and lovely, but they are whole worlds apart. If only they could be near.

    Mary, but I’m proud to see your feet planted in the soil that belonged to your ancestors.  All of Darragh belonged to the Valens.  Father Harnett found it in the old records.   All of Darragh!


2/  Mary, I would give the world to talk to you again.  Maybe next year.  Maybe God will let me.  Sometimes I cry like a baby.  Only yesterday Ellen and I were walking up and down talking about you.  I couldn’t imagine why nobody sent us a line.  I was scared that Tony wouldn’t answer Ellen.  I have learned to bear disappointments with the years but it would have been a severe blow to her.  she is as gentle as a little dove and she thinks Ireland is heaven and all of you are the angels. 
I do pray for Tom, indeed.  I only wish he would wait for me.  Now, Mary be brave.  Trust God.  I wish I could comfort you.  Oh, like you the thoughts in the night go back over the past.  Sometimes I hold my breath and wonder if I am that little girls.  But I am what might be is that this is another woman.  You may not know me now but we both remember what we were.


3/  Our children do not know us as we know each other.  The sacred past belongs to us and the dead.  Mary, I look forward now to meeting them all again in heaven.  I can no longer bear to think of the emptiness of this world.  Only if we can save our souls and go to them and God and wait for the children to come to us.


    The hawthorn brought a lump to my throat.  I am sending a little bit to Marie and another little bit to Mother Emmanuel (Bridsie).  The third little piece we keep for ourselves.  I would like to send a piece to Margaret, but there isn’t enough.    Oh, Mary, just let us cry our fill together this once.  Sometimes the heart will burst or cry.  Then we can stop and smile again at the world that knows us not.


4/  Jack was all broken up when he came back from Darragh.  He told me the silence of the past was appalling.   But somehow, I wish he had gone alone.  Mary, I would like to see you all again.

   

   Our business here is so absorbing.   Just imagine Franco in Spain has just captured a ship with a cargo of our sugar - 50,000 bags.  The loss is not all ours, but our share of it is gone with the rest.  God has strange ways.  You try to do this and that, and God has other plans.  I dare not go anywhere.  I have to help my husband.  So many people are dishonest and try to get what is not theirs.   One almost has to lie awake nights to be up before them in the morning.


    Mary, if it’s only one line, write to me, or tell Tony to.  I watch the Irish world for the Limerick news, and I say, “No news is good news.”


    I am writing most of those poems to you and our old days together.  I draw maps on my hand for Ellen as we walk up and down, and show here where Garryarthur is.  Well you are not far, and you have the land the Bevans stole.  I laugh, God is very great.  Trust Him, Mary.

                                            Ever lovingly,

                                                                    Nellie

* Elenita, the daughter of Ellen (Nellie)McGrath was also known as Elaine, and possibly Eillin.

 
“She (Elenita) thinks Ireland is heaven and all of you are the angels.”
“I have been smelling hawthorn for forty years and longing to see it.”                                           
                                                                                                        Ellen McGrath 1937