The 70th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade

by Jule Spohn


The 70th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade here in Newark was cancelled "because of rain." This is only the 4th time in the past 70 years that the parade has been cancelled. What's with the "new Irish" - afraid to get a little rain on their hair dews? SHAME ON EVERY GROUP AND EVERY PERSON WHO CANCELLED. Have they forgotten where they came from? There have been many St. Patrick Day Parades I've gone to in the past here in Newark when it was either raining or even worse - snowing - but the Irish still came out in numbers. As you can see, I'm a little "upset" to say the least. I could tell that something didn't "smell right" about a week or so ago when I first found out that there was not going to be the Annual St. Patrick's Day Mass - before the parade - over at St. Patrick's Pro Cathedral. Also, last year there was talk that they would hold this year's - 2005 - St. Patrick's Day Parade down neck. DOWN NECK - what for? That parade belongs right in the heart of Newark - on Broad Street - where is has always been, except for a few short years when it was held up in the Vailsburg section.

However, having said all that, the day wasn't totally a wash-out. I went to the 9:15 Mass at St. Patrick's Pro Cathedral. There were about 75 or so people there. They didn't even use the main church. They used the little side chapel that they generally use during the week. There were the usual number of parishioners there whom I see every Sunday and there were about 20 or so members of the TANSEY FAMILY there to pay respect for Patrick J. Tansey, to whom this year's parade was dedicated. There were a few other "Irish men and women" there and that was it.

After Mass I went over to McGovern's for the Annual Tom Giblin Association breakfast. There were quite a few people there - probably 100 to 200 or so. I congratulate Tom Giblin and his people for all of their hard work and dedication for all these years in putting together this parade. He deserves a lot of credit. At least they all showed up. This year's Grand Marshall, Monsignor John J. Gilchrist and this year's Deputy Grand Marshall Sister Eileen Bradshaw were there also as well as all of the other parade committee men and women.

I was standing there speaking with a guy and we began to talk about down neck. I mentioned that I had gone to St. James High School from 1956 to 1960. He said that he went to St. James Grammar School and High School and graduated from high school sometime around 1951 or so. His name is Bob Blake. He asked me the names of some of the guys who played basketball when I was there. The first name I mentioned was Joe McKenna who used to live up in Vailsburg at 200 Norman Road back in the 1950's. This guy almost fell over and said, "I'm married to one of Joe's sisters - Mary." Mary was there as well as Joe's other sister Betty. I haven't seen either one of them in over 45 years. They had another sister named Kathy who passed away several years ago. As can be expected we sat there for an hour or more talking about "the old days." I had spent a lot of time in their house back then. When I went to take a photo of them Mary said "Still taking pictures?" I said yes. She remembered me even back they always taking photo's. Small world.

When I was speaking with Sister Bradshaw later - she is in charge of St. Vincents Academy - and mentioned the names of some of the Tansey family members I knew who went there, she immediately mentioned Peggy Tansey, and said that she is still in touch with her several times a year. I was, and still am, friends with Peggy's brother Tommy Tansey, and John and Billy Tansey. Talk about a small world. I'm sure that there were others in that crowd who I probably knew from the 40's and 50's here in Newark.

After breakfast at McGovern's they were all going over to the Hamilton Pub for lunch. The are probably still there.
Anyway, the "true" Newark Irish will make the best of it at McGovern's and the Hamilton Pub for the rest of the day. Perhaps next year the sun will shine and the rest of the Irish will come out from under their umbrellas.


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