Essay from Donal Mahoney

Call a Priest, My Father Said   My father never talked much about religion but he went to Mass every Sunday, the 6:30 Mass where few people would be and he wouldn’t have to deal with friends and neighbors. His contribution envelope was always filled out the night before, sealed and propped against the salt shaker on […]

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Essay from Donal Mahoney

Caseworker, 1962   In 1962, I was a caseworker, not a social worker, in the Cabrini-Green Housing Project in Chicago. In that era, the difference between a caseworker and a social worker was simple. A social worker had a degree or two in social work and was qualified to work with the poor. A caseworker usually […]

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Essay from Donal Mahoney

Strangers in Peoria I met a proper woman in a proper pub on a Monday in Peoria. It was time for lunch, and we were sitting stool to stool over very large burgers at a long mahogany bar. It curved in and out as if wind-swept and featured high stools with padded seats and backrests, all in a […]

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Essay from Donal Mahoney

My Parents Were Illegal Irish Immigrants in the United States In 1920, my father, 16, was a guest of the British government. He was a prisoner of their forces occupying Ireland at the time, a group called the Black and Tans.   One day he and seven other prisoners were brought out of their makeshift cells […]

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Essay from Donal Mahoney

A Shining Star at Every Wake   Bill hates to go to parties but he loves to go to wakes. One of the advantages of being old, he says, is that there are fewer parties to go to but a lot more wakes.    At parties he finds a distant corner, stands there like a […]

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Essay from Donal Mahoney

Long Before ISIS   Thirty years ago, long before ISIS started executing Kurds, Muslims and Christians, I hired a Pakistani Muslim as an art director in Chicago. I was an Irish Catholic editor putting out a small national magazine. I hired him because his work samples were good and he had worked for the United […]

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Essay from Donal Mahoney

Larder Bare with People Hungry   It will be a while before Fred’s hometown has its annual food drive, he told me. That’s an important event because it helps stock the pantry at the small charity where he volunteers. Right now, he said, the larder is practically bare and unemployment is still a big factor in the lives of […]

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