Margaret Connolly Craven

Part 1 Margaret Connolly Craven is a very attractive woman in   her 40’s, currently living in Lewiston, Maine with her husband, Jim. They have two sons who are in college. She grew up on the   West coast of Ireland, the eighth child, and youngest daughter out of eleven children. She recently visited her mother, who is now in her 80’s, in Ireland. Her father died about 25 years ago. Margaret immigrated to the United States at the age of   seventeen, to be employed by a Boston family who agreed to   sponsor her. Armed with only farm experience and an eighth-   grade education, she was quite unprepared for modern city life.   Her employers, unfortunately, were not sensitive to the fact that Margaret was experiencing culture shock, which made for a rough transition. Today, the spirit that must have seen Margaret through that time is apparent in everything she does.Her enthusiasm for life, family, learning, and work seems to be boundless. She works for Murphy Homes, a facility for people who have mental retardation. Her deep respect for all human beings and acceptance of people as they are, are her outstanding characteristics. Though she grew up in a time and place where formal education was not emphasized, Margaret has always had a strong desire to acquire an education. After much perseverance, she graduated cum laude from U.S.M. in 1991, with a B.A. in Social and Behavioral Science.   Ethnic and Cultural Background Both of my parents were Irish. My father was 20 years older than my mother. He had been married previously and he had four children. (His wife died.) My mother came in when she was probably twenty-two and had a ready-made family. So there were 11 [of us] altogether with seven full- and four half-siblings. It must have been difficult for my mother although she says that [my father] would help with the younger kids. And[the older kids) didn’t treat her like a stepmother, so there wasn’t a lot of that difficulty going on. We had a small cott:age, a really typical Irish cottage. We   had land with peat on it–, and we had shorefront, so we had access to the ocean and whatever there was like seaweed and shellfish, which we harvested. We had some animals, which, in my childhood, weren’t very valuable. After the war, nobody had any money, and nobody had resources, so people coul@’t give animals away unless it was a milk cow or something like that,               la’nim,;@:i The county of Galway, the city of Galway, about 50 miles away from where my mother is, is directly across [on the map   from Dublin, on the West: coast.] We lived way, way out in the country, which is Connam-,T@tra, a very poor area. The land is   rocky. Peat is valuable and is a heating source, but you can’t grow anything on it, and you can’t graze animals on it; it’s   just void of nutritional. value. Some flowers, which we called sunflowers used to grow on it, and we used to pick that and harvest it to send away to chemists to make medicine out of it. We would get ten shillings for a big plastic bag.

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