Tuesday, March 15, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Parade - 1958 - Holyoke, Massachusetts

Photo by Ann B. Lynch. c. 1958, c. 2015 by Jacqueline T. Lynch


High Street in Holyoke, at the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  It's 1958.  A fifteen-year-old schoolgirl from Chicopee took these photos.  Here's a float passing in front of the old WT Grant's department store.  The store is, of course, long gone.



Photo by Ann B. Lynch. c. 1958, c. 2015 by Jacqueline T. Lynch


Here's a shot of her classmates, senior girls, from Holy Name High School in Chicopee.  Holy Name High, regular participants in the parade for years, shut its doors in the early 1970s.  


Photo by Ann B. Lynch. c. 1958, c. 2015 by Jacqueline T. Lynch


But this was the big attraction, the winner of the Outstanding American of Irish Descent Award, Senator John F. Kennedy, and his wife, Jacqueline.  The float bears the sign: "Here Come the Kennedys."  You can see the old Holyoke Daily Transcript office in the background.  It would merge with the Holyoke Telegram to become the Transcript-Telegram, but the newspaper shut its doors a couple of decades ago.   

Photo by Ann B. Lynch. c. 1958, c. 2015 by Jacqueline T. Lynch


In this close-up view we can see Senator Kennedy's back to us as he waves to crowds on the other side of the street.  Mrs. Kennedy is facing us, with what appears to be a baby in her arms.  Standing on a moving float with a baby seems like an incredible risk, but their daughter Caroline would have been about six months old on this occasion, and perhaps she did, indeed, go along for the ride.

In two years, John Kennedy would be elected President, the first Irish Catholic to be so honored.  Four years later, the Outstanding Irish American Award would be renamed the John F. Kennedy Award in his honor in 1964.

We could not predict the events, triumphant and tragic, that occurred only a few years ahead at the time of these photos were taken.  They are amateur shots, but show poignantly what was important to this young girl named Ann.  She, also, is no longer with us.  She was my sister.

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