I think President Obama is right. On St Patrick's day everyone searches for a trace of Irish heritage to celebrate. Mine's pretty direct. My grandmother, Agnes Bannon, was Irish. But that's as far as I can trace it. As I recall from my mother's stories, my grandmother was an orphan.
My mother was born in 1923 and her sister was 13 years older. There was an older sister who died of tuberculosis in her teens. So, perhaps it was 1906 when my grandmother married Edwin Crowther. In my mother's stories, he was a house painter. He died when my mother was very young, so she never knew him.
My grandmother worked as a seamstress in a laundry. Young though my mother was during prohibition, she remembered my grandmother and friends enjoying beer in the back room of a neighborhood ... um ... establishment.
I liked my grandmother. She laughed a lot. I don't remember her ever being angry. And once, when she was staying with us while my parents were travelling, she let me go to school with my hair down.