“But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow …” — from “Oh Danny Boy” as written by Frederic Weatherly
At of this writing, I am en route to Europe, where I have been invited to address graduate students at the Trinity College School of Business in Dublin, Ireland. Surely I will absorb more information than I impart.
My questions for the European economists and academicians with whom we meet are mounting. How will the implementation of Brexit impact the EU? How do they envision the future of the EU? Where does the country stand in its recovery from the Great Recession? How are Ireland and other European Union nations coping with the changing global economy? What is the future face of European entrepreneurship?
One of my traveling companions, incidentally, is a native of Ireland. She graduated from her Limerick high school at age 16, but that was the end of her formal education. Money was tight. College was out of her financial reach.
Her father died at a very young age and her mom raised six children on a small widow’s pension. My companion’s machinist job at the Irish Wire Company paid a pittance and promised little future. So at age 20 she boarded the Ascania ocean liner alone and crossed the Atlantic to Canada, searching for opportunity.
In Toronto she worked a full-time job at Reader’s Mail Company. At quitting time she walked to Child’s Restaurant, where she served as a waitress on the 7-11 p.m. shift. The waitresses ate free there, an enticing bonus.
She met her future husband, a carpenter from Dublin, at a Sunday night dance for Irish-Canadians. They married, moved to Chicago and started a family that would include three children. She breathed her work ethic into them like a blow torch. Her husband joined the Carpenter’s Union and labored on the Prudential Building, the tallest in Chicago at the time, while she worked in a bank. Later he built a home with his own hands in the suburbs. When work slowed for workers in the building trade, she opened a successful lunch restaurant.
She and her husband sold the restaurant and moved to the Gulf Coast. In St. Augustine, Florida, she opened an Irish import store, eventually expanding the operation to four locations throughout the state.
The presentation at Trinity will coincide with her birthday. In all likelihood, she will enliven the proceedings with a story or two from her entrepreneurial experiences.
When I am feeling down, mom, I think about you walking to Child’s Restaurant, dead tired, and pulling a double shift. We are honored to have been invited to speak at Trinity College. But we’re more blessed to have you here, and to have your spirit within us.
Margaret R. McDowell, ChFC, AIF, author of the syndicated economic column "Arbor Outlook," is the founder of Arbor Wealth Management, LLC, (850-608-6121 — www.arborwealth.net), a “fee-only” registered investment advisory firm located near Sandestin.