Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cousin Billy

My mother, Bridget Goggins Tierney, was a 1st cousin of Billy's grandfather Goggins. That makes Billy my cousin too!

I have very fond memories of Billy. I will never forget a visit from Billy when he first arrived at Georgetown University. He was already missing his family and phoned me to say that he was taking the train from D.C. to Wilmington DE to visit me. Needless to say, I was elated. I'll always remember that infectious smile and those blonde curls -- incredible. We had a wonderful long visit. He just talked and talked about Georgetown and the good time he was having, albeit at the same time missing his Dad and Mum and Aimee and Cathy. I still remember a similar visit my sister Maureen and I received from Billy's dad, Pat and his friend Glenn in 1961, when he (Dad) worked in D.C. My sister and I had only recently come to the US from Ireland and it was wonderful to see Pat, as he had just visited with my mother in Ireland on his way back from Germany. I remember Pat and Glenn stopping their rental car along scenic Route 52 in Greenville DE and scooping up cherry blossoms and literally filing the back seat of the car with the petals -- all the while my sister and I trying to fit in. Now we know where Billy got his adventure and zest for life.

Billy often visited with my mother in Ireland. She really enjoyed these visits. She lived in the same house in a village named Carnalecka in the town of Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo where her father, also named Patrick Goggins, was born. This was across the field from where Billy's great grandfather was born. There are just ruins left, however, Billy always went to see the ruins. Sadly on January 9, 2006, my mother passed away. Then in February 2006, another cousin of Billy's, who lived next door to my mother passed away. Her name was Bernadette Caulfield. And in July 2006, Billy went to join them in Heaven." It is now comforting to know that the three of them are together now.

Cousin Eileen Tierney Ruby
Hockessin Delaware

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

To be seen

Bill and I met at Georgetown almost 25 years ago. I don’t remember exactly when or how we met, but my group of girls and I were freshmen and he was a sophomore, and he was usually around and he was part of us. Back then, he and I had not so much a love/hate relationship as a love/man, you annoy me more than anyone has ever annoyed me relationship. Well, at least on my part. Sometimes he provoked me on purpose, like a third-grader pulling my pigtails one too many times. Most of the time, I was too immature and childish to grasp his odd intensity, and I often pushed him away.

We saw each other on and off over the next few years, usually at the wedding of a friend. At one of these weddings, he told our group of girls that he had found another girl, one he wanted to marry. By now, I finally got what it was about Bill. It wasn’t just his singular intelligence or charisma, it was that he had the ability to see you, to see what was most valuable about you, or maybe even more important, to see what you valued most in yourself, and to let you know that he valued it too, that he valued your very you-ness.

After that, I hoped we could be real friends, without our old push-pull. And we saw each other a couple times when I passed through town, and I emailed. But, he was busy with work and life and marriage, and when my emails went unanswered, I let it go.

About five years ago, we crossed into each others’ spheres one more time, and had a wonderful time together over the summer of 2001. And he was kind and warm and honest with me, like always. By this time, I know he knew that he was oh-so-close to my heart. I hope he knew that he always had been. But again, life happened, and this time I was the one who had to pull away.

And so, we bounced together and then apart over so many years. For us, that’s just the way it was, and I grieve that it won’t happen one more time. But, oh! How lucky I was, how lucky we all were, to have been seen by Bill.

Anne Marie Yale (formerly Rice)