My first cousin, Peggy Anne Canty, is a saint. She was a nurse for years at Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and at 75 is more active than ever, hobnobbing for charitable causes in her beloved Dorchester. Peggy Anne is as Irish and Catholic and Boston as they come (she used to operate the elevator at Fenway Park). She rides the MBTA like a pro (on her way to meet us she was on the MBTA reading an old children's book on St. Christopher: "Wayfarer's Friend" by Bruce Publishing). She never married, and cared for her mother, father and two sisters till their deaths. One sister, Claire, was mentally retarded with the aptitude of a seven year old. She was supposed to die at 12, but lived till 59 with Peggy Anne's TLC.
Ma and I just met Peggy Anne today for lunch in Harvard Square at 96 Winthrop St: "Tommy O'Doyle's" (great food!). Peggy Anne's surprise, once we were inside, is that this restaurant used to be the home of my great aunt, Kate Burns--a total character, deaf as a haddock and had to use an ear trumpet--who used to work for the now-defunct Riverside Press in Cambridge. My father told lots of stories about Kate. There are lots of characters in my family. And at least one saint.