My Maternal Side
Keenans, Forans, O'Niels, Lees and MacLaughlins
onagle, also seen as Monigal, Monigle, Monegal and Mac Monagle comes from Mac Maongail which in Gaelic means - "wealthy valor." In a 1659 census, only nine familes in all Ireland went by the name Monagle and all were in Donegal. Our Monagles are from Back Mountain and Ballygorman, two villages just miles apart on Malinhead Peninsula in County Donegal. Malinhead is the most northern point of the Irish mainland. There has not been much cooperation in getting information regarding the Monagles in Ireland. It appears many years ago that an American Monagle went back to Ireland and won an an heritance claim about some land. Ever since then the family there has been close mouthed.
Frances Marie Monagle was my mother and the wife of John Joseph Moran. She was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on November 21, 1917 to John "Jack" James Monagle and Margaret Mae Keenan, my maternal grandmother. Her story is next after that of her parents and siblings.
Margaret (Peg) Keenan's mother was Bridget Alice Foran (Alice). She was the second wife of Thomas Keenan. Thomas and Alice Keenan were both born on Prince Edward Island in Canada, as was Margaret Mae Keenan. When Thomas Keenan died, Alice Foran married again. She married Terrance Nolan. With Terrance Nolan she had three children: Neil, Mary and Sal.
Alice Foran's mother and father were Robert Foran and Mary O'Niel of Cork, Ireland. Robert's parents were Mark Foran and Bridget Lee. Mary O'Niel's parents were William O'Niel and Mary Maddox.
John James Monagle's parents were James Monagle and Mary Ann Monagle, both of Ireland. They married in 1876. Mary Ann Monagle was born in 1844. She was the child of _______Monagle and Margaret MacLaughlin. Mary Ann Monagle was married a second time. She married a man named Daugherty. The Monagles are from Malinhead in County Donegal.
The MacLaughlin traditional home is Inishowen, located only a few miles from from Malinhead.
The Traditional home of the Keenans is in County Fermanagh. The Foran's came from County Galway, County Limerick and County Waterford. The O'Niel's and the Lee's came from County Cork. The Maddox family was from County Wexford.
The Keenans and Monagles
> Robert Foran
>Bridget Alice Foran
> Mary O'Niel
> Margaret Mae Keenan
> Thomas Keenan
>Frances Marie Monagle
- - - -
? > James Monagle
> John J. Monagle
> Mary Ann Monagle
argaret Mae Keenan was born may 31, 1886 at Kelly's Landing on Prince Edward Island or P.E.I., as it is known by the locals. P. E I. is an island in the St. Lawrence seaway and is Canada's smallest province. Many Irish made their way to America via P. E. I.
Margaret's mother, Alice Foran, was born on P. E. I. in 1859. The family moved to Maine when Margaret was a child. Some of Margaret's fondest memories were of the Bath, Maine area. Some relatives still live there.
Margaret 's siblings were: Daniel "Dan" who married Mary Murphy, Joe, Bertha "Bert" and Florence who married a man named Clossy or Clohsey and Elizabeth who married a Marr.
The family later moved south into Massachusetts and settled in Roxbury where Alice (Foran) (Keenan) Nolan died in July, 1944. She was buried as Mrs. Terrence Nolan after her second husband.
Margaret Mae Keenan was an ambulance driver during the tragic Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston. Later she ran a newspaper, magazine, candy and gum stand in a Boston subway station where she met James "Jack" Monagle, a Motorman on the subway.
James "Jack" Monagle served in the Spanish American War. Later, Jack Monagle worked for the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company for many years. In his later years Jack Monagle worked for a Buick dealership in Boston.
Margaret Mae Keenan..................James "Jack" Monagle
Margaret, or Peg as she was called by her peers, moved to Brookline when she married Jack Monagle. His mother, Mary Ann Monagle also lived in Brookline until she passed away in 1940. She too had remarried and was last known as Mrs. Daugherty.
Gram , as she was known to her grand children, was one of the last women in the country to still collect veteran's benefits as a Spanish American War veteran's widow. She wisely invested her money into stocks and bonds that later sustained her in her old age so that she could live alone and not be dependent on her children.
She and James Monagle had three children; James, Alice and my mother, Frances Marie.
Dick graduated from Purdue and eventually became the General Manager of the A. E. Goetze Corporation in South Bend, Indiana. He married Kris Espenshade from Ashland, Ohio. They had two boys, Mike who has graduated from Indiana University and married Krissy, and Jim, who is working in Mishawaka.
Kay married Terry Cassidy had two boys. Kay and Terry were divorced. Kay raised the boys, Tim and Terry, who are now married and work for investment firms in Wall Street. Kay lives in Bronxville, New York and is a Vice President for Unimail.
Nancy married William "Mike" Smith. He works for Foxmark Corporation. Nancy teaches high school English at Klein Oak High School in Spring, Texas. Nancy and Mike have two sons, Adam is attending Rice university with a major in English and Matthew who attends the University of Texas in Austin.
Diane married Bob Sigler. They live in Lake Orion, Michigan where Bob is Branch Manager for a trucking company. Diane and Bob have one son, Scott, a graduate student at Florida State University.
Peggy, now called Peg, first married Preston Cobb. They were divorced. She is now married to Mike Mihail an anestheosiologist. They live in Woodland Hills, California. Peggy is completing a degree in Accounting.
Jim Monagle's wife, Elizabeth (Haworth) Monagle, died in 1980. After retiring from his work at RCA, Jim Monagle moved to a condo in Bayonet Point, Florida. There he played golf and bridge with many friends he made in the area. He broke his hip after a fall in 1994 that impeded his golf, but he intended to get back to it. He was overtaken by lung cancer and died in July 1996.
Jim Monagle was an engineer, the type that embraced new technology. He inspired the extended family to get "on-line" and communicate with each other with the use of computers and monitors well before it was fashionable. While his own children did not immediately embrace the idea, it took hold with the Moran branch and is alive and well to this day with several of his children involved. The original addressees when Jim began the idea of weekly communication to and from the family was three, it has since grown to 19. Most of the newer relatives on-line are two generations removed from Jim Monagle. Jim was the only one of his generation to be a part of the e-mail experiment he started. It is now a weekly part of many family's routine.
Alice Monagle, Jim's sister, married Andy Madden a baseball player and they had two children; Michelle and Paul. Andy walked away from the marriage.
Michele married Brian Glennon who worked for New England Telephone and Telegraph. They had three sons:
Alice divorced Andy and carried an undeserved burden for it for many years until she found John McCann a postman and a good man. The McCann's had three children:
Enid, who was married, and is again single.
Frances Monagle, Alice's sister and my mother, married John J. Moran. Their children were: Gerard, Moya, Jacquelyn ( Jackie), Margaret (Maggi) and Robert (Bob). Her story follows this one on her family.
One of my first memories of Gram is living in her house at 52 Brook Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. There were three families in the house. Besides Gram there was Alice and her children from her first marriage, our family with three children while our father was stationed overseas in Japan and Pete and Enid Gabezeski, boarders, who lived on the second floor.
Being the oldest boy, I got to spend a lot of time with Gram. She was a stern woman and expected you to be disciplined and work hard to improve yourself. She took it upon herself to improve my vocabulary. She even gave me written tests. To this day I remember some of those words she drilled into my head, though I have not been able to use them much in conversation.
Everyonce in a while she would take me with her when she went into Boston. She would make a big day of it. She always dressed to the limit; gloves that went beyond the wrist, a hat with a veil, a reserved but pretty dress and a fox wrap. We would ride the streetcar. She would talk to me and answer my many questions until I picked up the silent signal to be quiet.
Once downtown, she was the talker, telling stories that the different stores and streets reminded her of. We would usually go shopping in a large department store and then she would take me for a ride on the Swan boats in Boston Common. We would finish the day off before heading back to Brookline Village, as it was called then, by having an ice cream at Schraffts.
The years I spent at 52 Brook Street were special ones, the kind that stick to a kid's mind long into adulthood. My best friend was my cousin Michele. Together we would put on something we called the "Funny Tricks" to entertain the other children.
It was always a treat when her mother, Alice, came home from work on pay day. She had a brown paper bag in which there were five different kinds of candy bars. Each of us five kids got to reach in and pull one out, then we would trade with one another to get the one we wanted. I can still remember the names of some the candy we used to pull out of that brown paper bag so long ago: Walnettoes, Neccos, O'Henrys, Baby Ruths, Butterfingers, Good & Plentys, Dots, and my favorite - a chewy nougat bar whose name I have forgotten.
Over it all reigned Gram. She supported and helped her two daughters through their problems. Her way was, as I said, stern and wasn't always easy to take. She was like that because of what she had done and seen in her early life. She rose from being a candy and gum stand operator to be the owner of a lovely three bedroom homes in one of Boston's finest subdivisions. She had a beautiful roadster which she kept in the garage locked up after her husband's death. I lived there for three years and visited many times and I never saw that car. She and her husband invested wisely so that when he passed on she was well provided for between his pension, the veteran's widow's benefit and the stocks and bonds.
Her house was alway immaculate and had some of the finest things I had ever seen. She had a beautiful Persian rug with patterns that made a great road system for my toy cars. The most important article in the house was her console radio. It was a piece of furniture and stood higher than I did. That radio brought us "Baby Snooks", "The Great Gildersleeve", "Fibber Magee and Mollie", Terry and the Pirates" and many more neat and great adventures.
Margaret Mae (KEENAN) Monagle was a refined lady who taught herself. Her dress, language, manner, the furniture in her home, her carriage and her airs were all gotten the hard way. She did it right.
She got, kept and had class!
Frances Marie (Monagle) Moran
My mother, Frances Marie Monagle, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on November 21, 1917. She was born in the same year and town and not too many streets away as President John F. Kennedy. Her mother was Margaret (Keenan) Monagle and her father was John "Jack" Monagle. The family lived at 52 Brook Street in Brookline. Not far from where the Kennedy's grew up. The picture on the left was taken in 1925 when Frances, standing, was eight. That's her sister Alice seated beside her.
The photo on the right was taken in 1930 when Frances was 13 years old.
In her early years she was called "Rusty" for her reddish hair. As a young adult she was called "Fran" or "Frannie." She was working at a Cadillac dealership and taking flying lessons when she met John J. Moran. Her father had brought him home for dinner one night. He was seven years her senior, and while that may have bothered her mother at first, she soon became his biggest fan.
The Moran family was glad to see the two get together as well, because John's principle female interest before he met Frances was a cousin, Eleanor Traynor.
Frannie and John met in about 1938 and had a great social life among their friends. Sports and the beach were a big part of their lives.
Frances Marie Monagle at about nineteen or eighteen years old
At the beach in 1938
They had planned a large church wedding, as John was the first of the siblings in his family to get married. The wedding was set for August 25, 1941. The invitations were sent, the wedding dress bought when tragedy struck. John's father had a heart attack on August 2 and died within the week. Out of respect, the couple was prepared to postpone the wedding, but John's mother insisted they get married as planned. A compromise was reached and the two were married in a simple ceremony in the rectory. The picture below shows them coming out of the rectory.
The two newlyweds could not have imagined the life that stood before them - five children, military life, wars, foreign travel, privilege, servants, friends all over the world but, no home they could call their own for 23 years - to mention a few.
At the time they married, John was working for the telephone company and had planned to make a career of it. Their first child, a boy, Gerard Patrick, was born in July, 1941. There were some problems with the baby because of a sticky pyloric valve. The new parents found themselves dealing with a sick child and a disgusting new term, projectile vomiting. With help from both sides of the family, helping to take care of the baby and time, the valve problem dissipated as Gerard developed.
No one was prepared for the shock of Pearl Harbor that radically changed the lives of millions of Americans. Fortunately, John Moran's time in the service during the war was right in the Boston area. He was important to the Army in overseeing the very telephone system he had helped install at Boston Army Base and was stationed there through out the war as a Signal Officer.
The John and Fran Moran family moved from Jamaica Plain, a Boston suburb, to Forest Hills another Boston suburb to be close to both their families and friends and to make room for their growing family. Their family grew to three children. Moya Frances in 1942 and Jacquelyn in 1943. Moya was named for a friend of her mother's
Gerard, Jackie and Moya in about 1944
When the war was over, John left the army and returned to the telephone company. There his friend and boss, George Blum, convinced John Moran that his best chance for advancement lay in a career with the army. It wasn't that John Moran couldn't have a career at the telephone company, it was just the sudden return of so many veterans would make any the advancement of any young man difficult for years to come. The army on the other hand, would need his skills and promotions would be available. John took the advice and re-joined the army.
John's first assignment when he re-entered the army was to be a part of a new organization being organized in the Quarter Master Corps. The Transportation Section was, in a few years, to be made into its own branch and John Moran had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor. After John's training in Virginia, the family moved to a home on Northport, Long Island not far from his work at the Brooklyn Army Base.
Long Island was still close enough to Boston, that family and friends would make the trek to visit the Morans and many did. The parties sometimes lasted for days.
Fran Moran in 1945
One of my favorite memories of my mother took place in Northport. It was late, near midnight and everyone was asleep. It had been snowing all day from the early morning of the day before. The snow plows hadn't gotten around to our rural area. She woke me up, bundled me up in winter clothes and took me out to the garage where she took down a large sled. We lived on the top of a hill and she put the sled right on the crest and told me to climb on her back after she lay on the sled. Off we went slowly then faster and faster with our dog Terry running along side barking the whole time. The only lights were the few street lights lining the hill and the many at the intersection down below. We went pell mell down the hill toward the intersection. As we got to the bottom she steered us into a large snow bank where we crashed thrilled and laughing and rolling in the snow.
In 1948, John Moran was selected to participate in a special program where he was sent to an industrial company to see how they handled the transportation of their own products. In Captain Moran's case the company was the DuPont company in Wilmington, Delaware. The family went back to live with Frances' mother at 52 Brook Street.
Also in the house at 52 Brook Street besides her mother was Fran's sister Alice and her two children; Michelle and Paul. To make it just a little more interesting, the second floor was rented out to a third family, Pete and Enid Gabezeski. To say it was crowded, was an understatement. Mrs. Monagle went from zero kids to five all under eight. Her daughter Alice was abandoned by her husband, Andy Madden, a baseball player. Her daughter Frances was to be there an undetermined time. The DuPont assignment was for just a year but no one knew what was coming after that.
Some of the folks at 52 Brook Street:
Fran's mother, Fran and Gerard, Moya and Jackie plus Terry the golden retriever
Family entertainment in those years centered around the large console radio in the living room. The children would listen to the adventures of "Terry and the Pirates", "Gene Autry and the Melody Ranch" or and of several other radio programs developed for children. After dinner, everyone would gather around the radio and listen to the news and dramatic programs or lighter fare such as "Baby Snooks", "Fibber Magee and Molly" and many more.
Naturally with that many people in the house there were tensions and incidents, especially between the children. It all worked out though and everyone survived.
After the DuPont assignment was over, John Moran got orders to go to Yokohama, Japan and a promotion to Major. The family would be allowed to join him after a few months. When word came that the family could join John Moran, Frances Moran was faced with a daunting task. The army told her she needed to have all her children innoculated against various diseases like cholorea, typhus and yellow fever - thirteen in all. If that did not stop one to think about what it was they were getting into, she was told to take her three children, all under the age of eight, by train, a distance of close to 2,000 miles across the entire United States to catch a ship in Fort Lewis, Washington just south of Tacoma for Japan.
The rail trip took a week. While there were some majestic views to be seen, particularly in the Rocky Mountains, keeping up after three very active children, had Frances very happy to see bed time. After the week on the train, the family had a thirteen day voyage across the Pacific Ocean to look foward to. If that were not a formidable enough task for a young mother, throw in an unexpected typhoon that caught the ship in its grips for a few days and then the knowledge that North Korea had invaded South Korea and all American troops in Japan were expected to be a part of the effort to push them back. Lookouts were posted on the ships decks to observe for any enemy fighters that may want to take advantage of sinking the last ship to carry U. S. Army dependents to Japan until the issue was settled.
Can you imagine the relief when Frances met her husband on the dock at Yokohama? The family spent a few days together in the Yokohama area and then headed south to the southern island of Kyushu where Major Moran was assigned as a Superintendent of a rail operation.
The family was placed in a 23 room house with nine servants in Kurume about 20 miles outside of Fukuoka the largest city in Kyushu and where John Moran worked at the Hakata train station. The home had a large estate complete with a concrete swimming pool. It was filled by diverting a stream into the pool, filling it and then letting the stream go back to normal. This meant when you first got into the pool there were going to be things in it besides you and they weren't all fish. Things like freshwater crabs, eels, salamanders and a snake or two had to be cleared from the pool before anyone felt comfortable. Of course this was learned the hard way.
There were large or at least long snakes, spiders as big as a women's hand and plenty of lizards on the grounds. At night the children could see nature's game played out on the large screened porch where they preferred to sleep so as to take advantage of a breeze that seemed to be there every night.
School was something of an ordeal. The children had to be gotten up very early for an hour or more ride to school at Itazuke Air Force Base. When they got out of school they had to ride for the hour, hour and a half back to the house. Sometimes equipment failure or traffic problems would get them home very late. When they got home there was no one to play with but themselves.
The servants were very helpful and nice. The caretaker of the property, called "Poppasan", was a carpenter. He handcrafted an elaborate wooden swing set for the children to play on. This was not just an ordinary swing set with ropes and seats hung from a tree. Poppasan crafted a large "A" frame from which hung a horse, a chair with a protective bar, and a see-saw type of device.
The property belonged to a wealthy Japanese family and it was confiscated by the Americans for the duration of the occupation. The servants were the same as those who had served the owner. All was not perfect in this paradise.
The unexpected Korean War took John Moran away from his family for long periods of time and there were threats made by Communists against various families. One of these families were the Morans, no doubt because of their isolation in the rural area. The decision was made to move the Morans. In their place a platoon of Military Police were stationed in the Kurume home. The family was moved closer in to Fukuoka proper into another wealthy family's home that also came with servants. Mrs. Moran took her favorite servants from Kurume with her. She became so involved with one of these a young woman by the name of Sakai that when the time came for the Morans to return to the United States, she attempted to bring Sakai with her. Sakai was her right hand, she spent most of her time caring for the children for as you will see, Frances was needed elsewhere.
Japan at this time was a conquered nation. Only five years earlier they found them selves surrendering to a nation they had been taught to hate. There were still signs of the war all about. Bomb craters were everywhere. Unexploded ordinance was always turning up. When they first got there the Morans observed that the few cars that were running were 1938 models with some sort of boiler on the back.
The people wore traditional Japanese costumes, kimonas and gitas(wodden clog shoes). Working men would go about in g-strings and whole communities would take baths together. It took a little getting used to. Most of the Japanese people were friendly and almost all were polite, but there were a few who were still bitter. During one period of tension the children were escorted to school in box type ambulances by military police. There were several incidents where someone tried to kill one of the Moran children whenever they strayed from their protected (by guards) estate. Gerard, the oldest, was shot at two times and almost run over another time.
As you read in the section about Major Moran, the first year in Japan was not good. The United States was losing the effort in Korea, barely able to hold on to a small perimeter at Pusan. Then came General MacArthur's dramatic Inchon invasion and the tide turned and the American and UN forces were able to push the North Korean army right out of its own country. The tide changed again with the surprise attack by the Chinese Communists until at last things fell into a stalemate of sorts around the 38th parallel.
All the while John Moran was working long hours as was Frances. She became a Gray Lady and spent long days and nights at the 118 Station Hospital that was filled to more than capacity with the many American wounded from the original push by the North Koreans and the later the Chinese Communist invasion. Halls and even large closets were used to house the wounded.
The Moran house became a kind of refuge for the surgical team at the hospital. It was were they could go and let off some steam and relax when the opportunity was presented. Freed of the cooking and cleaning because of the servants, Frances Moran was able to devote her attention to insuring these fine people always enjoyed themselves. Sometimes this did not always work out. One time, the salad oil was somehow switched with ammonia and all the guests got deathly sick, literally. That dinner party was not one that anyone soon forgot.
Another welcome guest at the Moran's were the Catholic priests, chaplains, and missionaries. Those passing through and those stationed in the area could always find a meal and hospitality at the Moran home.
One time Mrs. Moran was helping to push a car up a hill to a landing when it suddenly came back and rolled over her. She was knocked out cold. The people with her thought she was dead. When they were moving her to a more comfortable spot she revived, got up albeit, slowly and sorely, and said something funny that had everyone in stitches.
When the war had stalled into a prolonged truce and prolonged peace talks, Major Moran was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Mrs. Moran received a commendation from President Truman for her efforts with the Gray Ladies.
The children were always important in the Moran household. They were always allowed to join any conversation and otherwise speak their mind no matter how trivial, trying or inane the remark may have been. The Morans decided to have another child, but to have it, Frances needed to have some repairs. Her good friends in the surgery department of the hospital performed several operations that would enable her to become pregnant, and pregnant she became. The baby was not cooperative and did not seem to want to be born. Frances Moran drove a jeep to get around and she went out of her way to hit pot holes in hopes of inducing labor.
Finally, at 35 and at what she claimed was the tenth month of her pregnancy, she gave birth to a daughter, Margaret NMI Moran. The initials were military for no middle initial. Her birth certificate is more in the form of a military document than a civilian birth certificate.
Colonel Moran was given orders for his new assignment just before the baby was born. the family waited six weeks so the baby could travel and embarked on the next phase of their great adventure. The Army had told them they could pick their assignment and gave them three choices to pick, that is- there first choice, a second choice and an alternate choice. They picked Fort Eustis, Virginia first; Fort McPherson, Georgia second and the Presidio outside San Francisco, California as there alternate choice. Naturally the Army sent them to Salt Lake City, Utah!
When the family landed in California, it was like coming back to a different place. The music the American public was listening to was much different than what it had been when they had left. Radio was now in the background with television dominating American household's personal entertainment. Movie theaters were different with something called Cinemascope. The children were all wearing coon skin hats and doing rotating "hula hoops" on their hips.
Salt Lake City is Mormon Country and very family oriented. The family lived in Evergreen, a small community in the suburbs. It was just the right environment for the baby and the children who were now 10, 11 and 12. John started to learn how to barbecue outdoors and Frances became close friends with Maxine "Mike" Sharples next door. From John's work they were friends with Jim and Til Needham, Marian and Paul Naughton, Pauline and Steve Lameka and C. D. Vance. Quite a few of the people from Japan went out of their way to pass through Salt Lake City to call on the Morans on their way to their new assignment.
The biggest surprise of the Mormon experience was the news that Frances was pregnant again. When they had the operations in Japan so they could have one more baby, they had no idea another would come along. They were a bit worried about her having a baby at 37, but Robert John Moran was born healthy and mother was fine. John was a proud father at 44!
Though they had five children it was like two different sets. Moya, Jackie and Gerard was said like a litany for so many years, they ranged from 10 - 13; and now there was a new litany to be said to include the babies, Maggi and Bobby.
When it came time to leave Utah, Frances and the younger children went on ahead on commercial transportation and visited the family, John and Gerard drove across the country stopping in Marion, Indiana to visit Frances' brother James "Jimmy" Monagle and his family. While there, Gerard got hit by a car while riding a bicycle with his cousin Dickie. He was thrown over the car but wasn't seriously hurt, but it did put a scare into everyone. John and Gerard continued on with their trip after a doctor checked him out and released him.
From the mountain view in the background and the friendly community atmosphere of Utah the Moran next found themselves in the bowels of Brooklyn, New York living in a sixth floor apartment of an adequate but not very nice tenement building. It was on the periphery of Fort Hamilton so they could withdraw into it when needed, but it was depressing to live in the tenement. The kids walked to school and every day it was an ordeal with the taunting and bullying from the kids who didn't think very much of school. It wasn't that the Moran or even army kids were particularly targeted, all the children were hassled for their lunch, lunch money or just intimidated. Trying to learn in school was another difficult task as there were many disruptions every few minutes by those who wanted to be out on the streets. The movie "Black Board Jungle" which came out a little after this time, reflected accurately the situation in Brooklyn, New York's inner city schools.
Despite the problems, life in Brooklyn was not all bad. Through the Army, tickets could be had for major stage shows and television shows in New York City. There were also tickets to the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1955 both teams captured the pennants in their respective leagues and it was an exciting, all New York World Series which Brooklyn won 4-3.
Some of the old gang from Japan still came to visit the Morans. The bond of their time together in such a difficult period obviously was very strong. The family was close enough to Boston, that several trips were made to see both families. The tie to Boston always remained strong through out all the many years away from there. John sent money back home to help support Ma and Rita. There was always a good amount of correspondence between Sister Joseph Bernadette and the Morans. This was something that went back to childhood years when Mary Moran, who would become Sister Joseph Bernadette, and John Moran were still at home at 35 and then 58 Harborview Street. They were a mutual admiration society. They both tended to get after the work rather than spend the energy avoiding it as did some of the other Moran children when they were young. This meant they worked together a lot. She used to call him her "Mayor." Mary was the oldest girl in the house and his ally as he evolved as the leader of the household assuming many of the duties his father was unable to perform becuse of health problems. Sister Joseph Bernadette, because she of her willingness to keep up the correspondence, became the link between the far flung Morans and the goings on in Boston.
Between assignments, whenever possible, the Morans took furlough from the army and visited with the families. They would get caught up on all the family news since their last visit or Sister JB's last letter. Visits were made to Dorchester, Brookline and Quincy where Frances' sister Alice lived. Most of John's sisters and brothers, except Joe, Sister Joseph Bernadette and Kae, stayed in the Dorchester area so that all could be visited conveniently. Joe was in the Navy and then the Air Force and was away frequently. Sister JB was usually in the Boston area but her order frequently had her in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Falmouth, Massachusetts or other locations were they had facilities. Kae married a Dorchester neighbor, Jimmy Sullivan, and they had a career in the U. S. Air Force that had them trooping about the world as well.
Back in Brooklyn things began to get better. Fortunately, the Moran family was able to move onto Fort Hamilton after several months and the children were bussed to school and back. The home in which they lived was over 100 years old and had three floors, the fort had a very large parade ground that was just across the street from the house. The fort provided all the social needs of the family young and old.
After Fort Hamilton, Colonel Moran was assigned what is known as a hardship tour of 18 months overseas without dependents. He went to Iceland and the family moved back to Massachusetts, to Hingham, Massachusetts close enough to visit family, but far enough to have privacy. The kids were very grateful to be taken out of the New York school system that was run to some extent by the thugs and slugs in the classroom and were back in classrooms where the kids wanted to learn.
Frances was on her own again. The fact that she picked an out of the way place like Hingham meant she liked it that way to some extent. She was a strong woman who had survived living at her mother's with her kids and with her sister and her kids, traveling across the whole United States with three kids in tow, a typhoon at sea, while possible enemy planes were trying to sink you, the Korean War, foreign travel, the Mormons, two late in life pregnancies, and most recently ...Brooklyn. She was in no mood for well meaning advice from people who did not have a clue about her life. She did get to see a lot of people from the old days in Brookline and Dorchester. Everyone had settled down and married and of course there the many relatives from her and John's families. Frances and her children did just fine. They were all military dependents familiar with the drill and all were becoming quite self-sufficient except of course for Maggi and Bobby. They were still recruits and barely out of diapers.
There was a scare, Frances began to have some problems and the cancer word was mentioned. Colonel Moran came back from Iceland while she was operated on. They removed her thyroid and pronounced her OK. She had a large scar around her neck and for a while wore high necked dresses or scarves with other dresses. eventually she did not care about it and dressed naturally.
Before you knew it, the time had come for another assignment this time to another foreign land ....TEXAS. Though it was hard to tell at first, Texas proved to be the high social point of their lives eclipsing even the events of Fukuoka. Colonel Moran was assigned duty as Transportation Officer for Fort Hood, Texas one of the Army's largest installations. The fort is located near Killeen, Texas. The family knew things would be different the day they arrived - the Catholic church was burned to the ground.
Texas was also very flat and hot, it would take getting used to. John Moran as a senior staff officer on the largest post in the United States Army had a position that required a lot of entertaining and to be entertained. The Moran's did most of theirs barbecue style in the backyard while the formal affairs were held in the Officer's Club just two blocks away. The big kids were in high school and junior high school in Killeen and Maggi and Bobby were still at home not old enough to go to school.
The clerics were still among the Moran's friends who enjoyed their hospitality especially Father John White and Father Eastman, Father Brady "Frisco Jack", Father Brennan, Father Underwood. Other friends were literally too many to name but there were some special friends, Bob Wyanski, Alan and Mary Helen Head, "Knobby" Clem, Mark and Barby Hughes whom they had met when stationed in New York and many people from the world of the NDTA, both military and civilian.
It was quite the life for both of them. He was elected President of the Central Texas NDTA, was making speeches here and there and considered a celebrity in the area. Frances played her role to the hilt with all the teas, cocktail parties that entailed. Other than that time in the hospital in Japan, Frances never formally worked outside the home. Of course as an officer's wife she was on this or that committee of the Officer's Wive's Club and she did find time to do some charity work. How she was able to do this was a miracle because being a military wife and mother of the Moran household was a full time job.
Long before women's lib, she was a proud and liberated lady with her own individuality and personality. She was not the passive, docile wife and mother just being supportive to the needs of her family. She was that, but she would also be leading the show or parade and you'd better run and catch up. When accepting an assignment she took it on with all her vigor. As is often the case in volunteer and charity work, she found anyone to help hard to find. But she would find help even if it was her own kids. Once focused on the task at hand she did not veer from the plan. She once told me she had never been wrong, except once in 1954, but then later found out she was right then too.
In 1959, Colonel Moran was re-assigned again. The family was getting a prime assignment overseas - France. There was one difference for Frances Moran. One member of the family was not going. Gerard, the oldest was going to go to college. Frances had made every effort to see him into West Point. Colonel John Moran was able to get a Presidential appointment for Gerard, but he was unable to pass the medical because of a technicality. The family then tried to enroll him in a Catholic college, Saint Edward's, in Austin. Gerard did go to college in Austin, but to the University of Texas. Arrangements were made for him to be able to come and visit the family during summers. Frances had some Jewish mother in her, it was very hard for her to let go of her children and not be in their lives.
In France the family lived for a while in a hotel before getting a beautiful deal on the hunter's pavilion at the De La Nage Chateau. That summer, Gerard came over and joined the family. Frances was a little concerned when he left, because he drove alone to Bremerhaven. She feared he might get into trouble, or meet a girl. But all was well, and he was back in school in Austin, Texas when the fall semester began.
The last day of 1960, the Morans threw a big New Year's Eve party at the pavilion. There were friends there from Japan, New York, Boston even Texas as well as their new friends made in Orleans, France.
In 1962 the family was in government housing at 1387 Cite Marichal Foch in Olivet, France just outside of Orleans. Gerard had been over to see the family the last two summers and now Jackie was starting college in Munich at the University of Maryland branch there. Moya had also left home, she had graduated from high school in France and elected to not go to college. She was working in the Officer's Club in Verdun, France. The summer of 1962, everyone came together at the Moran's quarters. They then went on a two week vacation to Sitges, Spain.
When the vacation was over, the kids all went different ways. Gerard left earlier than he needed - to try and find a girl he knew in Germany. She was a Sudtenlander, Gerard was obviously in love and Mom was worried he would not find his way back to school. He did. Moya went back to Verdun and Jackie to Munich. The house seemed to be missing more than a little with only Maggi and Bobby home.
There were some Cold War incidents while the family was in Europe but nothing like Japan. They became pieces in the fabric of the French posting and made good stories later. The most intense incident was the Algerian Insurrection that had Algerians attempting to execute acts of sabotage in France in support of Algerian independence from France. There were armed French soldiers everywhere and martial law was put into effect several times. There were no incidents in Orleans.
In May, 1963, the army re-assigned Colonel Moran back to the United States. This time they send him to the state of his preference, Texas. The army gave indications that they would ask Colonel Moran to retire. That was something he hoped to convince was not in their best interest. The family finds itself in San Antonio, Texas. Moya and Jackie are both back in the home again. Gerard is still at the University of Texas.
Frances gives her husband support in his disappointment over the army not letting him continue his career. it is difficult to understand, what with the many decorations, commendations,and other forms of appreciation the army has shown over the years for the quality of his work. The Army does retire John Moran and his unique service number 040004.
One of the reasons John and Frances had selected Fort Sam Houston, Texas out of the choices given was so they could network with the many people in the transportation world in the Fort Hood/Killeen area for a civilian job that would maximize the talents of John Moran. it does not work out that way and Frances encourages her husband as best she can in his job search.
Meantime the first born child, Gerard is graduating, getting married and reporting for duty in the United States Army as a result of the ROTC program at the University of Texas. Since he was in the Transportation Corps in ROTC, Frances' fear that he may get caught in the growing maelstrom in Viet Nam are somewhat allayed since it is a non-combat assignment. Nevertheless she worries. For the moment at least, she can breathe easier as Gerard is assigned to Camp Drum, New York.
John finally finds work, but it isn't until nearly a year had passed and it is in a new city, Dallas, Texas, but it is in transportation. For the first time in their 23 years of marriage, the Morans buy a house and begin to put down roots.
Frances is bothered by a stomach problem and she begins to lose weight. It's a nagging condition but it does not seem serious. Also living in Dallas is an old friend, Jim Needham. He was a friend in Utah. His wife had died and he married a civilian in the U. S. Army Transportation Corps, L'Rata "L" Lowe. The two couples become almost every weekend visitors to one another's houses. The Needhams had a lovely backyard with a pool, so unless John Moran was barbecuing on his back porch that had a special cooker built into the backside of the living room fireplace, they were at the Needhams.
People still dropped in from there various posting through the years, Japan and Fort Hood friends getting special welcomes. There was always something going on in the Moran home. Either a visitor, a party, a card game, a kids project or getting ready for one of these. If there wasn't, then the Moran's went over to the Needhams.
The stomach problems got steadily worse for Frances Moran. Though she was going regularly to a military doctor at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, her condition continued to worsen. Carswell was about a two hour round trip ride. Add in the time it took waiting to see the doctor and since she was there, Frances would also go to the base commissary and PX for shopping, a whole day was shot. The doctor diagnosed Frances condition as colitis. When she began coming back from Fort Worth without having done the shopping because she was too tired, everyone began to worry.
Moya was working as a Medical Secretary in a pathologist's office and convinced her mother to see one of the doctors using the hospital her doctor used. Just hearing what he did over the phone as Frances described her symptoms the doctor had her admitted to a hospital that night and scheduled for an operation the next day. They found a large tumor in the stomach area and the lab analysis showed the tumor to be malignant and that the cancer was spreading through her body. She continued to decline. She was brought home and made as comfortable as possible. Her daughter Jackie emerged as the principal care giver. Taking care of all the private and difficult tasks with love and care. Gerard lived in Houston working with NASA and taking care of his own growing family. He came to Dallas in connection with some business and visited with his mother. It was the first time in some time that all the children were together with her at one time. That night, February 10, 1968 she quietly passed away, it was if she held on to see all her children together just one more time, and then having had that simple wanting filled, she left this life.
Her funeral, in Dallas at Saint Pius X church, was well attended and prayer cards and condolences came from those who could not come. From those in Boston, from both families, and from the many friends both had John and Frances made in all those places that had touched their lives. She was only fifty-one years old when she died. After the Funeral Mass, the family and a few of the many friends drove to the Veteran's Cemetery in San Antonio for the burial, more friends appeared who remembered her from the army days particularly the Clem family.
Her loss was greatly felt by all her family. John lost a wife and life-long partner; Gerard, Moya and Jackie lost a mother and friend but Maggi and Bob lost Mom.
Frances Marie (Monagle) Moran embraced life, she was a leader and a fighter. She loved her children. I believe the one thing she found most difficult in her life, was letting her children go as they got older, she wanted always to be there for them to teach and help and spare them the problems her experience provided. Yet, she also wanted each to be strong and self sufficient, it was a paradox based on love.
In the case of Maggi and Bob, she fought to beat or make the cancer retreat so she could extend her life until they were older. They were the reason she fought as long as she did and she did not go willingly when the time came. She did live long enough to see grandchildren, Gerard had two children before 1968. All the grandchildren and their parents lost much when she left us.
She lives on in what she was able to give her children and through them to their children: independence, will, openess, strength of character, gab, perseverance, love, tenacity, pursuit of knowledge, and an understanding to stop and smell the flowers.
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