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Margaret O'Hanlon Doody

by Patricia Carroll

This photo, taken in Brooklyn, is of my grandmother, Margaret O'Hanlon Doody (1870 (est.) -1945), with seven of her eight children, and a young woman she took into her family.

My grandmother's glasses hung round her neck on a cord she made from a large ball of twine. She washed them under running water at the kitchen sink and dried them with a striped dishtowel kept only for that purpose.  She believed she looked much more intelligent with her glasses on and that no one could guess she never graduated from high school.


She sat in a kitchen nook surrounded with books on gardening, cooking, history, romance novels and several pair of glasses.  The frames of one pair were embedded with rhinestones, and my grandfather called them her glittery glasses.  He insisted she had them on the first time he noticed her at the library.


Nana had a habit of putting her glasses face down on the lenses, even though Baba scolded her that they would become scratched. When she left the room, he would tiptoe to the table and turn the glasses over.


If Nana noticed, she never mentioned it.


When she died in her reading chair, Baba kissed her and removed the glasses from around her neck, placing them face up on the table next to her.


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