Seeing that it is Good Friday.

All Good Fridays have their own story to tell but I recall 1978 as one of our more unusual occurrences.

The McGann family had at that stage all fled the family home with John married outside Kildare since 1966. Mike was in Los Angeles since 1964, Brid had joined him in 1974 and I was on a 3 year temporary posting to North Borneo.

Mother, benefiting from my unmarried status as an airline employee enjoyed the privilege of staff travel. Mike and I came back for Christmas 1977 and were leaving to return on 29 Dec 1977. Mother took a sudden notion to head off with Mike to Los Angeles and tickets etc were duly arranged.

In mid Feb 1978 Aer Lingus staff served strike notice and airline all but ceased to operate. Being out of sight out of mind I was not unduly concerned as my next visit would be at least 6 months hence. However the Department of Social Welfare had its own rules and among them was that a widow’s contributory pension could not go beyond 13 weeks without collection. Thus mother had serious need to get back before the Friday following Good Friday and decided to leave Los Angeles on Holy Thursday.

Trans World Airlines agreed that mother could travel Los Angeles New York with them and on to Dublin if Aer Lingus not operating. However on arrival in New York TWA insisted Aer Lingus were operating and to use them.

Aer Lingus used a different terminal and mother made her way to the International terminal only to find all Aer Lingus shutters were down and no one there. Now a bit confused when a side door opened and out came an Aer Lingus crew who had just landed. Predicaments were explained and senior hostess said, hop on the bus, and come on to our hotel as 3 or 4 will not be using their rooms. Tap on door next morning and invited for breakfast and advised group heading for ceremonies in St Patricks on 5th Avenue at 12.00 if she would like to attend which of course she did.

All went well; she caught the flight that evening and arrived in Dublin on Sat morning.

In the meantime I had been contacted and arranged for friend to meet her from the Friday morning flight. He contacted me to say TWA flight had arrived, no mother but 2 big suitcases with her name were on the flight. Usual panic with me phoning round the world, time zones were Dublin on GMT, Borneo 7 hours ahead and Los Angeles 9 hours behind.

On Saturday evening I got message, your mothers bags are gone, no more info. Phones in Ireland were very scarce but at 4.30 am on Sunday in Borneo, 9.30 pm in Newbridge, I chanced phoning the coin box outside number 1663 in Pairc Muire. After about 8 rings a voice said hello and I asked if any light in third house on the right. Answer was yes, gentleman knocked on door, mother took call, said all in the world was rosy go back to bed.

She was unaware of any fuss, and in fact her only complaint to me was that CIE would not let her use her bus pass on the Airport/Busarus direct service. When she got off the bus in Newbridge she called over 2 youngsters who were happy to carry her cases home for 50 pence each.

I never traced who the Good Samaritan was in New York and I was requested to forget it as it was during a strike.

The more enjoyable outcome was a few years later when another Newbridge man who was married and working at the Airport met me for his first time and complained I was getting him hassle from his mother.

The final comment had been he went to Pairc Muire on Easter Monday and his mothers comment was:

You would not get me a ticket to see my sick aunt in Birmingham and Mrs McGann can fly to New York for Good Friday ceremonies in St Patrick’s cathedral on Fifth Avenue.