Search engine for discovering works of Art, research articles, and books related to Art and Culture
ShareThis
Javascript must be enabled to continue!

My nanny's brooch

View through Europeana Collections
I've brough this brooch, which was my nanny's brooch. I grew up in the United States, in a tight-knit Irish American community in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. All the branches of my family were Irish, coming from 8 counties in all 4 provinces. It was give to me when my nanny (grandmother) died. She was very close to me. She adored fashion, particularly loved Coco Chanel who's fashion she loved, and also because she was a feminist. "Coco liberated us," she would say, "she put us in trousers". Her brooches were the things that were unique about her. She would say that she could only be dressed well if she was wearing a brooch. When she died, my brothers and sisters and I were all left a brooch. This year, I finally went to Paris for first time (I'd been trying for years to get there). I went to House of Chanel, wearing the brooch, for nanny. Nanny always wanted to come to Ireland, but it was beyond their reach financially. The airfare was very expensive at the time. For their 50th anniversary, in the 1980s, all their children pitched in to buy her and my seanathair (grandfather) a trip to Ireland. Their anniversary was in September and the tickets were for a trip in March, around both of their birthdays. However, Tommy, my seanathair, got ill and could not go. Nanny wouldn't travel without him, so they gifted the trip to their friends instead. Nanny's son, my uncle, later brought her on trips all over the world, but she would never go to Ireland. She wouldn't go without Tommy. She would say, "we were always meant to go together". She died without ever coming to Ireland. When I moved here to Ireland from the United State, I decided I would bring her here, through her brooch and winter coat. When my family left Ireland, it was during the famine and the 20 years after it. When they left, they couldn't vote here. Being able to vote in the US was very important to them. They were instrumental in the Molly Maguires and the United Miners Labour Movement. They instilled in us a sense that voting is act of civic duty. Both my nanny and seanathair were poll-workers all through their lives, which they did up until just before they died. They had a strong sense of social justice. When I went to vote for first time, my parents took me to breakfast to celebrate and then I talked about it in school. I went to my grandparent's house, where they were waiting to hear all about it and told grandfather too. They were so happy and proud. Nanny took me out for lunch. When I came to live here, I was active in Democrats Abroad. I worked on Hillary Clinton's first campaign, and later supported Obama. For first time ever, in that election of 2008, there was an in-person ballot. I worked the polls that day and wore my nanny's brooch the whole time. I also wore the brooch to the US Inauguration Ball here in Dublin in 2008, and again when working on Hillary's campaign in 2016. On election night in November 2016, when Donald Trump was elected, I was photographed crying while wearing the brooch by the Irish Times at an event. With this brooch, throughout all these elections and political events, which were so important to her, my nanny is here in spirit.
Title: My nanny's brooch
Description:
I've brough this brooch, which was my nanny's brooch.
I grew up in the United States, in a tight-knit Irish American community in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
All the branches of my family were Irish, coming from 8 counties in all 4 provinces.
It was give to me when my nanny (grandmother) died.
She was very close to me.
She adored fashion, particularly loved Coco Chanel who's fashion she loved, and also because she was a feminist.
"Coco liberated us," she would say, "she put us in trousers".
Her brooches were the things that were unique about her.
She would say that she could only be dressed well if she was wearing a brooch.
When she died, my brothers and sisters and I were all left a brooch.
This year, I finally went to Paris for first time (I'd been trying for years to get there).
I went to House of Chanel, wearing the brooch, for nanny.
Nanny always wanted to come to Ireland, but it was beyond their reach financially.
The airfare was very expensive at the time.
For their 50th anniversary, in the 1980s, all their children pitched in to buy her and my seanathair (grandfather) a trip to Ireland.
Their anniversary was in September and the tickets were for a trip in March, around both of their birthdays.
However, Tommy, my seanathair, got ill and could not go.
Nanny wouldn't travel without him, so they gifted the trip to their friends instead.
Nanny's son, my uncle, later brought her on trips all over the world, but she would never go to Ireland.
She wouldn't go without Tommy.
She would say, "we were always meant to go together".
She died without ever coming to Ireland.
When I moved here to Ireland from the United State, I decided I would bring her here, through her brooch and winter coat.
When my family left Ireland, it was during the famine and the 20 years after it.
When they left, they couldn't vote here.
Being able to vote in the US was very important to them.
They were instrumental in the Molly Maguires and the United Miners Labour Movement.
They instilled in us a sense that voting is act of civic duty.
Both my nanny and seanathair were poll-workers all through their lives, which they did up until just before they died.
They had a strong sense of social justice.
When I went to vote for first time, my parents took me to breakfast to celebrate and then I talked about it in school.
I went to my grandparent's house, where they were waiting to hear all about it and told grandfather too.
They were so happy and proud.
Nanny took me out for lunch.
When I came to live here, I was active in Democrats Abroad.
I worked on Hillary Clinton's first campaign, and later supported Obama.
For first time ever, in that election of 2008, there was an in-person ballot.
I worked the polls that day and wore my nanny's brooch the whole time.
I also wore the brooch to the US Inauguration Ball here in Dublin in 2008, and again when working on Hillary's campaign in 2016.
On election night in November 2016, when Donald Trump was elected, I was photographed crying while wearing the brooch by the Irish Times at an event.
With this brooch, throughout all these elections and political events, which were so important to her, my nanny is here in spirit.

Related Results

Brooch
Brooch
"Ilios" (sun). Brooch of the woman costume from Corfu....
Brooch in silver metal decorated with sea scene
Brooch in silver metal decorated with sea scene
Rectangular brooch in silver metal with a rounded top. Around the edge is a border that resembles a frame with small crosses on it. Within the border the brooch is decorated with a...
Woman at the Window
Woman at the Window
The nineteenth century witnessed the evolution of the nuclear family unit—father, mother, and children—into a nexus of bourgeois social life throughout Europe and North America. In...

Back to Top