Monday, September 04, 2006

Voices from the Other Side


It's obvious that the nights are lengthening and Autumn is approaching because I seem to be drawn to reflecting on old friends who've crossed over. Not necessarily friends who've left recently, either. Raven died in 1986 and came to mind -- well, he frequently comes to mind, mine and the minds of many others -- because his and our Shadowfax was dying. Ann Turner died in the '80s and Judy Foster in 2000. When Corby and I visited Ireland in 2004, our friend, linguist Jim Duran (Séamas Ó Direáin), now living in Galway, told us of the death of my old friend Padraigin McGillicuddy.

I have no photo of Padraigin. I can find nothing on the Web except references to her old radio show, "A Terrible Beauty," on KPFA. What I do have is fond memories.

Padraigin used to live in a huge old Victorian in Oakland, said to have been the childhood home of Gertrude Stein. She who is said to have said of Oakland, "There is no there there." I can't say what Oakland was like in the late 19th century when Gertrude lived there, but I find plenty there now.

Padraigin had a son named Sean Peter who died tragically some years ago, by his own hand. Our mutual friend, harper Sharon Devlin Folsom tells me that Padraigin's daughter, Kerry McGillicuddy, is an athlete, perhaps a phys ed teacher, a personal trainer or a coach. A Google search netted me the information that she used to be the recreation director of LYRIC and that she recently has been a women's basketball referee.

I'm mentioning all this detail because two people have contacted me about Padraigin. One has some family photos she'd like to give to Kerry. The other would like permission to reprint material from Padraigin's booklet, The Patriarch Revealed: A Feminist View of St. Patrick (1981). And speaking of the departed, another old Institute of Celtic Studies friend, Ken Ruffner, did the artwork on the cover and inside the book.

In the meantime, I've tried contacting another contributor to the book, Bob Callahan of Before Columbus Foundation and the New College Irish Studies Program to seek permission and to see if he can help me locate Kerry. If you have any information about Padraigin or Kerry, please contact me.

2 comments:

silverbonn said...

Dear "Broomstick,"
RE: Padraign... "The Patriarch Revealed..." was not ONLY a booklet, but a rado broadcast on her Celtic Music Radio Show.
Truly one of the most marvelous pieces I've evr heard aired on the radio, if you'll google the same, you'll see someone put a complete transcript of the broadcast (KPFA/KPFK March 17, 1980/'81), saying s/he ALSO has a tape of the original broadcast & thought "maybe I'll post it, one day."
A friend once tried to locate it by calling KPFA but was told they'd no record of it. Perhaps KPFK has it archived?
I've been trying to find a recording of it since I first heard it, that St. Pat's Day, so many years ago for, interspersed w/ magnificent music, quotations from the original Gaelic as well as the dramatic reading of the piece itself, it was truly one of the highlight of my (Irish feminist) life.
I'm in NM now and am unable to continue my hunt for the radio broadcast. Perhaps *you'll* have "the Luck o'the Irish" & be able to find it (or the original writer of the post w/ the copy of the recording, still present on the Net)?
As he said, it was so beautifully done, it must NOT be lost to Herstory!
Best of "luck" in all your endeavors!
Silver

Broomstick Chronicles said...

Some updates since posting this five years ago: The woman who had the family photos has been put in touch with someone in the family. Kerry sent me a postcard from Ireland where she lives.

I do have one cassette recording of an interview that Padraigin broadcast but did not conduct. It's the late poet Elsa Gidlow, who lived in Druid Heights outside of Sausalito, CA, with Ella Young. An amazing woman about whom I know too little, Ella is the author of Celtic Wonder Tales (usually marketed to children and possibly a Dover title). She was one of the founders of the Celtic Studies program at UC-Berkeley and she may have left Ireland because things got hot with respect to her alleged involvement with the IRA. She lived for a time among the literati at Big Sur, CA. I'm eager to get the cassette transferred to a digital audio format, since I know two people who are working on biographies of Ella Young.

Also, around Samhain one year when the SF Bay Area-based Institute of Celtic Studies was active, Padraigin, Sharon Devlin Folsom, and I recited Sharon's "The Chant for the Morrígan" in three voices. This piece appears in Padraigin's booklet.

KPFA is currently undergoing some unwelcome, to me, changes, and I don't expect much help in locating archived broadcasts. They had no record of the Elsa Gidlow-Ella Young interview, even though the way I came to have it was because Padraigin offered it as an incentive to subscribing to KPFA. (I generally do, and if there's a pledge gift, well, I renew that way.)