Dad’s Letters # 05

In Letter # 05 Dad continues with his replies about my questions regarding his sister Elise. He began his replies in his Letter # 03 and then in Letter # 04 he explained in depth his relationship to Elise and Fran and their friends in the St Emydius Doran Club and in Company C of the League of the Cross Cadets.

Dad1994 letter05p1
Dad’s Letter # 05, page 1
Dad1994 letter05p2
Dad’s Letter # 05, page 2
Dad1994 letter05p3
Dad’s Letter # 05, page 3

Notes on Dad’s 1994 Letter # 5

1. Elise and Mom. Let’s start these notes off with a photo from Elise and Fran’s wedding:

The Pendergast Wedding Party. Elise and Fran were married in 1938. Here they are with their matron of honor and best man in front of 101 Westwood. That’s Fran’s best friend Gerald Haggerty on the right. The house across the street directly above my Mom is 112 Westwood where we lived from 1940 through 1952. The fact that Elise chose her sister-in-law to be her matron of honor speaks volumes as to the closeness of their relationship.

2. Where they lived. Fran lived with his family on Urbano Drive in Ingleside Terrace before he married Elise. Valdez is in the Western Highlands north of Westwood Park. Monterey Blvd formed the border between the two neighborhoods.
3. Elise ironing. No, I remember Elise ironing a lot. These were days when I asked to go play with my Pendergast cousins or when Elise was taking care of some of us while Mom was busy with babies. And I distinctly remembered her ironing in her kitchen. I also remember Mom ironing in our kitchen. In fact, my earliest memory is of Mom and Nana in the kitchen. Mom was ironing and both were listening to the radio and both were crying. I was told later that they were listening to the radio broadcast that FDR had just died. Oh, and I have many fond memories of that little tv! The family majority also decided what to watch on tv in the living room. Anyone who would rather watch something else (usually just me) had to watch on the little tv in the kitchen. During the first year of our marriage our Oakland apartment was burglarized. It just happened to be on the day Warren Wells, a star receiver for the Oakland Raiders, moved out of his apartment next door. Well’s balcony was directly opposite ours. Our brand new console tv was stolen and we borrowed the little tv to keep us company until we could afford to buy another one.
4. Elise and Fran at our house. I remember visiting 101 Westwood a lot when we were growing up but I don’t remember Elise and Fran being at our house unless we were celebrating someone’s baptism or First Holy Communion or my folks were hosting a No-Name party.

Elise and Fran after dinner at 101 Westwood sometime in the 1960s.

5. Father Joe and Delphine. The Kenney family consisted of two priests (Fathers Ed and Joe), two nuns (Mother Loretta and Sister Delphine) and one non-religious (Delphine). Father Joe and Delphine were frequent dinner guests at both 101 and 112 Westwood / 2 Upland and were very popular with the younger generation.

Dinner at 2 Upland, 1953. Marie, Father Joe, Elise, me, Dad and Nana Kenny.


Delphine Kenny between me and my cousin Jack. My Mom, my cousin Maureen and my sister Betty are in back.

6. Elise’s cats. There was always a cat in the Pendergast household when we were growing up in the 40s and 50s. Maureen left two cats for her Mom when she moved to Hawaii. We seldom saw one who always preferred to hide under a bed whenever Elise had visitors to her San Mateo cottage. Our daughters loved to pet the other cat who was large and furry and friendly.
7. After Fran died. Fran died of emphysema on May 31, 1967. His friend Gerald Haggerty died a few months later on October 28th.
8. Saturday Mass. Mom and Dad began to boycott St Emydius in the late 1960s because they did not approve of the way the priests were running things there. So they started to go to Saturday Mass at nearby parish churches. St Cecelia’s Church is on Vicente not too far from Johnson’s Tamales. Dad still supported his parish financially, however, writing out a check to St Emydius every month even though he stopped attending Mass there.
9. Johnson’s Tamales: This famous establishment was located on Vicente not too far from Dan and Joan Murphy’s Ulloa home. Dad often drove one or more of us with him to pick up our enchilada dinners. And he would bring our own Pyrex baking dish. If you didn’t bring your own container you would have to settle for their newspaper wrap.
10. Elise looking under the bed for a burglar. I heard this story many times, mostly from Elise herself. She would always laugh and end her story by stating that she often wondered what she would do if she really found someone hiding under her bed!
11. Elise moving to San Mateo. In 1983 my cousin Tom acquired the cottage next door to his home on Quince Street in San Mateo and moved his mother there.
12. The Tauck Tours. I inherited all of Dad’s photo albums, including those reserved for their eleven Tauck Tours between 1979 and 1988. Someday I will scan the photos and post them online. Dad came down with throat cancer in 1989 and Mom began showing signs of dementia soon afterwards and so they stopped going on their Tauck tours.
13. Elise’s backyard parties. Elise started the tradition of summer backyard parties after she moved to San Mateo. She would always invite her Dwyer relatives as well as some of her in-laws. Dick and Jane O’Connor would usually be in attendance as well as my godmother Evelyn Barry. And the Jim Pendergasts would always be there and Dorothy would often bring her mother along. Elise also invited many No-Name Club friends.
14. Maureen and Jerry and Hawaii. Maureen and her husband Jerry Norris moved from San Francisco to Oahu in 1978 and their older son John still lives there with his wife Renata and their daughter Elise. Their younger son Tom moved to Washington state shortly after marrying Megyn a few years ago. Maureen and Jerry divorced several years ago and Jerry remarried. Maureen died in 2008. We saw Jerry at each of his son’s weddings. Jerry died in 2015, ten months after Tom and Megyn wed.
15. Fran’s family. Fran had two older brothers, Jim and Ferris. Jim worked at the US Mint with my Dad. He and his wife Dorothy and their daughters Beth (Feeney) and Jean (O’Connell) lived in West Portal and we saw them often at family events. Ferris married Theresa Paquette, sister of Morris. We saw them and their son Nick a lot, too, as well as Nick’s wife Joan. Fran also had a cousin named Jim Pendergast and I remember this Jim and his wife Sis and their daughter Jane Ann. Tom’s daughter Jill took over the cottage after Elise left for her nursing home in Redwood City and in 1993 resumed the annual garden party.

This is the last of three letters devoted to my Dads sister Elise. Next week in Dad’s Letter # 06 we will read about his favorite places and how he got there.


Published by crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.

One thought on “Dad’s Letters # 05

  1. It was a great idea to present all these questions to your dad about his personal life. He was very kind indeed to answer them all in such great detail. Also, the photos confirm the Chinese saying: A picture is worth a thousand words.

    Liked by 1 person

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