SynopsisBy SEAN BRENNAN
For 19 years, from 1946 to 1964, Thomas Brennan each year sewed matching Easter outfits for his wife and their 11 children. The family, who lived on the Near West Side and then Oak Park, became quite famous, receiving letters from around the world.
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The Brennan Family was featured in the Tribune with photos and copy as the 13-member family wearing outfits custom-made by Pops Brennan, paraded down Michigan Avenue in an unforgettable tribute. The city took them to their heart and the Brennans became “extended family” to many Tribune readers.
Now, the 10th child, Sean Brennan, has written an unforgettable memoir that will bring back those memories and create some new ones. For the Brennans (even though the boys had to share their beds and even their socks,) was that rarity: a happy family.
You don’t have to be Irish or Irish-American, or raised in Chicago, to appreciate Sean Brennan’s memoir of growing up the son of his Gaelic-speaking, fresh-from- Eire mother, Bridie.
Everyone will love Bridie, who with her husband, Pops, had 11 children – 5 lasses and then 6 lads- all in a sex-sequence coordinated rows. How did they arrange that lineup by sex?
“Flipped the mattress over,” was Pops reply.
The author, Sean was #10 and the Catholic Hospital waived the fee for his birth and Bridie’s hospital stay in a “Bear 10 babies, get 1 Free” deal.
Bridie was the best of mothers whether she is baking her famous Irish Soda Bread, reading the tea leaves in her cup, giving each child an extra portion of her love or dragging the author by his ear to the Monsignor when she found out Sean, age 10, was dealing out a hand of “durty pictures.” Although cast as an altar boy, at Catholic school, Sean was in constant trouble with the nuns. Life in the family castle “Cloonmore”, a shabby mansion in Oak Park, was loving chaos—
with one-size clothes fittin’ all the boys— a huge family with heart to match. Bridie’s Boy does for the Irish what “I Remember Mama” did for Norwegians and all Americans with immigrant mothers, and “Cheaper by the Dozen” did for big families.
Enjoy Bridie and her brood—and shed a tear or two between the mighty laughs.
About the Author
The tenth of eleven Brennan’s, Sean began his writing career at the dining room table in Pop’s sewing room. Sometimes the brunt of some ordained punishment and sometimes payment for Pops’ largesse, Sean cranks out essays that even Pops says are ‘pretty good.’
Sean has been married to Joan for 35 years, the antagonist in “The Chase” and they are the proud parents of their two lovely children, Eamonn and Devon.
Cead Mile Failte
A child of the 50’s, Sean Brennan grew up poor and Catholic, first in Chicago and then in Oak Park. He now lives in Long Beach, Indiana, and devotes himself full-time to writing.
Published July 04, 2014 (Kiltimagh Press)
Available to purchase: On Amazon and in book stores
Sunday, March 29th, 2015
Book Signing/Meet the Author
2:00pm to 4:00pm
Beverly Art Center
2407 W. 111th St.
Chicago, IL 60655
Contact Penny Golden at 773-445-3838