I Called Her Mary: A Memoir
By Margaret M. O'Hagan & Thomas A. Gorman, Ed.D.
Available on Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.
Peg Holland became pregnant as a teenager in a conservative village in 1950s Ireland. She knew her life would never be the same again. She was sent away in shame only to find courage and wisdom deep within her soul.
After her baby, Mary, is born, Peg and Mary are heckled and ridiculed by townspeople for nine months until Peg decides she must give Mary up for adoption so she can have a better life. This decision haunts Peg the rest of her life.
Having nothing left to keep her in Ireland, Peg leaves home to work in America. Mick O'Hagan is swept away by Peg and wants to marry her. She refuses due to the secret of her baby that no one knows about but eventually relents.
Fifty years after the birth of Mary, Peg receives a phone call from her daughter. They are reunited and the family only grows bigger and stronger because of their love. They share many stories of what each other missed out on but as the stories are told new details emerge. Fighting past the trauma of giving Mary up at such a young age, memories come flooding back and a new truth of what actually happened comes to light.
Peg’s tales of hardship and unconditional love carry the reader through to the end. This heartbreaking tale shares the power of faith, hope, and love.
SP - I loved this book. It is so heartfelt. I laughed, I cried, but most of all I came away so impressed by this amazing woman and her strength, determination and love for her family. What she lived through and how she survived it all is truly a story of grit! The fact that it is a true story makes it all the more amazing. Kudos for a wonderful book. I highly recommend it.
KK - This story made me feel so many emotions. I laughed and I cried. The story is so beautifully written that I really feel like I know all of the people in the story. A must read for anyone who has made a big decision in life and gone on to live every day wondering if they made the right choice.
About the Authors
Peg O’Hagan grew up in Ireland before immigrating to America. She was married to Mick for over fifty years. They had four children together. After Mick’s passing, she felt comfortable enough to share her story with others. She was interviewed for this memoir by her son-in-law, Tom.
Mary, Peg’s daughter who was given up for adoption, was also interviewed and her story was captured in the memoir.
Dr. Tom Gorman has worked in public education as a social studies teacher and an administrator for over 20 years. He earned a B.A. from Muhlenberg College, a M.A. from Montclair State University, and an Ed.D. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He has been a participant on education discussion panels and authored several professional articles.