Hayes Family History
Conor Hayes has lived in Southern California with his family for all his life. His mom is from Alabama, and his dad, while born and raised in the US, claims some Irish Heritage from his grandfather (COnor’s Great Grandfather). Conor is currently a student at the University of Southern California.
“So, all of our kind of family legends on my dad’s side center around my great grandparents. So, my dad’s dad’s parents. Umm, and they both immigrated over from Ireland, and there’s a lot of kind of mystery and, um, surmise, surrounding the circumstances by which they ended up in America, and married to each other. My great grandfather was just, like, a quiet guy, who never really talked about his life before America, but, um, there are two, there are two stories about why he came. So him and his future wife, didn’t know each other back in Ireland, so she is not a factor in this story. But apparently he was, um, there, when the IRA – the Irish Republican Army – was a big factor in politics and in life in Ireland, which, you know, for brief background information they’re, you know, more or less a terrorist group that was.. uh.. supporting Irish independence, specifically, you know, the Catholic regions of Ireland. So my great grandpa, the one thing that is consistent across the stories is that somehow he ended up stowing away on a cruise ship to come to America. Um, and then he became, he was one of the man Irish immigrants at the time, but like managed to land a job as a gardener. Um, and, one story of how he ended up on the cruise ship is that somehow, he stole a bike from an IRA member, like as a teen and, the IRA member was apparently so pissed off and so well-connected in his town that my great grandfather had to like, flee the country. And the other option, also involves the IRA, but it’s that my great grandpa was a part of the IRA, and then stole a bike from a police officer. Cause, my grandfather was like a teenager at the time and it was probably just like a teenage rebellion thing.”
Informant’s Background Knowledge and Relationship with this Piece:
This is a family legend for Conor, which he learned from his uncle. It interests Conor because the subject of the legend is not too far removed from him – only two generations away – and nevertheless the story is heavily obscured, with two very different versions and a lot of speculation even within them.
Thoughts About the Piece:
I find it interesting that even within the same bearer, this story has demonstrated multiplicity, as the informant clearly has two different but related stories about his great grandfather. I find it interesting that the exact details have been lost so early on, due to the subject of the story being reluctant to share many details. As a result he has made a family legend out of himself.