My Personal Luck of the Irish

Tina Haapala |

Ninety years ago today, a new life was brought into this world. Any child is special, but when you have Irish blood and are born on Saint Patrick’s Day, there is an extra bit of blessing bestowed upon you. Anna Marie Robinson was born in Philadelphia, the same city where the liberty bell once rang out the joy of a free people. That was the city her family bravely crossed the Atlantic to join in the building of this nation. Her father, a member of her family’s first generation born on U.S. soil, was called upon to defend it during the First World War.

The Great Depression and another war gave her an education in life that few today can appreciate. The financial crisis and conflicts of late, though significant in their own right, are a shadow of what she saw while growing up. She and her generation were molded by it.

Though she lived in one of the largest and most modern cities in the world, most people didn’t own a car or a phone. Air travel was a rarity for civilians. Anna Marie was the first person in her company to ever touch an electric typewriter.

Eventually she met Al (but friends knew him as Chuck) and they ventured to a new life in California. That’s where I enter the story. I had a little problem in that I was born to a couple who couldn’t raise a child together so I needed a new home. You may have difficulty imagining this today, but finding my new home back then was challenging because I am a mix of a couple races (at least). Well, this wasn’t a problem to Anna Marie and Al, so I started calling Anna Marie, “Mom.”

(Well, not right away, as I was only 3-days-old at the time, but I got around to it.)

While Dad was working his way from car salesman to auto dealership owner (with a couple decades in-between), Mom was raising me, and she was also a volunteer and leader in our community. In between all of the entertaining that goes along with the corporate life, she found time to lead my Cub Scout troop, bake all the cookies for various sales, and teach me how to make a paper airplane.

According to my memory, I was an angel of a child—that is, until I came across some tape recordings (reel-to-reel, of course) of what I was like in my early years. Let’s just say that this is evidence for Mom’s sainthood. She must have done a good job with me though. She and Dad gave me a sense of responsibility, drilled into me the importance of education (including a love of reading), and provided the stability to allow me to grow.

Ninety years. Many consider that an accomplishment. But you put your heart into what you want to accomplish during those years. Anna Marie (Robinson) Silverman’s heart went into her family and I am glad to have been made a part of it.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.

This article was published under the title "A Personal Case of the luck of the Irish" in the Wichita Falls Times Record Newson March 17, 2013.