To Maura and Catholine: ‘I remember those exciting early days’
By MARIE BRUCE
VANCOUVER – I was really sad to read your letter with the news of your decision to say farewell to The Celtic Connection in print. I know it must be a heart wrenching decision.
It was your dream and your energy who got it up and running and nourished it along every month.
It never made you rich or even provided a monthly salary but it brought all the Irish together and established an active community spirit with events, sports, lunches, dinners and lots of music events.
Prior to The Celtic Connection there was no way to connect with the wider Irish influx of immigrants.
We were lucky and blessed to have a paper with all the latest news and events about home and here. You encouraged writers and artists and musicians. There was no voice for them elsewhere.
I wandered into your office sometime in mid-1992 or thereabouts, Catholine was typing away, the phone ringing off the hook and people were dropping in and out.
I offered to volunteer for a few hours a week. My job was to try and collect the money owing to you, it wasn’t easy and people were very slow to pay up. Of course there were a few excellent clients but the majority lagged behind.
It seemed to me back then all your callers at the office wanted something – be it a writer, an artist or a musician.
You listened patiently to all the requests and tried to accommodate as many as you could and at the same time kept ploughing ahead with mountains of work.
I remember thinking that woman has the patience of Job. I know you worked late most nights but you held on to your dream and it was never easy.
I remember Jack Wallace your editor. He was a wonderful man who helped and taught you the ropes.
When Jack arrived into the office, it was always down to the wire in production time and the paper had to be ready for layout and printing.
When the delivery people came we were all excited to see the paper on its way to the wider Vancouver area in libraries all over the city and beyond.
Then, of course, you had to turn around and start on the next month’s edition.
Oh! Maura and Catholine, I think you both deserve the Order of Canada and every other accolade for doing such wonderful work and bringing pleasure to so many people.
The Celtic Connection was an exceptional little paper – eclectic, interesting, and full of news and events and photos. It will be a great loss to the cultural life of Vancouver.