Remembering The St Patrick’s Day Trunk Party

party table 2
St Patrick’s Day has a special meaning around our house. It’s not because I’m Irish, although for years I thought I was part Irish until I recently learned that my great, great grandfather, George McCrary’s great, grandfather was James McCreary and from Scotland. Oh well, that didn’t ruin it—it really didn’t change a thing for me. My father was an engineer and I grew up listening to him tell me every March 17th that St Patrick was the “Patron Saint of Engineers”. I guess during engineering school at MU they celebrated accordingly. He loved St Patricks Day. As a kid growing up in Kansas City, I would put on a green dress and we’d all go out to Paddy’s Pub (a popular revolving roof top restaurant in the 60’s and early 70’s) as a St Patrick’s Day family tradition. It became one of our favorite holidays.

So when my father passed away in 1998, we decided to bury him on St Patrick’s Day. There was just one catch— March weather. His casket was flown back to his family cemetery plot in St Joseph MO on a separate flight on March 16th. When our plane was due to take off, an ice storm blew into the northeast and paralyzed travel. We were literally powerless (with no electricity) and stuck in our house.The internment service for my father went on without us being there on St Patricks Day. I always felt bad about that so to make up for it I started having a St Patricks Day party every year in his honor after that. This was up until Mom’s being in hospice made it nearly impossible to entertain because our living room had been turned into a bedroom/nursing care facility.

So today there’s no party and I feel kind of sentimental thinking about St Patrick’s Days past. One of the most memorable ones was “The Trunk Party”.

Mom falling asleep at tablecupcakesCharla LeprechaunAlison and Suzanne

Mom had been a fashion design student a Steven’s College in Columbia MO.
She had two steamer trunks she would cart back and forth from college to her home in Houston Texas.
We knew that one of those trunks was filled with prototypes of her manyfashion designs. One trunk was in our basement, the other had been in her family home in Houston. So we decided to have a grand opening of the trunk one St Patricks Day. The key was missing so Jim had to saw through the locks. We held our breath as it opened…
Closed trunkDad's phone extension

but there were no clothes. In fact it was practically empty! Obviously her fashion portfolio of work was in the Houston trunk that had long since vanished in an estate clean out. However this trunk also held some hidden treasures.

Jim with opened trunkSorority fraternity

Inside Mom had saved her 1951-52 Stevens college directory with Bill Boteler’s name on it and his phone extension #3376.That’s when she first met Dad. You see after graduating in fashion design she had her mind set on working in New York City but Dad, an engineering student, came along and changed all of that. She fell in love and decided to hang around the college town of Columbia MO another two years and get another degree, this one in elementary education. And then we found it, Mom’s wedding announcement…
Wedding announcement

Like archeologists we realized we had uncovered a special time capsule. It was possibly more important to her than all those clothing designs we were hoping to reveal. I wondered what she had been thinking when she packed these away and it occurred to me: Why not store the three small documents that changed the course of her future in a safe so large you could never misplace it!

Had we known this event would have taken on such a romantic significance, we might have arranged the date on Valentine’s Day or their anniversary but that day just felt right. I sensed Dad’s spirit in the room, just as I do every St Patrick’s Day.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.