By Kathleen Anne O’Callahan Payne
Edward John Cassidy was the great great grandson of William Cassidy, the oldest known Cassidy in the Drumbar, Clogher, Auglem line. The following information was collected and written by John Edward’s granddaughter, Kathleen Anne O’Callahan Payne of Yuba City, California.
Patricia Mary (Cassidy) O’Callaghan
Daughter of Edward John and Bridget McNulty Cassidy
Born: March 17, 1918
Married: October 17, 1940
Died: August 1, 1989
Her parents, Edward John Cassidy and Bridget Christine (McNulty) were emigrants from Ireland and lived in an apartment in the Mission District, where Edward owned a bar. Bridget was in labor, and a taxi-cab was needed for transportation (they did not own a car or drive), to Mary’s Help Hospital. The nervous, soon to be father, without even realizing it, sat on the floor in the back of the taxi. It was during World War I and Bridget’s labor nurse was a gruff “Miss Wolfe”, whom Bridget told: “you’re Wolff by name and a wolf by nature!” Shortly following beautiful Patricia Mary Cassidy, arrived on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1918. In fact, as a child Pat thought that the St. Patrick’s Day parades were in her honor and the entire city celebrated her birthday with her. During the first year of her life, Bridget and Edward sent photos of little Pat to Anne (Kelly) Cassidy, Edwards mother in Ireland, Pat was barefoot in the photo. Grandmother Anne commented in a letter back to the proud parents that “they didn’t have the price of baby shoes” and enclosed money for a set of shoes. The youngest photograph we have of Pat is sitting with her younger brother Frank, Pat is 20 months and Frank is 12 months of age and she is wearing high button shoes in this photo.
Pat spent the first couple of years of life in the Merritt Street house, with younger brother Frank and sister Anne. When Anne was a toddler, the city of San Francisco purchased the house & property, along with other homes to widen Upper Market Street. (See the photo of father Ed, Patricia, Frank & Anne.) Regina joined the family about the time they settled into 4660 18th Street, just around the corner and up the hill from the Merritt Street house.
The earliest memory we were able to acquire about Pat was when she and Anne shared a double bed in a small front bedroom at 4660 18th Street. The streets were cobblestones, streetcars for transportation and a few horse drawn vehicles in those early years. The iceman delivered ice to the house, pulling his horse drawn wagon up the steep 18th street. The junkman used to ride his horse and wagon up the streets collecting junk. Pat and her younger siblings, Frank, Anne and Regina attended Most Holy Redeemer School on Diamond Street at 18th Street.
During the Depression years, mother Bridget worked as a caterer, housekeeper, and at the laundry business, so the younger siblings were left with oldest daughter, Pat in charge. A neighbor chum and Anne used to give Pat a bad time, ridiculing her when she used to listen to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on Saturdays. – What brats! Even during the Depression years Pat and her family never lacked for food and always, large amounts readily available.
Pat completed her first two years of high school at Notre Dame on Delores Street and the family moved to 1650 California Street and Pat completed her high school at St. Bridget’s in an old mansion at Van Ness & Broadway (now demolished).
Pat was very slender and had rather delicate health. At age 16 she had surgery, appendicitis and also had one of her ovaries removed. I remember Pat telling us that the kind doctor that attended her stated that “she probably would never be able to have any children”. This didn’t daunt her indomitable spirit. She then went on to attend Nursing School at St. Joseph’s Hospital (by Buena Vista Park), but had to give it up after two years. It was very strenuous with, 14-hour days on the hospital floor, was too much for her delicate health. She did not continue, but was a natural and a very caring person. In fact, because of her poor health and exhaustion, she would close her bedroom door to sleep, according to younger Regina.
Pat had a good mind for business and started to handle the bookkeeping at the family laundry business. Her mind for business and numbers started early. Pat had high ideals and standards and unfortunately while growing up, she was not always understood by her parents and teased by her two younger sisters, Anne and Regina.
Pat was quick witted with her tongue and always had a challenging spirit and when some fellow was bragging about a special breed dog that he owned. Not to be outdone, Pat told him she owned a St. Bernard. He came to the house to see the dog and mother Bridget told him “Pat was out walking the dog!”
In 1937 the Cassidy family took a trip to Yosemite in the new-used Chrysler Imperial Edward purchased for $500. It had been a chauffeur’s car with jump seats behind the drivers’ seat and cigarette lighters that extended across the back seat. In Yosemite, Anne and Regina did a good job of getting lost – “all the trees looked alike!” One Sunday we left the family dog, “Brendle” in the car when we were at mass at St. Rita’s in Fairfax and he tore the upholstery. Aunt Winnie McNulty visited us from Philadelphia, we had the Chrysler “well packed”. Pat managed to sit on a dozen eggs. World War II started in 1941, for the U.S. We could not longer travel to Fairfax due to the rationed gas and no rubber tires. Edward then sold the Chrysler and the Cassidy family were then “local”.
Pat was dating a handsome cadet from West Point, John O’Hara. He wanted to marry her and even gave her his mother’s engagement ring, but Pat declined. She thought he was too much of a mama’s boy. While still dating John O’Hara, Pat was introduced to an eligible bachelor, 13 years her senior, but charming and handsome, Daniel Ignatius O’Callaghan II. He was in her parent’s home on California St. discussing business, and his quick retort to a comment she made as she was flying out the door on a date, caught her attention.
Pat then landed a job in merchandising at The Emporium on Market Street, S.F., in sales of the women’s better clothing. She dressed elegantly always waiting for clothes to be discounted and found the best clothes at the best prices. Anne remembers a dress Pat bought for her when Anne was a junior in high school. Anne loved it and wore it for years. Eight-year old Regina remembers her older sister, purchasing her first matching hat and coat. She also purchased for Regina a cotton slacks outfit for the 4th of July celebrated in Fairfax. One summer Pat had a job as an au-pair for the Meek family in West Portal, S.F. As a young girl, Regina remembers riding the streetcar to visit Pat, and having lunch with her. Regina’s favorite, chocolate milk and bologna sandwich. During the summer months, Pat would bring her horseback riding friends and families to the summer home in Fairfax. Pat had many snapshots of herself with her friends during the summers in Fairfax.
A business-friend of Edwards’, Alex Donovan, knew both Daniel O’Callaghan and Patricia Cassidy and introduced them. Dan courted the beautiful Patricia and the entire Cassidy family. He used to take Regina across the street to Blum’s, on the corner of Polk and California Streets, for rich milkshakes the help fatten Regina up. (It didn’t work)! Regina thought he was the greatest! Daniel proposed, Patricia accepted and they were married at St. Brigid’s on October 17, 1940.
When Dan proposed, Patricia was still working at The Emporiums, and being the practical person that she was and also WWII was in process, decided to wear a beautiful outfit that she would get more wear from than the traditional white wedding dress. The suit was teal blue dress and fitted coat trimmed with white lynx. The dress was simple with exquisite Brandonberg matching lace at the neckline. Her head covering was an original Howard Hodges design of taupe felt with many graceful petals of felt to drape it. This suit was so well made, Patricia wore her wedding suit for years and we have beautiful photographs of her in them. Pat was 23 years of age when she became the bride of Daniel O’Callaghan II and their first home was a flat on Broderick Street, S.F.
The family started with Peggy in 1941 and then Danny in 1943. These were during WWII years and very tough economical times. The family enjoyed outings to Golden Gate Park on weekends, Mom wearing her lovely fur collars and Dan in his business suits. In the late 1940’s Mom and Dad purchased their first home at 1150 Clayton Street. The rest of the children arrived, Mary, Patrick, Kathleen and then Michael. Mom was active in the St. Agnes Parish and as a young couple joined the Christian Family Movement where they became friends with many other families in the neighborhood. Thus started the lifelong friendships with the Slattery’s, the O’Malley’s, the Trizuto’s and Theresa’s mother, Mary Lyons, the Cooney’s and many other Catholic families. The young couples would meet in other another homes and left many of the younger children in the care of older siblings. Both Danny and Peggy were recruited to the task of babysitting.
The responsibilities of raising a large family were very demanding on Mom. At the age of only 37, she was left with both the responsibility of raising 6 children, ranging in age from 14 year old Peggy to 9 month old Michael, and dealing with the death of her husband.
Mom managed to keep a roof over our heads, send all of us to St. Agnes for grammar school and Catholic High Schools. She college educated each of us to the best of our abilities and had the strength to deal with many obstacles that life brought along the way.
Each of the autobiographies share glimpses of the strength and character of Patricia Mary (Cassidy) O’Callaghan, who lived a hard, yet gracious life, until August 1, 1989.
These memories of Patricia Mary Cassidy have been prepared by her two sisters:
Anne (Cassidy) Timmer and Regina (Cassidy) Pluckebaum.
Presented by Kathleen (O’Callaghan) Payne
In June of 2000, both Anne & Regina spent a week together in Sacramento, at Anne’s duplex. The weather that week was unbearably hot, (109 degrees) and the air conditioner was broken in Anne’s car, so they were stuck indoors. Regina and Anne spent several days visiting and remembering childhood memories that they so carefully recorded and shared with us. Anne wrote “just the facts,” and Regina remembered the fun little stories that make for delightful reading. Thank you Auntie Anne & Auntie Jean!