|About the Book|
Born in Tipperary, Ireland at the end of the great famine, Richard T. Kennedy was the eighth child in a country family that survived the tragedies of the time. At the age of 15, he began saving letters written to him, and throughout his lifetime heMoreBorn in Tipperary, Ireland at the end of the great famine, Richard T. Kennedy was the eighth child in a country family that survived the tragedies of the time. At the age of 15, he began saving letters written to him, and throughout his lifetime he stashed away a total of 52. These letters, as well as family records and lore, are the backbone of this book that chronicles his life story. The letters are a language of feeling- the living voice of the writer is present and transmits a certain energy. A story emerges from the letters which span almost 60 years.Beginning with his teenage years in Ireland, the narrative traces Richard’s path of emigration and discovery of new life in North America. It follows his career and home life in the San Francisco Bay Area, his travels and family events. The book also tracks the stories of his brothers. The eldest, Michael, immigrated to Australia with his young bride, opened his own retail store, survived the depression and relocated to Perth with his wife and nine children. The middle brother, Thomas, was an Irish farmer engaged in the extraordinary events of the late 1800s- he raised his five children on the family farm in Tipperary. Their letters crossed thousands of miles to keep faraway siblings up to date about family and local news, but also to give direction to life and reinforce family tradition and upbringing. The writers describe not just relationships to place but also relationships with each other- they tell us what they found and what they lost.Taking account of the political climate of their time and the particular challenges each one faced, Dear Richard shows how each brother navigated his own life course from humble beginnings to unimagined destinies. The character and accomplishments of each one are revealed, these sons of Eire who never lost their Irish soul, as well as the preeminence of family in Gaelic culture. To this day the letters nourish their descendents, connected again through this story.