by Charles Hale

Pete Hamill, Brooklyn born author, and the son of Irish Immigrant parents, said of our immigrant ancestors. “We know what they gave up. They gave up their countries and in some cases their languages. They worked at the lousiest, rottenest jobs in order to put food on our tables. We have to honor that for the rest of our lives.” One such Irish immigrant was my great great grandfather John Coakely. John was a street cleaner. How much can one study or write about a street cleaner?

The music I have chosen for this work is, coincidentally, called “White Wings,” a beautiful work by Oystein Sevag: