Keep it Real Wednesday
Happy Birthday Marie Josephine Sweeney O’Malley
December 25, 2019
Merry Christmas Blessing Bike friends and family,
As we celebrate this holy birthday of Jesus Christ, I am reminded of another birthday that falls close to the Christmas season, and was celebrated as part of my Christmas tradition.
The person we celebrated required very little out of life and yet gave so much of herself. She is a person who helped mold my life and many of those around her.
This person is Rosemary’s mother and my grandmother, Marie Josephine Sweeney O’Malley. Marie was born on December 27, 1890 in a small town in Ireland and raised by nuns in an orphanage. At the age of 18, she immigrated to the United States and became a nanny in Boston and then later navigated her way to Cleveland where she met and married my Grandfather, also an immigrant of Irish descent. I could write pages about my grandmother …. she was strong, funny, opinionated and loved her Irish whiskey. She was truly one of a kind.
The picture was taken in 1918. I have always treasured this photo and have carried it everywhere I lived the last 40 years. I love her smile, her sense of adventure, and the freedom she carries perched on her bike.
Isn’t it ironic there is a picture of my grandmother on a bike in 1918 and exactly 100 years later in 2018, Rosemary was given her Blessing Bike, which changed her life and is now changing lives one bike at a time? The smiles of accomplishment, joy and freedom 100 years apart yet somehow the same.
No one will ever know what thoughts were circling inside my Grandmothers mind as this picture was taken in 1918, but when I look at her smile now, I believe she is proud of what we have accomplished with The Blessing Bike.
When I say “we”, I mean ALL of us – you all too. Your love, your support, your encouragement, your advice, your willingness to share our story, your waves when we ride by, your stories of your own families, and your faith in our mission to help others experience the joy which a bike can bring again.
The Blessing Bike is truly “wheels that move the soul” and connect generations and people in ways we never imagined.
Here’s to you Marie Josephine Sweeney O’Malley. We are smiling with you too…. Happy Birthday!