Lisa Kennedy and Mary Patrice Murphy

Recorded June 22, 2020 Archived June 22, 2020 44:42 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: lmn003987


Lisa Kennedy (40) and her aunt Mary-Pat Murphy (62) discuss and reflect on Mary-Pat's life.

Subject Log / Time Code

Mary-Pat remembers her father and describes his as a "sweet, gentle, jolly soul."
Mary-Pat describes how World War II changed her father's priorities. He realized family was one of the most important things in life.
Mary-Pat talks about her mom and how she was not a typical housewife. She did the chores of shopping for meals, but she pursued her career, getting a master's and a doctorate.
Lisa asks Mary-Pat if she got into trouble.
Mary-Pat says they didn't want to disappoint their dad. "That was the worst thing we could do."
Mary-Pat says her father had the biggest influence on her life. His non-judgmental attitude towards everyone was how she wanted to be as an adult.
Mary-Pat talks about how she was lucky enough to be in her nieces' lives, that they "let me into your worlds."
Lisa remarks that Mary-Pat was a friend and wise guide, helping her to understand family.
Mary-Pat lets Lisa know that she and her cousins helped Mary-Pat feel special by including her in their lives.
Lisa says her aunt inspired how to have a home. She wants to model what she's seen at Mary-Pat's house.


  • Lisa Kennedy
  • Mary Patrice Murphy

Recording Location

Virtual Recording


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00:00 I am resolved. Today's date is Monday June 22nd 2020. I am in Palm Desert cornea, and my conversation partner today is Mary Pat Murphy my aunt.

00:20 And I am married to Pat Murphy age. 62 today's date is Monday, June 22nd, 2020. I am in Bethesda, Maryland.

00:34 And I am conversing with my niece Lisa.

00:42 You're not so merry part. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me today during the pandemic and

00:53 All kinds of different things. I know you just had back surgery. So I hope that you are comfortable.

01:02 Oh, yeah, I'm

01:04 I have not been this comfortable in a very long time.

01:10 I thought with me asking you some questions. I know when and where were you?

01:23 When and where was I when and where were you born?

01:31 I was born in Washington DC at Georgetown University Hospital on Easter Sunday, April 6th.

01:44 1958

01:49 Long time ago. Where did you grow up primarily?

01:56 I grew up in what's known as chevychase DC, which is literally the

02:07 The

02:09 The most outer edge of DC proper

02:15 It's a beautiful still hasn't changed much, small town feeling area at that time.

02:29 In the end it's not the suburbs, but it might as well be can you tell me more about that?

02:42 Well, I was

02:45 For me it was i d like I was

02:52 Number 5 out of 6 kids

02:57 Born in the not an Irish Catholic Family, but we all thought we were Irish Catholic. We had a tight-knit community because of the school and the church that we grow lots of friends.

03:17 Very nice safe comfortable feeling.

03:21 Atmosphere to grow up in

03:30 My parents were John and Mary Angela Harper.

03:37 They were two very Unique Individuals. Tell me more about that.

03:45 My dad my dad was

03:51 A sweet gentle Jolly soul

03:57 Probably stop maturing at 18 cuz he was fun fun bother your game with kids.

04:11 I just have nothing but good happy memories.

04:17 Because of him and with him

04:20 And my mom was a dino. Dino dinosaur was an only child in the Greek Orthodox, Orthodox Faith. However, she went to Catholic schools.

04:47 Change ultimately changed her life.

04:51 Dramatically is very bright and gauging.

05:02 Just a woman way behind her time.

05:09 What was your relationship like with your parents?

05:19 Iena

05:22 For the most part. I was pretty lucky very very very close to my dad my very Hands-On.

05:36 As far as a parent goes I mean back in those days. It was kind of

05:42 The breadwinner

05:49 , came home and hung up his hat and cocktail.

05:54 Said goodnight to his kids before they went to bed. And my dad was one of those that played it was important for him to be a vital part of our lives and in he loved it. It wasn't something he thought he had to do it was part of his person.

06:20 And he was not the kind of person. He still was a very social.

06:37 Social guy had tons of friends that seem like my parents were constantly throwing parties. He was just the type of person that if you crossed paths cross paths with him you left

06:58 Feeling that this is one of the nicest guys I've ever been.

07:11 Tell me more about that. What what made him what is the nicer people perceive him as being so nice.

07:20 Community grew up similarly to me in that he grew up in a Catholic Family.

07:30 His mother was a very devout.

07:33 Catholic and came from a pretty good-sized German the family was born and raised in DC as well as my father was as well as my mother.

07:57 He was the oldest of five and if you if you ask his siblings that he was pretty much a terror.

08:09 As a big brother.

08:11 But

08:13 150

08:15 Enter the World War II.

08:20 That changed his life dramatically and his priorities.

08:27 Changed him forever.

08:32 He

08:34 Realize that family was one of the most important things in life. He wanted he wanted a dozen kids.

08:48 He just didn't get a dozen kids, but he got plenty of grandeur.

09:00 Sorry, I didn't catch that.

09:03 I said he got it doesn't get a half dozen kids in about 20 grandkids.

09:11 And he absolutely adored.

09:17 Every single one of us and had the gift of making you feel like you were his favorite.

09:31 How did he make you feel like?

09:35 Like I was

09:38 And I have special little Easter Bunny.

09:43 One of the things he said to the doctor when I was born.

09:49 He asked me if he would have put me back in and rebake me because I was so tiny compared to the my siblings that he's off today. I need another go-round but he attended all my sporting activities and there were

10:15 I mean, I don't know how he spread himself. So then because he was the same way with all of us.

10:27 Is that the sweet by-and-by, You said she was a woman Beyond her time. What what do you mean by that?

10:48 As I told you that my dad was not the regular dad that came home after work and grab a drink. I kind of just wanted his down time. My mom was not your typical housewife as matter fact.

11:10 I wouldn't even really call would have called her a housewife. She she definitely you know, did the

11:21 Chores of shopping for the meals and whatnot, but she pursued her rear.

11:37 Her amazing, but she when she was I think she was 20.

11:48 Six or seven and she had three kids by then and decided to go back to college when she met my dad and asked her to marry him and she promised her that if she wanted to go back to school and finish school, he would make that happen and he did and she took

12:14 His word and she went all the way she got her Master's had a couple more kids and then had her PhD and all that.

12:28 Juggling other mom things that she

12:35 Got done him shopping making sure that we look presentable walking out the door and it was important for her for us to have a good sense of family.

12:57 Butt dial

13:07 What are some family stories?

13:11 Classic Family stories gosh, there are so many.

13:20 I guess one of the

13:22 Funny ones that spring to mind is it involves? Not only younger sister?

13:34 Older brother Dennis who was just 13 months older than me and my mom had was being interviewed by the Catholics periodical. Let's put out every month by the diocese and she was recently honored for her achievements as a Catholic woman 62 the typical Catholic woman mother.

14:15 Did just that.

14:19 Chair of house and home and had a bit more going on a professor at

14:35 Georgetown Georgetown University

14:43 And Dumbarton College, which is where she graduated from college and she got her other two degrees at Georgetown.

14:55 So they were they were she was coming there.

15:02 Spotlight of the month

15:05 And

15:08 We there was a photographer that came in and we were

15:13 That stage this photograph of my siblings and I've younger younger three siblings.

15:23 And we were sitting around on the floor and study having tea.

15:31 And my older siblings thought it was hilarious because it was a daily occurrence.

15:46 And it was not exactly a daily occurrence, but the other siblings frantically in passing.

16:06 As far as the family life of that medical

16:16 I think I'm pretty I love my siblings.

16:26 My memories of that that was we got a big laugh out of that.

16:36 Did you get into trouble growing up?

16:46 Sure course I did mostly because I would come home late.

16:57 Which would spend my father he really got angry, but when I would come home late and not call let him know I was going to be late.

17:12 He was going to orbit because of.

17:25 I'm just goofing off with my friends and all of my siblings.

17:41 And I'm pretty

17:44 Loki as in

17:49 Adolescent and text

17:54 No, we were pretty pretty good.

18:02 One of the reasons that we were as big as we never wanted to disappoint my dad disappointing.

18:14 Like the worst thing you could do is the best form of disappointment ever.

18:23 Telephone

18:43 I thought on the stories I heard I thought my dad was.

18:48 A rabble-rouser

18:51 I don't remember him so much as a rabble-rouser as he was.

18:58 Pain in the arse he would just he would just know what buttons to push my on my parents to get them riled up.

19:10 And he was he was handsome. He was very athletic. He was like a Golden Boy.

19:20 And pretty much

19:24 Did whatever he wanted to and got people to do things that he wanted them to do.

19:33 But I don't have any memories of him just this Ronald.

19:47 And I think like you're typical the same at the butts.

19:55 Kind of the same as today.

20:00 But he he he was.

20:06 He was not terribly interested in being with the family rather be with his friends.

20:18 Susan the DC area looking for trouble. Maybe I don't know real big trouble other than and taking my dad's Impala SS convertible and Palin having it painted eggs. It was hideous.

20:45 I don't think I ever knew about that.

20:49 Oh, yeah, my dad was not I was not was Jack Shining Moments. I think I think she had gotten into a fender bender and the car needed to be repainted. So he painted this god-awful blue.

21:15 And

21:19 My dad's car was

21:23 Part of his livelihood. He took clients to events and lunches and dinners and to have to take them.

21:36 And this

21:38 God awful looking

21:42 Robin's egg blue car with not one of my oldest brother's Shining Moment.

21:51 My my other

21:57 Yep. I was just I didn't want to interrupt you. If you wanted to say more about that. Go ahead older siblings would probably remember the specifics better than I do cuz they were closer in age.

22:21 So shift and gears. Can you describe yourself as a child were you happy?

22:28 Yeah.

22:33 Didn't

22:35 I kind of kept a low profile there were.

22:41 Him being one of six kids.

22:45 It was pretty easy being number 5 be kind of keeping just under the radar.

22:54 So if I got in trouble and have to be fairly blaring

23:01 It to be brought to the table.

23:05 Which is brings me to another funny.

23:10 Story, we used to have dinner every evening eight of us at the dinner table. No t-shirts of the table had to be dressed properly and we had basically a formal dinner.

23:28 And then if someone had gotten in trouble.

23:32 It was basically the tribunal that decided how severe your punishment was going to be.

23:41 And Jack

23:45 What's pretty much?

23:51 The one that was on the

23:55 Stand

23:57 For whatever antic he pulled.

24:00 And I think the majority of us gave him a thumbs down when it was.

24:08 Time to pass sentence on them

24:14 Everybody's we're getting back then.

24:22 Butt buddy

24:25 He had a very sweet side to him that I honestly I think he showed me more than he did any of my other siblings.

24:42 I don't know. That's a good question.

24:45 I really don't know how mean I was the first girl after 3 boys.

24:54 So I was kind of spoiled by my siblings in that regard.

25:01 I don't have an even today. I feel like

25:10 He may favor me.

25:14 Over my other two sisters, but then again High.

25:22 Have I make I make a concerted effort to have a relationship with him as I do with all my siblings, but

25:34 I don't think my other two sisters were is interested now?

25:43 That all sounds right. Did you have a nickname growing up?

25:54 I did. I was wondering if you were going to bring that up. Yes. It was pittypat, PA.

26:06 After and

26:13 The movie Gone With the Wind had

26:20 A character named Aunt pittypat

26:25 Which I don't know if you know or how well you know Gone With the Wind, but

26:33 I'm hoping that the reason why I was named that alright got that monitor from just the sound of it rather than the character because the character was a

26:49 Mold Dowager busybody woman with the

26:59 Curls so I'm hoping wasn't

27:06 You say that cuz I always thought it was because you were so pretty.

27:17 Well, like a pretty Pat. No, I don't think so.

27:28 Well, that was my interpretation of a young girl growing up in you because you

27:42 I just figured it was.

27:45 Because you know you have always been very beautiful. And so I thought it was fitting changed. It pretty pretty isn't the actual.

28:00 I never

28:08 Considered myself

28:11 Of the three of my sisters and I always considered my younger sister like the star model quality.

28:23 She was she was a stunner as a teenager.

28:30 The pictures I've seen of the two of you of little girls you enter as you guys I took that I find it sometimes hard to tell apart cuz you look so similar. But yeah, I mean, I don't know.

28:50 I knew there was a reason why you were one of my favorites.

29:00 Can you tell me a totally different and can you tell me about someone who had a big influence in your life? And what lessons?

29:13 Well, I'm probably have to say that my father.

29:19 Have the biggest influence on my life.

29:25 Because I always felt that his kindness and generosity and

29:37 His non-judgmental

29:42 Attitude towards all of us but really just about everybody.

29:50 I just I knew that that's how I wanted to be as an adult.

30:02 I would say that's

30:07 The him he definitely had the most influence on me.

30:17 What are you August 7th?

30:22 What am I proud of as an adult?

30:26 I am very proud of my.

30:33 Children and my

30:37 My surrogate children. I consider all my nieces and nephews.

30:44 My little surrogates

30:47 I was wanted I was wanted lots of kids.

30:52 And having two boys with a blessing but having

31:00 Allure 96 7

31:07 The Harper cited

31:13 Heather Julissa, I mean Nicolette Gabrielle. Cohen

31:22 Watch Sarah, I guess 767 I think.

31:32 Oh God.

31:35 I just I'm I feel like I was lucky enough to be.

31:47 In all of my nieces lives in different ways, Julie Mitchell

32:01 I just feel like I was lucky that you guys let me in to your little world.

32:11 You have been a surrogate mother and I've been so grateful to have you as my aunt that we were in Minneapolis that you were first when I was young in Minneapolis with your kids. And so I felt you know.

32:35 Like I know well from a very young age and the time I think it was a Dennis's wedding when I was probably the end of college and just being able to finally connect with you more and it was like you were a friend and a wise guide to me throughout life because you could help explain some of what was going on with my family you did that for so many of us cousins, but my parents divorce you knew my little my Dad loved both of them you understood the Dynamics and for me as an only child.

33:29 2 going through this hard time having trouble with my dad because he and I used to get into a lot of quiet having.

33:47 Trouble navigating relationships. I could come to you as a sounding board and to seek advice and then link to New York it was because I was instead of being in Minnesota plane right away and only got to see you at all. It is then all of a sudden I was a 5 hour bus ride away. And so I just loved the time when your 13 years of me living in New York last after I get my phone to boys but I was able to take the bus to the train down and come see you regularly and just stay up late by the Fireside, you know talking for hours and hours and hours sometimes when Chris there or Nicollet or you know other cousins, but

34:45 We just felt like it was like therapy and so fun all rolled into one.

34:55 That was I mean, I I felt like

35:00 How are you you and your cousins made me feel like I was special in your life.

35:12 You are

35:19 You are your house is the house that didn't you were talking about your parents come to find party at the end house. Is that way and how you know, you're at your dad was a big influence on his friendliness and his open heartedness in his genuine interest in all of his kids. That's how you are and you know, I see that even when you had your the smaller version of your house and we would all crammed into the front living room and you cook meals in your Technique and just you know, bring pot from the to make it so because there wasn't enough room to store all the things, you know, now you have too much bigger home where you can really entertaining everybody like

36:14 Took them to have people in the home and it's go to your house and everybody will come everybody will come and visit the door is open will get unexpected. But the people come into it for you to give them a haircut people, you know, just kind of energy hear you and you always have a a chili or you know food for all you know, who you having Parkinson's and needing to contend with.

36:57 Serious

37:00 Kind of health issues that you you know, you've just been such a wonderful inspiration to me in how I want to have my home and stay when I finally get home now that I moved to California to have an open home where lots of people feel comfortable coming in for a chat just an open door family. It's really

37:32 It's not a crime scene at your at your house.

37:40 I'll be there.

37:43 Sure, hope so.

37:53 Yes, I'm sure she'll be right back.

38:00 You're having a beautiful conversation.

38:05 XX

38:08 She's one of a kind. I'll tell you.

38:12 A real joy in my life. It sounds like you've been enjoying all there's

38:20 I pay them this a man.

38:27 Lexia let me message her really quickly.

38:49 Being in Palm Desert where she is right now.

38:53 It's just I considered a minor miracle that we spoke as long as we did on interrupted.

39:03 She's going to Palm Desert. She's staying there right now. So have options that she said she's joining back on right now.

39:29 When you sound like you have made a beautiful home for so many people.

39:33 Well, I must say I just love having.

39:39 My family around the night. I love having like the second generation.

39:46 Enjoy have the opportunity to enjoy one another as adults with parents almost all of them are parents. They don't have the option. Are they the opportunity to do it as much as we used to?

40:01 Such a thing as for having I'm not sure.

40:16 Might have to restart her computer, but I'm telling her there's no worries. We will wait.

40:26 I know I know covid-19 makes it even harder for people to be able to gather in a way that really feels you hard in the soul that

40:39 His kids lives so far away that they can't the only way they can see them is via computer.

40:47 That would be awful.

40:55 Sassy juice during the call.

41:02 She came back.

41:09 I'm glad you're able to come back. I guess those bunita parents didn't help much.

41:18 The iPhone with internet they did. I don't know just today for some reason. It's a little while. So sorry about that how much I actually because I can't see the screen. I'm not sure how much time we have left.

41:41 Right. So if you want to take 2 minutes 3 minutes to wrap up your conversation.

41:48 We can we can do that. We were at we were basically at 38 minutes when you got kicked out, okay?

42:01 And if you have any trouble filling up that time.

42:07 Do you need to press record again, or is this are we recording?

42:13 Yeah, we were flirting.

42:18 When you when you got kicked out you were talking about being inspired like the model of the home that you want to have is inspired from your Aunt Mary and swear you were.

42:35 Amanda has just been you know, you're no secret that you are among my favorite aunts. I mean, I have the blessing of having a wonderful aunt and uncle I just feel really close to you and always have since I was young and

43:06 You know, I just can't say enough about how much I love you and how much been blessed to have you as a surrogate. Mom goes both ways for sure.

43:22 Spend our time that it has been a joy a great joy in my life to have you in it.

43:32 I I couldn't use a little more, but I'll take what I can get.

43:39 Not

43:48 I wish we were closer. I have this funny feeling that being bicoastal. I'll probably see you more than I did when you were in, New York.

44:00 I hope so.

44:03 Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me today and

44:10 I'm grateful to have this interview with you son.

44:16 Nice to talk to you for almost an hour with no interruptions.

44:31 I love you. I love you too, sweetheart.