Edward Whelan and Derval Whelan

Recorded February 9, 2011 Archived February 9, 2011 01:11:05 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: LMN002464


Edward Whelan is interviewed by his daughter Derval Whelan about immigrating to the United States, work, meeting his wife, opening up his own bar and family.

Subject Log / Time Code

EW shares his experience of how and why he came to the United States.
EW talks about his work as a shoe salesman and how he got into the bar business.
EW remembers growing up in Dublin during World War II.
EW describes his father and mother.
EW recalls the house in Floral Park and his bar Maggie’s Place.
EW recalls Christmas gifts he gave his wife.


  • Edward Whelan
  • Derval Whelan

Recording Location

StoryCorps Lower Manhattan Booth

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:01 My name is David Whelan I'm 50 years of age. It's February 9th in 2011. We are downtown New York City and I am the daughter to Teddy Whelan and I am Edward Whelan otherwise known as Teddy.

00:17 And I'm 80 years of age.

00:20 I'm downtown at the moment here with my daughter.

00:26 So Dad I wanted to

00:30 I want to talk to you about your your process of coming over to this country when you just wanted to ask like when did you first think of doing isn't and why did you think of doing it?

00:42 I love reason. I was working for my father over in Dublin Ireland in the grocery business, and I really wasn't getting anywhere.

00:52 So I had a sister out here and

00:55 New York she was offering holiday

00:59 And she talked me into coming over. So I treat you paid my fare over which was

01:05 Free on the road of trial of old Irish pounds English Pounds were all the same.

01:14 Symbiosis the time in India what that would be in today's wouldn't have a clue who it was a lot of money and the first transcontinental flight to India for surgery and I even spent something I can fly transatlantic. I'm just took 19 hours and open Nova Scotia, Newfoundland 3 fuel.

01:41 I already took off from there and when we came over New York for the back slouch will be at the Circle above upstairs in the phrase for about two hours before we could land. I'm going to come to be in the first flight. I was kind of a lot of the passengers were journalists. So it's kind of a party going on.

02:04 But it was $90 for the same. Loud because it was all so much activity going on the plane 1958 was terrible didn't have to deal with the propellers on the plane.

02:26 I know the plans with a thing where we rented Elks Artesia headlines.

02:32 I think the name of the company was she born and Western.

02:36 Put on the plane, so not for sure that.

02:40 So the only louder than that.

02:42 Oh, yeah, when we allowed to Nova Scotia, the window is very very cold, and it was really no.

02:49 Permanent structure that we got off the plane and weave

02:53 We walked across this.

02:56 Kind of an open area to a small foot color chakra. We had a cup of coffee. There was a wind was howling and it was like 2:00 in the morning.

03:12 My baby was that I was being a man help your sister had come over had any of your friends. Like was this to something that a lot of your peers were doing at the time and what website of the concept of America. A lot of words for cool knows but nobody that I know I'll come over no personal friends except for my sister had you make that decision before you met mom.

03:37 No, so you met mom tells how you met mom. She was on the night. We were going to a dance scary switch is outside Dublin.

03:50 Ivory tablecloths these three guys told me I left.

03:54 So the feds are shower broke down, which is that the deal where they stopped us. There was a child broken down but they don't connection to us. So anyway out in the darkness walk. We open the windows. I look to see her that way right now to kill them. So they knew right away. There was Ian next nicely made a date with your mother. We went back to the same time so that I can start talking about this. She work at Cleary's. Where was you working Cassidy's rice and it was this something that you guys discuss. Is it something that she thought of herself or was was it really you who planted the seed in her head?

04:47 But she said like she said what about me when I says if you're mighty may it come in a lot for me. The SS America?

04:59 Lungs to suck have the timer on the way home.

05:05 Back in those days, Did you ever think you see your family again? I mean, is it on 42nd Street and 44th Street? What was that? Like, where did you take her when she first got off the ship to the apartment and now she stayed with your sister and you went and lived with someone else. Is that right?

05:42 Is it out in Queens price of the house was 11 of us in the house. We rented whole lives and where are you working at this point? I was working Abby off Moon. Somebody selling shoes ladies shoes at 11% commission salary.

06:00 We got $60.

06:03 Less tax income tax every week under $60

06:10 But the tax gun was 50. I got a check for $58 every month.

06:20 That's $60 that the page every week out of the overall commission. And you thought about was left over last night's when did you start to think that maybe you should go into the into the bar business how did that come about because it was a friend of a friend of mine is in the mining business.

06:45 We went out one Sunday to see another friend of his on the friend that his was manager of a bar of Time Square call the Blarney Stone.

06:58 An event then we'll talk to the bar hot dogs until they just said so they might be able to get enough of this.

07:05 So you still coming next Sunday? So I built this time. He says I show you the ropes.

07:11 The.

07:13 Well then, I love you.

07:16 Things about a gallon. Got a job then.

07:21 Saturday night's down and blues on 34th Street between Lex and 3rd.

07:28 I know it's back to $16 a night the salary I know it right in between 16 and 20 21 22 or whatever daughters at Epps.

07:41 So it's a result of tigers that are

07:45 Workout done on the Sunday and I was off from the other job on the Monday tell between the two nights in the bar. I was really making more money. What side of the shoes but you continue to do both rice.

08:03 Chiusano your head job then and Jim Downey's Steakhouse on farty fart 45th and 8th Avenue, which is that time next. The PJ florist on 3rd was the busiest bar in New York to get a lot of fun people would come over after they get off doing Broadway shows the snow give a lot of great stories to tell me one story.

08:32 What's the name of that?

08:34 But I've learned a lot of money on the way up like she was

08:41 Play my name is listed out.

08:48 Elizabeth Ashley, and she offered to Barefoot on the park.

08:58 On Broadway in the following knife. I need Sunday was another girl at any one time. She opened the rod out from there about the Fairly good Buffet.

09:10 That the money I'm not a logical it to be stuck at strong $10. They how it's made me back.

09:20 Steelers at Shelton.

09:23 Off-Broadway up 72nd reinforces seconds in Hogan's ghost

09:30 I'm sure she Alton dress.

09:34 Oh you was you was Heather that's television show up in the mountains the family and the grandmother in.

09:44 Rapa law that looked at at night when we drove back down to town. He's the both of us on the very very good pictures of Barcelona tapas in their Shelley Winters. I was up there for the party for blizzard and so

10:30 And you still around to be in their seventies now?

10:34 So when I was born in 1960, how many jobs were you working?

10:39 1960 October

10:44 I'd run into Barbers of full-time 64.

10:51 The World's Fair open

10:54 Honda

10:56 Jim Downey has a procession for the Arts Pavilion.

11:00 Hello from Adele there and I worked.

11:04 It's made for quite a bit of money and then. Salt in October and open again.

11:11 In April of 65

11:15 And your mother came out and she worked there Houston Martin and I went to Ireland's and read for the bit of money to Mark with a baby and took care of it. Take care of by the neighbor. Is there any could both you continue to work? And did you have it in was it a goal to open up your own place one day and so when you finally took that leap, what was that? Like that's ridiculous the whole place.

11:42 What time is it now? We're going to make it at 10. Step on 47th Street and 5th in between Allison. There wasn't too many but your actions of other stars on that street flowers. I was in 1974.

11:57 But we made it. Why did you choose that place?

12:02 Hello cousin was up for sale and you open w had Union problems at the time didn't you?

12:15 Opened up do unions game and said they put a picket outside of it and join the Union.

12:22 So I went to the doctor's lawyer and he says nothing I can do about that. It wasn't you and your store before closed and he said they're fighting tight. And so I took them on.

12:35 And then about

12:39 I guess the union contractors up three years later and I sense of a a letter signed up. None of my staff wanted to you and you so busy under the car, but one day I came in. I was in about 11 in the morning the door off and then walked about 7 big party gentleman.

13:01 And they wanted me to sign that contract.

13:05 I literally was a sign that both of your side and you said cuz if not, I would thought I heard down at the end of the bar might want to wait for the saying.

13:24 Yellow his legs break his legs.

13:29 So it turns around and I said to Modge what she say what they say. Is it till you break your legs if you don't sign the contract, so then I said aloud all I didn't get that out of here and they walk out like a little I'm really not known for doing this. So then went to ask a little bit more about growing up in oral is a picture in one of the bar somewhere of you with a friend you're sitting next to what looks to be a large statues head. Is it Christmas? It's New Year's Eve or something for the statue on top of the Nelson the English pub in Ireland Dublin.

14:27 I did I already blew it up.

14:31 I know you.

14:33 The way I found out my dad was so. My photograph taken with her.

14:38 When you were growing up, what was the what were the tensions in Ireland in the presence of the IRA? Was that something that was really was that you were very conscious of not really. What about World War during World War World War II start labor?

14:56 9 * 1939 + 44

15:01 Honda couple times bombs were dropped in Dublin and remember going down.

15:08 See the devastation is a lot of buildings flattened.

15:14 On those about 40 or 50 people kill z48 people killed

15:19 But it was my mother's a nice saying I'm in my blunt. I'm walking to school.

15:26 I raised above my head to go see them in the cockpit of the airplane that German playing was already have pain right behind us as well actually need to put your hands up and touch the Lord. Lowdown.

15:43 I waved at this is was an Irish play.

15:50 I Believe done that Rafaela Delray FL of chasing out to sea and shut the German Town in Dublin Bay.

16:00 And whether we're their rations and Russia

16:07 Low petrol

16:10 I was about to fight a very few people remember this.

16:15 On top of

16:17 If you want it, you can have it but most of the divine's that were delivering.

16:25 Add on top of that.

16:28 On the roof of the cars on the last balloon big balloon with helium in Los Angeles run off that gas.

16:39 I know there's then at the back of the car. Does it include furnace and used to burn charcoal in the furnace?

16:49 I'm that run the car for a few people. Think about that now actually the furnace or the charger called.

16:59 I think it has something to do with water steam.

17:04 Does that still doesn't work?

17:06 Remember

17:08 Did you went down to the docks? You see all the cargo boats coming in and they all had these huge blue balloons over the barrage balloons.

17:22 Say that I would say the couldn't be the low level plane couldn't have been too long wife the Republic.

17:33 Keep the planes away.

17:36 Autobomb, they have to be up at certain height rest. I got tangled in the wires supposed to come on down to the garage balloon.

17:46 What's one of the Fondest Memories you have of your parents?

17:53 I was just a case of Blue driving every Sunday afternoon. It was red father was I was never worked 6 days a week and my father wasn't too much into the drive. And so I used to drive and Mesa Drive everywhere.

18:14 Batarseh, will Georgia win another used to love the race meetings with my father?

18:21 The race meetings me to to the one. Where did you do? That was he was he looking at the horses?

18:36 Didn't you a one-point say that you used to play poker a lot at one point and you say that you had like you made more money playing poker than you actually did. When did when did you do that when you write down his law that was an Arnold I was in Ireland.

18:56 Play Love poker made one of us now.

19:07 I see a little smaller than me was about 5:48 or a little on the heavy side. My mother was tired of them.

19:18 She was kind of Slim Trim.

19:22 Characterizes personality my father

19:26 I was quiet. This is quiet man.

19:31 Generate too much energy quiz on Switcher.

19:35 He was one of Seven Brothers.

19:39 And the only sub brother videos.

19:48 Lookie streaker

19:59 Pictures to bring their cattle and horses and things like that to him if they were sick just to touch the weather got better. Now I don't know and then everything you more less to put his answer was lucky. It may be lucky all that's right for what he did and he bought property is went up in price and things like that to know.

20:24 Hey, what's up?

20:26 Send out Irish Sweepstake tickets out here to illegal to sell them out here.

20:36 Put the raisins out here and he sends thousands of books for them and they send back the money and the would you call the counter for his back to him and he got a percentage of that?

20:51 Put some people out here to sell them and I'm not like most of the sweet sake sake tickets that were so resolved It in America yesterday.

21:05 What was your mom like?

21:08 She was so good.

21:12 She was good to just went to school today pastry.

21:24 Maybe that's where Marcus his mom.

21:28 Don't you visit used to do a lot of home projects to abusive son in the shop like should make about a hundred Christmas cakes.

21:37 Plum pudding in your life to make Christmas cake.

21:49 But since the way she was

21:52 Should put studs in other dress.

21:57 That's good. Did you ever go whichever go double double dating with Randy and Donal or

22:08 So

22:24 So even distantly Chieftain off a lot of things in your life. Someone were to ask you what were you most proud of could you name a couple of things? I got this?

22:40 I want to start my own business and proud of the way the three of you got on.

22:47 And if how would you like to be remembered like when Martin talks to to Maggie at the Chloe years from now and he tells them stories about you.

22:57 What's the story would you like him to know about?

23:00 Nothing really was an alright guy.

23:04 What about the time that you?

23:07 Play Santa Claus town in skerries.

23:14 I just did it down. Not long enough the recency to what would you do?

23:21 Maddie's closest clearance carries that one time for Christmas then walks down the center of town.

23:29 In the Santa suit and you brought that you brought over all these like that's when we'll work around or something and mommy had gotten a huge big sack of toys kind of inexpensive toys member used to get the the fishnet stockings that would have the other toys inside of them, you know, like a huge big bag of them. And then you do just walk around the town give them out to the kids. I can remember what you did with my memory had the big sack and every time you take a drink of whiskey is left. You didn't have your beard then lift up the expected I can say is that one of your creatures

24:16 Is everybody all of my nephews and nieces?

24:20 I want to see results brought back with three.

24:24 Although I don't know what your column 1 million bicycles because Valley some Southern whites in the garbage to this other.

24:50 The dump of the year that you opened up Maggie's Place. You guys had just bought the house in Floral Park and you bought it the year before.

24:59 That's an awful lot to do in 2 years to take on the responsibility of a mortgage and then to open up a business the next year and mommy, did Mommy open up Maggie's Place on crutches. She was recovering. Am I rise from the hip operation that it was?

25:21 But she spent a lot of the time on operation today to do it now for now.

25:44 Redbus

25:47 But I thought but your kids for college places going on nine.

26:02 So do you have any questions that you'd like to ask me?

26:07 How did it go happy with life are doing well?

26:12 And you said on the phone you just a man David out of the phone on the phone to half an hour on the phone with me spend like maybe 10 minutes on the phone with

26:36 Can you just give me one example or a moment that you spent with your dad that really stands out for you?

26:44 We were we were driving.

26:49 Is it seem that long ago we were giving us a tour with it Martin the mark and I were in the back of your car. We're driving through the Phoenix Park to get to a place and there was a wall there and you started talking about how cold hole in the wall or not, but I was loved going through a Morton did that one time with you he?

27:11 Went on a tour of I guess where you grew up and it would piss point at different place.

27:21 Magazine just called the magazine for two was where they kept the ammunition for the Army.

27:28 My father said the shop. We had all the contract for supplying all the parks around Dublin the army versus

27:38 We will supply the wood block with groceries contract cuz you couldn't have a pony and trap to delivering groceries.

27:58 Forgot to deliver the groceries in the pony and trap Queens of Stoney batter delivery of the fellow open the gate and then I spent the IRA.

28:24 That's kind of intense. And I also remember one time.

28:30 From our graduating from The Culinary Institute of America we were up there and then brother said today is my proudest day.

28:42 We were too because he was the last one and yellow we were driving up and I was driving and we were in I don't know what car we had done and we passed the culinary said we weren't we kept on going cuz we were staying at the Rhinebeck Inn.

29:06 And we love that place. She looked at breakfast if you would sit out in that but that at reham and so we're driving back by the CIA. No sudden she started to cry and it was late and I was tired and I there's like I said, why are you crying and it's just big 18-wheeler. I just barreled buys and she said because I remembered when that card when that truck drove by the day that your brother told me that he wanted to be a truck driver and I didn't quite had explained to him that that really wasn't what I had hoped for this life without making it seem like it wasn't Define honorable profession. And then she was so nervous that she actually didn't eat her breakfast the day of the graduation cuz she was just so emotional and nervous about the whole thing.

29:51 And I remember that cuz she always loved her breakfast. That was always her favorite clothes.

29:58 Yeah, let's else about Christmas what you would do with her Christmas with the with the Christmas present that you would get hurt.

30:07 What's Year's Eve jewelry?

30:11 I want to know about her every kind of a black velvet suit that he picked it up and I don't know if it's right or not with stash.

30:24 She actually brought it back cuz it was really on sale. So she brought it back and then repurchase it at the sale price today if it was beautiful beautiful sister and everyone should read it and then and then there was a time your body she always gave her her present last and usually it was out in the usually because remember you had it in the garage and so you could go out to the garage you coming to bring it in and then there was a member you bought her that make coach her first man coat and you like it had in the garbage bag or something. It just kind of came in and you just dumped it on the ground and Shuffle It Up in there with you. It's saved up in the quarters you saved up all the coins for that was the fun fur.

31:19 And then there was a time you got her white towels boxes and boxes.

31:27 What's up with it was a joke attached to that. She's a very motels or being that we never got tells or something.

31:35 So it went out and about a whole place to ourselves.

31:38 What are some of your Fondest Memories of mob?

31:43 Just

31:45 Don't you love them to the hard-working woman? She's right side.

31:52 She held her settled all the shoes. She had mentioned by something that you wouldn't wear that she found it may be a year later than she found something to die without you. Look at you.

32:03 Consider your lazy butt find a skirt to go without top. It's the way she was closed cuz it's a breakfast time and dumb.

32:21 Remember when you used to keep the money in the boxes in the closet in the den?

32:30 The shoe box of money don't know what it was hers or yours.

32:34 She did put money in there and then she'd go over to London for one of her her and taking trips with her shoe box with money in it.

32:48 A lot of money here to couple of towels with three Tails or something.

32:53 I was in a hurry when they they put it in the drawer.

32:57 Find us we had visitors Neptune or something.

33:03 Honda just disappeared.

33:07 I know it's 2 years. Later.

33:11 I was emptied out my drawers or something like that in the pulled out this short. I am bored years. Only God knows a lot of money to lose.

33:29 Play a lot of money to find but it's much more.

33:33 Whatever said when you lose it.

33:36 What's with the way?

33:38 What would you like to what would you like to say to Maggie and Chloe?

33:44 Hello.

33:47 I just say Reese's restaurant. They have a nice enjoyable life fairly certain successful.

34:04 I love both of you, but

34:08 That's it now.

34:17 Yeah does one say I have people ask me now if I don't work.

34:25 How do I say I never worked a day in my life because I love what I did.

34:30 I'm so happy that a chance of this great country.

34:36 I'm not so happy to see the way it's wrong sometimes.

34:42 I hate to say for my children my grandchildren since I have to put up with the National adductus Building up here in this country.

34:54 The government hair should concentrate on the American Paper.

34:58 And I'll be giving money out to all the other countries in the world.

35:03 Abscond

35:06 Just come forget about the other countries concentrate on this great land of ours.

35:11 Do you regret moving back to Ireland would you like to still be here?

35:18 I like it that you can come over when you do rice.