Sunday, June 1, 2014

18 Days of McCartney Day 1- Jim and Mary McCartney

It's June and you know what that means; Paul McCartney's birthday month! To honor the worlds "Most Successful Composer and Recording Artist of All Time" (Says the Guinness World Records) I will post facts about Sir Paul's life until his 72nd Birthday on 18 June, as done with previous posts like 9 Days of Lennon and 25 Days of Harrison (7 Days of Starr will be coming in July). So I recommend all you Maccalcoholic's to Get Back  as we become a  Backwards Traveler down The Long and Winding Road through Sir James Paul McCartney's Yesterday s. So relax and let's Appreciate because 18 Days of McCartney is Coming Up.

Our story begins on 18 June, 1942 in Walton, Liverpool where Mary and Jim McCartney gave birth to their first son, James Paul McCartney.

 "My mother was a nurse and came from Fazakerley, Liverpool."- Paul McCartney, Anthology
There's not much written about young Mary Patricia Mohan, who was born on 29 September, 1909. Her mother was Mary Theresa Danher, born  from Toxeth Park and her father was born in Tullynamalrow, Ireland in 1880 as Owen Mohan but would change the spelling of his last name to Mohin during his school years so he wouldn't be mistaken with other students last names. Owen moved to Liverpool when he was older were he worked as a coalman. Mary and Owen were married on 24 April, 1905 at St. Charles Roman Catholic Church. The couple gave birth to their daughter, Mary,named after her mother, at 2 Third Avenue, Fazakerley, Liverpool. At age two her parents had divorced and her father had met and married his new love, Rose. The couple met while Owen was on a trip to Monaghan, Ireland and soon found love and started lives together as Rose brought her two children from her previous marriage into the picture. Mary Patricia soon realised that her new step-mother didn't care to take care of her new husband's daughter and decided she wanted to live with her aunts. By age fourteen Mary started working at Smithdown Road Hospital as a nurse trainee which would lead her to then take a three year training course at Walton Road Hospital on Rice Lane where she was given title as a state registered nurse. It was in June, when Mary was about thirty one years old she was brought into shelter during an air raid on Liverpool where she met thirty eight year old Jim McCartney.
"My dad was born in Everton and was a cotton salesman who'd left school when he was fourteen."- Paul McCartney, Anthology

Jim McCartney was born on 7 July, 1902 becoming the third out of seven children. His mother was Florence "Florrie" Clegg, who was born 2 June, 1866 and Joseph "Joe" McCartney was his father, born 23 November, 1866 who worked as a tobacco- cutter. Florrie and Joe were wed on 17 May, 1896 in Christ Church Kensington, Liverpool. The two were very seldom people, Joe who was always in bed by 10 o'clock, never drank, and the worst thing he would every say was Jaysus, while Florrie was nicknamed "Granny Mac" and was always willing to help and was usually called to help during other families issues. Jim was born at 8 Fishguard Street, Everton, Liverpool and would soon become the fifth piece of a nine piece family, his six other siblings being; John (Jack), Edith, Ann, Millie, Jane (Jin), and Joe- who was named after Jim's other brother who died as a baby. After Jim's birth the family moved to 3 Solva Street in Everton, just three miles away from Liverpool City centre where Jim would attend the Steers Street Primary School. At age ten Jim had fallen off a wall where he suffered from loosing his hearing in his left ear. Just like his future wife, Jim started working at age fourteen, his first job paying six shillings a week as a cotton sample boy at A. Hanney & Co five days a week for ten hours a day.  It wasn't a big shock that his future son would became a great musician, Jim,  music lover, led his own Jazz band, Jimmy Mac's Jazz Band where he would play trumpet and the piano- which he learned how to play by ear. Jimmy Mac's Jazz Band would play at socials, cinemas, and even dances; their biggest achievement was when they were given the opportunity to provide the music for a silent Hollywood film, The Queen of Sheba. As time went on World War II had started and Jim was now too old to be drafted and disqualified anyways due to him only being able to hear through the right ear. The cotton exchange was closed during the war which lead to Jim now working at Napier's engineering works, where he made shell cases; if that wasn't enough he was also a volunteer firefighter. Jim went through his life as a bachelor and was very content in his ways of life until he met Mary Mohan who he married the following year on 15 April, 1941.

Michael, Jim, Mary, and Paul
Mary's job now required her to be a domiciliary health visitor and midwife leading her to take off on bicycle during the day or night to homes where she was needed which lead her away from her home most of the time, where she felt guilty about not being around as much as she'd like to for her two sons, James Paul and his brother, younger by two years, Michael.  Her gentleness and kindness was known throughout those around the McCartney's, showing their support and love towards the family the McCartney's would sometimes have surprises like ornaments or sugar placed on their back door or on their steps. But Mary's busy twenty-four hour job came to a halt when she picked up a job as a school nurse in the Walton and Allerton district.

Mary had been suffering from pains in her breast but didn't think too much of it and avoiding the doctors as much as possible, even though a small lump appeared on the breast, in the fear that she might be diagnosed with nurse's hypochondria. Olive Johnson, daughter of Mary's friend Bella and Paul and Micheal's babysitter, recalls one night,
"When she got home, she went straight to bed," Olive says, "I went up later and found her crying. 'Oh, Olive,' she said to me, 'I don't want to leave the boys just yet.'" - From Shout by Philip Norman
 After a few days the pain was so severe Mary was admitted to a hospital where she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was put into surgery for mastectomy, which did little success; the cancer had already spread too far.
"That was the worst thing for me, hearing my dad cry. I'd never heard him cry before. It was a terrible blow to the family. You grow up real quick, because you never expect to hear you parents crying." -Paul McCartney, Anthology
Michael, Mary, and Paul
It was Wednesday 31 October, 1956 that Mary McCartney, age forty-seven, had passed away after loosing her abrupt battle of cancer. Paul was fourteen years old and Michael twelve. It's told that before her operation she laid school clothes out for her sons and told her sister-in-law, Dill Mohin, "Now everything's ready for them  in case I don't come back." and how she would of loved to watch the boys grow up. She was buried on 3 November at  Yew Tree Cemetery, Finch Lane, Liverpool.
 Mary is honored by both sons, Michael having an album called Women in 1972 with a picture of his beloved mother, and Paul McCartney being inspired by a dream he had of his mother telling him that everything was going to be alright, Let it be. 

Mother Mary come's to me, 
Speaking words of wisdom; 
Let It Be.

The following video is Michael McCartney (McGear) 's "Woman"  ;

Jim, with help from Bella, Olive, and his sisters all took help in raising the two boys. It was almost a decade later that Jim had fallen in love with Angie Lucia, a Liverpool widow born in 1929. After three meetings Jim and Angie had decided to get married, Jim being sixty-two years old and Angie being thirty-four the two were wed on 24 November, 1964. Angie had brought her daughter Ruth, whom she had with her previous husband, Eddie. Jim legally adopted Ruth, who was four years old at the time she was brought into the McCartney family, making Ruth legally Paul and Micheal's step-sister. Ruth was very musical, playing piano, guitar, and singing; this would become a bond with Jim and her, also with Paul- in fact The Beatles "Golden Slumbers", came from a sheet of piano music Ruth had out with the same title.

Paul, Jim, Angie, and Ruth

Jim had passed away on 18 March, 1976 at age seventy-two from bronchial pneumonia just two days after his son launched his Wings Over Europe tour. Paul had come back to attend his father's funeral who was cremated four days later. Angie on the other hand is now eighty-five years old and helps run McCartney Multimedia with her daughter Ruth and Ruth's husband Martin Nethercutt. In her late seventies Angie also starts her own brand of organic tea.

The following video is The Beatles "Let It Be";

Check back tomorrow for Day 2 of 18 Days of McCartney with Paul McCartney's early childhood 

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