• Samantha Alcaraz

Iris Duffy - Marla Vista Assisted Living and Memory Care


Iris Duffy at Marla Vista Assisted Living and Memory Care

Iris Duffy - My Mother

"I was born August third of 1920 and I have one half brother that was older than I was. After I was born came Robert, and then George, and then Juanita, and then Eugene, and then Audrey. Audrey was the baby and my mother died when she was only about two or three months old and the rest of us were only little tots, too. I was six and a half, and of course the aunts all said you have to be the little mother, you have to help with the kids. Well, I took it a little bit seriously, I should say and I became the little mother. We stayed together and we tried to get help with hiring women to take care of us and that and no one wanted to take care of seven kids, you know? Anyway, when Audrey was born, my mother had been sick for quite a few months and her friend, her friends I should say, Mike and Alma Hundle took Audrey when mom was sick, you know, and started helping that way and when mother died they asked my dad if they could adopt her. Audrey was there until she was about 17 years old."

Iris Duffy - Iris Has Fond Memories of Being in a Group Home

"After we went to the home we were all there, and it was nice. We went to public schools. Oh, we thought we had it tough because, you know, you’re away from your parents but it really was a good place to be. It wasn’t like an orphanage, you know, everybody called it orphanage but it wasn’t like the catholic organizations, they’re pretty strict and everything. But this was just like living with a bunch of kids. When we went to the home there was 31 children there and they had a playroom downstairs for the girls and a playroom for the boys. They had a billiards room for the older people and we used to go in there and the older people would teach us to play pool and you know, sometimes cards."


Iris Duffy - Iris Remembers Driving Her Father's A Model Ford

"We had an A Model - Ford and a lot of times we didn’t have gas to put in it. So this one neighbor, about three of his kids rode with me to go to school and he paid for the gas and the license when I couldn’t do it. So that I could have a car to take his kids to school."


Iris Duffy - Iris Talks About Caring for Her Father

"I just turned 15 in August and September I went home and took care of my dad. He was in and out of Milwaukee hospitals. We lived in Montauk. So when I got a job I would go, every weekend I’d go to Milwaukee with my dads car and I would stay with my grandma. She lived down there and have the weekend with him. And you know it was not a lot but it was more than I would’ve had otherwise."


Iris Duffy - Iris Talks About Her and Her family Leaving the Group Home

"So gradually one child and then another, another come out of there once they got older and uh after I got home we used to take them for summer. A couple of weeks at summer time so that we’d all be together, you know, and they were with with dad. And we enjoyed those get togethers but they didn’t last long, you know? It was hard I had to do the chores around there and take care of them, too. Which it was no problem taking care of them, they were good little kids but there was a lot of responsibility to it that I didn’t even know. I mean, you aren’t conscious of that when you’re a little gal."


Iris Duffy - Iris Talks About Meeting Her Future Husband

"When I first come home, I didn’t know anybody, you know, in the vicinity. But there was one family, they lived on the corner down in the village and they had a bunch of kids. “Why don’t you come to the dances on Saturday night?” Well that sounded good to me and during that time is when I met my husband because being so close to the dance hall and they lived kitty corner from it. And I’d go down to their place and then go from there with them. Right after we started dating a few months, then he took over the land that his dad was trying to buy up north. So, for four years we wrote letters. Once in a while he’d managed to come down there, you know, and we’d have a date."


Iris Duffy - Iris Talks About Singing with Her Family

“Whenever we got in a car to go anywhere, which wasn’t often I must say. But whenever we got in a car until, til we were grown up, and you know, we all sang. Always sang from the time we got in the car til the time we get out and my childhood was singing. Well, when I was about nine we started singing trio together. First it was a quartet but then the oldest girl was 18, and she dropped out but the rest of us were pretty young but we all sang together. We used to go down and sing on the radio. They’d ask us to come down and we’d sing at clubs and nursing homes and, you know? They’d just call you and want to know if you could get there and they’d come and get you if you couldn’t get there. And we had a lot of fun doing that, always had a lot of fun doing that.”


Transcription and Audio Edit by Ileana Chavez.

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