St. Patrick’s Day Past

by Laurel | March 17th, 2013

March 19, 1978

Below is a photo of my father, ready to head out for the Holyoke St. Pat’s parade on March 19, 1978. The weather had been forecast as overcast and in the 40’s, but in the Springfield paper of Monday, March 20, it was reported that the temperature actually rose to the low 50’s, perfect parade weather.  A lifelong player of the bagpipes, my father at this time was a member of the Melha Shriners group with whom he marched for many years in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade as well as many, many other parades throughout the northeast.

Preparing for the St. Pat's Parade, 1978

Preparing for the St. Pat’s Parade, 1978

My Dad had learned the pipes beginning as a boy in Holyoke, tutored by Wilson Mathieson, the long-time pipe major of the Holyoke Kilty Band.

As kids we loved seeing the regalia in the form of the kilt, sporran and Sgian Dubh (though Dad always called it a dirk) and plaid brooch. And he always had a snappy answer to those who dare ask what he wore underneath the kilt!

Below is a photo of my dad dressed in the Holyoke Kilty Band uniform, circa early – mid 1940’s, though judging by trees this was definitely not for a St. Patrick’s Day event. Striking how the look and stance is so similar in both photos despite the 30+ years time difference.

Holyoke Kilty Band Regalia, mid 1940s

Holyoke Kilty Band Dress Uniform, early – mid 1940s

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