Irenes I Have Known



 Irenes I Have KnownIrene is not that popular a name, but it’s a nice name, with presence, and history.

It comes from  ‘Eirene’,  the Greek goddess who personifies peace.

Irene Cahen d’ Anvers was the subject of Renoir’s 1879 “Little Irene”.

The Weavers hit the #1 on the charts with their version in 1950; cover versions followed by many, including  the Grateful Dead, John Sebastian, Frank Sinatra, Mitch Miller,Eric Clapton and Johnny Cash;   Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger end most every concert I’ve ever seen with it.

1898 saw the birth of two Irenes of note: Irene Marie Dunne, who we know and love courtesy of TCM; and Irene McCarthy.

Irene McCarthy wed a man named Jim Minogue, and named their daughter Irene Marie.

Irene Marie Minogue would wed a man named John Egan, and their firstborn was named Marie Irene.  Who is me.

My mother and I each grew up being called by our middle names (she, Marie, and I, Irene), as apparently having 2 females  under one roof with the same name could be problematic.  Then I turned 5.  In kindergarten, in a class of maybe 20 was another Irene in the class, Irene Weiss.

Well, apparently that was a problem as well. Being that the Irish usually bestow several names upon their offspring (the more saints, the better), she registered as Irene, and I became Marie…except to my family/friends in the neighborhood. It may sound like a slightly schizophrenic, but it’s always made sense to me.

My brothers called me “the I”-meaning ‘the eye’ that was always watching them…I think that annoyed them, as we were growing up, but as we get older, it’s become a compliment, and a term of endearment.

Now, tonight another Irene is bearing down on the mid-Atlantic coastline. Not a benevolent one, either. Hopefully she will head out to sea and become a non-story.  YES< peace, indeed.