Sunday, December 31, 2006


What a year... personally... for me. It's been exhausting to say the least. We sold our home, decided to build a new one, and lived in a tiny apartment with just the bare essentials until the new home was ready; all the while the rest of our "home" was in storage. I was Mommy and Wife 24 hours a day, and with continued blessings I hope I always will be. My research was always full steam ahead in regard to Jerome and the Collins family, that was something I couldn't let up even if I tried. The powers that be from the other side, and I suspect mainly Jerome, made it quite clear that this was the year he would step forth back into the limelight and the name of Jerome J. Collins would be brought back from the grave, the cobwebs that covered the bookshelves of his life would be dusted off once again.

It's one hour till Midnight as I write this, I'm standing on the threshold of wanting to forget this entire past year and look forth to a "clean slate" new year. But even though, personally, this past year has been a harsh one for myself and my family, I can't forget our accomplishments. And I can't forget my own in regard to Jerome. I was able to plant a tiny little seed in Cork that I hope with much cultivation, will grow and grow until it blooms for all the world to see one day. Together with my good friend Ronnie, we made headway into not only Jerome's life, but that of the Collins' family. We were able to publish not one but two articles about Jerome, and in the time frame of just two short weeks I was able to make headlines in Cork between the internet, newspapers and radio. Jerome wanted to be heard this year, and I was his voice. He provided me with the instruments, and like many a symphony or musical that I know he enjoyed in his day, a grand performance happened on the stage of his life, one that I am proud to have witnessed. Jerome Collins' life had been rejuvenated, for the first time in 125 years since his death in the Arctic, and people in Cork were starting to take notice that maybe the gem of their fellow Corkonian was worth a closer glance.

I never made it to his graveside to honor that 125th anniversary in October, it wasn't meant to be. It's my hope to make it to Cork in 2007 with a few other family members, and I hope that 4 generations of the Collins family will provide a good representation for the trip.

Ronnie and I came to a decision that we will write Jerome's book, but without being tied to a contract looming over our heads, dictating everything we write and when we write it. If we're going to write Jerome's story, we're gonna do it right, and do it our way. Once it's written we will explore our publishing possibilities at that time. I couldn't have hoped to make a better friend in Cork than Ronnie, and it's no coincidence that I stumbled across this fine man... I am sure Jerome had a hand in our coming together as friends and co-author's.

There's also many other good people that I was able to get to know a bit better in Ireland, like the crew of the Northabout, specifically Jarlath Cunnane and Frank Nugent. Jarlath contacted me and asked if I'd be out in New York at the beginning of 2006 in January, he was to accept the Blue Water Medal by the Cruising Club of America and asked to meet. I was unfortunately unable to make the flight to see him and the rest of the Northabout Crew, but I hope 2007 will allow me to do so in Ireland instead. And then there is Tom MacSweeney of RTE's Radio 1 Seascapes Programme. Tom has been a great asset and a big believer in my Great-Great Granduncle's life, he sees the potential in Jerome that Tom Crean now holds with the public in Cork and Ireland.

And what would I do without Catryn Power, the Cork County Archaeologist? It was her "power of the pen" that pursuaded Cork County Council to fund the re-erection of Jerome's Celtic Cross monument at my request as a living family member. She's not only been informative and insightful, but has a great personality and is a dedicated mom like myself.

And then, there is Louise. She is the catalyst for everything. I found Louise back in 2002 I think, long before this stuff with Jerome would come to a head. Louise is the wife to my Grandmother's cousin, she has been plowing "onward and upward" as she says for many years to honor the memory of her father-in-law who was so very hurt by his own father's downfall from Jerome's Naval Inquiry in 1884. I can't say enough about her kindness and generousity, and the fact that she is a great supporter in what I am trying to do for Jerome. I received a wonderful phone call from her today, and another one later on this evening to send good wishes for a brand new year. God Bless her and her family, I can't wait to meet them soon.

My New Year's Resolutions:
1. Free Jerome from the chains of arrest and suspension that were never lifted in 1884.

2. Find his Congressional Gold Medal, or have a duplicate made; then present it to the City of Cork in his honor.

3. Go to Ireland.

4. Continue my research, leave no question unanswered, and write Jerome's biography.

5. Locate Jerome's diary.

Happy New Year's everyone, and thank you for your support and interest in my journey.

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