Grandmother walks parade rain or shine

While sitting in her cozy dining room with pictures and articles scattered across the table, Regina Curran, 81, reminisced about her many years of involvement in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Baltimore City.

Ms. Curran has been walking in the St. Patrick’s Day parade for more than 30 years, and this year will be no different. Although her doctor said she may have to sit this parade out because she recently underwent surgery to have a tumor removed from her leg, the St. Joseph, Fullerton, parishioner is determined to continue the tradition.

“I’ll get there some way,” said Ms. Curran, who grew up in Baltimore and was a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist, Baltimore, before it closed in 1966. “I’ll ride in a float if I have to!”

Each year Ms. Curran walks with the St. John Tenth Ward club, which was started by her brother-in-law after the parish was shut down. Over the years the club has continued to grow even though there is no church in which to meet. Ms. Curran and her late husband became very involved in the club and the parade.

One of her fondest memories was the last parade she and her husband were in together before his death some 20 years ago. Dressed in their best, the two sat arm in arm in a sky blue convertible waving to everyone they passed and smiling for pictures. Ms. Curran said her husband was so dedicated to the parade that even after his leg was amputated he continued to walk the route on crutches.

According to Ms. Curran the parade starts at the Washington Monument and ends at the Inner Harbor. How long will you be walking and waiting depends on where you are in line, she said with a laugh.

Dressed in her favorite blue jumper with a shamrock on the front, black stockings with bright green shamrocks and a shamrock scarf, Ms. Curran starts her St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Mass with her St. John’s friends before hopping on a bus to join in the parade. The club has more than 100 people involved, and the group has won prizes for having such a large number of participants in the event.

“It’s like we are a close-knit family,” said the petite grandmother. “We are all there for each other.’

Ms. Curran has passed the parade tradition on to her children and grandchildren, she said as she shuffled through pictures of her granddaughter and grandson when they were young walking in the parade. Her granddaughter now walks with the other girls from Institute of Notre Dame, Baltimore, while her grandson marches with the Calvert Hall College High School, Towson, band.

Once the parade of fire engines, floats, old cars and Irish dancers is over, Ms. Curran and the St. John Tenth Ward club members get back on their bus. They head over to the St. Elizabeth School, Baltimore, hall for corned beef and cabbage, followed by an Irish dance.

Ms. Curran said she continues to walk each year because she considers all of her fellow parade-walkers family, and she wouldn’t miss out on spending time with them.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.