Meet Jeanne Jugan Apartment Resident
By Nichole Albanese
Our first monthly interview of a Jeanne Jugan Resident begins with Marie Farley. Marie lives in one of the seventeen apartments at Jeanne Jugan Residence and has resided here for about three years now. Born in Ireland in Swinford County Mayo on January 19, 1934, she later relocated with her family to their farm in Westmeath County when Marie was seven. She said it was great to grow-up on the farm along with her two brothers and one sister, but she always knew she would travel to the United States just like her mother had before returning to Ireland and settling down with Marie’s father.
In 1954, at the age of twenty, Marie traveled to the United States and settled in Philadelphia for a little less than two years. She then moved to Brooklyn where an aunt lived. Marie’s sister came to join her in the U.S. and they shared an apartment in Manhattan while Marie worked as a telephone operator in midtown.
Marie met her future husband, Patrick Farley, while dancing to Irish bands at what was once known as Jaeger House Restaurant located in the ground floor of the Turn Verein hall on 85th Street between 3rd and Lexington Avenues on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Marie traveled over 4,000 miles to the United States to meet the man she would marry only to find out that he grew up in the county next to her in Ireland! Talk about a small world.
They were married in October of 1965 and moved into an apartment in the same building that her in-laws lived and worked as superintendents on the Upper East Side. Pat Farley worked as a doorman for a residential building on Park Avenue. Marie worked part-time after getting married but left her position when the couple bought a house in Valley Stream on Long Island.
Marie and I shared our own “it’s a small world” feeling when, during our conversation, we figured out that Marie used to live on the same street (E. 91st Street) as I currently live, just up the block. We spoke about the neighborhood and what was still there (the United States Post Office) and what was gone (a bar on the corner replaced by a CVS Pharmacy). I also told her how my husband had spent a summer on a cousin’s farm in Ireland. She asked me where in Ireland and while we kept talking, my husband texted me the name of the county and you guessed it – the same county Marie was from – Westmeath.
Marie likes living at the Jeanne Jugan apartments. She said it is safe and she has made friends like Christine down the hall. What Marie misses the most at Jeanne Jugan since the coronavirus lockdown began is eating her meals in the dining hall. The dining hall is where Marie would meet other Jeanne Jugan Residents at the same table everyday to eat and socialize.
Despite the pandemic, she keeps busy by watching Mass with Father Pat and praying the Rosary with Sister Jane on her television. She also likes to watch Jeopardy. Each apartment tenant has their own direct phone line so Marie keeps in touch with her family and friends. Her niece, Eileen, a nurse for the Little Sisters of the Poor at Jeanne Jugan Residence and Queen of Peace on Long Island, checks in on her aunt whenever she is scheduled. Other family members and friends continue to keep her company too, at least by phone for now!