In this photo is five-year-old me with my grandmother, Peggy Coughlin. We are at the kitchen table – the heart of the house. Peggy was married to Fran Coughlin and they had nine children. My mother – also named Maureen – was child number three in the lineup. I was the first of 23 grandchildren.
Needless to say, the Coughlin house on Marine Road was never quiet. It was forever bustling with activity and it was one of my favorite places to visit. Teenage aunts and uncles coming and going. The front door, always unlocked, had a bell on top that jingled announcing when someone entered or exited.
The television was always on and there was never a shortage of food in the house. Behind me, in the photo, is a milk machine. Yes, a cafeteria quality machine that dispensed milk from a nozzle you pulled. It had the coldest milk around and it was delivered by a milk man named Sonny from Thatcher Farms. Next to the milk machine was a drawer dedicated entirely to cookies. Oreo, Chips Ahoy and Peggy Lawton.
Also in the photo is pizza from Land of Pizza – yes, the same one on West Broadway. Small pizzas never served in box – only on a cardboard plate slipped inside a paper bag.
The year was 1974 and at that moment, in this family photo, is pure joy.
Coughlin Children: Franny, Peggy, Maureen, Brian, Joyce, Kevin, Maryellen, Karen and Michelle