This is my Mom, born Mary Teresa Byrnes, and this Theres Something About Marys web site is offered to honor her memory, and sell Blessed Virgin Mother Mary medals ( Thanks, Mom! ). She was born in New York City, in the Borough of Queens. Her mother, Mary Dempsey Byrnes was also born there. My Mom had 4 children, MaryEllen (she was never called anything but “MaryEllen” throughout her entire life), Kevin, Peter, and much later, me, known as “Robert” or “Little Robert,” in my early years. It’s probable I was named after my maternal Grandfather, Robert Byrnes. He ran a “Speak Easy” during Prohibition, so it’s fair to say I may have some “Gangster” blood running through my veins.
My Mom worked for AT&T as an Operator, in an office located on Ponquogue Avenue in Hampton Bays, New York. It was located about a half mile from our house, close to the railroad tracks and the central part of town where stores were located. One time, while I was still a baby, my brother, Peter, decided to give me away! My Dad was baby-sitting, which meant he was fast asleep on the couch. So, Peter, at age 8, put me in a stroller, and started strolling me into town. Fortunately, as we approached the railroad tracks near Thompson’s Foodtown Grocery, my Mom looked out the window of her office building and saw us travelling on the sidewalk. I’m guessing here, but she probably called my Dad and screamed, “Where are Peter and Robert?“ What happened thereafter is anybody’s’ guess, but Peter was thwarted in his plan to become the “baby” of the family again. I was not given away and in the family to stay!
I don’t have a lot of stories to tell about my Mom. That’s because I watched her die when I was 13 years old. She was only 49 years old herself but decades of smoking 2 packs or more or those Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes had taken their toll. She had outlived her Mom by 1 year and Mary Ellen broke the cycle and outlived her by 20.
All throughout my formative years, while she was still alive, my Mom instilled in me one basic notion: “Robert is going to make it. He’s gonna be Somebody.” If you can hear it in your head with a fairly thick Queens, NY accent, that’s the shining refrain that has kept me going through many hardships over the years. I had told my Mom I was going to be a lawyer. And after some nearly literal Hell and quite a bit of literal high water (Thanks, Katrina!) I am now an attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana. I fulfilled that promise to my Mom.
As for “making it,” or being “somebody,” I don’t think I’ve achieved that goal for her yet. But I’m going to keep trying, and I hope that when my life is done, I can look back and say I came close. The purpose of the web sites, including this one, is to offer shreds of hope and comfort to people in need. Shreds and glimpses of hope you can see and feel and touch and share. If I can keep doing that, with sincerity and conviction, when I meet my Mom again, I can say, ‘Yes, you know, I finally did become that Somebody!” And when she asks me what, where, why, and how, I can say I found somebody inside you and inside many others, some true inspiration, Mom; There’s Something About Marys!
Mary Brynes, in New York City, holding her daughter, Mary Teresa Byrnes.
Mary Byrnes as a 5 year-old in kindergarten at Our Lady of The Miraculous Medal grammer school in middle village ("Queens"), New York.
Mary grew up and got mary-ed to Ed Bradley. They live in Pennsylvania with their boys, Ed Jr. and Robert.
We celebrate all things related to Mary, so please send us a message so we can feature your Mary story on our site!
We honor all forms of Mary, including the Virgin Marys many forms:
All which can be found on our Virgin Mary shop.