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Who's Who in London Hooligans - Sean Astin

Sean's Journal

Weekly Letter Home

2nd December, 1884

Fr. Francis Xavier O'Banyon
St. Mark's Church
County Kerry

Dear Father O'Banyon,

Another week gone by, and me still so far away from home. I'm sending most of my pay this time, in hopes you'll use it to make sure Mum and Mackie have a fine Christmas dinner. Bless you, Father for teaching me my letters when I was just a small lad, even though Da forbid it. I know it took you a long time to bang it into my thick head, and I'm still not so good at writin', but I'm good enough to get by, good enough to send these letters to you with the money I've earned here in London. I know if I wrote home instead and Da got hold of them all my hard-earned money would be spent down the pub on whiskey and women instead of on the good food Mum needs to get well.

Bless you, too, for taking Mackie to live in the rectory with you and Mrs. Rafferty until he's old enough to study at the seminary. He'll make a good life for himself, better than his big brother's done. I wish you could have Mum living there with you as well, but I know you're looking out for her as best you can where she is. She won't ever leave Da, I know that, no matter how bad he treats her, but at least Mackie's out of his reach now.

Mum was such a beautiful lass. When I looked at that miniature of their wedding day I used to wonder why she ever married him. Did she not have other beaus before Da? Ones who would have treated her the way she deserved? Sometimes when I'm lying in my bed at night in the quiet I find myself thinking that maybe I'd been already inside her when you posted their bands, that somewhere out there I've another father, a real one who'd love me the way Da never could. It's wicked to think such things, and I know God will punish me, but I can't help wondering, what with Mackie being younger than me and already a head taller and the spittin' image of Da with his dark hair and black eyes. And me with my green eyes and golden curls. Maybe Da wonders about it, too, and that's why he's always treated me different than Mackie. I know I shouldn't complain. Even when Da used his belt on me and tossed me out of the house, there was always the hay in the barn or the sweet-smelling grass under my favorite tree where I could lay my head and sleep.

Forgive me for being ungrateful. God has provided, just like you said he would, but I'm homesick, Father. It's so lonely here in this strange city. No one's friendly here, not like at home where everyone knows your name and calls hello to you when you pass in the street. Here it's dirty looks you get when you tip your cap or say "Good Morning." But I know what I came here to do, and I won't let my mother and brother down.

I'll write again next week. Tell Mum and Mackie their Seanie misses them and loves them more than anything in the world.

That every hair on your head might turn into a candle to light your way to heaven.

Your friend,

Sean Patrick Astin