Joe McGonagle Remembers Gloria Conway

Where do I start.

Gloria had a quiet strength about her. She loved this town as much, if not more, than anyone I know. She did all the right things for all the right reasons. No bows, no praise – pride in her town was her reward.

I was walking on Bunker Hill Street one day when I bumped in to Jim and Gloria. I noticed they did not have the usual energy I would see them with. Jim was not bouncing off the walls, so I asked if everything was ok. Gloria said everything was fine.

Jim said they had just come from Holy Cross Cemetery, where they put flags on the veterans’ graves for Memorial Day.

I said, “Well, I am glad you are ok, I was worried.”

Gloria thanked me.

I asked them if I could get some people to help next year, since they had been doing it long enough. Gloria said, yes, they would appreciate the help and thanked me.

Jim, on the other hand, was a bit leery, having heard many people promise to help, only to come up short.

Gloria looked at Jim and said I would keep my word and be there. With that, Jim said ok. It was one of the only times I ever saw Jim not get the last word.

Jim was a smart man.

I would call Gloria on the phone when she was in the hospital. After a while, she would say, “Here comes trouble,” and I knew Jimmy would be coming in to visit her. We would then harass Jim and make fun of him. All three of us enjoyed the ritual.

When I think of Gloria, I have to think of Jim. I can’t do it any other way.

Jim would stop in my office on many days on his way over to read to his Gloria.

He was so proud of his Gloria.

Gloria shared in so many things with so many people in our town. Grace, dignity and the willingness to get the job done are a few of the many traits one has to admire.

I told Gloria many times when she goes to heaven that she will be sitting in the front row for putting up with Jim. (This was said in front of Jim, all the time.) She would smile and say, “Joe, I think you’re right.”

Well, now Jim is there, waiting for her, and I hope when Gloria gets there nobody is standing in Jim’s way to open the gate.

Heaven help whoever is in the way.

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