Meet My Friend, Maggie

Meet My Friend, Maggie

Posted on Jun. 26, 2024
Maggie (left), CitySites Program Participant, with Laurel

Margaret O’Connor (Maggie) was born and raised in Boston as the eldest of seven children. Growing up in a large family, she naturally took on a caring role, caring for her younger siblings. After graduating high school, Maggie worked at Woolworths and pursued her education at Boston University for two years.

At 20, seeking new opportunities, she moved to California with her cousin Maureen. Initially living in Los Angeles with their aunts, Maggie found that she missed the walkability of Boston. She relocated to Berkeley, where she secured a job at the University of California. There, she assisted high school students with college admissions, nurturing their aspirations much like she had with her siblings.

Determined to finish her education, Maggie took courses at San Francisco State University, ultimately earning a degree in American history. Her education took her all over the country. Her career was diverse and fulfilling, including managing an office for a lawyer and judge in San Francisco, teaching fourth grade in New York City, and working in early childhood education in California.

Maggie values education and has always felt a connection to it. From a young age, she spent time with students at Boston University with her aunt and uncle on Bay State Road. She helped provide female students with meals and rooms. As such, Maggie grew interested in academia and teaching. Margaret also worked as a teacher for a Catholic school. Her classes were large, ranging from 40 –50 students, but Maggie always took it in stride. “I loved teaching. I wasn’t bored. When I was a secretary, I was bored.” As she kept working, Maggie realized the importance of early childhood education and chose to make it her career.

When asked about trends from her young adulthood, Margaret reminisced about when she lived in California, “I had friends that were gay, straight, some were married, some were divorced… Suddenly, everything became political. In those days …we all got along.” Maggie underscored the importance of connections. “I had good friends…I kind of always looked after.”

Maggie holds cherished memories of her time in Martha’s Vineyard, particularly a sunset swim that remains a vivid and joyous memory. It was after “a very hot day in Boston, and I got there [to the Vineyard] late and I went for a swim… and the sun was setting as I was swimming toward Edgartown. I will never, ever forget it. After a hot, hot day in Boston, and the beauty of that sunset. You know, that carries me. When I can’t sleep, I think of that.”

This Meet My Friend profile was adapted with permission by LBFE Boston co-op, Yongjae Kim, from an interview between Margaret (Maggie), and Laurel, a student at Boston College. Thank you, Laurel, for allowing us to use your interview.