U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Margaret M. Heckler took a sentimental journey to some family landmarks. She prayed at the churchyard where her grandparents, Daniel and Margaret O'Shaughnessy, are buried and then visited her ancestral cottage. Villagers spruced up the tiny two-bedroom homestead in Ballysteen, a village of 200 people 14 miles west of Limerick, and Heckler found a loaf of home-baked bread, scones and tea laid out on the table. It was, she was told, the same table where her father, John O'Shaughnessy, ate breakfast on the morning before he left for the United States 72 years ago. The cottage has been unoccupied for several years. Limerick County Council Chairman Paddy Sheehy, who is Heckler's cousin, greeted her as she arrived escorted by Defense Minister Michael Noonan, and the local ceili (folk music) band entertained her. "It's a moment I've long waited to cherish," said Heckler, 56. "It's fascinating to see the country roads where my family once walked and to see the hills where they probably once roamed." Another cousin, Lil O'Rourke, showed her around the village. Heckler, a former congresswoman from Massachusetts, served as secretary for health and human services before being posted to Dublin in 1986.
--Author Alex Haley will be the first recipient of the Bootstraps Foundation Award for overcoming adversity. He will be honored for "pulling himself up by his bootstraps" at an April 14 banquet in Nashville at which 45 high school seniors will be honored and seven will be awarded college scholarships. The program is sponsored by the Nashville Banner newspaper and Shoney's Inc., which owns a restaurant chain. Haley, who was reared in the small Tennessee town of Henning, won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, "Roots."
--Prince Hiro, the eldest son of Japan's Crown Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko and second in line to the imperial throne, turned 28 and said he wants to get married soon. Hiro said he plans to marry before he turns 30 but declined to say if he had met a suitable bride. The prince said marriage was like climbing Mt. Fuji--he could already see the top but it was still hard to reach, an imperial spokesman said.