1987 Southern California Rose of Tralee - Kelly Learman Browne
"Being a Rose gave me the opportunity to see the human spirit at its best and understand why the Irish have a special knack of looking at life with a genuine sparkle in their eyes”.
First, I must thank my mother, Peggy Learman, because she is the real reason I am here. It is my mother who so adored her Irish mother, Margaret Kerrigan, and our long mystical Irish history. It was effortless then for me to participate in the Southern California Rose of Tralee, because it was an extension of my “family.” Chosen as the 1987 Rose, I suddenly became an ambassador for all of us here in America as I went“home” to Ireland. It was truly a moment that changed my life forever… Being the 1987 Rose, began a journey that is still continuing. It has given me confidence, hope, love, pride and utter joy. Stepping off the plane, I was an instant celebrity. My cheeks hurt from smiling. I quickly learned that where ever I went it was so important to acknowledge all the people that had come to watch and see the Roses from all over the world – we were surrounded. And I must be honest…I loved waving to the cheering crowd in city after city and adored the children begging for an autograph. Being a Rose gave me the opportunity to see the human spirit at its best and understand why the Irish have a special knack of looking at life with a genuine sparkle in their eyes. And it’s not because I kissed the Blarney stone - it changed me.
Returning to Los Angeles, Terry Anderson and Phylis Mulvey, continued giving me the opportunity to shine. So moved was I by my experience I wrote about it; it was the first major magazine article I published. I used that inspired article to sell a book outline; that book was just released by Barnes & Noble. In June, I will be speaking at the Protocol School of Washington. Because of my experience, my sister became the Washington, D.C. Rose and ran the Rose Center there for several years. And, it all stems back to the Southern California Rose of Tralee. Mom, and yes, Terry, I am forever grateful.