In one of the happiest, most unclouded memoirs of America's Good Old Days around, John Mullen recounts (with a bare whiff, perhaps, of rose-colored blarney) how life was for an Irish family in a small town near Philadelphia in the Year of Our Lord 1912. It was a time of such good, long-gone things as livery stables and stereopticon slides, when the only career woman in sight was Miss Louella, a seamstress and tippler who took the pledge before Billy Sunday after some fancy pranking by the local boys. The episodes, all vamped by verses from velvet zingers like ""Jimmy Valentine"" or ""Hobble Skirt,"" range from pell-mell blither--the domino pile-up of men and police following the ingestion of Mr. Katz' teeth by the plumbing, or the great pickle-factory debacle--to romance. The romance involves Pretty Bess, Mother's sister, who ""demonstrated"" songs at the Five-and-Dime, and Alaska-bound Uncle Mike, referred to by Father as the Big Wind, or ""Him with the gold inlays on the brain."" Mike does come home, penniless and clutching one souvenir nugget, and Bess, who planned to sing her way to Alaska, is saved. Mullen has reserved his severe judgment that the old days were better for an epilogue, and not one sour note spoils this warming broth of a book.