My Uncle Tom

Sister and I

Uncle Tom was my mother’s only brother.  I never knew him very well because he was so gruff and grim and very rarely spoke to children.  As a child, whenever my sisters and I, along with my mother, would visit my grandmother’s house, Tom would be sitting at the kitchen table eating and reading the newspaper. That’s the only place I ever remember seeing him.  Funny I remember him at all because his face was usually buried in the newspaper.  I am not sure if he was interested in politics because he never seemed to engage anyone in conversation, least of all the children.   At least never more than a grunt and that was to ask either mom or one of his sisters for more coffee or more to eat.

Tom had dark hair and always had a five o’clock shadow and if he had any personality, it was never apparent.  The only way I knew anything about him was through my mother and her sisters. They talked about him behind his back of course.  The strange thing though was they always used the name “Dick” when they referred to Tom.  My sisters and I always assumed that Dick was his name.  We never found out that his name was Tom until we were adults!

Tom did have a favorite sister and that was Lily, one of his older sisters.  She was married and living with her husband in another State.  New Jersey was the State and eventually most, if not all of the family eventually moved there for the jobs.  There was work in New Jersey for both men and women.  But at this time, Lily was the only one of the family that lived there.  The reason being that her husband Frank got a good job working in the ship-yards in New Jersey before and during the War.  The second world war that is, or WWII as most people were calling it.

This was a few years before America got into WWII  and the young men were either being drafted or joining up with the Army, Navy or the Marines.  The older men, by that I mean men in their thirties and forties were going where the jobs were and also helping the war effort. They were glad to get the jobs as there  was no work in Northeastern Pennsylvania except the coal mines.   No one in their right mind, wanted to work in the coal mines.  You either died in a mine accident or died more slowly from “black lung”.  Jobs had been scarce for a long time in that area and the men and their families sometimes had to work in the mines because they couldn’t afford to move to New Jersey or their families didn’t’t want to move.

Tom was deferred from the service because he was the only man in the family.  His father had died a few years before from an accident in the Coal Mines.  His sisters worked in the silk mills and Tom did also but the pay was not that good.

The younger men elected to leave the area rather than work in the mines.   Since New Jersey was the closest State to northeastern Pennsylvania where we lived and had a lot of good paying jobs, especially now with the rumors of war and the buildup of companies making the machinery of war.  It was only natural that a lot of young men in the area would migrate there.  Also, the pay was much better in New Jersey.

But back to Tom.  He worked in the silk mill closest to where he lived.  Several of his sisters worked in silk mills also.  I know my mother would talk about the time she worked there.  It was interesting mostly because my mother was a good story teller.  In fact, when my friends would come to our house to either pick me up for a dance or other activity we were going to do, or just to visit, they would be entranced by the stories my mother would tell.  A lot of the stories were about ghosts and graveyards and they would scare both my friends and my sister’s friends. However, they always wanted to come back for more which they did on a regular basis.

There was a definite smell that clung to my aunts who worked at the mill.  It was a medicinal smell that was not pleasant.  It just seemed to ooze out of them and when they would come to visit us and we would complain to my mother about the smell, after they left of course.  She would try to explain where the smell came from and told us to never to mention the smell in front of the aunts.  As far as I know, none of us ever did .  Most of the older sisters, including my mother had to quit school after finishing eighth grade.  This was because she, as well as the other older sisters had to go to work in one of the mills, to help the family survive.   There was not  much, if any other work in the area at that time.   Tom refused to work in the mines.

Mom, she was my grandmother but she insisted that her grandchildren call her ‘mom’ because she thought grandma made  her seem too old.  My mother and her other sisters who had children did not mind that we then had to call our mothers,  ‘mother’.   It was the Irish way anyhow!

Lily and her husband Frank were much loved by mom.  I think one of the reasons was because Lily was a good Catholic and went to church on a regular basis and mom was very religious.  Lily’s husband Frank was also a good Catholic.  Lily also had a big family consisting of five children, only one was a boy.  John was his name.   He was named after his grandfather and mom loved that.  John was also very spoiled by his mother and indeed by his sisters also.

Lily doted on John and sent him to Catholic school when he was in high school, which was several towns away from where they lived.  He had to take the streetcar to get there.   Whenever either myself or my sister, Anna would see him on the streetcar, we would address him as ‘Jackie’ because that’s what we called him when we were younger.  He would now correct us and say “John please”!

Lily decided early on that John should become a priest, which of course the nuns were happy about and encouraged this.  Mom was extremely happy about this also.  In fact, John was her favorite grandchild!   The other grandchildren were relegated to somewhat lower positions.

So Lily was the ‘Golden Girl’  and her family got most of the attention from mom.  I never heard any of the other sisters complain about their children being left out of mom’s affection but I do not believe they were happy about it.  I do remember being snubbed however whenever my sisters were visiting mom and Lily and her family were there also.

Lily’s girls had taken dancing lessons, tap dancing and were always asked to perform for everyone to much applause and adulation.   Of course they were always dressed in the latest fashion which Lily would donate to my mother for her ‘girls’ when they were done with them.  The material of the dresses was always taffeta and lace and we would refuse to wear them because they were too fancy for us.

To be continued.

Murder in a Small Town

 

Murder In a Small Town

 

Chapter II

After Joe was expelled from Catholic School, his family put him in public school.  He continued to have problems because he was always getting into trouble, which included  minor things like pranks on fellow students.  These at first seemed harmless enough, but were escalating to more serious offenses, such as putting a mouse in a teacher’s desk drawer, which scared the teacher to death.  Next he got into a fight with another student and when called into the Principal’s office, he mouthed off to the principal.   It was obvious he was escalating in his trouble making.

Although the public school was a lot more lenient than the Catholic school had been, he managed to graduate by the skin of his teeth.  Before he graduated however, he managed to get his girlfriend pregnant.  The girl and her parents were not happy, to say the least. So a  hasty marriage was arranged by both his and her parents, with only the immediate families attending.  This happened only a few months after both Joe and Janet had graduated from high school.

They moved in with his parents for the time being and with his father’s help, Joe landed a job working with his father in an auto mechanic shop as a trainee.  They planned on finding an apartment of their own as soon as possible, with the parents help of course..

After being married a few months, Janet had a miscarriage.  There were mixed feelings about this among the family members.  Joe was not happy because the pregnancy was a big reason he felt he had to get married and now here he was stuck with a wife and barely eighteen years old.  Both of their parents were confused but felt it was too late to do anything about it.

The young couple went on to find an apartment and not long after, Joe started his new job with his father.  It was six months since they married and Janet was getting restless staying home alone while Joe was off at work and she started nagging him about maybe getting a job herself.

“What do you think of the idea”?  she asked Joe when he walked in the door from work.

“What idea”?  he said.

“Of me getting a job, instead of lounging around here all day in this tiny apartment”?

“A wife is supposed to stay home and let her husband support her.  Besides, you have not recovered from the miscarriage”.  Joe said.

“I am fine and it has been a few months”.

“Well, I do not like the idea of you going to work, makes me feel like I am not doing my duty as a husband”.

Janet was not prepared for this attitude from Joe.  He was acting like an old man instead of the teenager he was.  So she decided to drop the idea for now.  No use getting into an argument over it.  But she knew she would get her way soon enough.

 

To be continued.

 

A TALE OF TWO KITTIES

The tale of two star-crossed felines, with special thanks to Sarah Piggott from RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre. A rough patch Patch came into our care in May of last year. His owner had far too many cats to care for – they were all under-socialised and very timid. The household then suffered a house fire,…

via Lovecats! How nervous Patch found his purr-fect match — Katzenworld

I am reblogging this story from Katzenworld to call attention to the fact that people can adopt pairs of kitties who have bonded with each other and shouldn’t be separated.  They make great pets.

MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN

Continuing Chapter I

There was a young man in Marie’s class, his name was Joe Kaminsky.  He was a nice looking boy and had no problem attracting girls.  He was quite aware of this and lost no opportunity in doing so.  Attracting girls that is.  Marie knew him because the Catholic school was small and everybody knew everybody and their families  but she was not interested in getting to know him better.  Marie herself was pretty popular with both the girls and the boys in her class.  She knew that Joe was a big flirt and he was always in trouble.

Marie was sixteen at the time and I was fourteen.  We had our separate friends that we hung out with but usually got along with each other’s friends.  Joe was in Marie’s class so she knew him better than I did and when she heard that he was expelled, she wasn’t too surprised.  He had been held back by the nuns, so he was older than most of the other kids.  He was seventeen where most of the other students were sixteen.  So when Joe got expelled, the class was buzzing with the news and everyone wanted to know what was the reason.  Marie knew that he was usually late for school and was a distraction in class, usually talking to girls sitting next to him but she knew that wasn’t enough to expel him.  One day he wasn’t in class and no one saw him after that.

It didn’t come out until much later that he had gotten a girl pregnant.   It was not a girl from his class or even from the school, so the nuns were relieved but not happy about having him in their school and that’s why they expelled him.  He managed to get into public school though and graduated by the skin of his teeth.  His parents did not seem overly concerned about him.  They had the attitude that ‘boys will be boys’.  They really wanted him working and turning over his paycheck to them, which he did as soon as he graduated from high school.

He continued seeing Janet, the girl he had gotten pregnant and there was even talk of them getting married.  Her parents were not happy about her being pregnant and had spoken to Joe’s parents about the possibility of their daughter marrying Joe.  In those days no one even thought of abortion, besides it was against the law.  So it looked like there was going to be a shotgun wedding.

After much hand wringing and gnashing of teeth by the parents, they were married, in a small civil ceremony  with only their immediate families present.  Neither set of parents were very happy about the situation but with a baby on the way it was the only solution they could come up with.  The parents chipped in and gave them enough money to have a weekend in New York City for their honeymoon.

The wedding news was in the local paper and a few friends of the bride and groom gave each other knowing glances.  Of course, they were insulted that they were not invited to the wedding.

Elegy for Lady

LADY

LADY

She left the way she came

Quickly and without much fuss

She made her way into our hearts

Merlin, her brother and myself

She had a way about her that was

comic and endearing to me

We had many years of happiness

But alas,  the years go too fast

and Merlin left us too soon

But Lady helped me through

Although, she too was getting older and

had her aches and pains.

She decided to leave without much fuss

Now I am bereft with silence all around.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS continuing story….

Grandmother/Mom
Grandmother/Mom

Mom, who was our grandmother, but insisted that her grandchildren call her mom, was a major force in my mother’s family and therefore in our family as well.  As a result of having to call her mom, we had to call my mother, mother.

When we were children, we often went to visit Mom with my mother.  She lived several blocks away and since we did not have a car, walking would have to do.  Three of mom’s daughters, she had eight, lived with her at the time.  And a few had married and had their own homes and families.  Two became teachers and the rest worked in the silk mills in the area and turned in their pay to mom as long as they were living at home.  Mom used some of the money to send two of the youngest girls to Teacher’s College.  Mom was very progressive especially being she was from the “Old Country”.

We, my sisters and I, were shy and would hide behind my mother if we were asked any questions when we visited.  Mom would comment on how bashful we were and my mother would scoff and say, “They are not that way at home!  Can’t keep them quiet there.”  Which of course, made us more bashful when we were out..

We kids enjoyed playing in mom’s large backyard where she kept chickens and had a vegetable garden.  We made up our own games and were usually pretty tired when mother would call us in for a snack of lemonade and cookies that mom had made.  Usually oatmeal and raisin cookies and the lemonade was so cool and refreshing that we guzzled it down.

After all the playing and then walking home we kids were pretty tired and usually took a nap, giving mother a brief respite and maybe a visit with her friend and neighbor, Mrs. Kelly.  Mrs. Kelly lived right next door to us and had a large yard in which were planted all manner of vegetables.  She used to give us vegetables on a regular basis, anywhere from carrots to tomatoes and onions.  My mother would make wonderful stews with chunks of meat and always potatoes added.  My mother had a small garden and even some chickens but with four children, was always grateful for donations of food especially around the holidays.

Mrs. Kelly, in addition to being very helpful to us, was also a bad influence on my mother, teaching her to smoke and sometimes drink alcohol.  But mother never became a big drinker and she never became a heavy smoker either, in spite of Mrs. Kelly.  But they did have a good time when they got together.  They both loved hearing and telling a good story.  There was always a lot of laughing when they got together.

To be continued.

THE RETURN

Mother and Girls
Mother and Girls

 THE RETURN

I had not seen my father in years.  In fact, I really did not care if I ever saw him again.  He left so long ago I barely remembered what he looked like.  So the day he returned was more of a shock, than a surprise.

When I came home from school that day, the family was all excited about something.  Mother, who was usually in an old house dress, was in her Sunday best. She had on one of her two good dresses. This one had big pink roses splashed on a field of black. It was my favorite. My mother was a good-looking woman and since dad had left us several years ago, she had finally started dating again.  She said at that time that she considered him dead anyway.

So that day, when mother asked me to go upstairs and make the beds, I did not jump to do it.
“What’s with the cleaning”? I asked.  I was told more than once, that I had a smart mouth.  I never knew quite how to take that, whether I should be insulted or complimented.   But mother seemed worried about getting the house cleaned and right away.  It was not like her to be so concerned about the cleaning.  Her usual attitude about it  was, ‘It will get done when it gets done’, and it always got done.

“It is a surprise, will you please do what I asked?”  Mother’s voice was getting a bit shrill.
“Ok,  ok, but I don’t know what all the mystery is about.  Is someone important coming”?   I decided to go and do as she asked before she got mad and started yelling.  When she started yelling, it never ended good.

I ran upstairs and started making beds.  My two younger sisters were in their  bedroom giggling and they were not doing any cleaning. But then they never did any of the cleaning anyway.  I hoped maybe they could shed a little light on the situation but when I asked them, they just ignored me and kept on giggling. What can you expect from kids, I thought. I was fourteen and as second oldest in the family thought I was in control of things. I was blond and blue-eyed and rather scrawny yet the boys were beginning to notice me. My mother encouraged me in my independence, because she needed me to help at home while she was working.  Since Dad had left us high and dry when I was seven, with no money to speak of; mom needed every penny she could get to raise her four girls.

I finished making the beds and as I entered my room, which I shared with my older sister, the smell of Summer drifted in through the window. The lace curtains fluttered lazily on the warm breeze as I flopped on the bed and lit a cigarette that I had swiped from  Mother’s purse earlier.  She did let me light hers for her once in a while so I thought  it was okay to have one  once in a while.  I went off into a world of my own and saw  myself as a dancer. Myself and Gene Kelly, who was my favorite movie star, swayed back and forth to the music and as we swung out and came together, I was lost in the moment.

I seemed to be day-dreaming  more and more lately.  It was a way to close out the real world and go to my own special place. Ever since dad had deserted us, there never was enough money,  but now things were beginning to get better with myself and my older sister working.  I only worked part-time because I was still in school but it was enough to buy my clothes and give a little to my mother.  Dad had refused to send home any money to help support us from his Army allotment.  So the decision was taken out of his hands and the Army sent money to us anyway.  Yes, dad was a real nice guy.

Dad was drafted even though he was over forty because he was a deserter of his family and the Army needed all the men they could get. The second World War was in full progress at this time and that’s all that we  heard about on the radio. The war!  Rationing, black-outs, not enough sugar butter or gas. The sugar was what concerned me the most, I loved making candy, one thing dad had taught me.   Fudge with peanut butter was my favorite.

Whenever mother spoke of dad her voice was bitter and I learned to despise his memory even though I didn’t remember him all that much. Mother managed to fill in the blanks with, “We wouldn’t be in this shack with hardly enough to eat if he were any good.”  She called him “Mr. Rat” most of the time.  And he managed to live up to that name.

I often wondered if dad would come back and how she would feel if it ever came to that. I  knew however, with mother’s attitude, there was slim chance of that happening. As I stubbed out the cigarette, a train whistle blew in the distance and I wondered what it would be like to be on that train. I always dreamed of going to New York, which was not that far away and becoming an artist or a dancer.
“Are you finished yet?” Her mother’s voice broke her reverie.
“I’m all done.” I yelled back.

Mother worked hard trying to support the family. She did housework for several people. She was usually tired when she came home and so she put me in charge of watching the kids and cleaning the house in her absence. I liked being in charge. I could boss my younger sisters around whenever I felt like it. They rebelled of course and there was many an argument. They were eleven  and nine at that time. They clashed loudly with me over who was “in charge”. “We’re going to tell mother,” was the usual refrain when I pushed too hard to make them do anything like their homework or make their beds.

The house we rented was a two bedroom over a shoemaker shop.  Myself and my older sister, shared one bedroom and my two younger girls shared the other. Mother slept on the couch downstairs.  She said she had to keep an eye on the coal stoves anyway, so they wouldn’t go out and then we would freeze in the winter. Of course we had to have the stoves going in the Summer also to do our cooking. Which made for a very warm house in the summer.

My older sister was sixteen and as the oldest had to quit high school to work and help support the family. As a result of her bringing money in, she became very independent. She assumed no duties at home and paid little or no attention to mother. The younger girls didn’t really remember their dad or if they did, it was just a fuzzy outline. Their lives consisted of going to school and playing with their friends.

My reverie was interrupted again when I heard my mother’s voice coming from the bottom of the stairs.
“Come on down girls, there’s someone here to see you”, mother said.

My sisters ran down the stairs giggling to see who it was but for some reason I hung back. I had a strange feeling come over me. I really didn’t want to come down and see who was there.  I heard men’s voices that I did not recognize. So I stayed in my room until Mother finally came up and insisted that I come down and meet the visitors.

To be continued.

THE RETURN

Paddy Glennon circa 1943Word Press/Shaping Your Story

Week Two

Intros and Hooks

I had not seen my father in years.  In fact, I really did not care if I ever saw him again.  He left so long ago I barely remembered what he looked like.  So the day he returned was more of a shock, than a surprise.

When I came home from school that day, the family was all excited about something.  Mother, who was usually in an old house dress, was in her Sunday best. She had on one of her two good dresses. This one had big pink roses splashed on a field of black. It was my favorite. My mother was a good-looking woman and since dad had left us, she had started dating again.

So when mother asked me to go upstairs and make the beds, I did not jump to do it.
“What’s with the cleaning”? I asked.  I was told more than once, that I had a smart mouth.  I never knew quite how to take that, whether I should be insulted or complimented.   But mother seemed worried about getting the house cleaned and right away.  It was not like her to be so concerned about the cleaning.  Her usual attitude about it  was, ‘It will get done when it gets done’, and it always got done.

“It is a surprise, will you please do what I asked?”  Mother’s voice was getting a bit shrill.
“Ok,  ok, but I don’t know what all the mystery is about.  Is someone important coming”?   I decided to go and do as she asked before she got mad and started yelling.  When she started yelling, it never ended good.

I ran upstairs and started making beds.  My two younger sisters were in their  bedroom giggling and they were not doing any cleaning. But then they never did any of the cleaning anyway.  I hoped maybe they could shed a little light on the situation but when I asked them, they just ignored me and kept on giggling. What can you expect from kids, I thought. I was fourteen and as second oldest in the family thought I was in control of things. I was blond and blue-eyed and rather scrawny yet the boys were beginning to notice me. My mother encouraged me in my independence, because she needed me to help at home while she was working.  Since Dad had left us high and dry when I was seven, with no money to speak of; mom needed every penny she could get to raise her four girls.

I finished making the beds and as I entered my room, which I shared with my older sister, the smell of Summer drifted in through the window. The lace curtains fluttered lazily on the warm breeze as I flopped on the bed and lit a cigarette that I had swiped from  Mother’s purse earlier.  She did let me light hers for her once in a while so I thought  it was okay to have one  once in a while.  I went off into a world of my own and saw  myself as a dancer. Myself and Gene Kelly, who was my favorite movie star then, swayed back and forth to the music and as we swung out and came together, I was lost in the moment.

I seemed to be day-dreaming  more and more lately.  It was a way to close out the real world and go to my own special place. Ever since dad had deserted us, there never was enough money,  but now things were beginning to get better with myself and my older sister working.  Dad had refused to send home any money to help support us from his Army allotment.  So the decision was taken out of his hands and the Army sent money to us anyway.  Yes, dad was a real nice guy.

Dad was drafted even though he was over forty because he was a deserter of his family and the Army needed all the men they could get. The second World War was in full progress at this time and that’s all that we  heard about on the radio. The war!  Rationing, black-outs, not enough sugar butter or gas. The sugar was what concerned me the most, I loved making candy, one thing dad had taught me.   Fudge with peanut butter was my favorite.

Whenever mother spoke of dad her voice was bitter and I learned to despise his memory even though I didn’t remember him all that much. Mother managed to fill in the blanks with, “We wouldn’t be in this shack with hardly enough to eat if he were any good.”  She called him “Mr. Rat” most of the time.  And he managed to live up to that name.

I often wondered if dad would come back and how she would feel if it ever came to that. I  knew however, with mother’s attitude, there was slim chance of that happening. As I stubbed out the cigarette, a train whistle blew in the distance and I wondered what it would be like to be on that train. I always dreamed of going to New York, which was not that far away and becoming an artist or a dancer.
“Are you finished yet?” Her mother’s voice broke her reverie.
“I’m all done.” I yelled back.

Mother worked hard trying to support the family. She did housework for several people. She was usually tired when she came home and so she put me in charge of watching the kids and cleaning the house in her absence. I liked being in charge. I could boss my younger sisters around whenever I felt like it. They rebelled of course and there was many an argument. They were eleven  and nine at that time. They clashed loudly with me over who was “in charge”. “We’re going to tell mother,” was the usual refrain when I pushed too hard to make them do anything like their homework or make their beds.

The house we rented was a two bedroom over a shoemaker shop.  Myself and my older sister, shared one bedroom and my two younger girls shared the other. Mother slept on the couch downstairs.  She said she had to keep an eye on the coal stoves anyway, so they wouldn’t go out and then we would freeze in the winter. Of course we had to have the stoves going in the Summer also to do our cooking. Which made for a very warm house in the summer.

My older sister was sixteen and as the oldest had to quit high school to work and help support the family. As a result of her bringing money in, she became very independent. She assumed no duties at home and paid little or no attention to mother. The younger girls didn’t really remember their dad or if they did, it was just a fuzzy outline. Their lives consisted of going to school and playing with their friends.

I had a part-time job at a soda fountain not far from home in the summer when school was off. My mother knew the owners and helped me get the job.  I loved the job because I could meet different guys usually older than me, some of them were in the service and looked good in their uniforms.  I  was able to eat ice cream sundaes, cokes and burgers and made money besides. I made enough money to buy my clothes for school and even give some to my mother.  So between working at home and my part time job, I was kept quite busy.

My reverie was interrupted again when I heard my mother’s voice coming from the bottom of the stairs.
“Come on down girls, there’s someone here to see you”, mother said.

My sisters ran down the stairs giggling to see who it was but for some reason I hung back. I had a strange feeling come over me. I really didn’t want to come down and see who was there.  I heard men’s voices that I did not recognize. So I stayed in my room until Mother finally came up and insisted that I come down and meet the visitors.

To be continued.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS continued

Grandmother/Mom
Grandmother/Mom

My grandmother, even being from the old country, Ireland, quickly took on some new ideas from her adopted country.  Although she kept many of the customs of her past, like wearing long dresses to her ankles and these were mostly  dark colors in paisley prints.  Her shoes were always black with low heels, like nurses used to wear.

The one thing she insisted on was that we, her grandchildren call her “Mom” and not “Grandmother”.  She did not want to be considered old, so as a result, we had to call my mother, “Mother”, not realizing how different that was, especially in the United States, where most people call their mom, “mom”.

We, of course, thought nothing of it at the time but as we got older, it seemed a bit odd.  Not that we ever objected to it or even said anything about it.  Until we were adults and friends would sometimes remark about it being a little strange.

Mom’s husband, my grandfather, was called “Pop” by both his children and his grandchildren.  That always seemed odd to me, even as a child.  But I do not remember ever questioning anyone about it but I do not think he cared one way or the other what we called him.  Mom usually set down the rules about these things in her house and among her family.  You disagreed with her at your own peril.  My mother took it all with a grain of salt and I followed in her footsteps.

To Be Continued.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS

Grandmother/Mom
Grandmother/Mom

My grandmother on my mother’s side was an old-fashioned woman.  I remember as a kid going to visit her and my aunts, who still lived at home. My aunts were Anna, Wynne and Alice, the youngest.  They were working girls, staying at home to take care of my grandmother and going out to work.  Anna and Wynne worked in the silk mill and hard work it was, so I’ve been told by my mother, who also worked there when she lived at home.

My grandfather, died as a result of the “Black Lung”, as it was called, from working in the coal mines.  So Grandmother was left as a single mother at an early age with eight children.  That was a time before there were any Unions in the mines or any union benefits.  Grandmother had to struggle to keep the family together.  So the older children were taken out of school when they graduated from eighth grade and sent out to work.  Then they helped the younger children to finish school and some of them even went to college.

Aunt Cecelia and Aunt Alice being among the youngest, were sent to Teacher’s College to become teachers. The both got a good jobs teaching at a local Junior High School.  They of course, made more money than the other children.   Aunt Alice also had handsome boyfriends courting her on a continuing basis, as she was a good-looking woman with a sparkling personality.  I think she was the tallest one in the family also, at least by my calculations.  I think she was about five foot, nine inches in her bare feet.

Mother took us many times to visit my grandmother, especially in the Summer it seemed, and we usually enjoyed ourselves.  We kids always got treats and were allowed to go out in the big backyard and run around with our cookies and lemonade.  My grandmother always wore long dresses to her ankles and the colors were always dark.  She wore her hair in a bun, so she always seemed older even when she was not that old.

She was from the Old Country, Ireland.  She lived in County Mayo, southern Ireland and was a staunch Catholic.  She came to the U.S. when she was fourteen with her mother and her sisters and brothers.  Her father had come first and got a good job and settled into a nice house in Northeastern Pennsylvania, coal country, before sending for his family.  The Coal Mines were to play a large part in both my grandparents and my parents lives.

TO BE CONTINUED.