Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thoughtful Tuesday: Young and Old, Grandma Kelly

I love the Geneablogger's wonderful Daily Blogging Prompts because they lend structure to my blog posts and keep me moving through the week. They inspired me to make up a couple of themes on my own: DNA Monday, and The Creative Process on occasional Fridays. I had the idea for another theme while at an Eric Burdon concert on Sunday evening. Hey, ideas come at all times and places:)

Here's the concept: contrast what is known about an ancestor in their youth with the way they were in their maturity or old age. You see, there was Eric Burdon giving a knock-out performance and yet I could see in my mind's eye his young face super-imposed over the old rocker before me belting out "We Gotta Get Outta This Place." His age hadn't taken a thing away from his talents but rather added a new and deeper dimension to his performance. So I wondered if that was also true of ancestors? Let's try one and see, shall we?

Here are two photos of my paternal grandmother, Helen Zeller Kelly (1894 - 1985). The first one was taken when she was just a girl and the apple of her father's eye. Her father, Gustav "Gus" Zeller (1858 - 1925) was a very successful barber with a large barber shop with bathtubs and all, right on Main Street in Frostburg, Allegany County, Maryland. The large and prosperous coal mining community insured that there was a constant steady stream of men who needed a bath, hair cut and shave. Gus invested his earnings in property which were mostly rentals. And nothing was too good for his only daughter.

Look at her outfit! And that big grin on her face! Her hat, her stance, and that fur muff all of it tells of a well-off life and its enjoyment. I love this picture of her because she looks so young and carefree. And, I think, lovely and very sweet. Was she a tad spoiled? Oh, perhaps:) She always got her way!

Below is Grandma Kelly, as I always called her, in the 1940s. She'd raised six kids during the Great Depression and now three of her four boys were going off to war. She's standing in the back yard on a cold winter day, perhaps late fall or before the mercies of spring arrived, with someone else's jacket that doesn't quite fit, on her shoulders. She's wearing her usual house dress and apron and there's a cold wind blowing her skirt. But to my eye she stands solid as a rock in sensible shoes and hands folded across her middle. She stands on her own land, in her own yard on the property her father left her.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/thoughtful-tuesday-young-and-old.html


  1. What a great idea for a post! The photos are wonderful. The outfit your grandmother was wearing as a girl is just so pretty and fun. I wonder what the occasion was for the photograph.

    I like your description of your grandmother in the second photo - "solid as a rock." Did all of her boys survive the war?

    1. Hi Jana- I have no idea what the occasion was for that first photo. And we've wondered if there are other photos of the family members taken at the same photo shoot:)
      Yes, all the boys survived the war. One is still living and talks about his experiences there all the time:)
      Don't ya just love old photos... wait, I know you do 'cause I see your blog posts all the time!
      Cheers, Diane