Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thoughtful Tuesday: Young and Old Grandpop Kelly

Last Tuesday I started this new blogging prompt and I'll see how far it goes. Of course after a while there will be no more ancestor young and old photos to match up so it will come to an end. But for now, there's some fun to be had contrasting images of ancestors as they were when they were young and full of the world with images of them in their maturity. If you want to read the first post you can see it here.

It amuses me to think of how all of my grandparents had different names, like Grandma, Grandmother, Gram, and so on. Grandpop Kelly was always a "Pop" to me. He was kind of sassy, clever, sharp whited, and quick to laugh at a joke. My father called him Pop so I guess it was only natural that I follow along with Grandpop.

As mentioned above, this is my second try at a comparison of a couple of photos telling the story of the young version of a grandparent and an older version of that same person. I did it last week with my Grandma Kelly (Helen Zeller Kelly 1894-1985) so it's only natural that now I turn to her mate, John "Lee" Kelly (1892 - 1969). I don't have a photo of him as a boy but I have a picture of him as a young newlywed and then as a old guy, and that will do nicely.

Grandpop Kelly left school after the 4th grade to go to work mostly in the coal mines and earn for his family. Later in life he regretted not having a good education. After he left school he tried his hand as a railroad brakeman, which was a very dangerous job. His father, a railroad conductor, most likely got him that job as he did for all of his sons. We find Grandpop in the 1910 census at 18 years old working on the railroad. In the 1920 census he's married (which he and Grandma did in 1913) and working as an electrician in the coal mines.

In the 1930 census he's working as a motorman in the coal mines and all six children have appeared. It's the Great Depression and he's paying $15 a month rent to his mother-in-law. In the 1940 census he's worked about 33 hours a week for 33 weeks in the last year making $800 as a coal miner. Mining wasn't a full-time job and the miners worked when there was work and at the behest of the supervisors who could and did play favorites when doing hiring.

Mom says he eventually quit working in the 1940s when his sons went to work and could help support the family. Throughout WWII the boys sent money home and continued to send money for their support after. As I remember, he wasn't working by the 1950s due to the effects of black lung disease. His health was a mess by that time.

This photo of Grandma and Grandpop always strikes me as a wedding portrait. It hung in the front entry hall of their home on West Main Street in the little town of Frostburg, Maryland for many years.

Here he is probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s, sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch. His hair is gray and he sits in comfortable shirt and old pants. I know the shoes he has on without even being able to see them: old black house slippers. He'd rock gently, cough now and then, and enjoy the fresh clean mountain air.
The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2013/04/thoughtful-tuesday-young-and-old_30.html

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