Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: SNGF and something about my father

Randy Seaver over at the very popular and informative blog, Genea-Musings, sets out a challenge and this week it's all about our fathers and father-figures in his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun or SNGF. Here's what Randy wrote, and he likes red so I kept it:
2) What are three things about your father (or significant male ancestor) that you vividly remember about him?

My own Dad's been gone now since 2007 and there are still some bruised and tender spots around my edges but I thought that Randy's challenge was a good one that I could embrace without much difficulty. So here goes. Let me tell you a couple of things about my Dad, Francis Patrick Kelly (1916 - 2007), or "Pat" as everyone called him. What is it with the Irish using that middle name? As there were at least six Francis Patrick Kellys in the direct family line, guess they had to be practical about it, so one got to be Pat, and one got to be Frank, and so on!

1.) Dad's hands were burned when he was two years old. He was running in the house, tripped, and landed with his hands open flat on the side of the cast iron coal stove in the kitchen. His hands were burned badly and he went to the doctor, who kind of didn't know what he was doing (or had been drinking) and told Dad to close his hands and then he wrapped them up in bandages... closed. They healed stuck together and that skin later had to be cut apart. Yes, gross, I know. The stomach turns to think of it. It was horribly painful and Dad must have suffered tremendously.
The very amazing and incredible thing of it is that his grandmother Zeller, or Ma as they called her, lived with them and the very day before this happened she traced Dad's hands, both of them. (Never mind that Ma misspelled the Kelly surname to be Kelley... that was Ma all over.)


2.) Dad always made the best of a bad situation. Or at least that's how I look at it. Those bad hands kept him from serving in WWII so he took work in local factories working his way up to a management position. When the boys came back he was their inside guy who got them jobs. After the war Dad met a man from Ohio who owned a plastics plant and offered him a job running the operations end of it. Right place, right time.
Then later after a reversal, we all moved from Ohio back to little Frostburg where Mom and Dad came from. He had a plan, so Dad got into real estate. He sold homes and businesses to a lot of people, making a nice living from commissions. But the best thing he did was invest in apartment buildings. That insured a happy retirement for he and Mom.

Dad in the middle of an outing with Mom and friends just after the war.

Dad and Mom at a business event in the early 1960s.

3.) Dad laughed! A lot. He loved a good joke and especially a practical joke. There are so many stories about he and his brothers playing jokes on each other that I could post every day for years about it and not run out. This went on from the time three boys all shared a bed until they were grown men and should have known better. (What's the statute of limitations on drinking, driving a boat and chasing ducks? And can it rightly be called "duck hunting"?)
What's the point if you're not taking time to have fun and a good laugh?

Dad died at age 91 and he had always said that he thought 91 was a proper age to live to, so good to his word, that's how old he was when he died. He had dementia with Lowey bodies at the end and had hallucinations in which he'd call the police about various suspects in the yard. They know who he was and what was going on because Frostburg is a very small town and Mom had let them know. At times funny, it was hard on Mom. Yeah, it was a good life and we laughed a lot.

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