Friday, November 9, 2018

Notes from Conversations with Mom: 1 June 2011

1 June 2011 

It was on this day that I started keeping dated notes when I talked to Mom on the phone. We talked almost every day for a while there. Wish I’d dated all the notes prior to that but am happy to have what I do.  

On this day Mom wanted to talk about WWII and the boys who served. There were a lot of them too, and ours wasn’t the only family who sent their boys off. Mom’s brother Camey Williams joined the Army and went to California for training. His best friend was Lonnie Kyle and he’s related by marriage on Mom’s side, somehow. Have just spent the better part of an hour trying to figure it out and can’t work it out. Ever get a stray person such as Lonnie Kyle? You know that there’s a connection but you just can’t make the pieces fit. 

Mom’s maternal grandmother Mam Whetstone is pictured with Nan Kyle in this photo above. Just don’t know who Nan is to Mam. This picture is dated 1939 and Nan appears to be pregnant. With Lonnie’s younger brother? Finding out who the Kyles were to our family is going to drive me crazy. 

While Camey was in California, so far away from little Frostburg, their hometown, he sees Lonnie! Lonnie yelled out, Last time I saw you, you had pneumonia!” Which is strange thing to say, I first thought. 

But it was the truth! Camey and Lonnie and a bunch of the boys were playing down by the creek in January. It was frozen over, solid. Except for that spot Camey found when he cracked the ice and fell in. And he got pneumonia. He did however get an ambulance ride to the hospital. His first one. He was excited, very ill but excited. 

Lonnie also said that the last time he saw Camey he was a skinny little kid. Now, he said that Camey had turned into a man.  


That’s Uncle Camey on the right. I think this photo might have been taken in Frostburg at some point.  And I have no idea where that top one was taken, but it's not Frostburg.

The notation on this picture says that he was in Switzerland.  

Mom’s sister Dot had a childhood sweetheart named Harold. They grew up, fell or stayed in love and married. Uncle Harold Conrad also served but in the Navy. Cousin Steve knows his Naval history and stories of his service and someday I’ll have to get more information from him. Meanwhile, here he is in uniform. 

With his new bride, Aunt Dot.
Here he's on board a ship in the Pacific. Cousin Steve will know all of the details.
Thank goodness for cousins!

On Dad’s side of the family, his brother Bernie Kelly, was off to the European Theatre of war. When he got there, he spotted his brother-in-law Pete Fraley, his sister Christiana’s husband. Once they met again, Pete and Bernie started kidding around and Pete told him he was not regulation anything and was one of those “undesirables” they talk about. They had a good laugh! 

Kidding around was a brother thing in our family and it pops up in many family stories. Bernie was, I thought, the funniest of the uncles. Dad was funniest when he was with Bernie and they got into some close scrapes too, but all in fun. I don’t think anyone got arrested for any of their pranks, but I’m not totally certain.  

It’s said that Bernie stole watches from POWs, but maybe that’s just a made-up story told by the two other brothers. One day Bernie was walking around camp and saw this officer looking particularly pompous and thought, “Who does he think he is.” Then he realized that it was his brother Delbert!  

As I heard the story, the day the war was over in Europe Bernie grabbed a jeep and drove off to find Delbert to celebrate. Against odds, they found each other! 


Delbert John Kelly on the top and on the bottom, Bernie Kelly 


Monday, November 5, 2018

Long Time

Yes, it has been a very long time since I've posted regularly here that I even forgot the password. But I have an idea now that could be useful to researchers. Mom's turned 100 this past July and about 10 years ago or so we started chatting on the phone. For years it was just about daily. Over time it was more difficult to make those calls happen, and that wasn't due to any lack of enthusiasm on my part. Then it ended when she became more challenged in doing tasks of everyday life. And her memory wasn't as sharp as it had been so it was awkward for her at times.

Our talks usually turned their attention to genealogy after a couple of minutes. Looking back now I'm so very glad that early on I grabbed a spiral binder and started taking notes.

What I'd like to do, if it works out, is post some of those notes and her recollections of relatives and ancestors. They were so good!!! It would be a shame not to record them.

Mom with her big birthday cake!!

Over 40 relatives and close friends attended.
Loved seeing each and every one.