David James KELLEY

[1]

29 May 1925 - 22 Oct 2008

Father: Joseph Martin KELLEY
Mother: Rosemary R. OWENS

Family 1 : Marion Loretta MEYER
  1.  Thomas Joseph KELLEY
  2. +Kathleen Theresa KELLEY
  3. +Maureen K KELLEY
  4. +Daniel John KELLEY
  5. +Michael Patrick KELLEY
  6. +Candace Maria KELLEY
  7. +Bonnie Ann KELLEY
  8. +Connie Ann KELLEY
  9.  Joseph Martin KELLEY
  10.  Laura May KELLEY
  11.  James KELLEY
  12. +John KELLEY

                         _Martin Joseph KELLEY _+
                        | (1825 - 1889) m 1874  
 _Joseph Martin KELLEY _|
| (1885 - 1946)         |
|                       |_Anna TOBIN ___________+
|                         (1852 - 1938) m 1874  
|
|--David James KELLEY 
|  (1925 - 2008)
|                        _Thomas W. OWENS ______
|                       | (1863 - 1931)         
|_Rosemary R. OWENS ____|
  (1894 - 1974)         |
                        |_Mary KENNEDY _________+
                          (1862 - 1931)         

INDEX

[1] OCCU: Retired From the E.I. Dupont company
Address: 5015 W. Brigantine ct. Wilmington, DE 19807 PHONE: (302)-239-1531 Here
is a poem Dave wanted added to his notes:
"Families are for ever. Please keep us close together, and help us to be good,
and always love each other, the way a family should. When our lives are over,
please let us meet again so we can be a family up in Heaven, Lord, Amen."
MARRIAGE: The couple were married on June 16 1945 in Trainer, PA at Holy Cross
Church.

My Father's Master degree was in Electrical Engineering and Management. We were
o.k. Financially for those times, my Father had a good job and we all worked and
handed in our pay. My Father was in the Army during WW1, I don't really know his
part or rank. He never got out of the states during the war years of 1914 thru
1918.
The houses on Castor Ave: Moved in the summer of 1935 to 5221 Castor ave. I
started 5th grade in St Martin's, we moved across the street to 5227 in 1941
where I lived when I finished High School and went into the Marines. That's the
house where your Mother lived with Tom till my Father died. Your uncle Don was
still there. It had two stories and a 3rd floor attic where Mart and Fr. Tom
slept, 3 bedrooms on 2nd floor where Don, Jack, and me slept. Sue had the middle
by herself, Mother and Dad in the Front bedroom. One bathroom between Sue's and
Front bedroom. Down stairs we had a front enclosed sun porch, then into the
Living Room, into the Dinning Room, into a neat small breakfast Room with wall
benches to sit, into the Kitchen and it had a garage in the back. Pretty nice
neighborhood and nice people such as the Harvey's. Who had Kate, Jane, Julia
(all beautiful), Ed, (my buddy) and John, Jim, and Pete, all three became
Oblates from North Catholic like Fr Tom. Officially Northeast Catholic High
School. We always refer it as North or North Catholic.
Have not a clue about my uncles during WW1----Uncle Tom hardly ever saw, Uncle
Frank___neat guy, worked for my Dad @ F.W. Tunnell's in Philly. Great
family----Aunt Rose and the kids were Alice, Mary, Raymond, and Phillip. Mary
used to baby sit us a lot. We would drive her crazy. Uncle John---He supposedly
drank a lot. I remember when I served newspapers in his neighborhood and I would
deliver to the various Taprooms, I would run into him, he would run and hide
when I came in. He Got divorced and his wife and daughter moved to up state Pa.
Aunt Sue Kept in touch with them. I sat in the hospital (with my Mother) and was
there when he died. I remember how sick he was, and skinny, you could see right
thru his skin to see his bones. It was my 1st close experience with death. He
died in 1943.
Aunt Regina---(my Godmother) She was very sick all the time, every time we
visited she was in bed. She was very good to me. She would send a lot of neat
care packages to me when I was overseas her husband was Uncle Jose McGrath, Kids
were Mary, James, Paul, Rita, And Dick (our adopted brother) Real close cousins.
They all lived with Grand mom Kelley (Very Special Lady) in the Frankford
section of Philly.
My Mother had sisters Josephine, Helen, Veronica ----Brothers Lawrence and
Vince____Aunt Josephine ___I didn't know her she lived in Greensburg. Aunt Helen
----------(I loved her dearly) she lived in Long Island N.Y. (2) great kids --
Helen and Patricia, my very favorite girl cousin. She was so beautiful, she was
a year older than me, and she was my 1st crush. When she would visit we would
play cards all the time, we were very close. Patty died when she was only 16
year old, I was devastated. Aunt Ronnie---who lived in Greensburg, Pa till my
Dad died, then she came down to Philly to share an apartment with Mother in the
Olney section of Philly. She was very sweet and a great companion for Mother
till they both died in their 80's. Mother in 1976, Aunt Ronnie in 1977. I was
with Aunt Ronnie and Mother when they died of cancer in the Hospital. Uncle
Lawrence----A mystery man. Nobody knows much about him. Uncle Vince_____Great
guy, very close to Mother and Dad. He worked very close in the company with Dad
for many years. He and his Wife, also named Aunt Ronnie, visited the house a
lot. Beautiful people.
Birth to 3rd grade:
I think I was born in Jefferson Hosp. in Philly. by Dr. McNeil Then again I
think I was born @ home. (5243 N. 13th St.) by Dr. McNeil I have to check out.
can't think of one thing they had to say about my infancy/toddler stage. My
earliest memory is a brand new little yellow suit I wore and went playing in the
woods across the street and climbing a tree and falling off the tree and my
Father picking me up and carrying me home and calling Dr McNeil. He checked me
out, couldn't find anything wrong and getting hell from my Father for causing
such a fuss and ruining my new little yellow suit. I didn't go to a
Kindergarten. Catholic Schools didn't have any in those days. Have no idea of
1st grade nun's name. But I do remember she asked my name and when I told her
and she said "oh no - not another Kelley". Now does that tell you something
about Uncle Mart and Fr. Tom? My first day coming home from school, cutting thru
the woods I was jumped by George Eastburn, a 4th grader who lived 4 houses up
from us. He had me down and was sitting on top of me. I pulled him down and bit
him bad on his face. He let me go and I ran home. I got him good later when I
was in the 4th grade after I joined the Feegan Gang. The 1st Sunday Mass at Holy
Child Church we assembled down under the Church in the basement before Mass. The
classes would go up to Church mass - the 8th grade first on down to 1st. Well,
for some reason me and Dorothy Bell missed going up stairs to Mass. I remember
we were there for a very long time and didn't know what to do so we just sat
there and she taught me songs she knew from Shirley Temple movies. One was: On
the Good Ship Lollypop" and the other was one of my all time favorites "On the
Isle Of Capri". Now it's getting real late, because it's getting dark and we are
still trying to be brave when all of sudden somebody at the top of the stairs
yells "is any body down there." I was fine till then, then I lost it, both of us
did, we started crying and ran to him yelling," we are, we are". It was a Philly
Policeman. They had been looking for us all day, all over Philly and finally
thought to check the Church basement. I did not get hell this time, my parents
were so glad to find us. Can you imagine what we put them thru? Dorothy was my
favorite girl all the way thru Holy Child School till we moved the summer after
the 4th grade. I never saw her after that. Nothing special of 2nd and 3rd grade.
Don't remember sister's names who taught me. I was playing games in the street
like we did in those days. Hand ball, box ball, hide and seek, had skates and
skates mobiles made out of orange crates and a slate of wood and a piece of
broom handle for steering. Learned a lot of card games, house games. Plenty of
roughhouse with my brothers, we had boxing gloves and we would fight a lot. Had
a neat little puppy dog who bit me on the nose when I was playing on the floor
with him. I bit him back; we got along fine after that.
4th grade _ Now I'm old enough to join The Feegan Gang but you had to get
initiated first. You had to run thru and jump over trenches that had big fires
burning in them, run thru a gang of older guys who would smack you all the way
thru. Then the special trick, a big kid would get behind you and squeeze you
under the chest hard till you passed out. If they thought you were faking they
would let go and if you were unconscious you would hit the ground hard. Mart
thought I was faking and let go and I hit the ground and rolled down the hill.
They let me in the gang when I came too. We played in the woods a lot that's
where Fr. Tom, me and Jack got caught smoking my Father's cigars by my Mother.
She put the butts in front of my Father's dinner plate that nite, he took us
down the cellar and made us finish smoking them, we gagged a lot, and he sent us
to bed. We never did stop smoking, also in the woods we made tree houses, and in
the upper or lower lots we would make snow houses and forts and play Soldiers or
Cowboy and Indians. We would climb the trees near the block long row of garages
and shimmy out the big branches over the garages and drop down on the garage
roofs and play on top of them. I remember playing catch with my Dad, He would
sit on the top front step of the house and throw the ball to me and I would toss
it back to him. We made slingshots from tree branches shaped in a Y shape,
attach big wide rubber bands to it and use small pebbles and shoot birds (mostly
Crows) out of trees. Worked off Ice trucks helping to deliver ice to houses for
their iceboxes. You call them refrigerators now. We played baseball in the upper
lot which we named Somerville field. That's where the Negro teams (Homestead
Graves)(also a team would play on mules) would come and play our semi pro teams.
Saw some real good baseball. The horse drawn wagons would deliver our milk
(Abbots dairy) our bread (Bond and Friehoffers Bakeries). We helped Mother make
homemade Ice cream. We sold Magazines, Shoveled snow, cut grass to make money
and turn it all in to my Father. We sold penny candy in school to help the Nuns.
I mention before that I was born in a house @ 5th and Duncannon Ave. in the
Olney section of Philly. Don't remember a thing about it, moved to Logon Section
of Philly before my 1st grade to 5243 N. 13th St. where I lived till we moved
that summer after I finished the 4th grade. Our house on 13th Street was a two
story with a cellar, coal furnace, living room, dinning room, kitchen, small
shed where the Ice box was kept, upstairs had front large bedroom, a middle
room, and a back room, and a bathroom. I can't remember any thing about where we
all slept. We had a small alley between next door that lead to the back of the
house and small yard and back door. It had an open front porch high off the
street. With a stonewall. Remember the small picture of the six of us sitting on
the wall with our feet dangling and we went back 70 yrs later and tried to
duplicate the old photo. We moved the summer of 1935 to St Martin's parish to
5223 Castor Ave where I started the 5th Grade.
4th to 6th grade
4th Grade -- Moved that summer after I finished 4th grade to 5227 Caster Ave
house. Had a lot more chores to handle like cutting the lawn, weeding the flower
garden, cutting the long hedges surrounding the front, side, and rear of house,
and taking out the ashes by the buckets, and sharing in keeping the coal furnace
going to heat the house in the winter. We would cut our grass and shovel our
snow before we would go out and make money cutting the neighbors grass or
shoveling their snow covered walkways, driveways and pavements. In the summer we
used to play tire ball, wire ball half (floaters) ball in the street. I broke
Babe Ruth's home run record (720) one summer in tire ball With Fr. Tom pitching.
It took a lot of games. Tire ball was using a cut up piece (about 5 inch long)
of a bicycle tire, and you would pitch it to the batter by flipping it so it
would come in to the batter end over end. We had home plate on Granite Street
along side of the house and set the distant by using the trees along Granite
Street as markers for single, double triples and Castor Ave as a home run. I was
the only kid that broke the record. I played football on the Triangle that we
used as a practice field and played baseball on a field we made out of a lot
along Oxford Ave with home plate @ the edge of Oxford ave. facing the back row
of the houses along Castor Ave. A home run was if you could hit it over the
hedges along the alley in back of those houses. A lot of times a home run would
bounce and hit a house window and break it, we would pay or fix the broken
windows ourselves, so the parents would keep letting us keep playing there. We
would box with gloves down the cellar or in the garage' with Martin, Fr. Tom
(Jack and Don were too little) and the Harvey boys (Ed, John,), Jack Hatfield,
George Seese, Ray Wright, Jack Cavanaugh. Great neighborhood! Jack Hatfield had
a pool table in a cellar rec room and he had a bicycle too, nobody had bikes, he
used to let me ride his bike and shoot pool in his house. His family liked me.
He was one of the few Protestants in the area. He had Epilepsy and I would
always carry a clothespin with me so when he would go into a fit I was able to
stick the clothespin in his mouth so he wouldn't swallow his tongue and choke to
death. In those days Mother didn't want us to play with non-Catholics, so I
never told her about Jack Hatfield. One day we were all hanging in front of the
Harvey's (They also had 3 beautiful girls (Kate, Julia and - Jane, who your
Uncle Mart married before he went overseas and is the mother of all of Uncle
Mart's Kids) and Jack was going thru a Epilepsy fit and I was putting the
clothes pin in his mouth and stretching him out on the lawn when my Mother
happened to come around the corner, coming home from the store and saw what we
were doing. She never said not to play with Jack after that. My buddies from
school (Tommy Keenan, Pud O'Donnell, Reds McDevitt, Jim Maguire) and I would
walk the sewers, which was a little dangerous. I wouldn't tell my brothers that
I was doing stuff like that and hopping trucks along the Roosevelt Blvd. to
Broad St, sneaking on the Subways, riding them up and downtown all day or hop
more trucks to Delaware Ave. in Fish town And then swim in the river. We also
thumb rides on the Blvd. to Pennypack Creek or the creek near Sears and go bare
ass swimming. And I had better been home before 6:00p.m. for dinner or I didn't
get any. We played basketball on Large St. behind Frankford H.S. soccer field.
We had a basket on a telephone pole. It was tough street ball, good experience
for a kid, guys from high school, and St Joe's and LaSalle College played there,
especially Sat. Mornings. I remember guys like Phil Looby from LaSalle College.
He was tough.
5th grade 6th grade much the same stuff. Except one disaster in the 6th Grade,
Halloween day. We would come home for lunch every day, this day the boys decided
to stop by Henneritta and Gabriela Murphy's house on the way back to school,
because we knew their father made bathtub gin and wine and brud beer. While some
of the boys kept the girls busy up stairs, some of us would sneak down the
cellar and hit the booze. My 1st Experience and I snuck too much. I was drunk by
the time I got to school, was making a lot of noise in the corridor, the Mother
Superior grabbed me and took me in her office and had me pull down my long
stockings (We wore knickers in those days) and she began to beat me with a yard
stick, waiting for me to cry, she broke two yard sticks and I wouldn't cry, she
gave up and sent me back to my classroom, I crawled up the steps to the 2nd
floor 6th grade classroom hurting. I sat in the last seat in the 1st isle. I
made it and in comes Mother Superior and tells to come up in front of the class,
I struggled to the front and read me the riot act in front of all and told them
that I was being put back in the 5th grade as punishment. I spent one month in
the 5th grade. I learned a hard lesson (Little did I realize that was the start
of my alcohol problems) I made a private promise to not get in trouble in school
again. I began to study extra and hit the books hard. It paid off, it was the
start of a very successful school life. I ended up @ the end of the 6th grade
getting the bronze metal for the highest mark in math. It helped ease things @
home some. One thing that stands out from those years is coming down each
morning to the kitchen and seeing 6 pairs of school shoes all shined and lined
up for us to wear to school, and many a morning I would get down stairs early
and catch my Mother still scrubbing the floor. My Job by then was to wake up
Martin, I'd go to the 3rd floor and stick a broom handle between the stair
banister rungs and hit Martin to wake him. He hated that, I made sure I got out
of there before he got near the steps. He always came down to the one bathroom
mad and would lock the rest of us out till he was done. I used to get Donald to
keep knocking on the door, Martin sometimes open the door quick and belt Don, So
I had to step in and the fights would start. Then my father would wake up and we
were all in trouble.
7th & 8th
Mother----A very quiet, good living, church-going person, devout catholic,
belong to "The Blessed Virgin Mary Society @ ST Martin's of Tours Church. Alway
quietly helping someone like when my Uncle John was dying in the Incurable
Hospital in Philly, Mother would be the one down there visiting him and helping
him until his death. She would take me with her @ times. I remember holding
Uncle John's hand when he died and seeing all his veins and bones thru his arms
because his skin and flesh had gotten so thin you could see right thru the skin.
It was sad. He died a very lonely man. He lost his wife and daughter because of
his drinking long before his death. When I delivered the newspapers in his
neighborhood (he lived with Grandmother Kelley, Uncle Jose/Aunt Regina and the
rest of the McGrath's), we delivered to the Taprooms and I would run into uncle
John in them, he would try to hide, but I would see him, I thought he was a good
guy, but the drinking got him. Mother was always working hard around the house
and the FLOWER BEDS. One of my jobs was to help with the outside work. I would
hide a water/garden snake in her flowerbed (I had a boxful during those days) to
scare her. She would let out a yell and then I would track the snake down and
put it back in my shoebox. I would tease my Mother a lot. I think I told you
before how I would sneak in the kitchen when she was making dinner and pull her
apron string lose and run out the backdoor real quick and scoot quick in thru
the front door before she could see me and she would be yelling out the back
"David you get in here and behave". By that time I had quietly snuck back thru
the living room, dining room to the kitchen again and was standing behind her
and I would scare her again when I would say, "Mother, I'm right here". She was
a good sport, with all us boys, Donald would give her fits all the time, even up
to her death in the hospital, He was helping push the gurney she was on and
yelling, "Lady with a baby, Lady with a baby". She made sure we did all our
house/outside chores and kept after us to keep our room and closets clean,
stayed after us to do our homework and clean up after meals and do the dishes.
She washed and ironed all day with the 6 of us and my Dad. She took very good
care of Dad after he had his 1st heart attack in 1938. Mother was a quite a
strong person.
Dad-- The best, Hard Working, Strong, Stern and yet very fair, would whack you
when you needed it. You never talked back to your parents or shame on you. You
paid the price. Very kind and fun and would tell neat stories.
He and I were very close. I use to sit on the floor in front of his chair in the
living room and file his nails while we would talk and he would tell stories and
I would tell him stuff. He would make me laugh and he was always pushing you and
encouraging you to do more and better. He set a great example to motivate you to
plug hard in life so it would pay off. He was good at fixing and building
things. He was a master Engineer. He built a bench for Martin to put all his
medical alcohol jars of body parts (all labeled) of dead cats which mart would
cut open and dissect to help him in his future medical career. My job was to
catch stray cats and kill them for Mart to work on. He also built an alter for
Fr. Tom to use to say Mass for us down the cellar. Mother made all the vestments
Fr. Tom wore, and she would make small wafers to use for communion. We'd all go
to mass while Fr. Tom practiced on us. Uncle Jack was the alter boy, Suzanne & I
were the Choir, And I forget what Donald did, except laugh a lot during mass.
Our Parents did all they could to help us grow up. In our last home, he with the
help of us boys, made over our cellar into a Rec Room by paneling the walls, put
flooring in, sitting chairs, a dart board, (which I became pretty good @
shooting). He was active in Philly's Chamber of Commerce. He was F.W Tunnell
Co's general manager (Glue & Fertilizer Plant) he brought a lot of our relatives
to work with him. Uncle Frank, Uncle Jose McGrath, Uncle Vince Owens, Abby
Hoener (our cousin). He was very well liked, I remember his viewing being one of
the biggest I ever went to. I remember I couldn't wait to grow up so I could
help my Dad and make it easier for him and Mother. Never had the chance to help
him, Dad died when I was still in the Marines in 1946, the only consolation I
have is I gave him his 1st grandson (our Tom) to share with for 4 months before
he died. He doted over him like a grand pop does. He loved your mother so; they
had fun together with Tom. My brothers and I talk a lot about our Dad when we're
together. We missed out on a lot years when we could of shared stuff and our
kids with him. He could have guided us thru our 20's, 30's. We sure could have
used his experiences and helpful advice during those years and we could have
made life easier for him. We missed him bad. It's a gift to have your parents
around when you are older. Families are what make life work. I have always used
my Dad as a Motivator and remember him in my nightly prayers. I was a lucky kid
to have great parents.
7th & 8th grade
7th Grade-- I started to work hard @ school and home. I was motivated, did my
chores at home diligently, with Fr. Tom sold magazines and had a paper route and
turned in the money to my Father because that's what kids did in those days. We
were family oriented and wanted to do any thing to help out. We were given
allowances by our parents accordingly. Played hard, hung with the older
guys so I could get better in baseball, football, and basketball. It helped, and
with my gang we walk the big underground sewers, making rolled up newspaper
torches to see down there. Had a lot of adventures bumming rides, riding buses,
subways, and the elevators all over Philly.
Would go swimming in Pennypack Creek, the Delaware River down in Fishtown off
the wharfs and (BA) swim @ the creek behind the big factory on the Roosevelt
Blvd. and try to get out of there before they dumped the dye in the creek @ 5:0
pm every nite. And I had better be home in time for dinner or you didn't get
any. You were late if you were not in your chair by 6:oopm when my Father sat
down. Be late and you were sent to your bedroom with no dinner. (Once in awhile
Mother would sneak something to eat up to you.) There were no excuses. WHEN US
BOYS WOULD GET IN A HASSLE MY FATHER WOULD SEND US DOWN TO THE CELLAR OR OUT IN
THE GARAGE TO SETTLE IT WITH BOXING GLOVES. MARTIN AND I BECAME PRETTY GOOD AT
BOXING. WHICH HELPED LATER IN LIFE. Played a lot of Wire ball. Half ball, tire
ball (I told you about those games, like when I broke Babe Ruth's Home Run
Record). Went to a lot of 8th @ 7th grade Parties. Life was good. My father had
his 1st heart attack and that slowed things down around the house we had to be
quiet all the time.
Killing cats so Martin could dissect them and bottle and label the parts. Well I
would catch the stray cats and bring them home and Mart would try to put them to
sleep with Chloroform, sometimes it wouldn't work and I'd have to hit them over
the head with a hammer or strangle them. (Somebody had to do it)! 8th Grade ---
Sister Borgia -- by far the toughest nun in the school. She took me under her
wing and decided I was going to be her prize pupil. (It worked) - At graduation
time I won it all ---The Gold Medal for highest average in the whole school
(98.6) I think that record still stands @ St. Martin's. Your cousin Colleen cam
close. And your aunt Sue did well too. I remember beating out Teresa Birkenstock
and Jim Maguire, which was quite a feat. I also won a scholarship to St. Joseph
and LaSalle High Schools.
She made me study 3 & 1/2 hrs every day and I had to get my study chart signed
by my Father each day verifying I did study 3 & 1/2 hrs. She told me I couldn't
mess with girls. I had a girlfriend, Dot Stiegerwald, who lived two blocks above
the school on Sanger St and I used to sneak to her house by walking 3 or 4
blocks out and around the neighborhood to see her. The next day @ school Sister
Borgia would tell me about it, she had spies working for her. It was a full
year. Even @ the May procession I had to give a prayer speech @ the Blessed
Mother's Statue. I walked with the May Queen (Dot Stiegerwald) which was cool.
Great Graduation parties. I even quit smoking during the 8th grade. I was a good
Kid. I begged my Father to let me go to Northeast Catholic High where my 2 older
brothers were going, even though I had free scholarships to St, Joe's & LaSalle.
He said o.k. because I proved I could do well. It was an eventful year in my
Life and fulfilling. The summer was wild, went back to smoking and girls and
fun for the summer.
High School (Freshman/Sophomore)
Note: I got my 1st pair of long pants for 8th grade graduation. Boys wore
Knickers in my day from 1st grade to 8th. Now we were big time. We had one pair
for School, one pair for Church/dress, We still played in our knickers with
leather patches sewed over knees. And you changed accordingly, or trouble with
parents.
Freshman year (Sept.1939 to June 1940)- I was assigned to North Catholic's Annex
in Lower Frankford @ St. Jolican's School. We had tough Oblates of St Frances
teachers and a very tough Principal (can't remember name) but I still see his
stern face. I played freshman football, had to walk to the main school every day
for practice. We had a great team a 7 and 1 record. I played right end. I did
pretty well. I beat out Jim Maguire for the spot, Uncle Don says Jim's still mad
@ me. I went out for the basketball team too, got cut on the last cut, very
disappointed. Any time in gym when we would play other classes with any of the
guys that made the team I would bust my tail extra to show them up. It worked
most times. This is when "The Unholy Five " was formed. Dave Kelley, Don St
John, Joe Flanagan, Bill Dyer, and Ed Ortlieb. We became close friends, tough,
good students and gang forever. I'll tell you more about them guys later. We
were all in the college prep classes all thru High School. We had two languages
(French/Latin), Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Biology, English, Religion, History,
Radio, Science. Awful schedule, no study periods, we all worked hard in School
and we had out side jobs too. Freshman year I still sold Magazines and papers. I
remember one incident clearly in my freshman year. Because I was going to the
Annex and was a little closer to home than Mart or Fr. Tom who were in the Main
school @ Torresdale and Lehigh Ave. I got home earlier. This one afternoon I ge
the word that Mart is set to fight another senior over @ Harberson's Field
across from the main school (where all the famous North Catholic fights were
Settled). I had to run all the way back down to the main school and be there for
my brother. That's what you did in those days, families always stuck together
when there was a fight. It turned out to be one of the best fights of that time.
It lasted so long I was able to get down there and watch most of it. (It was all
over Aunt Jane), I think over the weekend this kid was trying to hit on her and
Mart got the word and you didn't mess with anybody's girl. Mart and Aunt Jane
were an item since grammar school. I had to fight Mart one time over Jane; it
was Julia, her sister, I was hitting on. He was tough. He's the only guy ever,
in all the fights I had in life who ever knocked me out. I had a lot of good
times with the girls. They were teaching me how to dance around this time. My
Father was still not to well, but started back to work by now. Fun summer.
Sophomore Year (Sept 1940 to June 1941)- The Unholy Five all were still together
in Soph 2, I was playing for the Jr. Varsity football, very tough coaches, many
late nights for dinners (Good excuses) because of late practices and many laps
in the dark around the tracks to makes us think of our screw ups in practice.
Our Varsity coach was Sy Simmindinger and Whitey Marshall for the JV'S. Mr.
Marshall became the Varsity coach in my senior year. Tough schedule, we did
good. What was neat we had a lot of ST Martin's (my 8th grade class) on the JV's
team. Reds McDevitt, Ed Quarry, Jim Maguire, Dave Kelley.
Our soph 2 class were the terrors in the gym games and out on the school field
in intramural sports. I grew a lot in the summer after freshman year. They
kidded me about growing out of my long pants, they were way up my legs. Great
school year, very close to my "unholy five" buddies. We still stay in touch.
There's only 3 of us left. Neighborhood friends were Hank Houseman, (Hank's
older brother graduated from La Salle College that summer and me and Hank Helped
Ed memorize the color blind charts so he could join the navy as a pilot) Walt
O'Donnell, Duke Whalin, and Reds McDevitt. Soph. Year
continued (June 1941)
I am continuing my summer after Soph. year. I started smoking and drinking now
that I was hanging out with the older guys on the corner too. Guys Like Lloyd,
John LeCompte and Reds Snieder. I started out going to the dance clubs with the
gang and they were drinking before they got there. I didn't drink in the early
summer. I used to take care of the guys who got in fights or got too drunk and
would take them home or jump in the middle of their fights. I remember taking
John LeCompte home one nite (he was Mart's age) and opened his front enclosed
porch door to put him in a chair and got out of there, but before I could his
mother opened the living room door and saw John and started yelling at me for
getting him drunk. I took off and on the way home decided if I was going to get
blamed for getting the older guys drunk I may as well drink myself, so I did the
next weekend. I had 2 beers that Friday nite and went to the dance and carry on
like I'd seen the older guys, I thought that was what beer did to you, but when
I got near my house I straighten up pretty quick. I started drinking on all the
weekends. It was party time, but for some reason I wouldn't get drunk. I used to
practice Darts down our cellar and became very good at it. I didn't have money
for drinking. I worked in Sears Mail order dept. and what money I made I turned
in to Dad. He gave me $1:00 to spend each nite. That didn't go far if you drank
before you hit the dance halls like "The Spot" or "The Swing Club". We use to go
to a Bar in Ridesburg called Butsey's where they had 10 cent shots an 5 cent
beers and I would shoot darts against the older men for money and beat them and
now had some spending money. It started a new side career. We all out hung on
the corner of Merriam Rd and Bridge St. There was a corner store there where
they sold milk, bread, candy, potato chips, pretzels and Tasteykakes and other
treats, and they had pinball machines too. The owner was a good guy and let us
hang on the corner because we spent money in the store. We would all meet there
before we would go out at nite. Had plenty of fun with the girls swimming at the
pools. The Boulevard pool (on Roosevelt Blvd), The Ware's pool and The Somerton
Pool, both a long bus ride to Somerton, Pa. You had a lot of time to talk to the
girls on the bus rides. To and from the pools. Played cards sitting on the grass
plots dividing the Roosevelt Blvd Lanes on many weekday nights. It was good
times. But we were pretty serious kids for our age due to the war in Europe
going on with Hitler invading all the countries, and Japan invading China.
Junior Year in H.S. Sept. 1941 to June 1942
Sept. of 1941 - Back in school, class junior 1---Heavy school schedule.
Worked hard @ school and Home. Worked after school across from our H.S.
in a FACTORY THAT MADE tent material for the military. The war IN EUROPE was
ESCALATING. Hitler had invaded Poland heading for Russia next, was daily bombing
England. Was tied up with Italy and Japan called "The Axis" They were the bad
guys. We as kids thought and played soldier a lot and talked about joining up. I
was playing football with the "Frankford Yellow Jackets" against the Bridesburg
Eagles in Bridesburg on Dec. 7th 1941. At half time we scooted off the field to
the corner store for a Pepsi and Tastykake and we heard on the store radio that
the Japs had bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It stirred us up, we pretended the
other team were Japs and we beat up on them and won the game. We all got home
and that night we met on the corner and decided to join up. On Monday morning,
35 of our neighborhood guys went downtown and joined the Marines. I brought all
my papers home to have signed, I was only 16 then and you had to have a parent
sign for you to go. My Father wouldn't sign, he said I had to finish H.S. first.
We had a big Party at the "Club Morocco" on the Roosevelt Blvd, on Tues. night
that week and we all got smashed. I had to fight the twins John and Loy LeCompte
that night, we got home around 4:00am by a truck and dumped off in front of each
of our homes. I had school that day, I was still drunk and went in school Wed,
and got in trouble and was given the choice by our principle to take the pledge
to never drink again till I was 21 or bring my parents in. I took the pledge it
didn't last long, I went out that Fri. night. I was able to join the V-12
program as a Marine officer trainee later - on March 17th, 1943. Xmas Time
worked in Post Office Delivering Mail. One Route was working on a mail truck
delivering Xmas package to various places, one place was Byeberry Insane Asylum
up in Sommerton, up in the far northeast part of Philly. What an experience.
Some of the inmates were allowed to walk the grounds, and when you would get off
the truck to take the packages up to the front door, they would jump out at you
and scare the hell out of you. The walk up to the main door, was bounded on both
sides by glass enclosures where more inside inmates would bang on the glass,
jump up and down, make faces at you, and other crazy hand signs at you. It kept
you on the alert. Summer I worked in Sears Warehouse where we used hand trucks
to unload 1000lb bails of various types, & sizes of packed clothes shipped from
railroad cars, and truck the bails inside to the mail order section of the
warehouse and break the bails open to be delivered up to the mail order floors
in the main store. I met and worked with many girls who were a lot older than me
- "Interesting"! Weekend nite life was hitting big bars and dance halls where
the older girls hung out, places like "The 5 finger Bar" @ Broad and Lehigh in
North Philly, Big bars downtown On 15th St.. The "Continental" on Frankford Ave.
We would hit them after I would work the old men in the neighborhood bars and
play them for money with darts so I had money to spend on the girls. The whole
gang of us @ North Catholic led a fast life, school, working after school and
out every nite drinking, just waiting to go in the service. The war speeded up
the pace of living, for everyone. Gave up High School sports, so I could work
and make money. Played sandlot football with the Frankford Yellow jackets,
basketball with "The Triangle A C" against teams all over Philly and out side
Philly.
The "Unholy Five" got very close during my Junior and senior years. We were all
in the same classes, played intramural sports together, hung out at the dances
together. My neighbor gang, we hung on the corner together, went to church
together, worked together, played weekend and week nite sports together, drank
together, fought the other neighborhood gangs together. Summer swimming @ the
Pools and creeks. Fr Tom had started to drive that year and he would practice on
the cinder roads surrounding the factory where my Father worked. One day I was
with him in the car @ the Factory (F. W. Tunnell & Co.) and we were riding
around the place and Tom, who was driving dropped his cigarette and told me to
hold the steering wheel and was bending down trying to find it and we had to
turn a curve in the road, we/I didn't make it. We landed down in a ditch we
climbed out of the car and up to the road. We looked towards the factory and my
Father was standing there looking at us. That put an end to my getting started
to learn how to drive. And curtailed Tom's driving for a while. I never ask my
Father to drive after that, it wasn't till 1953 that I went for my driver test
(2 wks. before the Twins were born). It was an Eventful summer of 1942.
My H. S.Senior Year (Sept.1942 to June 1943)
Senior 2 Class @ "North". It was full schedule the 1st half of the Year. The
"Unholy Five" set up a system for us to use thru this year.
Each guy @ test time had a particular subject to study hard on and when we had
tests in class, we would pass singles for the answers to each who didn't know
the answers, we all did good. We would every Friday @ 10:15 a.m. cut class, jum
the Fence surrounding the school and go in Joe Flanagan's car (parked 2 blocks
away) to downtown to the early show @ the Earle Theatre and catch the movie and
The Big Band show, which changed every Friday. Then we would get back to school
before the 2:15 p.m. class and the class Absentee reporter would cover for us
under threat of a beating. At our 1943 50th class reunion (1993) he (Charlie?)
told that story and how he was afraid of us. We all (only 4 of us were left, Joe
Flanagan had died) bought him a big double shot of whiskey and had a lot of
laughs, and a lot of old stories that day. We all had enough credits to go to
college but all we were thinking of is to join up and help fight the war against
the Japs and Nazis, which was raging.
I went in the V-12 program (March 17th 1943) with Kevin Murray (we were The only
2 who made the Marine Corps). Joe left for the regular Navy, and Don St John,
Bill Dyer and Ed Ortlieb all went in the Navy @ the end of the school year. Ed
stayed in and made a career of Naval Service. He became the 1st captain of the
1st nuclear Submarine and served in the Viet Nan war before he retired. We all
started a new life. The whole United States was fully involved in the war. My
father was an Air raid warden in the neighborhood, as were all of the older men.
The woman made care packages for the guys in the service. There was gas ration,
cigarette ration, meat and food ration, and nobody bitched, and they and we
would do whatever it took to win the war. We also had black markets too. There
are always some like that in the world. I told you about the lady who owned the
apartment building you Mother and I rented, who was into the black market, and
others like her. Before I left for training to be an officer @ Penn State I was
back working @ Sears Warehouse again and messing with older girls and having a
good old time. I bought a Zoot Suit (dark brown) down in South St. where they
sold all the cool clothes. My Father flipped but I used my money I scrounged by
working and saving. and he just shook his head. It had real wide lapels. On the
Waist length finger tip coat. Pants were High waist, 15 in. cuffs, wide knees,
Slashed pockets on coat and slacks, every thing but the long chain (didn't want
to spend the money) I wore it on my last nite home. And on the "El" coming home
after a lot of drinking, I sat there and tore the big lapels off, so much for
"Zoot Suits", I had gone to our H.S. senior prom earlier in the year with Alice
Gottchell. (She was the Catch of the city, I lucked out.) We had the dance in a
big hotel (Ritz Carleton) downtown Philly. I got totaled. I had 3mos. earlier
stole a full bottle of whiskey from Dad's liquor cabinet. I snuck down stairs
one nite on a social nite when my father had guests and I knew the cabinet was
open, and hid it in the bushes outside. The nite I got all dressed up in my Tux
and showed my parents how I looked, said goodbye @ the front door went out and
went around the corner and up the back way and found the whiskey bottle and
headed out to my prom date's house. Great nite. I made an impression on the
Gottchell family that lasted a long time. Alice died last year and a friend from
Wilm. who was close to her family went to the funeral in Philly. and he was
telling me my name came up and they remember our prom nite and me especially.
(I'll tell you why some day). One girl who I worked with @ Sears were pretty
close and when I quit @ sears I didn't tell her. She found out and that last
week before I left there she is knocking at our front door. I saw who it was and
said I didn't want to answer the door. My Mother went and invited her in and
this girl named Mary was upset I left and didn't say goodbye to her. She told my
Mother she was so serious that she wanted to marry me. Now this girl/woman is 22
yrs. old and my Mother flipped, seeing that I was only 17. I talked to her for a
while and walked her to the bus stop and said goodbye. I never saw her again. I
had a neat couple of girls (Dot Steigerwald, Jean Fee) who I said I would write
to. I never did. Didn't think it would be right, knowing where I was heading
into War. It was a great year and a great life. I said good-bye to everyone. Now
it's time to be what I always wanted to be a "United States Marine" "Semper Fi!
After High school graduation, I spent from July to Dec. 1943 @ Penn State with
the Marines. They were sending us thru an accelerated course to officer
training. It was an 8 hr./day of classes, military and college courses. Out of
over 800 seniors of the 1943 graduates from North East Catholic H. S., only
Kevin Murray and me were picked for the Marines. It was called the Navy V-12
program. There were young guys from all over the U.S. going thru this V-12
program. It depended on how much previous college you had for your length of
training they gave you. College seniors were pushed thru in 90 days, that where
the expression on some officers as "90 Day Wonders" came from. We had 600
Marines training with a lot of Army Air Force trainees and 3000 girl students
(Terrible Duty - Ha!). When my brother Mart finished all his Army training and
was sent overseas to North Africa to fight the Germans, I asked for combat duty,
I wasn't going to let Mart fight the war without me helping. They love
volunteers who are "Gung Ho". I was, and still am. So overseas I went!
We all new our Dad loved us. We didn't kiss and hug in those days, a firm
handshake or a pat on the shoulder was very meaningful. He was very affectionate
with Mother. They did every thing together. They were very close and happy
together. Dad graduated from Carnegie Tech Univ. with a degree in Electrical
Engineering and a Master's degree in Management from Duquesne University in
Pittsburgh, Pa. Dad was General Mgr. of F.W Tunnell Co. in the Richmond section
of Phila. They made Glue and Fertilizer. Yes he made good money in those days.
He worked long hrs. and 7 days/week like everyone in those days because the war
was on. He was on Phila. Chambers of Commerce board also, which kept him busy.
He would come to my games when he could. I was the only one who played High
School, and even sandlot sports. He loved sports. He was a college champion in
rowing. He would tell some neat stories about the Monongahela River in
Pittsburgh area with his buddy G. Gunning. They were in World War I together. He
met my Mother in Greensburg, Pa. I don't know any details but your Aunt Sue
does. He got this job in Phila. and they got married and moved to Phila. and
started our family. Mart was born Sept. 1922. Mother had 6 kids from Sept 1922
to Oct 1928 (Don is last). Mother lost a child in 1930. We were living on 13th
St then, where we took that picture of the 6 of us on the porch wall, then we
moved to the house(s) on Caster Ave, where I lived till I left for the Marines.
I was one of the 1st 100 hit and injured (burns on arms and shoulder, left side
and a piece of shrapnel in the stomach, nothing compared to Bob Hoopes (my best
man @ my wedding), who almost lost his one leg and a lot of other Marines and
Sailors. We lost 6 Marines that day (January 21st, 1945) and many more Sailors.
It took one week for us marines to search and find all the dead bodies. It took
us a whole week to bury them @ sea. We played "Taps" for each one as we dropped
each into the ocean. I still fill up heavy when "Taps" are played and I still
hear "the sound of the Plunk in my head when each body hit the ocean water. It
stays with you.
I was in an accelerated collage/military training program. Graduated June 1943
from High school, then left for Penn State University in July 1943 and was
training to be a Marine Corps officer/college degree in an accelerated program.
We went to classes / trained 8 hrs. / Day 6 days/wk. Left Penn State Dec. 1943,
went thru Parris Island, S.C. for Boot Camp and than in Jan. 1943 on to Sea
School in Portsmouth, VA.
THEN ON TO THE "TICONDEROGA" the two months before it was commissioned as a
20mm/40mm gunner, made runs on Trinidad as part of training, then thru the
Panama Canal to the South Pacific to fight the Japs. Fought in
The China Seas and South Pacific on the "T" thru 5 battles with the Japs Till we
got hit bad on Jan 21 1945 by two Kamikazes and 2 other bombs. And some near
misses, which causes a lot of damage in the lower decks. We were listing badly
and had a lot of damage on the superstructure (they call it the island on a
carrier.) The got us out of there with the help of destroyers and air fighter
cover. This was off the Philippines where we just bombed Luzon and Leyte early
that morning. We were sent home to Bremerton, Wash. Naval Yard for repairs.
Other jobs on ship were Guard duty, 4hrs. on and 8hrs. off, Ship Captain's
orderly, worked maintaining and cleaning my gun battery.
Bodies had to be buried @ Sea or on the local islands within 7 days. In Europe
they made gravesites for the dead whatever country you got killed in. You
couldn't ship bodies back to the USA in those days. It would take too long to
ship bodies back to the USA (they would rot) and no big cargo planes like today.
Needed ships and planes in the war zones. That was how war was in those days.
The parents or wives got a Telegram saying you were "KILLED IN ACTION; Very
Heavy!!!!


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