Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mom's Haley Family Memories, part 7: Pat, her little brother

Brother Pat Haley

The next child in the Haley Family was my brother, Patrick Charles. He was born in 1936, in May.  He was a cute little guy with blond hair and a round chubby face. My first remembrance of him is when I was four years old.   My Mom had me watch him outdoors and take him for walks in his stroller, actually quite a job for a little 4 year old.  

I enjoyed being outdoors and we would walk to the park (which was quite near). I remember keeping him out quite long as he enjoyed it too.  He had a diaper accident and I didn't realize it and just kept on walking.  He had wet himself and in those days we didn't have plastic pants or disposables; so the poor little guy got pretty sodden I guess.   Anyway when we got home Mom was upset with me that I didn't bring him home sooner.  I felt bad about it and didn't want to have her mad at me.    

Not too long after that he became quite ill and as a child, nothing was really told to me except that he was quite ill.   My sister Helen had been born by this time and that is probably why I was given so much responsibility.   

Anyway he had to go to the Children's Charity Hospital in Toronto.   My Dad was the only one who could go visit him as Mom was caring for tiny Helen.   The only transportation they had was by streetcar.   It was quite a lengthy trip from New Toronto (a suburb of Toronto along Lake Ontario).  Poor Dad hated the trip and then hated to leave that darling little boy to come home.  

Pat died there at age two of a kidney disease and an infection in his spinal column—nephrosis and spinal Meningitis.  It was all so sad for our family.  I thought for years that if I had just brought him home sooner he wouldn't have gotten that infection and died. 

It was so traumatic for my dad; he couldn't go to the hospital to visit anyone after that.   I remember that Pat's toy teddy bear and his small blanket were stored on a shelf and we weren't allowed to play with it as it was a sweet remembrance of him.   You will find his picture taken in New Toronto with Bill and me. He has a white snow suit on.

I just remembered more about Pat.  We were so poor we couldn't afford to have his funeral at a funeral home so we had him laid out in his little casket in our front living room.  Bill was only 6 years old and he thought that Pat was just laying there sleeping. He went over to the casket and took Pat's hands and pulled him up to nearly sitting saying, “Come on Pat, get up and let's play."  My folks just about keeled over and I remember them coming over at a rush. 

Poor Bill, he didn't understand.  Kids weren't really told much in those days.  It's much better today telling children what is going on.  I guess they thought they were protecting us.   I on the other hand was a listener and sat near the adults listening and learning.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mom's Haley Family Memories, part 6: her big brother, OUR Uncle Bill

Baby Uncle Bill
Uncle Bill 

Uncle Bill was the eldest of you and your siblings. What are some of your first memories of your big brother?  

Mom’s big brother, “Uncle Bill” Haley

My first memories of my brother Bill?  I guess it’s when my Dad was taking him for a haircut when we lived in New Toronto and I wanted to go with them.   I was three years old.  (1937) Dad said “No," but I must have been a headstrong little gal because I started to follow them, thinking I knew the way they walked. But I DIDN’T know and I got lost.  A kind lady saw me cross the busy highway to Toronto a couple of times and figured I was lost and she took me in and called the police to let them know. I had messed up my clothes and she cleaned me up. By the time my frantic Dad arrived I was really worried that I was in deep trouble.   But he was so glad that I was okay that I didn't get punished.   But I NEVER wandered off alone again!
Trailer park in East Holden Maine
Our trailer after a blizzard, 1961

This story is so darn cute! Remember how I disappeared in 1961 when I was 4?  We were living in Maine, it was winter and I had crawled into the neighbor’s doghouse and just fell asleep for several hours. It was cold out and the dog was warm! Your story reminds me of that.

Back yard of our trailer 1961
MK and I sitting in a duck boat

(I remember that VERY well. It was a scary event when we lost you that day. It was while we were still living in the trailer park at Holden Maine. It was very chilly outside. You kids always played near the trailer with all the other neighbor kids. Gene was home from work and I was cooking supper.  I called you in to come in for supper,  but you didn't answer.  We searched all over, even looking in the dumpsters and down at the lake.   Finally one of the guys saw you crawling out of the neighbor's  dog house where you had fallen asleep hugging the dog.  We were so happy to find you. I remember you couldn't see why everyone was so upset. We sure were happy to finally move into base housing where it was much safer.)

So what was Uncle Bill like as a kid? How did you guys get along?
Bill and I were never very close, just the usual brother sister relationship.   He found school a bit hard and so my Mother gave him a lot of attention with homework.  I never minded that as I liked school and did okay on my own.  He always wanted to please the folks I think.  He was always saying, “I'm just like my Dad!"   He always had a lot of respect for Dad.   He tried football when he went to Saginaw High but quit school in the 10th grade, or at least I believe when he turned 16. 

When he got drafted, how did everyone react?   How is it he ended up working for Kroger his whole life?

He went to work for Kroger’s at that time and worked there all his working life except when he was drafted into the Army in 1953 and sent to Korea during the war.  He was a big help to Mom and Dad financially and they really missed that while he was gone.  I on the other hand was in nurses training and couldn't help them at all; they were still raising five more children.
My mother is bottom left,
Her sister Helen in the middle sitting on lap
Uncle Bill back right

Why did he never get married?

I asked Bill once why he never married and he said, “I can't handle all that responsibility"   I guess he had quite a few girl friends but I never met them, but, he found other outlets to keep busy with.  He is and always had been very active in the Knights of Columbus and that is mainly most of his social life.  

So that is about it.  Right now he is trying to stay well enough to have surgery on his left eye. The doctor hopes to fill the hole in the retina so his vision will improve.  Hopefully that will take place on October 8th.   So keep him in your prayers.
The entire Haley family

Uncle Bill died years after you provided that last comment regarding his eye procedure. Could you talk about his battle to recover from his years of not paying much attention to his cardiovascular health and his final passing?

When Uncle Bill got busy exercising I was busy taking care of your dad who needed care for longer than most people were aware of. I do know that Bill did try to walk and ride his stationary bike to regain his strength but his breathing was a problem for quite a while. Win (Mom’s sister) did a lot for him then. After he couldn't see well enough to drive he finally gave it up and she took him to his doctor appointments. About the time Gene died he was already using O2 but not out in public. It seemed like it progressed very fast after that.
A WHOLE lot of Haley's in one place
Uncle Bill in the back next to Uncle Jim
Aunt Helen & Aunt Winnie top left
Uncle Art & Aunt Eleanor and LOTS of cousins
And lets not forget Grandpa n Grandma Haley center left

Bill finally passed away on February 28, 2010. He was 77 years old.  He died sitting on his couch with his 02 (oxygen) running. Evidently he must have had a heart attack; he had his emergency bracelet on and didn't even hit it.  He had COPD and emphysema, coronary bradycardia, and coronary artery disease. 

He’d had a stroke about 20 years before he died. That is when he quit smoking, too late though as the lung damage had already been done.  His death certificate also says he had Type 2 diabetes.  He never told Winnie or I about this diagnosis and he certainly didn't watch his diet, probably because he didn't want us watching what he ate.  
Uncle Bill all the way in the back in the kitchen w a beer
Lots of Haley's in the house on 12th Street, Saginaw
This is the house that I remember

His vision remained very impaired, macular holes in both eyes finally to the point that he couldn't drive anymore. He drove much longer than he really should have.  I had called him from Florida around 7 pm   and he said he was doing fine. He didn't seem distressed then. Gail called him a little later and asked if there was anything she could do for him.  He told her, "No, I'm okay."   After Mass on Sunday morning Vana stopped at his apartment, (where he had moved after selling his house to Gail) and found him dead, still sitting on the couch.
Uncle Mike, Aunt LaLa n Uncle Bill
good times down in the basement,
the scene of MANY great parties!

You know Mom, that's the first I'd heard those details on Uncle Bill's passing. It seems that he didn't want to trouble anyone too much with his physical problems. I can respect that. A lot of folks end their days whining and moaning. Like a lot of folks who were born in the 30’s and 40’s, he “undid” himself almost unknowingly, though a lifetime of smoking, poor diet and a lack of consistent exercise. 

My OWN memories of him in stream of consciousness style: early 60s in the house on 12th Street, Uncle Bill coming and going, Kevin and I sleeping up in "the top floor barracks room" with all the other "Haley boys (our uncles)." Uncle Bill coming home at odd hours due to his job at Kroger’s (not to mention he WAS a bachelor!), trudging up the stairs and staggering around down by his single bed by the stairway; the sound of his coin change falling out of his pockets onto the floor when he took his pants off for sleep, coins rolling all over the place. (Later I’d crawl around on the wooden slat floor and retrieve them under the beds. How many beds WERE there up there? At least 8 or 9 single beds I think). 

Uncle Bill (and he wasn't the ONLY one!) crossly telling Grandma, "MA! Get off my back!" when she'd ask him to do something he didn't want to, like getting up for work or having a bite to eat. 
Uncle Mike, Uncle Bill. Uncle Keith Spear (my dad's brother)
Another Haley basement party, this one in the mid 60s

And then years later, when we moved in with them for that year in Birch Run on Oak Street, Uncle Bill would come home from work, have dinner and then fall asleep on the recliner, usually with a lit cigarette in his hand, sometimes with more than an inch of ash waiting to fall. 

I spent a LOT of time in that house over the years because my paper route papers were delivered there and during that time Uncle Bill made it WAY too easy for me to mess with him because he was always sleeping in the living room. I’d take a cigarette out of his open pack, carefully remove a half inch of tobacco put in some dirt and dust and then repack the tip with tobacco to make the cig look normal. I’d wake him up knowing that he’d reach right away for one and I’d watch him with a huge smirk on my face waiting for that moment when the fire would reach the dirt. I never got tired of watching his reaction when the cigarette would sputter and stink. He NEVER caught on. Shame on me! (God help me, recalling it as I type this I’m laughing RIGHT NOW!) 
Uncle Joe's 1st wife, Aunt Genie; then Uncle Joe and Uncle Bill
Early 70s at a restaurant

And Uncle Bill’s snore! He'd snore so loud that it would rattle Grandma's china. And you ARE right. I clearly remember him saying many times how much like his dad he was. When I became a know-it-all young teenager sometimes he'd have something to say and I must have given him a “you dumb ass look” because he'd look at me and chuckle, "You think I'm full of it, don't you, you young PUP!" 

More than anything else, Uncle Bill is the reason I never took up smoking. In early 1972 I stole a pack of his cigs and smoked two or three of them in that storage closet in Grandma's garage. The next morning I woke up with THE worst flu I've ever had. It was so bad that I couldn't go to school for three days. In my mind I associated it with those cigarettes I'd copped from Uncle Bill. Just the idea of smoking a cigarette after that turned my stomach. 

All in all though, Uncle Bill was a good feller. I remember that laugh he did; it was like he was surprised. It was a HEH! And that was usually it UNLESS he REALLY found something to be funny. I never saw him laugh more than when he was with Uncle Jim and another one or two of his brothers and Uncle Jim "let one go" inside his snowmobile suit, practically choking himself to death on his own flatulence. Uncle Bill laughed so hard, turned so red, that I thought he was going to pass out. To me, THAT was WAY funnier than what Uncle Jim did. I REALLY miss Uncle Bill, ....a lot.
Uncles Mike, Bill, Jim and Joe
Aunt Helen, My mom Mary and Aunt Winnie

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mom's Haley Family Memories, part 5: Grampa Charlie & Grandma Haley

Grampa Charlie

What kind of dad was Grandpa Charlie?  Was he a disciplinarian? 

My Dad was a good guy and we all dearly loved him.   He of course was a man of his era, always the boss of the house.  It was always his way or no way, very strict with all seven of us; although we used to tease Joe that Dad spoiled him.  He was 45 when Joe came along and probably too tired to argue about things by that time.  He was very strict with Bill and me.  When we didn't do what we were supposed to he gave out the punishments (restricted to the house etc).  Then he would leave to visit with his friend Mickey McGovern and leave Mom to fend off our protests.  

He loved to follow the boys’ sports and always belonged to the Athletic Association at Saint Mary's.   He was a pretty good Hockey Player in Toronto and skated with the semi pro team there. His picture in uniform with the team always hung on the dining room wall for all to see.  (Where IS that picture?)

Days later… First of all I want to tell you we think we have found my dad’s hockey pic, the one I told you about that used to hang in the dining room.  Uncle Bill gave it to Mike and he gave it to Michael Sean.  I just talked to Nan who just returned from up north with her friends. She isn't sure that Mike took it when he moved so she will look for it.  We hope to have some good copies made and get it to you.  
Hockey Player Grandpa Charlie in his late teens
bottom left
 I wish I could remember that photo when it was on the dining room wall, but I don’t recall it at all, too young I guess. Michael Shawn was kind enough to scan it into Facebook and Kevin sent it to me attached to an email. I also posted it into my Flickr photos. Mom, can you provide some more details on the photo?

 Let's see if I can put the time element together for that pic. He probably was between 18 and 20 and yes it was a semi pro team in Toronto. He quit school after 12 years, never graduating. Primary school was 13 years in Canada then. In about 1925 he came to the states probably around 20 years old, not long after that photo was taken. He married Mom when he was 25 in 1930. The picture was never up when they lived on 12th Street; it was always in our dining room on Merrill Street. I think Joe said it was stored in the basement on 12th Street, so you wouldn't have seen it.
Great Grandma n Grampa Haley w little Grandpa Charlie
His hockey background made him a wonderful skater. He taught us all to skate and we loved it.  Central Junior (across the street) had a rink in front of our house so we were pretty close to the ice, and he took us to Hoyt Park quite often.   He would skate around enjoying the ice and would stop to watch the young hockey enthusiasts and quite often would join in their game. We would hear them remark, "Look at that old guy go!"  He was probably in his mid to late 30's at that time, young by our standards now. 

c 1913

He held a variety of jobs but the last years of his life he was an auto parts salesman.  He really liked that job, called on lots of stores all over the Thumb Area and around Saginaw and outlying towns.  His great love was being a member of the UTC (United Commercial Travelers). He made many friends and enjoyed calling on the stores and shooting the breeze with the owners.  He met Grandpa Spear through that job selling parts to the State Highway Department where Grandpa worked.  Once he found out that your Dad was the son of Ray Spear that’s when it became alright for me to date him.  Dad was always very strict with who I was allowed to have as my friends.
1961: Phil, MK, brand new Kevin
About a year before Granda died
 My dad was so very proud of his first grandchildren. You and Mary Kay and Kevin were the only three he was to know as he died so young, just 57 years old. He bought you a beautiful trike and I remember at the time that he really couldn't afford it but he wanted you to have it.  Today he probably would have had a bypass or pacemaker and would have lived at least into his 70's but it was not to be. 
Grandpa & Grandma Haley
55 and 58 years old
What about his life style as far as what he did to affect his health? Back in the day diet, smoking and exercise was not much on the cultural radar like it is these days. Also, some of your stories lead me to believe that he did not manage his stress level very well.

Actually he did most of all the wrong things. He smoked camel cigarettes for years, but at least he did change to filtered when I was in high school. I never thought that he overreacted to things but I guess you are right, he did get upset easily.  Mom was much more laid back.  They say that opposites attract and they were very opposite.

Grandpa turned in his chair
Grandma behind him
The piano is to the left behind her

Gramma Haley

Francis, Mary and Winifred Kehoe 
about 1916
Speaking of your mom, MY grandma, Winifred Haley, I think this would be a good place to talk about her. She was a good buddy to me from the time dad retired from the air force and we moved to Michigan right up to mid 1975 when I shipped out to the marines.

Grandma Haley's parents
Mary (Scott) & William Kehoe

Your Grandmother, Winifred Catherine Kehoe Haley was born in Chicago, February 2, 1902.   I'm not sure when they moved to Flint, Michigan, but I believe it was when she was quite young. Her four siblings Charles, Mary, Frances, and Margaret were all born in Flint.  I don't know why they moved to Chicago as I believe both their families were from Wisconsin.  I only recall them talking about the house on 2nd street one street off Detroit Street. I remember them saying that they had a horse and buggy lodged in a stable across the street that Grandma Kehoe used to drive; but when they got a car she never learned to drive that.  They were only about 2 or 3 blocks from Saint Michael’s Church and school, so she walked there for Mass and classes. I started school in Toronto and then finished the 1st grade at Saint Mike's.  
Top left, the same little girls above
Francis, Mary, Winifred, Margaret
Parents Mary & William Kehoe
Their 50th anniversary

But I digress from Grandma’s story.   Grandma Winifred found school a little hard so her parents sent her to high school at a private school in Monroe, at Saint Mary's, where she graduated in 1920.  The other three girls graduated from Saint Michael's in Flint. She got a job in the office at the Buick Plant and worked there till she married my Dad.  

She met him through mutual friends who all ran around together. Dad's best friend, Miles Martin, worked at his Dad's funeral home and he and my Dad and their buddies would take the hearse and pick up the demised to prepare them for the funeral.  (Doesn’t that sound like fun? Ha! Ha!)  Mom knew Miles and he introduced them. 

They married in 1930 and soon after the honeymoon they went to Toronto as there were jobs there. They stayed there for nearly 10 years, coming back (to Flint) in September 1940 where Uncle Mike was born on December 25, 1940. They lived there probably a year before moving to Midland, every time always to find a little better job.  Winnie was born in Midland, June 14, 1942.   A year later we moved to Saginaw and they stayed in the home on Merrill Street until around 1958 when they bought the house on 12th Street. After her marriage my Mom was a homemaker for the rest of her life.
Winifred Haley and her brother and sisters
Charles, Mary, Frances,Winifred n Margaret
Grandma Haley had a pronounced hump in her back that got worse as she aged. You or Grandma used to say that it was from bad posture while she was doing secretarial work during her working years. I believed you guys for years but later I began to realize that that couldn't be true, that she must have had some sort of congenital condition, like scoliosis or something. Yes?  
 No she didn't have scoliosis. I truly believe it was bad posture.

Her back condition was just so pronounced that I have a hard time accepting that sitting in a slumped fashion could possibly have caused it, at least not without some other underlying problem. I found this online, a site explaining why some women develop what’s called a “dowager’s hump.” Tell me what you think. “If you have Osteoporosis of the spine, your vertebrae can fracture. This can cause Kyphosis or a Spinal hump.”

That explains the back problem very well. That also is why as we age we start shrinking in height. We all get osteoporosis, seems like it is more prevalent in women. But I do see it in men also.
Grandma Haley 78 years old
June 1980
Aunt Nan and Aunt Winnie seated behind her
(I've actually already written a personal tribute to my Grandma Haley a few years back. Here's the link: "My Time Machine, My Grandma"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mom's Haley Family Memories, part 4: Our Unforgettable "Aunt LaLa"

little Mary and Brother Bill 
with Aunt LaLa
circa the late 1930s
Now, let’s start gathering family relationship memories...

Could you describe your relationship with Aunt Helen? I know that at times there was some tension between you two and I also remember her causing me to feel "small" on occasion when she would criticize.  

A very young Aunt LaLa
3 years old

Let's see, about Aunt Helen, or “LaLa” as we called her when we were all kids, she was a very frustrated “old maid."  She would have loved to have married and had children of her own but that was not to be. First of all she was a very large lady. She weighed 12 lbs at birth and just kept on growing. In all of her pics I never saw her with even a suggestion of thinness. She helped her Mom raise three children for the province of Ontario so she exercised her mother instincts there and felt she knew everything there was to know about raising children

Aunt Helen only about 3 yrs old
Whoa wait. What do you mean by she helped her mom raise three children for Ontario? Are you talking about foster kids?

Yes they raised foster kids.   One girl was close to Aunt Helen's age and then later on Grandma took in a sister and a brother who were around my age. I think they were paid by the province to do this. I know at that time my Grandpa Haley was not working and only Aunt Helen (LaLa) worked at the Eaton Department Store in Toronto.  She would buy all our clothes there at quite a discount.

Aunt Helen first communion
about 10 or 12 yrs old
So they raised these foster kids. Did the kids go on and become part of the family?  And what do you mean she got quite a discount from the department store? Was that due to her doing foster care for the province?

Aunt Helen, my aunt, worked at Eaton's Department Store all her life and because she worked there she got any purchases there at a discount. So the discounts had nothing to do with the province foster care.

Aunt LaLa holding
either Bill or Mary 30s

What happened to all those foster kids raised by your grandmother and Aunt LaLa? Did they remain in the family? Did they stay in touch? 

Sorry to say I really don't know.   All that info died with my Aunt Helen. You know she was my godmother and she felt that meant she should help raise me too I guess. We loved to see her visit because she always brought Grandma (who was Helen’s mother of course) with her, who by the way was the sweetest woman alive. (Mom, sounds like we need a paragraph JUST on HER! We’ll add it down below this one.)   Aunt Helen was really bossy to her too.  As happy as we were to see her arrive, we were probably happier to see her go.  

"Little" Aunt Helen standing behind a WWI Canadian soldier

My Grandmother, Lenora Ladle Haley was born in Burlington I’m pretty sure.  I don't know how she met her hubbie Patrick Albert Haley. She had a red haired daughter first, Nora, who died very young.   My Dad was born in 1905.  Then came George Cameron Haley (I think his middle name was Cameron).   Charlie, my dad, when he was learning to talk couldn't say George; instead, he called him Dodes, and that name stuck with him all his life.   Aunt Helen (LaLa) was next and she never married.  Uncle Art was after her; his real name was James Arthur Haley.   Grandpa didn’t go by Patrick but rather by Bert and Uncle Art didn't go by his first name either.   Aunt Helen was always LaLa to us; it seems like nicknames were very prevalent then.

Grandma Nora Haley was a sweet quiet lady and I never heard a mean word come from her.   We all loved her and she always had a hug for us.  My Uncle Art always said that I looked just like her.   So I guess I am more Haley than Kehoe.  She had a severe kidney infection and never told Aunt Helen (her daughter) that she wasn't feeling well until she was very ill with it.   She was admitted to the hospital for treatment. At the time, in the late 50s, there was a bad flu epidemic going on.   She got the Flu in the hospital and couldn't fight both infections and died when you were just 6 months old.    She did get to see your picture though and was so pleased to have a great-grandson.  I'll try to get some info about my Mom, who had a wonderful sweet personality. (She does further below).
top: Helen, Dods, Grace
Center: Charlie, George, Baby Bill w Grandma, Winnie
How did Aunt Helen take it when Grandma stood up to her?  Grandma was not from her side of the family so how did Aunt Helen react at that moment?  Did she apologize, back down, go quiet or just huff and walk away?

Mary Winifred Grandma Helen
late 40s or so
Mom stood up to her a couple of times and if we could have cheered we would have.  If I remember correctly, Aunt Helen just grew quiet and walked away when Mom stood up to her.  Actually, Aunt Helen did have a good heart and if it hadn't been for her we would have had some very sparse Christmases.   She brought many gifts for us on Christmas and birthdays.  Mom and Dad never had an extra penny for gifts when we were small.   You and MK were her first grandnephew and niece; she showered you with gifts too and likewise to Kevin and Gail. She couldn't see that she was sort of self centered but that's all ancient history.   Hope I haven't said too many mean things about her.  Just stating the facts I guess.
Artie Helen n unknown cousin about 1912
Naw, you aren’t that hard on her at all. You include the pleasant with the not so. That’s life. We all have our rough edges, you know?  It’s what makes us human. I do know you didn't include some of the stories where she actually made you cry, when she could be so mean, but that’s ok. She put some edge into your personality, which everyone needs to get along in the world. We can't all be sweet little lamb people, got to have some wolf in there too to keep you alive and kicking when things get tough.

Aunt Helen in the middle
of two friends 1930s
So, were you the only one that felt the sting of Aunt Helen's criticisms?  Did the others have your sensitive side and feel the hurt as well or just you?  I imagine all of you felt the brunt of her bossiness eh? 

Aunt Helen wearing
skates w hockey stick
The other kids in my family all had the same experiences with her. Helen did even as a grown up.   Aunt Helen had come over for Gail's First Communion and was going to stay at Helen and Jerry's. When they drove into the driveway at my sister Helen's house Brian had done some mischief of some kind and Jerry lost it, yelling and ranting at Brian, who of course sat cowering (I imagine). Aunt LaLa got all upset and said “I will not stay in this house!” and told them to take her back to Winnie's (my Mom's).   My poor sister cried and begged her to stay but she would have none of it.  Turned out she went to Uncle Art's for the rest of her visit. I remember feeling so bad for my sister.   Jerry didn't realize he had done anything wrong and couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.

Before publishing the story above I thought I’d pass it by my cousin Brian; his mom and dad are the Helen and Jerry from the story.

Hey Brian, I'm publishing my mom's memoirs in installments on my blog so more people can view them. Of course not everything in life is peaches and cream. There is one mention of an event involving your dad, your mom and our Aunt Helen (LaLa). I don't know if you remember her or not but she figured big in the family up until her death. She was hyper-critical and sometimes hard to take. Anyway, read this and let me know if you think you or your sisters and brother would prefer I don't put it in the blog version. I personally don't think it’s bad at all since your dad is who he is, and the same thing goes for Aunt LaLa. It’s more of an example of a clash of personalities. But if you think it will make your family uncomfortable or unhappy I won't include it in the installment. Get back to me buddy!
Helen aka Aunt LaLa Haley


Thanks for asking.  Don't see any reason this cannot go out as written.  Everyone knows dad has a temper and has never been one to hold back. 

Yes, I remember Aunt LaLa.  We visited her home when I was pretty young—I believe Theresa was a baby—sometime in the late 60s. I remember bits and pieces of playing outside on a tricycle or big wheel, or something like that in the front drive.

Haleys Mike and Bill
w their Aunt Helen Dec 57
I don't remember this specific situation mentioned by your mom but it does sound like dad.  Mom probably let him have it later in private. I have often thought about Aunt LaLa and could not remember what year she died.  I remember when Grandma Kennedy died in 1973 but not Aunt LaLa, was still a bit young in '71, only 4 or 5.

Anyway, thanks for checking.  I don't think anyone in the family will have an issue with this paragraph.

So, that’s what my cousin Brian had to say about our Aunt LaLa. I thank him sincerely for providing that.

Aunt LaLa Helen 68 visit to San Antonio at Expo
Back to my Mom: So Mom, my memories of Aunt LaLa have stayed with me since her death in 1971. She died of cancer right?  How did that go?  How did she take her impending death?  Was she okay with it?  I know it must have been rough on her. 

You know, Aunt Helen’s was the first funeral I ever went to; I'm pretty sure she died before Grandpa Spear, right?  I remember after the funeral going back to my bed that night in Grandma's basement (Gail’s house now) and being totally spooked. I lay there scared to death staring up the ceiling without a hint of sleep until the next morning. It was the longest night of my life.
Aunt LaLa Helen in 68 visit to San Antonio
Last evening I was talking to Winnie about Aunt Helen's death. She died on August 19, 1971.  I'm not sure when her cancer was diagnosed. She was okay when we first came home and retired from the AF so she probably didn't suffer for more than that year.  Thank God as you are right, that is usually a painful death. She and her Uncle Archie Ladle had sold the Ladle home and moved to an apartment and that’s where she died.  Ally Metcalf, her cousin’s widow, lived in the same apartment building.  Helen took care of Uncle Archie until he passed away and when she died she had already made arrangements to be buried in the US. (I think).  So she had a funeral in Burlington and then her body was brought here and that is the funeral you went to.  You had finished 8th grade, getting ready to start high school in Birch Run.  You didn't mention how much that funeral affected you at the time. I guess that was the first one you experienced (until Grandpa Spear died in November of that same year).

Family comments added below:
Art Grandma Helen Haley early 30s
Charles Walkowiak I remember Aunt La La very well which is kinda surprising because I was only 5 or 6 yrs old when she passed. My 1st recollection seeing her was during Christmas at Grandmas, and as Aunt Mary stated, she had presents for all us kids. I recall liking her for that because she gave me a gift and I didn't even know who she was. I still remember the gift. It was a set of building blocks of some type. I recall the following summer, going with my parents in their station wagon to flint to pick her up from the train station. I was excited and adamant on going because I was sure she would have another gift for me. She didn't and I remember being disappointed. I'm pretty sure she was visiting for the family reunion, because I remember her there and yelling at all us little kids to go play and stay away from the tables until after the adults had eaten. It seems I suddenly did not like her much after that and was kinda afraid of her. Last thing, I do remember her dying because I thought that I just saw her recently and she was the first person I knew that had died. I also remember not being able to go to funeral. I think I was upset because Audrey was allowed to go. I could be wrong.

it's kinda funny. I guess I'll add that I also recall my mother telling us to behave around Aunt LaLa. I asked why. And I'm pretty sure she said something to the affect of "well she has never had any children so she is not very patient with them" LOL
Fil Spare Chuck... I'll have to question your mom about that "reason" to watch your p's and q's around her, since it turns out she was around a lot of children, helping her parents with a series of foster kids and all. Sounds like Aunt Win was stretching the truth a bit to keep you guys in line around her Chuck... that IS hilarious.

Charles Walkowiak Phil, now that you mention it, I seem to recall mom ALWAYS telling me to behave when we would go visit relatives

Maybe it was ALL me. 

Aunt Helen maybe 10 yrs old in Toronto
Winnie Walkowiak Oh how she loved all of her Grand Nephews and she loved all of us.., yes she was stern probably as her parents were ., we were always taught that we should be seen but not in todays world...kind of happy about that change.)..I remember going shopping down town with her and my sisters always walking ahead of them And she would say(isn't she cute?), so of course whenever I would be around people at the tender age of 3,4, and 5, I would say (Ain't I cute) an embarrassing moment for mom and dad and my older siblings)...Thanks LaLa.., she was so giving..A christening gift was given to us older nieces and nephews for our oldest child-and each of our children were baptized in the gown...,she also always bought Canadian flannel and mail too me to makes diapers for my new babies...and by the way Phil,-what your cuz Chuck -I wasn't stretching the truth-I didn't want them to be told by her to behave and then dislike her...

 Phil - Mom's story about Aunt Lala - has become a wonderful story from all the grand nieces and nephews about her but also their Uncles and Aunts... so much love reading all your comments - if you had been in the shop this afternoon - a few comments were were made by a couple other grand nieces.... hope everyone has enjoyed this as much as your Aunt Winnie.

Aunt Helen if looks could kill her brother Artie would be dead!
Kevin Spear Okay, so, the lilac smell you remember so vividly was actually lavender. Yardley English Lavender, to be specific. She used to give it to grandma Haley as gifts, I think. But it was also her favorite. 
My memory of that particular funeral is that there was a song in the radio that was played heavily during that time. "Sweet City Woman". It had a banjo solo. By The Stampeders, who were actually Canadian, it turns out. It was playing in the car on the way home from the funeral parlor in Vassar. Makes me think of her to this day every time I hear it. 
Also, in true Irish fashion, I remember Frank Geary taking Joe, Jim, and, I think Pat (Art) Haley out to the parking lot of the funeral home to "change a flat tire". Alcohol was involved.

Helen feeding chickens
Michael Haley Very cool I remember Aunt LaLa and felt the lash of her tongue more than once.... Don't know why I was such a good kid after all...I do remember Grandma snapping back at her once "leave him alone" or some such probably remember that because Grandma was never one for confrontation. I also vaguely remember Uncle Archie, we took a trip to Canada when I was very small he had this little wooden chair that I apparently called my chair because it was my size. When we left he said I should take it, that chair sat in my bedroom my whole childhood, I have it still

By the way I've been doing some digging the last few years and Ladle or Laidle is a Welsh name, not saying that part of the family didn't emigrate from Ireland, lot of back and forth between the islands, just thought that was interesting. I was surprised to learn that
Aunt Helen sitting w parasol n grandma w cousins
Theresa Kennedy Krawczyk I remember playing with all of her jewelry!

Fil Spare Where was that Theresa? It was in a jewelry box?

Theresa Kennedy Krawczyk It was after she died...I think my mom got a jewelry box full of her jewelry??

Charles Walkowiak I also remember that jewelry box. I recall seeing it and told about it from Brian at your parents and being creeped out because it was a dead lady's jewelry. I thought "why wasn't it buried with her?"

Theresa Kennedy Krawczyk I loved playing with that jewelry!!!!  I wish I still had it!
Aunt Helen w brother Art about 1915 or so

Aunt Helen with baby buggy later given to Mary
and destroyed by her brothers (chuckle!)
Aunt Helens friend Ester Lynn winter 1929
Helen w little brother Art n Grandma Haley about 1916