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?)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Francis, Mary and Winifred Kehoe
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.
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.
(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"
|Grandma Haley 78 years old
Aunt Nan and Aunt Winnie seated behind her