My Mom, Her Brother, and the Rocking Chair

My Mom, Her Brother, and the Rocking Chair

When my dad’s career as a performer began heating up in California, my mom was a toddler in the Western Pennsylvania coal-mining community where she grew up. In this photo, from about 1922, she sits in a little rocking chair alongside her older brother John. The photo was obviously taken on the same day as this portrait of her with her parents. (I wish I knew the backstory behind…

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Lives Not Yet Intertwined

Lives Not Yet Intertwined

My dad was 16 years older than my mom, and I often think of what their lives were like before they found each other. During the 20s, when my dad was working in radio and touring up and down the West Coast as an actor, my mom was a child growing up in a company house in a Western Pennsylvania coal mining town. When my dad was working to bury…

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Claridge, PA in the 1930s

Claridge, PA in the 1930s

My mom grew up on this street. It’s in the tiny town of Claridge, in Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County, about 30 miles from Pittsburgh. Claridge was one of many coal mining communities in Western Pennslyvania. Company houses, a company store, and miners, many of them immigrants from Eastern Europe. My grandparents settled in Claridge shortly after arriving in the United States from their homeland of Slovakia, which they fled just…

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