Joseph fondly remembers growing up in Donora
By Chris Buckley
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Growing up during the Depression, Kay Joseph would collect nails on the street and sell two cans of them for a penny.
“I had a hard life growing up during the 1930s,” recalled Joseph, now 87 and living in Monessen.
“We used to walk along the (railroad) trestle in Webster, picking up coal. When we got three bushels, we'd take the wagon and pull it to Donora.”
The coal was used to heat her family's home. Joseph grew up on Liberty Street in Donora, the youngest of seven children.
She worked at Petro's Bakery while still in high school. After graduating, Joseph worked at the Donora mill in the bundling and testing department.
“I would cut the wire and weigh it,” Joseph said. “I weighed the wire for the boats. It had to be in bundles between 15 and 35 pounds. I really enjoyed working there every day.”
She married Andy Joseph on June 24, 1945. For their first date, they met in Donora and he took her to a dance hall in Monessen.
He worked as a mechanic and also delivered milk for his family's business. He worked at McCalvie's Pontiac dealership and later for Gibson's, both in downtown Monessen.
The couple had a daughter, Dorothy Joseph, 63, a retired teacher in the Mt. Lebanon School District, and two sons, Eugene, 66, of Williamsburg, who retired from the former Combustion Engineering in Forward Township, and Paul, 57, who works as a mechanic for American Airlines in Fort Worth, Texas.
Andy Joseph died of a massive heart attack at age 48 in 1973. His wife went back to work to support her family.
Joseph worked at Fisher's Big Wheel in Charleroi for two years before getting a job with Corning Glass. She worked there for 11 years.
“My daughter said ‘Mom, you worked long enough,'” Joseph recalled.
Today, Joseph enjoys lunch, playing bingo and attending parties at the Monessen Senior Center and volunteering her time at St. Nicholas Church in Donora. She still attends the same church she grew up in.
Her best memories, though, are as a child playing games on the streets of Donora.
“We used to play all kinds of games, like kick the can, run sleepy run and hide and seek,” Joseph said.
“We bobsledded down from the hills.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fire rips through Rostraver house
- Charleroi Regional makes 3 drug arrests
- First Federal, Community Bank join
- Charleroi Regional Police Board nixes council request
- Monongahela drug bust nabs 5
- Ozarks tournament filled with pageantry, top players in 1961
- Smithton native charged in Ohio with faking illness to raise money
- Memories of ‘carefree days’ in Valley remain strong in Ocean City
- PennDOT outlines Westmoreland, Washington road, bridge projects
- Coke plant worker injured on the job
- Cal U will press liquor sales fee