03 Aug 2013

A Neighbor’s Photo From Shorpy’s

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1938. “Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Joe Gladski, wife of a coal miner at Maple Hill.” Photo by Sheldon Dick, Resettlement Administration.

Shorpy’s, the great historical photo site, yesterday put up a photo from my old hometown.

Commenter Solo adds details:

Per the 1940 Federal census, the Gladsky family (Joseph and Sophia, their three children, and Joe’s father, born in what became Poland but was then the Russian Empire) occupied 422 West Lloyd Street in said town, Shenandoah Borough, Schuylkill Co, PA. Sophia is about 31 in this photo. … Joe died in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1961, age about 57. His son, Joe Jr., died at 73 in New Jersey. Sophia herself died in New Jersey in 1996, aged 89 years.

Some interesting touches in this shot are the rather worn armchair with faint shadow of an antimacassar on the back and the apparently new widow casings and baseboard.

I was born ten years later on a farm my father bought after the war in Locust Valley, but around 1953 my mother forced him to give up the farm and move back into town. In those days, working class families were lucky to own a single automobile, and most women (including my mother) never learned to drive. Living out in the country without transportation was naturally unpleasant for her.

We wound up living across the street and one block west from Mr. & Mrs. Gladski (with whom we were not acquainted as far as I know), at 515-517 West Lloyd. My father also worked as a coal miner at Maple Hill (the last of the collieries to shut down). Maple Hill ended mining operations in 1954. While working there, my father was once (briefly) buried by a cave-in of coal. He was able to dig himself out, but the fall had knocked his miner’s helmet off and one rock split open his scalp. He had to go to the hospital to have the wound stitched up. When he was an old man, you could see blue particles of coal embedded in the skin on top of his head.

Needless to say, I am old enough to remember this style of domestic furnishings. Mrs. Gladski was a good looking woman with the kind of aquiline nose which has always seemed to me to be a distinctly Polish feature.

Small world, isn’t it?

2 Feedbacks on "A Neighbor’s Photo From Shorpy’s"


This is why I read your blog. With astonishing regularity, I am so pleasantly surprised by what I find.

Joseph Gladski IV

Thanks for posting this!


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