McDowell County West Virginia ĎROSIE the RIVETERí

 

Dolly Kuchinic

 

A Mountain Rose of Steel

 

 

Tony & Dolly Kuchinic

 

 

Dolly was the close friend of my mother, Goldie May Boling Stanley, in the coalfields of Southern West Virginiaís McDowell Co where the rivers ran black with coal dust and the land ran red with minerís blood.

 

In a community where everyone was dirt poor, Tony and Dolly may not have been rich at all, but they seemed rich.A home that had doilies on shiny furniture gave, at the very least, the illusion of being Ďwell to doí.†† I have vivid memories of Dolly, even though I could not have been more than five years old when my mother went to visit Dolly once and took me and my sister Tiny along.Of course, my mother took us everywhere she went and I cannot remember a time when I was ever apart from her until I was upwards of twelve years old, other than the tortured hours I spent away from her in school; those hours that were limited by an asthmatic condition worsened by the cinder and ash from a coal burning pot bellied stove, and the smoke from my motherís Kool cigarettes.

 

Dolly and Tony had two red Chow dogs that were mean as all get out.When they came home at night, one had to distract these dogs at the front gate while the other went in the back door.Once inside the house, the dogs were accepting and friendly to whomever was there.On one of our visits, Dolly told me I could have any money that I could find laying on tables and under scarves if I would be brave enough to search with the dogs there, but I clung tightly to my mother and would not venture away from her for fear of the big red dogs with the black tongues hanging out.†† Dolly must have had Ďa thingí for courage, because once when some coal camp bullies sent my sister home crying, Dolly, who was visiting my mother, took her right back out to where these children were playing and watched as Tiny confronted and backed down the leader of this little gang of ragamuffins.Dolly loved my sister and always begged my mother to let her adopt Tiny.Goldie May was the quintessential mother, in capital letters; right out of Godís user guide on motherhood, and she would have let someone cut her appendages off limb by limb before she would part with one of her children.She didnít mind sharing though and allowed Dolly to fawn over Tiny as much as she liked.Dolly bought clothes and presents for her on a regular basis.Not being able to have children of her own, she showered a lot of love and attention on her poor little neighbor who was rich in family love.

 

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Tiny is on the left above in 1939, probably in clothes and shoes that Dolly bought for her.When she was little, she would always ask our mother why she had left that baby out there all alone and no matter how many times Mommy would tell her the baby wasnít alone and that the baby was indeed herself, Tiny would ask that question again the next time the family pictures would be gotten out and gone through with the marvelous stories that fell from my motherís lips. That is me on the right at Big Four, a mile from Kimball, in 1949.††

 

WWII came and with the shortage of manpower, womanpower had its birth, and thus, Dolly and Tony took advantage of the call by industry to come and build the ships necessary for the war effort.I discovered this one day a couple of years ago while going through my Momís old trunk which I had not opened since her death in 1980.I found among the glorious treasures therein a letter from Dolly to my mother from Vancouver, WA, a city that would dramatically touch my life in some unique ways.†††

 

 

 

There was a card from Dolly in the trunk in which she related she had gotten her welding certificate.This was quite an amazing achievement for a woman at that time and is a testament to the strength and courage of this beautiful woman.There was nothing soft or timid about Dollyís spirit.††

 

After the war, Dolly and Tony returned to McDowell Co, but soon after, my family moved to Long Bottom, then Wyoming Co, and then on to Washington State where my brother had been stationed during the war, married a girl there and stayed.There are no more letters from Dolly in the trunk, so she and my mother lost touch with each other.††

 

I found Dolly and Tony in the Social Security Death Index and the Florida Death Records on ancestry.com.

 

Anthony Joseph Kuchinic, 32074  Ormond Beach, Volusia, Florida, United States of America, b. 22 Dec 1903 Pennsylvania (Before 1951 ) d. 30 Jan 1989

 

Dolly M. Kuchinic, 32074  Ormond Beach, Volusia, Florida, United States of America, b. 28 Sep 1916 Texas (Before 1951 ), d. 1 Jun 1994

 

The original picture I have of Dolly and Tony is quite probably the only picture to survive the lives of these two people since they had no children and seemed to be an entity unto themselves.I am grateful for my motherís penchant for keeping things and for her gift of story telling, for it preserved a memory of two very worthwhile citizens of West Virginia and McDowell Co.

 

 

The letters and cards in the floor below are from my motherís old trunk; most are from her sisters and others from McDowell Co, WV spanning over fifty years.After going through them again yesterday, 15 Jan 2007, while looking for Dollyís letter to document in this article, I bagged up everything in plastic bags before returning it to the trunk to stave off further deterioration. ††

 

christine hayes

(micky stanley)

gabby362@juno.com

 

During the years of doing family history research, my main focus was in finding out about my motherís father Horatio Seymour Boling whom she never knew.I discovered he had a son named Fred with his first wife, Sarah Blevins, and that this son had lived in Vancouver, WA all the years we lived just two hundred miles away down the Columbia River Gorge that divides Washington and Oregon, in Kennewick, WA.Sadly, my mother had a brother that close and never knew about him.He had come to Vancouver from Webster Co, WV to work, no doubt taking advantage of the shipyards offer to pay the way of willing workers during the war, and his family joined him there later.

 

Even more ironic, the Washington State School for the Deaf is located in Vancouver, and would become my temple priest wherewith to leave my first born son.Having suffered the persecution of a young ďhillbillyĒ girl in Chicago during the Great Appalachian Migration to the industrialized north, my most fervent prayer had been my child would not have our southern accent, my little son, who had been the answer to my prayer that if God would only give me a child, I would return that child to Him like Hannah in the Bible.Little did I know the accent our son would speak with would fly on his little hands, and thus, thirteen years after his birth in Chicago, God called that note, and the daughter of the quintessential mother would leave her child with strangers at the School for the Deaf in Vancouver, WA , two hundred miles away from home.On one of the many trips we made there over the following five years, David was writing I Love You Jesus in the wet sand on the Oregon Coast, which he was proudly showing us, when he excitedly pointed to the sky where we saw forming right before our eyes a huge cloud in the shape of the International Sign for I Love You!God doth indeed work in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.

 

 


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