I wanted to tell a story about the Kelley's & the O'Brien's that shows the courage & bravery of Madeline.
The time was a un air-conditioned Houston in July 1951. My mother Margie Kelley and Madeline O'Brien were friends facing all the challenges of raising a young family. Margie was 32 years old, with 3 children, Larry (5yrs.); Nano (3 yrs.); and Grover (2yrs). Madeline was 30 years old with 2 children at that time Donny, Mary Anne, not sure if Jean & Bob were born yet.
During this hot summer there was a nationwide polio epidemic and Houston was especially hard hit. No one knew how this disease was transmitted, there was no vaccine and no cure. What was certain is that this terrible disease inflicted permanent damage to anyone that survived.
One morning, suffering from a high fever, my 3- year old sister Nano told my Dad, while he was shaving, that she could not walk. Margie Kelley was faced with caring for 2 young sons and a baby daughter suffering from a crippling disease, with no cure and her future uncertain. We lived in the new part of West University, on a treeless Nottingham, near Kirby. Our house was off-limits to the other kids on the block, and no adults would enter, similar to a state of quarantine.
In the middle of this uncertainty, in spite of this horrible disease, and the quarantined house, mom's friends Billie Smith & Madeline O'Brien charged in to help their friend, my mom, Margie Kelley. They took care of all of us, and helped their friend at home and at the hospital.
The highest military honors are awarded to soldiers who, with complete disregard of their own life, rise to an occasion to help their fellow soldiers, their friends when they are in need.
Madeline O'Brien demonstrated an equal amount of courage during the polio epidemic of the summer of 1951, when her friend, Margie Kelley, needed help, Madeline was there!!
Madeline remained part of the Kelley family in the years after the Polio crisis and now I am certain my mom Margie is there to help & welcome Madeline to her new life.
Thank you Madeline for standing strong, at a terrible time, for your friend and for us.
Larry Kelley Jr. and The Kelley's
Larry & Beth Kelley (Stacey Carpenter, Jennifer Burke Henry, Bridget Burke, Michael Burke): Nano & Pat Scherrieb (Carl Scherrieb); Grover Kelley; Mary & Don Jones. Plus Grandchildren – Jared & Matthew Carpenter; Elle Henry (due May 26).