About Me

My photo
Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Irish Catholic

Jean Cooney Kimball

She was named Eugenie, after her father, Eugene,
But dropped that for Jean, which was easier to handle.
Maybe it was after the Empress,
Marie Eugenie of France.

Anyway, when her parents separated,
Her mother moved back in with the Costellos.
That would be the matriarch, Ellen Darcy Costello,
Four aunts and an uncle, living on the West Side.

They never had anything to do with the Cooneys,
Which was a pity, because the Cooneys
Were willing to pay for her education
And for her brother, Ed.

As it was, she had to quit the Catholic high school
After her second year, to get a job.
She took a brief secretarial course
And was hired by the Old Ben Coal Corporation.

She heard about their star salesman, Charlie Kimball,
And made up her mind to size him up.
He proposed to her on their first date;
They were married when she was still eighteen.

Charlie, known always to her as "Kim,"
Was drafted in 1918 and sent to Camp Grant, Illinois.
For about nine months of service.
In the Quartermaster Corps.

They lived in various flats on the South Side of Chicago
Until moving to Lake Forest, where they built
A beautiful Tudor style home on Ahwanee Road,
Designed by their friend, Stanley Anderson.

They lost the house in the Depression,
Dad was reduced to half pay,
And sent to Kansas City as regional sales manager,
Where they spent eleven years.

Mom was largely self-educated and transformed herself
Into a formidable society figure in Kansas City.
She became expert in interior design, amassing
A collection of antiques in the thirties for next to nothing.

She led a bond drive during World War II
Which culminated in a huge performance in the Royal Arena.
The high point was meeting the featured speaker, Bette Davis.
Talked to her for hours; they were much alike.

When they moved back to Chicago,
Dad became a coal buyer for the Quartermaster Depot.
They lived in a luxurious apartment for $100 per month
In a high rise building on the Gold Coast.

But the war years were difficult,
With three sons off to service in various years.
Eau Claire was better, because they made older friends.
It was her idea to move to Florida, when Dad retired.

She moved back to the Chicago area when he died,
Living in a little apartment in Lake Bluff, and
Working some in a local store, as she had in Clearwater.
She died of a stroke in 1970, at the age of seventy.

No comments: