Carole Kelley Orlando
of growing up, music and the phonograph
By Judy Orlando,
My name is Judy Orlando.
I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on October 10, 1939. My parents
were Mack Wellington Kelley and Mary Belle Hamer Kelley (1).
and Mary Belle Kelley, April 17, 1938
I lived in Tulsa until
I was seven when we moved to San Jose, California. I had some
cousins in California and enjoyed spending time with them and
liked where we lived.
When I was about 14
my Dad told me that we were moving back to Tulsa and I wasn't
very happy about this news. To emphasize my dislike for this move
I sat on the floorboard of our car all the way back to Tulsa.
The funny thing was that after moving back to Tulsa I enrolled
in a school that I really liked and became kind of popular because
I was the new girl from California.
Carole Kelley - August 28, 1942 (almost 3 years old)
I also enjoyed this
return to Tulsa because my mom had two aunts that lived in Tulsa,
Ada and Effie, and they owned a restaurant and hired me to do
some work for them in the summer (e.g., setting tables, etc.).
But it was only about a year and half later that we moved back
to San Jose where I started at Santa Clara High School(2) and
then graduated from San Jose High School in 1957.
Music was an important
part of the Kelley family as both of my dad's parents were musicians.
My grandfather, Mack Kelley, lived in San Jose(3) and was a drummer
and percussionist in the "Mack Kelley Orchestra" that played primarily
in San Jose at places like the Majestic Ballroom. My grandmother,
Minnie Maude Kelley, who we called Aunt Maude, could really play
the piano. She was also quite funny and had a truly memorable
laugh. Her piano specialty was sort of a rag-time style but as
a member of the Mack Kelley Orchestra she could perform whatever
style the orchestra was playing.
My dad was an engineer
and tool designer by profession(4) but he loved to play his trumpet
and could really blow that horn. My mother would sing a capella
and had a lovely singing voice and she would often harmonize with
my Dad who sang pretty well but who sometimes seemed to be off-key
(though I never told him that).
My grandpa Mack thought
it would be nice if I played an instrument and asked me, "Honey,
what instrument would you like to play?" I thought about
it an decided I liked the sound of the clarinet. So he gave me
one from his music shop (he also did instrument repairs as a part-time
job) but I didn't practice much and soon gave it up as the clarinet
wasn't for me.
Next in my music career
was dance lessons. My mom asked me if I wanted to take tap dance
lessons and I was very excited to do that. She made me some cute
outfits and I really enjoyed going to the California Theatre in
downtown San Jose where I had lessons on the second floor where
my dance instructor had a studio. I still remember my dance instructor's
name, Gordon Keith, because I thought it was odd to have two first
names as your full name. I did tap dancing for awhile but I didn't
practice enough and eventually stopped taking lessons. But I never
stopped loving to dance.
California Theatre, San Jose
Although I do not remember
us having a record player when I was very young my parents listened
to the radio and a lot of music. As a teenager I had a portable
record player and some records. I loved to listen to bebop, Fats
Domino, Little Richard and many others and especially loved to
dance to the music.
Music was also involved
in some 'hanky-panky' I remember doing as a teenager. One night
after it was dark I snuck out of the house and met my girl friends.
We went to one of the corners in the neighborhood and starting
singing "Jingle Bells" as loud as we could. We laughed
and had a great time. I don't know why I thought that was so daring
but I guess it was because I was out with the girls at night and
my parents didn't know about it.
In San Jose I had summer
jobs in junior high school called "cutting cots". We had a neighbor
who arranged for this job and I would drive with them each day
to go to that job since his kids also worked there. This was not
an easy job and involved picking up apricots from trays, cutting
them in half, pitting them and finally putting them back into
the tray. It paid 50 cents per hour and gave me spending money
so that I could go to the Kress "five and dime" store where I
loved to look.
San Jose ca. 1962, Kress down street on left - photo courtesy
of History San Jose/Del Carlo Studio
In high school I worked
at the Richmond-Chase Cannery in San Jose (canning peaches) and
used this money to buy clothes for school and also some extra
things that included buying a few records. Every year mom would
buy me seven dresses but I wanted more in high school and the
summer cannery jobs made that possible.
I graduated from high
school in June 1957 and married Andy Orlando on November 10, 1957
and the adventure of my life began that was to last over 60 years.
10, 1957 Wedding
During those years
we raised our two daughters, Kathy and Sharon and our twin boys,
Brian and Bruce, and while the kids were growing up I have memories
of listening to our stereo console playing Frank Sinatra and Elvis
and the kids playing their 45 rpms and a lot of dancing in the
house. Besides 45's we also went through the recorded music era
of listening to music on 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, LPs, and
CDs. I transferred most of my CDs to iTunes, put all of the CDs
in a suitcase and donated the suitcase to the Salvation Army.
Kathy, Brian, Bruce (6 months), 1962
Kathy, Bruce and Sharon, 1991
As a hobby my dad opened
up a record store in downtown San Jose around 1974 which he named
Nostalgic Records. At one time he had over 10,000 records.
Our kids thought the store was pretty neat, not because of the
old 78 rpm records and nostalgia that he sold, but because he
had many records that they appreciated such as Led Zeppelin, Boz
Skaggs, Pink Floyd and other pop LPs.
and Mary August 1991
I have many memories
associated with music, live and recorded. But in growing up knowing
that my grandparents were musicians and hearing so much music
in our own home I think it made music seem more special to me.
To this day I'm still proud that the Mack Kelley Orchestra was
pretty well known in the San Jose area in its time.
Although my iPad is
now the source for most of my music I think the memory of my Aunt
Maude playing away on her piano, and my dad blowing his trumpet
and my mom singing her songs with her sweet voice all remind me
of the variety of ways I have been exposed to music. And how important
it was to each of them and myself.
Music was a part of
my growing up years and it continues to be something that I enjoy.
1) My dad Mack Wellington
Kelley was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 29, 1917
My mom Mary Belle Hamer
Kelley was born in Cherryvale, Kansas, April 16, 1918. She died
on August 9, 1999 (age 81)
Mom and Dad met in
Tulsa in a soda shop where Dad was a "soda jerk". The
story goes that my mom, Mary Belle, came in as a customer and
as Dad served up her order he made some kind of wisecrack to which
Mom responded by throwing a spoon into the milk shake and making
a clever response. Dad would later like to say that when that
happened he thought "Oh boy, that's the girl for me!"
accounts about soda jerks report that it was a fairly respectable
position in its day and popular with the ladies. Some whimsically
called themselves "fizzicians". It has been said that
any fool can scoop ice cream but being a jerk takes practice
- the term jerk referring to the technique of pulling the handle
controlling the carbonated-water flow.
My parents were married
on July 19, 1936
Mack Wellington Kelley
was the son of Minnie Maude Kelley and Mack Kelley (Scottish descent).
Mary Belle was the
daughter of Joseph and Mary Hamer. Mary's mother's maiden name
Mary Puterbaugh (German descent).
Mary Belle had one
brother, Harry, and one sister, Hilma.
Belle Hamer Kelley, 1938 (20 years old)
Here's a brick from
my mom's Cherryvale street: 402 East First Street, Cherryvale,
KS Vitrified Brick Co.
Belle Kelly, September 1922 (age 4), Cherryvale, Kansas
2) Mack Wellington
Kelley was an engineer who was known for his tool designs and
for his work at the E.W. Bliss Company in San Jose.
3) Grandpa Mack and
Maude had a second home (their vacation home) at La Selva beach
near Santa Cruz - I sometimes went there in the summer or family
get-togethers. In the basement of that house my grandfather had
a workshop where he repaired musical instruments as sort of a
It was while visiting
my grandparents vacation home that I nearly drowned when I was
about 11 (The
La Selva Beach Incident).
4) I did some synchronized
swimming in high school and was a pretty good swimmer.
Other Judy Orlando
La Selva Beach Incident
and Judy's 50th Anniversary Photo Album