Although I was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia, my family did not stay there long. We lived briefly in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and then in the general area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, primarily Wilkinsburg, until I was 12.
My father, William Roy Mosteller, became a master glass blower at age 17. He traveled all over the country, making fine wages for the early 1900s. His family came from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where Mostellers are more numerous than Smiths. He had less than a high school education in formal school—it was vague whether he finished fourth or eighth grade. Later he took correspondence courses. During World War I, he left the glass trade and made artillery shells. After the war he went into the trucking business and later branched out into road building, mainly in western Pennsylvania, but later he built in the eastern part of the state as well.
My mother, Helen Kelley Mosteller, was born in Ladoga, Indiana, and raised in Indianapolis. She was the oldest of three children, and she may have had a part in raising the two younger children. Her father died early, and her mother remarried. My given names, Charles Frederick, are in honor of my step-grandfather, whose last name was Hartung.My mother admired education and learning and cared a great deal about pronunciation, grammar, and spelling. She was proud that she had had some German language courses in high school even though the language became unpopular with World War I. I do not think she finished high school—perhaps the 11th grade. She was a loving, strict, protective mother. She did not allow me to go out and play in the streets with the other children, partly because she did not think they were well behaved, and partly because she did not like me to get dirty.
KeywordsRoad Building Elderly Teacher Play Table Tennis Irregular Column Potato Salad
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