Kimberly Kelling and Lloyd S Kelling

Recorded November 27, 2021 Archived November 27, 2021 38:15 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby021260


Kimberly Kelling (63) sits down with her father, Lloyd S. "Bud" Kelling (90), to ask him about his childhood memories at Camp Crockett (also known as Kamp Karney), to learn more about what it was like for him to discover he was adopted at 27, and to remember some of their family members who have passed away.

Subject Log / Time Code

LSK and KK discuss how LSK has lived to be 90 years old.
LSK talks about joining the U.S. Navy.
LSK describes Camp Crockett (aka Kamp Karney), where he spent seven summers.
LSK shares some stories from camp.
LSK remembers his father.
LSK recalls finding out about his adoption.
LSK tells the story behind his adoption.
LSK shares memories of his biological mother.
LSK describes his adoptive mother.
LSK discusses getting in contact with his biological father.
LSK reflects on what he would most like to ask and tell his biological mother if he could speak with her.
LSK and KK remember Helen, LSK's wife and KK's mother.
LSK shares what he would most like his grandchildren to know.


  • Kimberly Kelling
  • Lloyd S Kelling

Recording Location

LeRoy Collins Leon County Main Library


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00:02 I'm Kim killing. I'm 63 years old today, is November 27th, 2021 or in Tallahassee, Florida, and I'm here. My interview partner is my dad but killing and go ahead. Dad will Lord sample Cohen better known as bud. I'm 90 years old today, is the 11th of June 27th. 1920 20:21. I'm in Tallahassee with my daughter and

00:36 As I said, she's my daughter.

00:39 Great, so Dad, did you ever think you'd live to 90 years old?

00:47 But I never gave it a thought. I never considered thinking about that. I, I knew that I always plan to head, there was something that was going to happen and they in the future that I was looking forward to.

01:03 I still do. So. That's an interesting statement that you plan. You would you would plan ahead with would hate when you say that. What do you mean? Well, I know, next week, for example, I have tea times at 12 noon all week long. So I'm looking forward to that.

01:22 I looking forward to it changing my grip. I'm going to hit the ball further. That's right. Now. That's but when I was working, I would be planning head as to what I was going to teach the next class at how I was going to change. This year's lesson plans, to next year's lesson plan. I didn't want to use the same one. So that's I think that's an interesting. It makes me think that, you know, that having things to look forward to.

01:55 And is it is sort of a maybe a recipe for a long life?

02:00 A lot of people say Hobbit. How do you account for being 90 years old? And I don't, I just that. There you go. Work. So far has been knock on wood.

02:15 So, where did you grow up? Grow up in a little town in Penns, Grove, New Jersey, right on the Delaware River across from Wilmington, Delaware.

02:27 It was a DuPont Community, Dupont was in Delaware. And then they had a big Factory known as the chamber's work and smokeless powder.

02:41 My dad worked there and I had planned on working there, but but I got out of high school. I was too young. I was seventeen when I got out of high school and he had to be 18 to work at DuPont.

02:56 So instead of working at Dupont side, join the Navy.

03:02 At Seventeen, I had to have my father's permission. So he signed for me. Actually, I went in, I was going to join the Marines, but fortunately, I'd broken my job twice in the Marines wouldn't take me best break. I had my life because I would have been

03:23 19 years old in Korea, fighting with the Marines. And they took a hell of a beating.

03:30 So, I went into the Navy, spent my time in England.

03:36 Mediterranean had a wonderful time for years. I can attest that you have over the years. You shared such amazing stories about your time in the Navy or the places. You got to see that, you know, from your small-town experience and then kind of having your eyes open to the world.

04:00 Well, I saw a lot of deadly.

04:03 But all the Naval Station. Expedia Leghorn Toronto, I didn't go to Rome. We stayed on the coast line and a lot of fun. I was in Casablanca.

04:20 I was a nice cons.

04:25 So when you got back, what did you do?

04:30 Because I was in, during the Korean War. I was given the opportunity to go to college with a Korean veterans bill.

04:40 Hadn't planned on going to college. But when the opportunity presented itself I took advantage of it.

04:48 Went to school and wash Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.

04:57 Very old, it was actually found founded by George Washington and twenty guineas you gave twenty guineas money. And that's what started the college. How did she even know to go there? How did you learn about Washington College football coach?

05:18 I was thinking about going to Ithaca College and you don't want to go there. The college is over top of stores. Come to Washington College.

05:32 And I think the reason I got in Washington College was one because of the coach but too, because I had money. I had the Korean veterans bill. I did not have the qualifications that did not take high school college preparatory in high school.

05:52 I took the easiest courses I could find because I was going to work at DuPont's, that's what everybody did.

05:59 But I don't know. If not, it's pretty remarkable. I mean, how that turns the trajectory? Then of your life totally changed by going to college.

06:12 By going into the service.

06:15 Provided my opportunity to go to college and from that changed my life dramatically.

06:23 I became a school teacher. I taught for 15 years. I was baseball, coach a student council, adviser loved it.

06:32 Politically, I was maybe a little bit too liberal for the school that I taught in and though they couldn't fire me, they couldn't they didn't have to give me anything. So it's time for me to become department head. They said no way.

06:47 So, I went and I started working for a local.

06:53 Company rosener's.

06:56 And I became a manager of their new store in the mall. We opened up a second store in Delaware, and I was director of both stores.

07:07 Then we went to the South instead of getting better. We got worse and we closed up the one in Delaware and closed up the one in New Jersey. So I went to Connecticut and I opened up helped. Open up a store in Connecticut.

07:28 Lived there for 9 years. Then moved on retired, moved on to Ithaca New York and I worked help open up a store there. So have some fun in in the retail business has jumped way ahead. So I'm going to take us back a little bit because I want you to talk a little bit about Kamp karney.

07:52 Well, it was a Dupont Camp, actually YMCA.

07:58 DuPont.

08:01 NN Kamp, karney was my life growing up.

08:05 The vet was, if you didn't have any place to go, come to the Y and we did, we had to walk.

08:16 I got this news story. We had to walk about two miles to get to the guy who used to hitchhike as a gang of us with meat on the corner of Main and Broad Street, and would walk to the Y. And we had the

08:35 High. Why, and try highway. I try hi-y with the girls and I why was the boys?

08:42 And we play basketball.

08:47 Use that bowling alleys set up pins magazines in the reading room, and there was one guy named Unk Crockett.

09:04 Who was the second father? He was the stern one. My other father was a great one, but kept me, in fact, I had a little trouble with the teacher one time and as I was walking through the, why I got a signal to come in and talk talk.

09:23 And I set me straight as to what I should do and how I should apologize to mrs. Selectra, which I did tell me about Kamp. Karney Kamp. Karney was, I went there as a 9-year old camper.

09:40 And how long was it was at a summer camp? Summer camp, it was

09:45 Actually was open for five weeks. My first year there, I went for two.

09:50 And then, eventually I went, there was nine. I graduated high school and I was 17, actually, 16 turned 17, couple days. Later.

10:04 And I spent seven years at Camp. What do you mean? Seven years? When did you spend the seven years like the altogether? You spent seven years and there is a camper that I was a key boy. Then I became a tent. Tell the tell me, one of your class acute. You have regaled your grandson's with stories of Kamp. Karney. You got to share one of your stories will one night. They had a snipe hunt and of course, all day long. They told us about the Snipes there where the regular snakes that run on the ground and then they were these King snipers ahead, very long beak and they would fly very fast and they would run into your legs.

10:48 We had to have certain sticks that we had to knock together in order to make that certain sound that that would call them.

10:56 Some of us were the heck, how bags? And we were to catch this this night in the back others were knocking and would take them to us.

11:09 So the camp is up on top of the hill, but where we were hunting, the Snipes with a big flat land across the road.

11:20 Maybe three, four, five hundred yards.

11:25 All of a sudden we heard this horrible Screech and they camped at the campers were told the run back to the camp that the Snipes are out. There was a king's Knight that they had already hit somebody in the leg.

11:39 We run up the hill as fast as we could. Not remember. I'm 9 years old, I run up there as fast as I could run, got in the, in the tent. And you could look down the hill, and if they had this Hospital tent with a lights, bright lights on and you could see them the shadow of them rapping this leg and, and I was horrible.

12:02 And I don't think I slept that night, but I've never forgotten it and I talked about.

12:10 A snipe hunt, the rest of my life. And don't you think that was a little cruel to do was great as a as a can't as a leader. We used to call the kids in and we look at their ear land said you have earlobes and we put Mercurochrome on their ear that worked out, fine, until the mothers at coming in on the weekends, or wondering why their kids ears were all painted, but that's can't. That's what you do at camp. What did Kim carne mean to you? I mean, what do you think, how it impacted your life gone to that camp.

12:57 Very strongly. I think it gave me a sense of

13:02 Teamwork camaraderie given take cuz had to take while you're in Camp as well as give.

13:11 Learning. Well, when I rode off into the service.

13:17 It was not my first time living with a group of guys.

13:21 Being able to.

13:25 A simple thing is taking a shower in front of guys in, are you, you were adjusted to living with other people.

13:36 Plus the good old bit of.

13:42 Having fun enjoying life, enjoying nature learning, how to swim, learn how to row a canoe paddle, a canoe rub rub, but this was this wasn't like a fancy pants Camp. You got to go because your dad worked at Dupont, right? My father was not a very wealthy man.

14:09 He made it a point to me, to let him. Let me know that. He owes no one anything and that was important for me not to owe people money.

14:19 That came about later on. After I got married and I moved from one town to the other town and I had been working at a gas station, going to college at a gas bill $19. My father was, they didn't know where to send the bill so they sent it to him.

14:38 He said that you and I take a ride and as we were riding, is it, you know, I don't owe anybody any money. He said, but I got this bill for you for $19 said that they didn't know where to send it. I'll pay the bill.

14:54 So yeah, that's part of growing up and going to a camp growing up in a small town.

15:03 Having a great dad. Tell me more about your dad. You often talk about him how important he was to you. And I never got to really meet him. So my son was two years old when he died.

15:19 So is a great man.

15:22 He had.

15:24 Started working when he was 19 years old at a glass factory as a gathering boy. Now. He was Nineteen at 14 years old because he was a cripple.

15:36 His brothers started when they were nine, so he started when he was 14. 19 years old, work there until the Owens bottling machine came out which was right around the time of the depression.

15:55 So he was moving around trying to find a job.

15:59 And add the last place he lived before. I got a job with a Newark, New Jersey.

16:09 And that's how I kept. That's how he and I got together. Well, okay, you're jumping ahead of me, hear dad.

16:18 Tell me.

16:20 You, you got married. So you met mom at Camp, right? At the YMCA. OK. Google speak there. And he was working at the Delaware, Ordnance Depot and I was away at College. I came home. They said, hey, there's two good-looking gals here in town, to blondes one Helen, and the other ones Barber. And I said there was a working key. Well, hell is working at the YMCA.

16:54 YMCA is where I hung out the rest of my life, so I went to the Y and I met her coming out. She had a book in her arm. I said, what are you reading?

17:06 She said that I'm not reading and writing it. That's what book are you reading? So I'm not, I'm writing a book at, what's the name of it? She said, forever Helen, which was her name. Her name is Helen.

17:19 And that sort of started things off, and this is when what time of the year was this one in the later part of?

17:29 Summer.

17:32 In fact, I asked her out for a date.

17:36 On Labor Day.

17:38 And we went and we were watching boat races at Fort Mott on the Delaware River.

17:46 That was Labor Day.

17:49 We got married that same year in November on Thanksgiving Day.

17:54 67 years ago, if you lose, if you don't do it fast, you lose and I didn't lose.

18:12 Long long marriage. Until we lost mom, few years back, that was hard to see. Her decline like that. You are not fighting. Now. She did. So take me back to the day when

18:30 First your father died, right? He died first. And then your mother went on a trip and do with the Florida for summer. Ever. Saw. My mother in the bathing suit was pictures that they had taken well in Florida on her way home in Dunn, North Carolina. She had a stroke.

18:52 And I was two sisters, and I drove down. She never regained consciousness.

18:59 And,

19:01 She came back, we had her on the rails. Came back. We picked her up in Delaware Wilmington, and the funeral was in Penns Grove.

19:16 And after the funeral my to brother-in-law's, and I went to

19:25 The bank to look into safety deposit box.

19:29 You know, there was an envelope. That said too bad.

19:32 And I asked my aunt over there, looking things together and they said, open it.

19:38 Eras, my adoption papers, shock of my life had no idea.

19:46 And my biological mother had always been an aunt.

19:53 And out of air petite.

19:57 Beautiful woman, she would come down and visit me every once in awhile.

20:03 She would.

20:06 We talk I can remember talking with her. I remember she said you got a good imagination.

20:16 And this one on two.

20:20 1948. How old were you when you found out? You were adopted? I think you're about 27 or 27 when I found out right the first time I met her. I don't remember. But you were adopted at the age of 5. I was I was taken they moved from Newark, New Jersey to South Jersey when I was a baby and your your birth mother had been a border cuz you're the killings boarded people. Aunt had a boarding house in Newark, New Jersey.

21:02 She was sent from Washington, d.c. Up to Newark to have the baby.

21:09 Our father, my father biological father.

21:16 Had evidently been a student at George Washington University. And what was his name? Earl sample?

21:27 And her.

21:29 He was from West, Virginia.

21:32 That his father owned the printing company in West Virginia.

21:37 From what I gather.

21:39 But they weren't married obvious. So they weren't married and I guess there was some hostility. She my mother. Evidently was quite a woman biological mother. Now. I just call her, I'll be here. All verra was pretty sharp. So she wanted some money.

22:02 To take care of her expenses.

22:06 And I have one letter from the samples saying that they would be giving her $500 a month, which in 1931 was considerable sum of money.

22:19 But then that evidently was ended shortly afterwards.

22:26 So she was staying in New York to get it. She was working in, New York.

22:35 And the killings were coming to South Jersey.

22:40 And for some reason, they agreed that they would bring me down and she could work up there in the bench until they could off we could be United.

22:53 Something to that extent.

23:01 She stayed in New York and I stay with a K. And I guess in 1936, they decided that they wanted to adopt me. Think. She had said something to the extent that you was going to put me in a boarding school and things like that. And by that time they had grown very attached to me and I today.

23:26 So it was agreed upon by Alvera that they would adopt me. Vaguely. Remember playing in the courthouse yard.

23:38 In Salem, New Jersey, while this was going on reason. I remember there's a big Cannon and I was playing on the cannon. Do you think that's your first memory of your childhood?

23:50 Basically, yeah, I can remember. We used to go on.

23:59 Vacations, but I think that was after I was adopted.

24:05 I think I think as I got older, I remember. Yeah, so when you first realized you were adopted what it what did you think? I mean, this is like you're you're a grown person. These people other wife in the Sun and you know, you just learn that what you thought was real was with a different kind of real unbelievable. It's still hard to believe. They're my parents.

24:40 No question.

24:42 Xavier was a great. She was pretty.

24:47 She would bring down ice gifts.

24:50 Didn't you buy your like a tux for your dancing 48? So what are you going to do for a talk to you? That's all right. One. I'll get you one.

25:09 So,

25:11 Now, they're had boyfriends.

25:14 And I think she had wealthy boyfriend.

25:19 Cuz I remember coming down in first and she would come down and Cadillac pictures of her.

25:32 I remember one time in 1939.

25:36 We went to the World's Fair in New York.

25:40 And the fact that we were in, New York,

25:43 Was opportunity for me to meet her there.

25:48 And,

25:50 It was just for an afternoon, but I do remember going to her hotel.

25:58 And yeah, it's really pretty remarkable in that time. That the killings your parents were okay with you. Having a relationship with her. Every time we got together there was time, but we would be alone.

26:18 And I can do for you. You don't really, you didn't know her as your mother. You just thought she was a special person in your life. Right? Was it, she was a friend of the family that we had taken in that. That and my mother murder killing.

26:40 Was a woman who?

26:43 Befriended.

26:45 Other children, I remember it. In fact, she arranged.

26:52 For a family, that was

26:54 Having a lot of trouble for their youngest daughter to be adopted by an aunt of my father sister, who had no children.

27:07 So she definitely was someone who had a way of looking out for children.

27:14 So,

27:17 What happened? Then you lost contact without vera after a certain point? 1948 told her I was going to graduate.

27:31 I said, Lloyd sample.

27:41 So my high school diploma says Lloyd, Earl killing, the only document that I had that as Earl on it.

27:50 Now I'm Lloyd sample. Roll roll back the envelope. That contained. My adoption papers had these like a little pasties to these little sheets of paper and said your bud. I could never we could never bring herself to tell you that you were at.

28:16 That we love you very much.

28:21 That was it.

28:23 Little notes, not a letter.

28:26 I could see where she couldn't bring herself to write it as just and it was started off real quick. Like she just finally just so I can write I just going to write it down real quick and stick it in here before I change my mind. Exactly.

28:41 I can't even imagine what that was like to find that out. And and then to realize that this other woman was really your birth mother, but then I had no contact with her and 1948. She that was a, I joined the Navy in 1948 and the Korean War started in 1950.

29:08 And The Story Goes and I don't have any evidence of this other than hearsay by one sister.

29:16 That my mother told her that I had been killed in the war to stop her from

29:24 Getting in touch with me.

29:27 Evidently Olvera would have great times and should be on top of the mountain and there will be times that she was in the valley and when she was in the valley, she would call. And I guess with

29:41 Create problems. So that you also had two Crazy Sisters. Let's say that the sisters were old enough. They were significantly older than they thought they were my mother, and I had three mothers at with a calendar and one without Vera. So I had lots of

30:13 But they like, they got paranoid old specially your sister, Betty that you were going to find out and then she also didn't she destroy a lot of documents to there was a

30:25 That my mother had said to me, if there is ever fire, you already grabbed this satchel and take it with you, grab it cuz it's important.

30:36 As I came home from the library, from the bank, finding out that I had been adopted.

30:45 She had burnt that Satchel up.

30:49 Teaching her justification. Was he didn't want me to find anything out about my parent that. I'll be there.

30:58 I had a couple of letters but somehow they had escaped. That's about all I have. And so then years later you and Mom cuz I know I was like, I was in high school decided to try to track down your birth parents Helen, a friend of hers.

31:20 The friend of hers saw a

31:23 Notice in the Philadelphia Inquirer that I Love sample had married. Some woman was in the society pages of sided pages and Lloyd sample, and she brought she brought it up to

31:43 How is the tension? And we went down to Fairmont West Virginia? I met my father. He told me I had to half Brothers.

31:53 I told him, I said, here's my phone number. If you ever want to get in touch with me, call me. I won't bother you again, and we haven't, we haven't touched it, It was it. That was early contact and that was like, in the 70s.

32:10 So and then, but you are never able to find Alvera.

32:15 Know, I have regrets. I didn't, I think the loyalty to the calyx.

32:25 Said, you don't chase after this woman.

32:29 Now I look back and I said I should have but I would have liked to have talked with her. Did she have any other children?

32:41 What did she do with her life? Why didn't she make contact with me? These two other questions I would have asked her? And I would have liked to know that she had grandchildren.

32:56 Two great-grandchildren really a successful to successful individuals and she would have been very proud of you. Probably have a lot of her physical and then never put on anyway, very attractive and very capable. And I think that maybe that's where I got that desire to live in New York City and in following my grandmother's time. But I do want to, I do want to ask you what looking at your long life.

33:39 What? What is what makes you the proudest of of your life? What were the problems? So proud? What do you feel proud about?

33:55 I feel very proud that I have to.

33:59 Children, who have become very successful in their fields of endeavor.

34:06 That indicates that as parents Helen, and I did pretty good job.

34:13 I can attribute a lot of it to Helen she stuff.

34:17 I was the one that went out and worked.

34:21 I thought school. I was always busy with baseball. I was busy with student council and I was active.

34:32 Helen was always home, you and Steve would come home. And the first thing she would say, is how's school going today?

34:42 What did you learn today? She was a on.

34:47 On the job mother.

34:49 He didn't work. She did a lot of volunteer things. She didn't work until after you got out of school.

34:57 So it was fortunate. I always say I'm a free man living in. Mother's didn't work. They stayed home. Not that I'm saying that, that's good, that that's what Helen did and she was able to see you see Steve and keep the letter and Steve than that. I mean you and Mom lived lives that set examples for Steve and me and, and not just Mom, being a stay-at-home mom, but her passion for social justice.

35:42 Like that's her volunteer work. She did say she was.

35:49 There was a Vista group Volunteers in Service to America who is hang out with our house.

35:57 Yep, and they, they were influenced that I take very much influential on you and Steve young young college grads.

36:09 That, that was really great. Well, and because I think that

36:15 Mom is looking down at us and if she were to go on record as just being a housewife who stayed home. So she would be very upset with you for saying that. I mean mom was a force.

36:28 She always felt a little frustrated that she didn't get the same opportunities as our brothers, to go to college, but it wasn't that she wasn't capable and smart and and really just you two made a remarkable pair.

36:42 She was a teacher, came around to her.

36:47 Ducks home. They lived in Gettysburg, New Jersey at the Pennsylvania and suggested that how it go to college. But he was of the school that women didn't go to school, They only got there and get married. So yeah, so but that didn't stop her. She end up going to call. You did it on her own time, but as we're running out of time, I want what you have three grandsons.

37:18 And we hope someday they'll have children. We talk some day. They'll get married, but

37:25 What do you want them to know about your dad? What do you want them to Remember You by

37:33 That I was a very lucky man.

37:37 That I had a great life.

37:40 And that.

37:44 They are part of it. They they, they my children and my grandchildren made life. Great. That's what

37:56 And if they are capable of doing anything that they want to do.