Lady Dynamite traces the life of one wife of the millions of women married to a Coal Miner. She carries the brunt of the hardships and trials of the Coal Mining Family.
The story starts in the early part of nineteenth century and goes through to the end of the century. That one life begins in the United States and quickly transitions to northern Italy where she grew to a young lady. Then she came back to the States and to the coal towns to begin a life of a miner’s wife.
The nineteenth century saw many wars, disasters, good times, bad times, a great depression, great leaders, evil leaders, and plagues. Those things shaped and molded Lady Dynamite and all those who survived those times. They developed an independent spirit with backbones of steel and determined to make their country into the greatest super power the world ever knew.
This writer started this work thinking he knew very well the life of the person he was writing about but at the end of the work some of the facts he found surprised him. There were events too personal and not written down to avoid hurt feelings or memories. The saying, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,” applies to those events.
Lady Dynamite may have been small in stature but she was a giant in grit and determination. No problem big or small that she met that she didn’t squarely face. The purpose of this book is not to reveal real or fictional secrets but to capture her spirit and the times she lived through.
She lay across the bed in the small bedroom on the second floor of the four-room house her mind troubled
waiting for him to come home.
The bedroom was cold and its only heat came through the single floor register from the kitchen below. The
smell of the ever-simmering sauce on the stove filled the room.
The light from the streetlight on the corner gave a glow to the room. Suddenly the house began to shake as
if an earthquake was occurring. The young boy that was sleeping in the bed sat up with fear on his face.
“It’s ok Bobby it is only from the mine as they are close to the surface,” his mother assured him.
Once again, the miners had set off a blast of dynamite dangerously close to the surface. The coal was not deep
in the earth, the Coal Company wanted a quick profit, and it was the main reason they opened the mine.
“Do you think it is Pap this time?” he asked.
“No, it’s from the mine in Gilmore. Besides Dad worked first shift today and is down at the club,” she said in disgust.
It confused the boy because his dad worked on all three shifts and he never knew exactly when he was working or was just out drinking.
His schedule was two weeks on day shift then two weeks on second and then two weeks on third shift. It was hard on him and the family as they all had to adjust their eating, sleeping, and recreational habits. Miners were a hardy lot as they worked hard, played hard, and most drank hard.
She was the forgotten one in all of this living as she bore the brunt of the struggle in making the family work. She was the same as the dynamite used to blast the coal
out from the clutches of the earth. Just like that dynamite,
she was spectacular and able to perform the tasks set before her. The family took it for granted that if
something needed carried out they knew that Mom was clever and gifted enough to get the job done. Whatever
way you said it forward or backward Mom had it covered and was up to the task.
Her husband thought of her as his ‘Il mio piccolo dynamite’ or roughly translated from Italian means ‘my little dynamite’. He knew that Mary would adapt to any circumstance and deal with it just as he knew the dynamite would do the job in the dark recesses of the damp mine.
She wanted to talk but the boy drifted off to sleep.
She started to hum an old French ballad that she learned in the old country.
“Lady Dynamite, let’s dance fast
Let’s dance and sing!
Lady Dynamite, let’s dance fast!
Let’s dance and sing, and dynamite!”