Archives For David John Kelley

photo 1 photo 2-1

David Kelley handed this birthday card to my wife on her twelfth birthday. He had recently returned home from a long stay at the hospital and upon arriving penned the following letter to Kathy and their mother full of hope that he was getting better:

. . . Now you all know that for the past few weeks I have been in the hospital with a very bad germ. Recently I came home to take care of myself. And since I have to take care of myself what we need is cooperation.

Now Kathy, your job will be to help Mom as much as possible. Such as keeping your room clean, cleaning up the bathroom occasionally and helping Mom with the dishes at night. I say this because it takes a lot less time to do the dishes if two does it than one. You probably think that’s a lot for you and maybe it is but if you don’t help Mom she will get all tired and worn out. Then she won’t do the therapy right and I won’t get the frogs up which means I will get an infection. Also she might forget an important dose of medicine and then there won’t be anything to fight back against the germs inside me and I’ll get sick and have to go in the hospital and Granny will have to come for another month and you’ll go back to living the way you have for the past month. Now which would you rather do? Help Mom a little each day or have Gran come down for another month while I’m in the hospital. I think you’ll agree you’ll be much better off with helping Mom.

Now Mom, your job is to keep me well. Make sure I get my medicine on time and therapy and masks done when they’re supposed to be done.

And last of all my job is to keep rested and not over do it and before you know it I’ll be good as new and I can start helping. . .

There was no happy ending to this story because the medicines and therapy available then were not very effective. Kathy helped her mom throughout her brother’s illness and hadn’t really needed any encouragement to do so from David. She did it because she loved him and that devotion and affection helped mold her into the caring and faith-filled person she is today.

As of this morning I will have presented my wife with thirty-one birthday cards, none as special as the one she received in 1972 from a brother who loved her dearly.

photo 3

Remember David Kelley

May 21, 2014 — 4 Comments


David Kelley was born on March 5, 1962 and died in 1973 from Cystic Fibrosis. I married his older sister thirteen years after that. David loved the Peanuts characters and after watching one of the many cartoon specials he would write in his own words the story as he remembered it. Here is my favorite:

Your In Love Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown is in love with a little red-headed girl on a day before the last day of school. When Charlie Brown got to school he decided to write a note to the little red-headed girl and give it to her sometime in the day.

Just then his teacher called on him to recite. He had to take a stack of paper to the front of the class and in his nervousness dropped them all. After considerable fumbling he began to read his report. “Dear little red-haired girl. How I have longed to meet you.” The class roared with laughter. Poor Charlie Brown, he had read the wrong things.

During the lunch hour Charlie felt worse. He just sat alone on the bench. He longed to go over and ask the little red-haired girl to eat lunch with him but that’s kind of a difficult thing to do when you’re afraid of being laughed at like Charlie Brown here.

When Charlie Brown realized the spot he was in he had to do something fast or wait for three months til school started again. At one time in the afternoon Charlie went over to the pencil sharpener where he thought he might talk to her but he got nervous and ended up sharpening his ballpoint pen by mistake.

That night Charlie knew what he had to do. Tomorrow was the last day of school and there would be only one half session. Therefore he would have to meet the little red-haired girl at the bus stop, so just to make sure he got there on time he set the alarm for four o’clock. When the alarm went off at four Charlie Brown woke up. His eyes were barely open when he went outside. When Charlie got to the bus stop it wasn’t long before he was asleep. When the bus finally came Charlie Brown was still asleep. The roar of the bus pulling away awoke Charlie.

He ran after it but it was no use. This meant Charlie wasn’t going to be early he was going to be late. Charlie climbed over the fence and opened the door. He crawled along the floor and was just beside his desk when the teacher saw him. Now he had to explain why he was late and do a math problem on the board besides. It looked like Charlie Brown was trying to solve all the math problems in the world at one time. Then his teacher asked him if he knew what he was doing. “No Ma’am, I don’t have the slightest idea.” For the second time in two days everyone in the class laughed at Charlie Brown.

Soon the morning would be over and school would be out and the little red-haired girl would be gone. Then Charlie thought why couldn’t I meet her at the bus stop. The bell rang and Charlie led all the children out of school. Charlie stopped and looked for his girl. Kids swarmed by. Some more kids ran by. Charlie looked in all directions but the kids were too much for him. Before he knew what had happened the bus pulled away. Charlie said why couldn’t something go right? Why does everything have to go wrong? Wait! What’s this? Somebody tucked a piece of paper into Charlie’s hand. It read:

I like you Charlie Brown
Little Red-Haired Girl

The End.

I don’t know if David knew he was going to die when he wrote this. He did know he was very sick but still tried to live his life to the fullest. He learned everything he would ever learn about love from Charles Schulz and I don’t believe he could have had a finer teacher. And while he never got to meet his little red-haired girl, he died knowing what love is and perhaps that was enough.

Rest in peace brother.

David John Kelley
March 5, 1962 to April 12, 1973