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Día de los Angelitos – Kathryn Barbara Kelly

The Day of the Dead is a misnomer. It doesn’t last just a day, but three. November 2 is the main celebration, but the day before is known as Children’s Day or Day of the Little Angels (Día de los Angelitos).

Día de los Angelitos happens the day before the big events of November 2 because it’s said the spirits of the children are so eager to come back to the land of the living, that they run ahead of the adults, who arrive a night later.

– – – – Remembering Children on the Day of the Dead


On October 31, 1951 Stephanie and Walt Kelly were blessed with the birth of Kathryn Barbara. Sadly the infant died a short time before her first birthday. Walt Kelly noted this in his Pogo comic strip of December 8, 1952.

Porky recalled that meeting later that same month on Christmas Day.


Uncle Pogo’s So-So Stories, the first Pogo book of 1953, was dedicated to Stephanie.

This would be repeated 18 years later in the Pogo daily strip of May 10, 1971
with the passing of the Mother of Kathryn Barbara late in the previous year:


Pogo’s 1953 Easter page, always for the children, was particularly touching.


Then began a multi-year sequence of Walt remembering his lost daughter on her birthday.

October 31, 1953:


Barbara Kathryn’s name would appear in the 1954 book The Pogo Stepmother Goose:


October 30, 1954 (the 31st was a Sunday):

Again eight days later, on November 7, with the boat:


October 31, 1955:


October 31, 1956:


And finally October 31, 1957:


The names of all Walt’s children, at one time or another, would appear on the flat boat
but for the years following Kathryn Barbara’s death Walt paid tribute to his lost child.

So on this Day of the Little Angels let’s follow the advice of Easter Bunny.


Pogo characters © OGPI;   to Fantagraphics Complete Pogo for most of the above comic strips.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Tegenkamp
@ 1:12 pm

Thank you for shining a spotlight on this painful part of Kelly’s life. What a poignant read.

#2 Robert Helfer
@ 4:32 pm

Thank you for posting this. I loved Walt Kelly’s cartoons all though my childhood and young-adulthood, but there was much that I missed about his stories. This gives even more depth to my understanding of a deep man.

#3 Brian Fies
@ 5:45 pm

A terrific remembrance and essay, DD. Many thanks for pulling it all together.

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