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Dad - In His Words

Letters From Dad
Introduction
East Fairfax Rd.
Elementary School
Roxboro Jr. High
Early Friendships
Early Vacations
High School
Amherst 1st Year
Drafted
Jobs '40--'43
In the Navy
USS Drew APA 162
Amherst '46-'49
Family
Tom's Biography
 
Remembering
Fran Kimball
Remembering
Hiram Hardesty

Family

When I returned from the Navy I had no romantic relationships. That summer at the Canterbury Club Pool I met Joan King who was a Clevelander, graduated of Shaker Heights high School, and presently attending Wells College. WE started dating and when we returned to our respective colleges visited each other from time to time and as far as I was concerned the romance was rather serious. Not so for Joan who in December announced that she was going back to her old boyfriend and I was out.

Somewhat befuddled and hurt I called your mother, Martha Laidley, who at the time was Joan’s roommate at Wells, to see if she could spread some light on the matter.

We started dating and during the next spring term I visited Wells to see her and not Joan.

We dated on a regular basis and in our junior year 1948 we became engaged and married on June 24, 1950 a year after we were out of college.





We were married at Christ Episcopal Church in Shaker Heights and our wedding was unique in that we had two ministers presiding. Dr Max Dowell the pastor of Christ Church and Dr Ferdinand Blanchard the minister from the congregation church my folks and I had gone to for years. In fact Dr Blanchard married my mother and father. It was a beautiful wedding although so hot our red ties were bleeding down the front of our dress shirts soon after the ceremony began.

 

We went to the Hershey Hotel in Pa. and then to Shawnee on the Delaware for our honeymoon. It was at Shawnee that we had the opportunity to meet Fred Waring and his Orchestra, one of the most popular orchestras of the time.

(Footnote:  In 1947, Fred Waring began holding summer choral workshops at his Pennsylvania headquarters in Shawnee-on-the Delaware. Mom and Dad arrived in June of 1950 at the height of his summer choral workshops.  As a side note, Waring, who died in 1984, is buried in Shawnee-on-the-Delaware.)

We returned home to Ingleside Road in Shaker Heights to the second floor of a two family house owned by Mr. & Mrs. Fonte where we spent the first two years of our marriage. Mother was working at Shaker Savings and I was at Fulton & Goss and neither were making any money but we managed to pay the rent.

It was on Ingleside that Tom Jr. was born and in that same year, 1952, Dad gave us the lot at Lake Lucerne and we started to build moving in May 1953. All of you kids, except Tom, were born in the Lucerne house except for Bob who was born soon after Mother found the wonderful house on Chagrin Road in 1963.

Lake Lucerne was wonderful place to bring up children. My friends in town couldn’t understand why I wanted to go so far out to live, it took me about and hour and fifteen minutes to get to and from work since there were no freeways and the only way downtown was through Shaker Heights and the city traffic. However once you arrived home it was fantastic especially in the summer. The winters were rather difficult getting to and from work but the summers were glorious. We of course had the Lake where we all went each day and the neighbors were especially friendly and we had lots of parties and get-togethers.

Our best friends were the Behrens who lived next door. Don sold towels for the Cannon Co. and we had much in common. We played bridge once or twice a week, taking turns leaving our kids at home in bed and going to check on them every half hour or so. Don was very successful as a salesman and got transferred to Minneapolis in the early 60s which was a great loss to us.

I was president of the Lake Lucerne Club Company in 1960 and 1961. During that time we paved the roads and put fences up throughout the development. After we put the road in we were very popular until the winter came and the roads all started to cave in and crack because of springs under the road. Fortunately one of our board members had negotiated the deal with paving company receiving a guarantee that if the roads collapsed in any way during the first year the company would repair them. They were unhappy but did take care to see that the same thing did not happen again. Social life at the Lake revolved around the beach where everyone gathered on the weekend, the fourth of July picnic and clean up day where everyone pitched in to make repairs and in the afternoon gathered for a community picnic.

It was a grand thirteen years but in 1963 we decided that with five children and a sixth on the way it was too small. It was then that Mother found the house on Chagrin Road called Sugar Bush farm with fourteen acres and lots of room. Soon after we moved in we became the proud owners of three ponies.

Mother and I were among the founders of the Valley Presbyterian Church and our first minister, Brad Pusey, was leaving and wanted to get rid of his three ponies. We had lots of room; the kids were excited about having them and promised to take care of them by cleaning stalls feeding and watering them, so we agreed to take them. We fashioned a corral with electrified wire etc and the ponies arrived. Actually there were only two when we got them, Glad Tidings and Misty, but soon afterwards Misty gave birth to foal which we named Jack in the Pulpit.

 

(As dad told me in Canada in August of 2005, the rest of the story is up to 'you kids to finish'...

As we were leaving the cottage - the last time he was there - he stood for a long time in the parking lot looking out over Ahmic.  He smiled, shook his head, and said "Wonderful View..."  As he was walking back to the car, he said to me, 'When I die, I want to be buried down there by the dock so I can see that view forever...")

Tom Jr...

...and as we were driving away, he looked out the window towards the lake and said, "When we were kids, we'd take big basket and pick raspberries all along here... we'd pick a huge basketful of raspberries... those were great days... all those raspberries... "