December 1963 by Clifton (Jerry) Noble Sr.

On the first Sunday in December 1963, Mrs. Webb’s solo to the tune of “Liebestraum” went well, but John Camp and I made a mess of the anthem’s ending. When we were out of sight of congregation, I got laughing about it. Lillian Cowles and Grace Church asked me to rehearse the carolers because Marian Cushman (who was supposed to ask me) went on a train to Florida to help her mother. My mother gave young Jerry two Calvert kindergarten lessons at his desk in the living room.

I read in the newspaper Monday that cartoonist Jimmy Hatlo, who created the comic strip They’ll Do It Every Time, had died on December 1.

I was at the laundry by 5:05 a.m. on Tuesday. The roads were slippery and two cars got stuck on Norwich Hill. I took Bob Fay to visit contract parties. I got in some tap dance practice.

The union complained to Chief Engineer Mistretta about our refusing a Skeleton Force on surveys. Al Murphy went to Boston as delegate to the State Engineers.

At home, I told Elizabeth to be persistent and to phrase requests variously when trying to get Jerry to obey. It helped. She gave him a ride on the sled to the brook and back. I gave him his first Calvert Christmas lesson; we made a chain of red and green construction paper for every day until Christmas.

My car got stuck in soft ground on Mount Tom on Friday. I had to have bulldozer lift the Rambler out and make a hard place to turn around. Because of the freezing rain, I came home through Westfield, where the state highways were sanded. I helped Jerry draw a Christmas tree with crayons for his lesson, and we sang “Jingle Bells” together.

Saturday, December 7 was busy with work, traveling, and meeting contract parties, but my extra seven hours would bring $30 in overtime pay. I went to Russell for gas, then headed home, where I found Elizabeth had made a snowman for Jerry. I completed the state diary.

On Sunday, Mrs. Webb sang her solo, “He That Keepeth Israel,” very well. For dinner, Elizabeth made pork chops, potato, and dressing, with a hot dog for me.

Norwich Hill was icy on Monday. When I got home, I gave Jerry his kindergarten lesson with modeling clay.
Elizabeth had Jean Watson do the wash on Wednesday because snow was forecast for Thursday.

Friday the thirteenth was a long day. Ken Prescott kept George Berry talking until 5:15 p.m. I left the S237 at King Street Service for lubrication and walked to the A&P for groceries. I went home over slippery Norwich Hill; I didn’t arrive until 7:22 p.m.

After early morning laundry on Saturday, I worked on the state car for a half hour to get it started. I thought I might put in four hours and go home, but Fox found an error of .11 in the Bridge Street baseline, so I checked it with him. When I got home a little after 3:00, V.G. Penna phoned to say his last pay check added up to only grade one money again.

On Sunday, December 15, I noticed the laundromat is much cleaner. The church music went well and I was home by 12:40. Elizabeth and Hester had steaks. I had potato, cauliflower, a hot dog, cashew nuts, chocolate, and milk. After dinner, I started the schoolhouse stove and finished our Christmas cards.  Wesley Monat phoned to say he couldn’t get an organist for the Christmas Eve service. I had asked about a service a week ago and was told there wouldn’t be one.

Ralph Goodwin and Frank Schoenrock arrived Tuesday morning in a state truck and had to tow the S237 to start it. I picked up a battery and new plugs at the Northampton storehouse and got the car into C&I at 11:00. Al Murphy came to get me, but a quarter mile south of the state police barracks, his S220 ran out of gas. I started to run to a phone booth, but Mickey Turner met me and took me to office. I got a can of gas and George took me to rescue Al, then brought me to C&I.  Elizabeth had a delicious supper ready when I got home.

There was light snow all day Wednesday. I saw all the contract parties and sent three home with a half day. At office, George got hot chocolate to warm me up. He suggested I leave early. Packed snow made roads slippery. Two deer crossed the road at the top of Westhampton Hill. Jerry wanted his kindergarten lesson, so we made a chart of primary colors and three little color wheels for blending primaries.
Thursday morning I swept my walks and warmed the wellhouse. I made a Tinker Toy top so Jerry could spin color circles. Elizabeth, Jerry, and I said “The Lord’s Prayer” together.

Friday at noon, I delivered checks to Bryda’s party in Westfield and put them on overtime for Saturday. I made sure two Pharmer parties would work for Bill Robinson, then went to the post office and bank, and paid our oil bill at Kneil’s. Mr. Barnes must have plowed snow away from our driveway on Wednesday.
Uncle Ralph brought Christmas cookies from Aunt Georgia on Saturday. After my Bible reading, I read from Diabetes as a Way of Life by T.S. Donoski, M.D.

Sunday’s church anthems went fairly well. Warren Bodendorf and brother Eric brought a stereo recorder. We recorded Mrs. Webb singing “The Song and the Star.”

On December 23, I paid $5 for a dozen roses for Elizabeth’s mother.

On Christmas Eve, I saw all the contract parties except Moran’s. Mabel phoned Elizabeth to say our Christmas package arrived. She also told her that Betty Warren’s 21-year-old son committed suicide the day before. At the office, I told George about Hester’s diabetes. He said his wife took Orinaze tablets instead of insulin. At church, Minister Harry King had good sermonette and set a fast pace; we were done by 11:30 and home by 12:15.

I did a Tes-Tape test in the bathroom on Christmas; I did not have diabetes. Jerry opened his presents by 7:30, and at 9:00 a.m. he had a long telephone conversation with Grandmother Atwater.
The next day, I went to the Sarah Gillett Home to leave a check and see Hester. A Tes-Tape showed her sugar levels improved from last night.

Saturday morning, I did laundry and ironed a shirt and pants. Uncle Ralph visited, then I did accounts while Jerry napped. Financially, we were back to where we were when we bought the new Ford in July.
After dinner on Sunday, I walked to the town line and back. On Monday, I took Bob Fay around to show him where contract parties are working.

Tuesday, the pipes were frozen at the Russell laundry, then my car wouldn’t start. I decided to ask the attendant at the Esso station for a push and said a prayer. I was led to jiggle the car key vigorously. The engine started!

At the office, Frank Brown wished us all Happy New Year.

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