November 1963

mrnoble-with-car-early-60sThe governor signed a pay raise for state employees! That gave us $260 a week.

George Berry and I agreed to wait till afternoon to send contract parties home as they were accomplishing things. Jimmy Thurston was in and said our phone was inconveniently located. That was all Al and I needed! We moved the drafting table, file cabinets and both desks to fix the problem.

A tree was down almost across our road on Sunday. Mrs. Webb had to wait for removal of another tree across Main Road near the Huntington town line. Mother Atwater saved a roto section from the newspaper that included a picture of Marion Shaw and Mildred and Ralph Moore.

When George came into the office on Monday he said, “Don’t get too close to me. I smell like a burnt out stable.” A cigarette he flipped out window came back in, smoldered, and burned holes in back seat, coating the inside of his Dodge with a greasy, smelly film.

I started the laundry at 4:55 a.m. on Tuesday, and started the pump twice to fill the reservoir before leaving for work. The weather was mild so I left water in the pipes. Soon after I went to bed, Penna phoned about getting promoted.

On Thursday, George left at 12:30 for the office dedication ceremony banquet. I went out to telephone Elizabeth; Warren Blanchard saw me in a suit and said he’d vote me the best looking executive. Commissioner Jack Warner was among our first visitors. He asked if I came from Westfield. I told him my wife’s folks lived around corner from him on Hawthorne Avenue.

On Saturday I did laundry and ironing early, then took the baby to Westfield to get snow tires put on, but Frank had ordered the wrong size. We walked to Uncle Ralph’s shop to tell him about our office open house that afternoon. He turned a cuckoo clock ahead to 9:00 so the baby could see the bird come out.

Madeline Apola brought our first open house visitors—Elizabeth, Dotty Barnes and friends.  When Uncle Ralph came Ken Prescott rushed to meet him because Ralph Jr. worked for Ken in 1956. Mrs. Atwater brought my mother to the office. Phil Grout ushered them in and told them his name was originally Groat in German, but in England it became Grote, and in 1620 in America, Grout. Uncle David saw the office dedication on TV.

On Sunday, November 10, Mountain View House in Blandford burned to ground. I cut and pressed my new pants to the proper length and Hester hemmed them.

November 11 holiday. At home, I read Dartmoor to Elizabeth, and had a sandwich with her. At 2:00 p.m., I played piano at the Sarah Gillett Home for Hester for half hour.

When I got to the office at 7:30 Tuesday morning, Al Murphy and Adrian Savage were waiting by back door because someone put a board across inside door handles. I got a metal strip from Joe Yablonski in the garage, slid it between the doors and lifted the board off so we could get in. I got Bob Fay with the radio at 10:00. Phil Grout was anxious to have north bounds of office property set. Thurston told me to submit time sheets for Saturday; he got approval to pay us.

On Wednesday, the picture on the front page of the Morning Union showed piles of detergent suds in water below wheel of the Old Mill in Sudbury.

Elizabeth asked me to fix the top drawer of her dresser, which pulled apart. I used angle irons to hold its corners together. Driving screws into the hard wood was difficult. The baby gets great satisfaction making things with Tinker Toys himself.

Elizabeth said the baby locked the screen door behind them when they went out in the morning.  She bumped her head trying unsuccessfully to get in the bathroom window. Finally, she tore a small hole in the screen to reach the lock. I showed her how to unlock door without damaging screen by using a piece of wire from garage.

On Friday, I paid $2.32 for gas because I had left credit card somewhere. I found it at the King St. Service station in Northampton.

Elizabeth and I argued about ordering Calvert School for the baby; she said she didn’t have time to teach. I told her I would do it. At 3:30, I took the baby to see Aunt Georgia at the shop.  All marvel that he talks so plainly. I got a radiant electric heater at Bryan Hardware for $9.25 and a heat cable at Sears. I mailed the order for Calvert School.

Hester and the baby walked to post office on Sunday. The church music went well. We took Hester home at 5:00 and stopped at Atwater’s on way back. Dad Atwater questioned us about Elizabeth’s cold as if it were a major illness.

Al Murphy, Adrian Savage, Ken Prescott and 12 others were waiting to get into the office when I arrived at 7:40 Monday. We had to wait until O’keefe arrived with his back door key. The survey rooms were locked. Al and I had left our new keys in George’s desk. Prescott had locked his keys in also.

The scraper smoothed our hill on Tuesday. Elizabeth needed a push to get the car started. After supper, I played some Tinker Toys with baby, but was uncomfortable from overeating.

kennedy-headlineThe car wouldn’t start on Wednesday. The mechanic at Sarat’s found a loose bolt under the dash. I had the oil and filter changed. I walked with the baby to the top of the hill to look down on Route 20 and the river. He enjoyed seeing cars and trucks so far away they look like toys. He also noted jets making vapor trails in sky. At 7:30, Mrs. Barnes phoned Elizabeth to come check her broken rib strapping. While she was gone I got the baby washed, powdered, put his night things on and warmed his bottle.

At the Post Office on Thursday, I found an anniversary card from Aunt Georgia and a notice that the Calvert School course had shipped. Elizabeth parked beside the house to open the garage door and the starter switch wouldn’t work again. Coming home through Norwich I came upon three large does in road as I topped the small, blind hill at about 50. The car slid to a stop and the deer leisurely hopped over a fence and ran up the bank.

On Friday November 22, I prayed about starting brook pump and the answer was “yes.” I used to be leery about going 500 feet to the brook at night, but I didn’t mind the dark woods anymore. I found a huge pile of what looked like horse biscuits, then I found tracks. I realized that the lights in woods last night must have been Charlie Peckham looking for his pony.

Later, at work, while talking with Louis Johnson on Roosevelt Avenue in Springfield, Joe Adams gave us word of President Kennedy being shot in Texas.

On Saturday, November 23, I walked out to get a newspaper to read about the Kennedy assassination while the mechanic at Sarat’s put on new starter switch on the car.

In the evening, the baby played with Lincoln logs, unaware of world events. I tried to read the “Hollow Tree” to him, and tried to pick up the living room, but just before bed he tripped over his train of ducks and cut his chin on sharp corner of lamp table.

On Saturday, November 23, I walked out to get a newspaper to read about the Kennedy assassination while the mechanic at Sarat’s put on new starter switch on the car.
In the evening, the baby played with Lincoln logs, unaware of world events. I tried to read the “Hollow Tree” to him, and tried to pick up the living room, but just before bed he tripped over his train of ducks and cut his chin on sharp corner of lamp table.

On Sunday, I told Elizabeth I wanted to change anthem to something appropriate for both Thanksgiving and Kennedy funeral. She suggested “My Country Tis of Thee.” I got out my arrangement, it had a soprano solo to tune of “All through the Night.”

During a talk with Elizabeth’s brother Shipley, we learned that Oswald had been shot. Now he can’t be questioned about who influenced him to assassinate the president. At 8:45 p.m. I got official word from George Berry that state personnel would not work tomorrow. I was on phone till 9:45 to get in touch with everyone.
On Monday, Elizabeth, the baby and I made it to the A & P in Westfield just before the 11:00 a.m. closing for Kennedy funeral. At home I tried to listen to some of funeral while Elizabeth gave the baby a bath.

For the rest of November, we tried to get back to normal, doing laundry, practicing tap dancing, working. The Calvert School package came. Representative McGinn was anxious to have the Southwick Road construction begin. I made a three-legged folding kindergarten table for the baby and varnished it. I returned The Writer magazine to library. But the president’s assassination overshadowed everything.

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