Stories of Life
I've lived through history. Here are some stories and moments that I still keep in my memory...

Born on Cape Cod PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2009 00:47
I was born in Brewster, MA on 5 May 1928. My birth was planned by my mom who was sensing that my dad was being unfaithful to her and that maybe a new baby, #4, would rekindle his interest in family. I tried hard, but my father was not impressed and told my mom “They can’t say that this one looks like me, he’s too damn ugly”. Anyway, my magic didn’t work. Dad didn’t change and nine years later mom and dad divorced.

We lived in a small house in East Brewster that was set back from the highway. At some point three rooms had been added to “Mulberry Cottage” but with my arrival we were again short of bedrooms. I spent my baby years in my sister’s room and she took good care of me. A bit later in my life I was moved into a bulge in the hallway and slept next to my toy chest.

It wasn’t until WWII, when my oldest brother went off to war, that I actually moved into a bedroom. It wasn’t exactly mine, since I shared it with my brother Ted, but it was a big event in my life and we celebrated by painting one entire wall bright red. I stayed there until I went off to college.
Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2009 01:13
Early years PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2009 00:50
Not much happened to me in my early years but I did sense that things were not going well between my mom and dad. My bed was at the top of the stairway so I was a witness to some of them. My father was getting in with a group of Westinghouse salesmen from his region.

I remember Alan Painten, who came sometimes to visit us with his girlfriend, Jane. He was a slob, but I loved Jane. She always left me a quarter under the pillow of my bed. Al always wound up sleeping on my bed, and I woke up in Jane’s bed.

One night my dad came home drunk and mom chased him up the stairs with a flatiron in her hand and drove him into their bedroom. I distinctly remember hopping out of my bed kneeling beside it and praying that they would get a divorce. I didn’t need to wair very long for that wish to be granted.

One Saturday my mom came home from her job at the library and found that dad was not there. The decision was made, and dad would be out of my life. My brother Bob packed us into the car and he drove mom and me to Pittsfield, MA where my grandparents were spending the winter. I was 9 years old and I never got to travel very far, so this was quite an adventure for me. I remember stopping near Springfield for gasoline and that it was very cheap, seven gallons for one dollar!

Grandma and grandpa Brooks were staying with Flo, wonderful old lady, in a beautiful apartment building in the center of the city. Mom and I stayed there for about a week and I shared a big bed with her. Bob returned with the car to Brewster since he was attending teacher’s college in Hyannis.

Grandpa helped find things for me to do. We often walked downtown in the afternoon. The snow was piled high along the sidewalks and I had never seen such cold weather. It was minus 20 most of the time. One day he took me to a large church right at the center of the city for the funeral of someone he knew. I was really impressed. The entire front of the church was filled with flowers and they looked truly beautiful. One day mother took me for a walk to another part of the city where a relative of hers lived and we had a nice visit.

Flo had been a world traveller and among her books was a huge album of Post Cards from all over Europe. I was fascinated with them and spent a lot of time checking them out. I especially liked the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World but the nude dancers of Paris and Vienna didn’t much interest me. Finally things were settled and we headed for home.

This was a great train trip. First a tunnel with huge icicles hanging from the roof, then forests, rivers and fields all in the dead of winter. We chugged all the way to Boston then changed at South Station to the train to Cape Cod. Bob and Ted had been living alone. Dad and Clara had gone to Reno to get a divorce and now we were on our own.
Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2009 01:13
13th birthday PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2009 00:58
My thirteenth birthday was a landmark in my otherwise dull but happy life. My Aunt Minnie who was a mental patient in New Hampshire had corresponded with me often and at my mother’s encouragement I tried to reply to her long letters. After years of letter writing I was rewarded suddenly for my efforts. Aunt Minnie sent me a brand new bicycle for my birthday. The bicycle changed my lifestyle almost immediately.

First I acquired the means to take on a paper route. I pedaled five miles every afternoon to deliver eighteen newspapers and I earned two dollars each week for my efforts. I had never seen such wealth before and I gave one dollar of my earnings to my mom for my room and board. Second I now had a means of getting to the Saturday matinee at the movie theater six miles away in Orleans. There I quickly fell in love with Myrtle Davis and we shared passionate romance in the back row of the movie theatre every week.

The newspaper gave me daily exposure to world events if only from the headlines. I will always remember December 7, 1941 as well as Hitler’s takeover of Paris and our battle for Iwo Jima. I continued my paper route all through WWII and until I went off to college.

When I enterer Orleans High School that Fall, I discovered sadly that I was only Myrtle’s Saturday afternoon date and that her real boyfriend was the captain of the basketball team George Norgeot.
Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2009 01:13
High School PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2009 00:59
I started high school in the Fall of 1941. My brother Ted was three years ahead of me and hardly ever paid any attention to me. He was a senior, I was a freshman. We rode the same schoolbus each day but never sat together. His friends were all seniors, too. I took the college curriculum but never thought much about college.

Mr. Brooks was my Latin teacher, and even though I tried and my mother tried to help me his was the lowest grade I ever got in school. It was not my teachers fault, he did his best, but something never clicked with me. Mr. Brooks was the only man that I had for class that first year. Mr. Oatman was my science teacher in my senior year and he was the worst teacher that I ever had. One year I had a marvelous English teacher, Mrs. Beals. She had written a book and also had been involved in theater and she made English an adventure. She acted “Macbeth” for us in the classroom and we all loved it. Miss Perkins was my typing teacher and she was also special. She ruled her class with a yardstick and made typing a challenge. I ended the semester with a typing skill of 45 words/minutes, even though I had access to a typewriter only at school.

My love life continued but never matched what I shared with Myrtle. A gorgeous natural blonde, Muriel, had fallen for me and we made a nice pair even though we sat in the middle rows of the movie theater. Another classmate, Ann became my best friend and we met sometimes at the dentist after school. She was also Muriel’s best friend and did her best to keep Muriel and me together. George was also involved with these girls so we often traveled in a group. He was the boy that I knew best along with Peter Smith and Lawrence James who were my grade point competitors. I never got involved with athletics because my paper route demanded my afternoons and I could never make practice. Actually I didn’t like sports anyway but I truly enjoyed romance.

Then came December 7, 1941. We were called into a special meeting by our principal, Mr. Leonardo. He spoke to us in the most serious tones and told us that our lives would be changed from that moment on. For us the war would not be distant since our enemies could land at any time on our open shores. All lights would be shaded so the enemy could not spot us easily. There would be no extra school busses for special events since gasoline would be rationed, and we should report any strange events or unusual people to the authorities. We were our nations first line of defense!! It was clear to us that life would never be the same as it was just a few days before.

Last Updated on Monday, 16 March 2009 01:13
Sophomore year PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 April 2009 00:00
With the end of the war I could certainly sense that things were changeing on campus. I pledged Kappa Sigma Fraternity and knew that I would have perfect living quarters for my last three years in college. But when I returned in the Fall for my sophomore year I could never have imagined the drastic change. Veterans came in droves to start earning a deSogree under the G.I. Bill of Rights. Thankfully my living space was secure and I was delighted to have only one roommate. He had served in the Navy. His name was Bob and he was a handsome young dark haired Irishman. We lived in the Kappa Sigma House, the best living quarters on campus. I was one of only three residents who was not a veteran of WWII, We organized quickly and I was elected Secretary. I kept that post for three years and for that endeavor I had second choice for a room in the house. I stayed with Bob as my roommate for three great years.

Classes were much the same although all sections were crowded. I registered as a science major with the intent of going on to medical school. Math was a real challenge for me but my other classes went on very well. I became part of a fraternity clique. We were all single and within the fraternity we arranged a lively social life that everyone seemed to enjoy. Most of it focussed around the usual weekend beer party.  Since most were veterans the usual college rules were relaxed and even the rule about girls not admitted above the second floor was often broken. We had a great piano player, Flip Brenner, who entertained when nothing else was going on. There were two or three alcoholics who sometimes behaved badly, but most of the the time the atmosphere was serious. We all ate together in the first floor dining area and we had an excellent chef.

My social life was quite different from the first year. I signed up to sing in several musicals. I really remember best "The Red Mill". It was a lively show with some good tunes and as a baritone in the chorus I was on stage a lot. The cast was very friendly and eveyone had a great experience. It was as close to 'professional' as I ever got. The director, Doric Alviani, was also super. I was costumed as a dutch boy and I just loved that. The other big production was Handel's "Messiah" and I really enjoyed singing that, too. We travelled with that production, but I never found Anita Mann again!

In fact my sex life was almost nonexistent. My fun times now were mostly dictated by the clique.  We went to movies together, played cards a lot and I became the house Pinochle" Champ. We ate at the same table at dinner and shared both good and bad (exam) times together. I only remember having the same class with my roommate once and that was a Music course that we all shared. I think that we all did well in it and we certainly learned a lot.  It was my first exposure to Opera, and I have enjoyed that for the rest of my life.

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 April 2009 11:56