Monday, May 16, 2011

Recollections, by John and Kay on their 50th Wedding Anniversary - July 1, 2000


(John) We met at a friend’s wedding reception in October 1946. I had just been discharged from the service and Kay was visiting in New Bedford as a houseguest of Irene Sheehan, a friend from Katharine Gibbs School in Boston. When I discovered she lived in Arlington, a suburb of Boston and close to Tufts University, I promised to call her.

When I returned to Tufts in February 1947, my friend Jerry Brault and I arranged a double date with Kay and Irene. Another couple with whom we dated during this time was Rosamond and Frank Viegas. Frank was from New Bedford and we introduced him to Roz, one of Kay’s friends, and ultimately they were married. Our dating was done only on weekends at Harvard or Tufts fraternity parties. We played a lot of bridge and had winter fun tobogganing and in summer, beach parties and picnics. No television interrupted our fun. We had fabulous college dances – mostly formal affairs. Many times we rolled up the rugs and danced the night away with our friends at home. Most of our fun was homemade.

(Kay) When my Mother realized John was taking the last bus back to Tufts, she started setting alarm clocks to remind him to go back to school. Mother’s ally was a friend, Mac McCarthy, who drove the last bus to Tufts at 1:30 a.m. John believed my Mother and Mac had a conspiracy as Mac would often report to her that “I drove that young man back to Tufts again this morning!” Of course, 1:30 a.m. to us was only early evening! It wasn’t long before she solved the problem by welcoming me as a houseguest most weekends. She said he is welcome as a houseguest, but he can’t move in!

Since John attended summer school every year, he was always nearby. I was working, and we would often meet at the Hotel Touraine in Boston on Friday evenings before taking the train to New Bedford and John’s home for the weekend. John did not have an automobile at college, so we traveled on the subway, buses and trains.

Wedding and Honeymoon

There was lots of strife in the world at the time of our wedding in 1950. World War II had ended just five years earlier and two weeks before our marriage the North Koreans invaded South Korea. Harry Truman was President, and Winston Churchill was warning of a third world war. Of all the world events occurring on July 1, 1950, to us, none was more important than our wedding.

I remember the excitement that morning when the tent was being set up. Sarah, my sister Mary’s 3 year old, was missing and finally turned up as a lump under the canvas tent being raised. It was a warm and humid day in the nineties, but we didn’t notice. The wedding and reception went smoothly until it was time to leave for our honeymoon.

My 20-year old brother, Peter, John’s best man, spent the day trying to sabotage our well-planned departure by attaching a frying pan to our car bumper and, worst of all, putting a fish on the motor, which couldn’t be removed because the hood was tied down with a turkey head attached to the hood ornament. We rushed to the nearest gasoline station, but despite a thorough spraying of the vehicle with Listerine antiseptic, the car smelled badly. Many years later, John saw the car for sale in a used car lot and it still smelled.

We drove to the Taunton Inn for our first night and the next day took the steamer to Nantucket Island. John got a terrible sunburn on the ship, but we didn’t let it spoil a great week of beaching and biking on the island.

We stayed at the Gull Island Inn, Built in 1765, which has since been turned into a private residence. It is of interest to note that we were on the American Plan for $18 per day. The total bill for the week was $112.44 and included a State Tax of $1.44.

We returned to our first apartment on Albermarle Street in Arlington, not too far from the family home on Jason Street. We earned $100 a week, with each of us contributing $50. John was working as Assistant to the Director of Admissions at Tufts, and Kay was Secretary to the Director of the M.I.T.’s Metallurgical Project (part of the Manhattan Project) conducted at Watertown Arsenal for Security Reasons.

Family and the Working Years

We started our family with Jane’s birth in 1951, which terminated my M.I.T. career, and started my new one at home. Incidentally, our first and subsequent babies each cost $150 for all the doctor’s fees and at the time we could buy a week’s groceries for $12. Gasoline was about 18-20 cents per gallon. When we stopped smoking in 1960, cigarettes were 28 cents a package. Our first new Chevrolet automobile in 1952 cost less than $1500.

The next three years were spent in New Bedford where John worked in his Father’s machine company. John returned to Tufts in 1954 when the former Director of Admissions became President. In his new role as Director of Development, he was responsible for the University’s annual fund programs.

In 1955, we purchased our first home in Canton, Massachusetts, where our daughter, Priscilla, was born in 1958 and our son, John, in 1959. We moved to Wellesley in 1961 when John became Vice President for Development at Pine Manor, a college that was building a new campus in Chestnut Hill.

Susan was born while we were living in Wellesley in 1964, and a year later we moved to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania where John was Vice President for Development at Wilson College. An invitation to become President of the Foundation for Independent Colleges, a statewide group of 53 Pennsylvania Colleges, brought us to our present home in Camp Hill in 1969.

With the advent of the children leaving home for college, Kay returned to work at a local gift shop and cooking school, and eventually became a sales representative for women’s apparel, which she enjoyed for approximately ten years.

Travel Experiences

John’s work in the field of higher education provided an enjoyable balance between business travel and being in the local area most of the time, where he could be a participant in his children’s activities. Attendance at numerous meetings throughout the year gave us an opportunity to see most of America as we crossed the nation several times from North to South and East to West.

Not until a few years before retirement did we embark on foreign travel, with the emphasis on visiting as much of Europe as possible – Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland and Italy. We look forward to more foreign travel in the years ahead.

We are blessed with a wonderful family and love and admire them and their partners in marriage. They have given us 11 perfect grandchildren. They are our pride and joy and have given us much of which is to be proud. We have many good friends and some of them share our enthusiasm for bicycling and traveling. For 15 years we have enjoyed great adventures in bicycling and traveling from the Atlantic shores of Cape Cod to the Pacific Shores of Seattle, and beyond to England, France, and Italy. It has been a wonderful fifty years and we are looking forward to many more!

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