In the fall of 1999, we were on one of
our enjoyable non itinerary trips along the Gulf
Coast of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
We were discussing the beauty of what we were seeing
and the many places and things that we have seen in our
50 years of knowing each other.
The discussion led to a question of how much we had
really communicated to our children about those experiences.
So, we committed to put into writing as much as we
could ,or at least as much as we could remember, and
to pass it along to our children at our 50th Wedding
Anniversary in the year 2000.
Herb and Edna Stott
The Stott’s 50 Year Story
B4 IB #1 & IB # 22 & After
It all started in January, 1950, resulting from a blind date arrangement made by Ernestine Bradford for Herb and Edna. Ernestine worked in the office of J. B. Hunt & Sons with Edna. Ernestine was a former high school classmate of Herb. They had dated each other on several occasions in high school.
Mr. George Bunker, Accounting Manager of J. B. Hunt, gave each girl in the office two tickets to a basketball game between North Carolina State and Wake Forest College at Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of N.C. State in Raleigh. Herb was attending NCS at that time. The game was to be on February 2, 1950.
On the night of the game, Herb met Edna in front of the Coliseum with her friends. Ernestine had told Herb that Edna had a bad cold. Herb brought along an envelope of little red pills that were passed out to students by the NCS infirmary for Edna to take for her cold. She never did take the pills for some reason. She did not know what the pills might contain.
[As this was being proof read on 1/4/00, Edna went to one of her archive boxes. She found a 2 ½” x 4” small manila envelope which contained the actual 2 small red coated pills from February 2, 1950, which she had never taken because she did not know what the pills might contained. She also found half of a Reynolds Coliseum admittance ticket stub for the basketball game.]
After the game, they went to Roy’s Drive-In for the typical hamburger and coke in her brand new 1950 Buick. Herb thought that he had found a rich girl but it turned out that the only riches that Edna had was a monthly payment note to pay off for the car sometime in the distant future.
That was the first day and was also the day observed as Ground
We continue to observe that day every year.
The next date was a cook-out with a group of people at Umpstead Crabtree Park for hamburgers and marsh mallows.
Herb enjoyed going out with Edna because it seemed to work out to be a “Dutch” outing or no cost to Herb. He was going to school and not working and had no money. Edna had a paycheck and a new car.
That spring, Herb went to work for Dillion Supply Company which was just up the street from J. B. Hunt and Sons. It was only a natural thing that Herb rode to work with Edna and along the way, they would stop off for breakfast at the ----?---- Diner.
That summer Herb, Edna and Herb’s Mom and Dad drove up to Long Island to visit a cousin Jesse Gray and Frank Wuerfel and to pick up Aunt Mavis who was visiting with her daughter’s family. We visited New York City and Washington, DC. The Capital Building in DC allowed high school students in for free. Edna was a long time period removed (several years) from high school but she was not required to pay any admission. She looked much younger than her real age. [Edna continues to be Herb’s Senior Citizen Teenage wife.]
That summer involved meeting each other’s families and friends and pretty frequent dating. It got to the point that the only logical thing to do was get married.
[As this was being proof read on 1/4/00, Edna pulled from her archive box a receipt for $142.00 for the purchase of an expensive set of wedding rings.]
We were married on September 23, 1950, at Hillyer Memorial Christian Church in a wonderful ceremony with a crowd of family and friends in attendance. Our honeymoon was at Fontana Lake in the mountains of North Carolina.
We setup housekeeping (IB#1) in a house on Poole Road in Raleigh. Herb’s Dad and Mom had just bought a farm to retire to when they were to move up from Fayetteville later that year.
Cooking was a real learning experience. The absolute biggest challenge was to learn how to make thickened gravy after frying a chicken. We threw out several bunches of lumpy ugly mush before we learned to add water. Fried chicken with mashed potatoes which has to be covered with butter, for lack of gravy, is not bad though.
Edna went to her first Stott Family Christmas dinner with some 40-45 family attendees. Herb convinced Edna that her priviledge and duty the next year was to have the dinner at her house with all the 40-45 Stotts there.
As we approached the end of the year, we found an apartment just across from N. C. State College which we started refurbishing before moving in. We never finished the refurbishing or moving into that apartment because of the following events.
Herb’s Mom knew someone on the Selective Service Draft Board in Cumberland County who told her that Herb was going to receive a draft notice between Christmas and New Years of 1950.
That was during the Korean War days during which time there was heavy ground fighting in the mountains of North Korea. Herb had no desire to participate in that winter time war. The Coast Guard nor the Navy would take a married man. So the U. S. Air Force was the final choice.
Herb joined the Air Force and got on board, with a full load of Air Force
enlistees, into a DC-6 (or earlier version) airplane at Raleigh-Durham Airport
about December 28, 1950, heading for Lackland Air Force base in Texas. After
a hair styling experience, necessary shots, issuance of all the clothing, and
such stuff, he was assigned into a 40 man tent with a canvas cot for a bed as
the start of “basic” training.
Lackland Air Force base had become a sea of tents which severely over-crowded the normalcy intent. Shortly, a bunch of men including Herb were transferred to Wichita Falls Air Force Base in the panhandle of Texas for basic training. At least there was a wooden barracks. In that part of the USA, we could get a rain storm and a dust storm simultaneously.
Early in 1951, Herb’s Dad and Mom moved into their new place on Poole Road where Herb and Edna had lived for a couple of months after their marriage.
After several weeks, basic training was nearing completion and Herb had been selected to go to a technical training school in Cheyenne, WY. That was the result of an Air Force selection process including a cadre of test and finally a personal interview with a 2nd Lt. The Lt. asked a bunch of questions including one key inquiry about the degree that Herb was seeking at N. C. State.
When Herb told him that his field of study was Mechanical Engineering, one could see the Lt.’s brain start processing the information-—mechanical engineering--- mechanical engineering---- mechanical---- mechanical----mechanic---- mechanic---- mechanic---what kind of mechanic----he drives a car---why not an auto mechanic? It was only logic at its very best.
The nearest school was in Cheyenne, WY, so Herb was selected to go there.
Very shortly thereafter, word came that Herb’s Dad had had a heart attack. The Red Cross made arrangements for an emergency leave and for transportation back to NC via air. The flight had to make a stop in Nashville, TN. Upon arrival, it was snowing very heavily and there was even heavy thunder and lightening after which the airport was closed. Herb was transported to a hotel in town for the night. The storm continued.
Edna wired some money that she had found from somewhere to him. The next morning, arrangements were made for Herb to catch a train from Nashville to Raleigh.
At the train station, the seam in the back of Herb’s new military uniform pants split. Fortunately, there was a tailor located in the train station who repaired the seam. The train ride was uneventful.
Herb’s Dad recovered and it was time for Herb to get back to the Air Force in Texas. Herb and Edna decided that she would start traveling with him right at this point in time in early 1951.
The Buick was loaded up with hopefully everything that would be needed wherever we went and the trip to Texas was started. That was well before 4-lane roads. Along the way, they spent a night in Meridian, MS, where Herb had an Uncle Vernon Hinton. We had breakfast with him the next morning in Jackson where he was on assignment. Who could have known that we would return to live in that town some 24 years later.
On the way through eastern Texas, we ran through some 12” of snow. Miserable driving without snow tires. We bought some tire chains in order to make it.
When we arrived in Wichita Falls, TX, we knew nothing about the town or where to stay. Herb was kinda still in basic training and therefore had to stay on base.
While looking for a room in town, we noticed a deep long house with a long hall running down the center with a sign on the front saying “Rooms For Rent”. Herb went to the door, knocked, told the lady that answered the door about the desire for a room and she asked if he was in the Air Force and he said yes. She immediately advised Herb that the facility was “off limits” to military personnel. Herb concluded that it was a house of ill repute. We went to the edge of town and found a small motel with quite small rooms but adequate for Edna’s hopeful short term needs (IB#2). She shortly found a less expensive room (IB#3) with an elderly couple.
Within a few days, which included guard duty and KP duty, Herb was advised that his next duty station would be a training school in Chicago. Herb had to go to Chicago by train and the only way for Edna to get there was to drive by herself the many miles to Chicago by car by herself.
We knew nothing about Chicago. We went to a hotel in Wichita Falls to see if they had a directory of hotels in Chicago so that we might pick a meeting place. We found one in an old directory. It was a hotel that was near downtown Chicago at which we could meet.
So Herb left by train and Edna left by car hoping that we could get together later in the huge unknown City of Chicago.
Herb’s trip to Chicago was uneventful. The school was a civilian school at about 6000 North in Chicago which had been contracted with by the Air Force for instruction in automotive mechanics. Our dormitory was about 4 blocks away from the school in a commercial hotel converted to military barracks. They also supplied our meals which were lousy. Our transportation between the hotel and the school was by marching feet regardless of the weather. Each hotel room had bunk beds for a total of 4 airmen per room.
Edna made the trip from Texas to Chicago through some snow in which she had never driven before. She also had never driven in large city traffic.
When she arrived in downtown Chicago she found a policeman in the middle of a street under an overhead “L” (elevated) train track with whom she stopped to ask directions to the hotel that we had chosen as a meeting place. She made it to the hotel, checked in and called me. Herb made his way to her hotel to meet her and since she had already paid for the night, we stayed there that night. IT WAS A REAL OLD DUMP.
The next morning we got into the Buick and drove to north Chicago and to my civilian hotel Air Force dormitory. Herb had made prior arrangements for Edna to have a room (IB#4) until we could find another room. We unloaded enough stuff from the Buick to have a hot plate on which we later fried chicken one night. We also fried (burnt) the top of the table on which we had set the hot plate without any protection on top of the table. The chicken was considerably better that the “yankee” food that we could get/afford in local eateries.
We found a room (IB#5) about half way between the original hotel and the school. The room had a Murphy bed that folded up and hinged around into storage in a closet. We were on the 2nd or 3rd floor adjacent to a very active commuter train track. Herb got permission to live “off base” with Edna but had to maintain a bed and stand inspection as required in the civilian hotel barracks.
Edna located a Personnel Agency who found a job for her at a Hardware Supply House in their accounting department.
The blue Air Force uniform was a new design for the US Military and Chicago people reacted very favorably. Initially, commuter train and bus rides were provided free to uniformed airmen.
The North Shore Baptist Church provided transportation to their church on Sundays and members carried us out to lunch. The original Mr. Kraft of Kraft Food was a generous prominent member of the church. They had a wonderful music program.
We discovered the huge Museum of Science and Industry south of downtown Chicago and spent several free weekend trips there. The Zoo was also wonderful. We found an automobile racetrack in southwest Chicago for several weekends. The Lake Shore Drive to the north offered some very scenic views. We found a theater in downtown Chicago that had appearances by famous Hollywood and Broadway entertainers. Shopping was fabulous but we were only shoppers, not buyers. We did splurge one night and went to see our first Broadway Play—South Pacific. That was a wonderful experience.
Chicago was a wonderful time for us.
Herb’s school was over, Edna resigned her job and we packed up for our drive to Herb’s new duty assignment at Donaldson Air Force Base in Greenville, SC. Naturally we stopped by Raleigh and Sanford before we went on to SC. That was in the spring of 1951.
In Greenville, we found a small but adequate apartment in town (IB#6). Edna got an accounting job at Western Auto.
The Air Force unit that Herb reported to was a just activated National Guard unit from Georgia. There were brothers, cousins, etc. in the unit. Herb was among the first of several dozen regular Air Force people to be assigned. It was the 3rd Communication Squadron which used Teletypes, Cryptograph, Radio and Microwave technology.
One of the regular Air Force men was Paul Perry who was from Sanford. Edna had gone to school with him in Sanford.
The first sergeant was Master Sgt. Johnson. One morning, early in assignment to this new unit, Herb overslept and was late getting to the base. On the way there, Herb fabricated a lie that a next door neighbor’s wife had gone into labor and Herb was the only one who could take her to the hospital and had to stay around until everything was okay. To this day, there is some question as to whether Master Sgt. Johnson really believed the story or not. He was no dummy.
Greenville was pretty uneventful. We did go to Table Rock Lake one Sunday and Herb got a very severe sunburn on the shoulders to the point of water blisters the size of a half dollar coin on top of the shoulders over which had to be worn military fatigue coveralls.
We traveled frequently on weekends to Raleigh and Sanford. It was in Greenville that Herb and Edna started a strange but long lasting practice in their marriage. On Edna’s birthday, she was given a battery for the Buick. Transportation was an important necessary allocation for the shallow money supply.
The summer of 1951, the unit was assigned to go on field maneuvers at Camp McCall, NC, south of Aberdeen and Sanford.
Edna stayed in Greenville at her work while Herb was on maneuvers.
That was in the real outdoors with tents to sleep in. The field kitchen was also in a tent. Eating plates were personal metal mess kits that were washed by your self in boiling soapy water and boiling clear water in galvanized garbage cans after each meal. There were no sit down and eat at tables. Just find a tree to sit down and lean against. The food was wonderful.
Sanford was only 30-50 miles away. One weekend, Herb signed out a Jeep and drove to Sanford to meet Edna and spent the weekend. The Jeep was parked in the garage at Edna’s house.
During the stay at Camp McCall, Herb developed a kidney infection and was flown back to Greenville on a DC-3 military plane wearing his first and only time ever issued parachute. After about 7-10 days in the base hospital, he returned by ground transportation to Camp McCall.
The maneuvers lasted 2-3 months and culminated with an invasion of we ground
troops by some 2-3000 paratroopers from Fort Bragg dropping out of the sky with
all their equipment. I saw a man come out of a plane and his chute did not open
even though he could be seen fighting to get the chute opened all the way to
the ground at which point a large plume of dust rose. I also saw a Jeep whose
chute did not open and the only useable part that I could find at the point of
contact with the earth was the radiator cap in the middle of a shallow pile of
The maneuvers turned out to be a training exercise in preparation for overseas duty. Our duty station was changed to Langley Air Force Base north of Newport News in VA as the staging place for overseas. We were assigned to the 49th Bomber Wing and our unit became the 103rd Communication Squadron. Edna quit her job in Greenville and moved back to Raleigh and lived with Herb’s Mom and Dad. She went back temporarily to work at J. B. Hunt & Sons. We, for some reason, traded the 1950 Buick for a 1952 Buick. We had already decided that Edna would follow Herb overseas if the duty assignment allowed it. There were rumors that we were going to Spain.
Herb and Paul Perry alternated cars on weekend trips home from VA. Paul’s father was in the automobile tire business including tire recapping. Herb learned later that Paul’s 1948 Chevrolet which had some 80,000 miles on the odometer had its original tires which had been recapped a couple of times.
Herb did not find out about that until one time he was driving the car home from VA and somebody pulled out in front of us. He was going somewhere around 60-70 MPH, went down a rather steep bank paralleling the road and gradually inched the car back up the bank and onto the paved road and stopped. We were extremely lucky not to have tipped over into the swamp beside the road.
During the stay at Langley Field there was not too much to do except get all the necessary immunizations and do whatever. Herb took over as squadron Mail Clerk. All the troops would gather around and Herb would call out names and pass out the mail. He will never forget one letter which was addressed to AIRMAN LAFAYETTE PONCE DE LEON HOLLEY. He was from Louisiana.
Edna would come up to Virginia on some weekends. One weekend we went to Williamsburg, which was a trip back into the past. It was a very good trip.
While at Langley, we had an airman, Charlie Bridges, join the squadron. He was from Charlotte, NC, and had a wife Helen. Paul, Charlie and Herb got to know each other along with wives Teeny, Helen and Edna. We have kept up with each other over these many years. More on that later.
There was much speculation on our destination overseas. It seemed to be a given that the location would be towards Europe.
The 49th Bombers Wing was composed of B-45 four engine jet bombers with a two man crew.
Finally the date to head across the ocean by troop ship arrived. We left from Newport News, VA. We did not know our destination at that time.
A troop ship is just what the name implies. Stack the troops (2000-3000) in from the top deck to the bottom hull as close together as possible vertically and horizontally. Turning over on the canvas linings on the bottom bunk was impossible for a person with too much weight/width because the bunk above was too close. Big guys were for the top bunk.
The shower area was a long hall of shower heads. The urinals were long troughs to transport the contents to a drain. Hopefully, the drain would be reached on a timely basis in appropriate tune with the roll of the ship to avoid too much splash back. The chow hall had no seats and had a hold on rail around the table for security. You had to eat one handed. Lacking no other choice and considering the crowd and the facility, the food was pretty good.
After we were at sea, we were advised that our destination was to be Sculthorpe Air Force Base in Norfolk County in England.
The majority of our awake time was spent above deck. We were very fortunate to have had wonderful weather during the 2-3 week crossing. Cannot remember a rainy day. We did see a distant tornado waterspout.
The only thing to look at besides water and sky was the thousands of flying fish that skimmed along the top of the gentle waves. Otherwise we read, talked, played cards and listened to the radio. We were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Memorial Day. Many of us grew a mustache, or tried to.
The 49th Bomber Wing’s mission was to be the first Air Force unit in Europe equipped with nuclear weapons. One day as we were listening to “Moscow Molly” on the radio, she welcomes the 49th Bomber Wing to England and she asked what we had below deck in the hole of the ship. Big secret!!!
We entered the river south of South Hampton late in the afternoon and slowly cruised up the river past the quaint English homes along the banks of the river. We anchored in the channel just before nightfall.
We were to unload at sun up the next morning. If you wanted breakfast, you had to get up very early and line up on deck waiting to get into the chow hall. Herb, even in those days, always had to have breakfast so he got up and stood in line.
As indicated above, the ship was anchored but our body had been accustomed to the gentle rolls of the ship for several days. That morning, with the smells of breakfast rising from below deck and the brain’s continuing signals to the body about the gentle rolls of the ship’s deck which were really not there, the stomach got confused and cried for relief which was accomplished over the side of the ship. Herb had not been sick at any time before on the trip.
Movement activity increased as we gathered our duffle bags and equipment in preparation to disembark and load on a train for the several hour trip to the new base. When the train started moving, the stomach settled down. Lunch that day on the train was a slab of chicken breast, very green English peas, boiled potatoes and a hard roll.
We arrived at Sculthorpe at close to mid-night and were escorted to bunk beds in old World War II Quonset huts. The next morning revealed that there were old dirt mounded and trenched bomb shelters interspersed between the Quonset huts. The squadron’s central toilet, shower, lavatories Quonset hut was over yonder a few yards from the sleeping quarters. The central base Chow Hall was some 400 yards down the hill from the sleeping quarters. The PX was about ¼ mile away.
The startup/setup days were certainly a bunch of ha ha ha fun.
Herb was an Airman 2nd Class in the 103rd Communication Squadron’s Power Section with the some 100 emergency electric generators. The generators were for use primarily for emergency communication sites to be setup between military bases for use in case of military action.
Lacking any immediate need for communication sites between bases, Herb was assigned to the base motor pool maintenance operation. He did maintenance work of Jeeps, Weapons Carriers, 6 x 6 Transport Trucks and was selected to do all work of Wing Commander General Jones’s Black Buick Limousine.
During this first summer, we had our first “ALERT”. That meant for our communication squadron, a time to practice trying to set up and to become proficient in setting up a long string of operational communication towers and relay stations across the English country side between air bases. The communication equipment required that the antennas on top of the towers be in “line of sight” with the next tower. That could be 20 miles between towers or 75+ miles. Each communication tower included tents for communication equipment, electrical power generators, sleeping, cooking, eating, etc. with an oil heaters to stay warm by and to cook on.
Herb and Trent Crawford had a 6 x 6 transportation truck assigned to tour through the English countryside between communication sites to check on operational problems. That was really an experience and enjoyable fun.
When there was a practice alert, the B-45 Bombers also participated. It was absolutely amazing and frightening, as I look back, to see many, many, MANY multiple atomic bombs wheeled out of their bunkers to be loaded into the bomb bays of the rows of B-45 Bombers waiting around the perimeter access ramps to the runways.
After one multiple day practice alert, our Communication Squadron had a Very Picky Inspection by the officers in the Squadron. 1st Lt. Pierce was the inspecting officer for the Electrical Power Section. He was a picky Sweet Old Boy (SOB) to the point of rejecting the rust which had accumulated over years of use on a 2” diameter steel chain and requiring that all the rust be wire brushed off of the chain and the chain oiled. The chain was like 125 feet long. I will put it in writing here now, these years later, that we transported quite a bit of GI items to the nearest English creek and drowned them to avoid having to clean it. I imagine that the stuff is still there.
The practice alerts were frequent to assure our readiness.
During that first summer, there was a softball league set up with some excellent enjoyable competition. England was great for evening softball because we were far enough north that it did not get dark until around 11:00PM. Provided many hours of playing time.
The weather in England is certainly different. It seldom gets hot. It rains a lot. Fog is a given. Herb saw his first Tornado (rare in England) form over land not too far away. A funnel cloud formed below the cloud cover and was rotating but was rotating parallel to the earth. As it started to bend with the tip moving towards the ground (Herb had positioned himself within one of the open top bomb shelters for observation and protection as required) the funnel exploded into nothing more than cloud fragments.
The weather required that a fire be maintained in the corner of the large vehicle maintenance Quonset hut and that the large entrance/exit doors be kept closed. Naturally it was necessary to run the vehicle’s engines that we worked on but the exhaust fumes were attempted to be routed to the outside through flexible metal hoses. Some of the fumes would escape. One morning during a break, as all of us gathered around the heater, Herb was standing in the corner leaning against the wall and apparently just slid down the corner wall as his knees were buckled as he approached the floor.
The problem was excess carbon monoxide fumes to which his body responded and he passed out. Herb was taken to the base hospital to recover. He had a terrible, terrible hangover from the lack of oxygen. Took a couple of days to regain strength and get rid of the hangover.
Late that summer the men, in planning for the wives arrival, looked for and found off base housing in the tourist village of Hunstanton of maybe 500 people which was about 4-5 miles from the Sculthorpe Air Base. The village was located on the “Wash” which was a bay off of the North Sea in the Northeast corner of England in Norfolk County.
There was a quite large contingent of US Air Force men and their wives living in Hunstanton. Charlie and Herb found a duplex furnished apartment to live in with Helen and Edna. We would live there temporarily until the wives arrived and we could find something better.
It was on the third floor and had two bedrooms (with straw mattresses on the beds), a shared kitchen, living room and bath. It was rooms converted to apartments in an old beautiful tourist hotel with large well kept grounds fronted with huge old oaks behind a 4-5 foot tall brick fence along the street. It overlooked a large field of Heather plants with pinkish purple delicate blooms which were used in the manufacture of perfume.
The Homefields Hotel was within about 150 yards of the village’s shopping areas.
Paul found quarters for he and Teeny in a family’s home which had been converted into apartments in Hunstanton.
Paul had purchased an English Ford Anglia car before Teeny arrived.
During that summer Edna continued her work at J. B. Hunt and Sons. She found a room (IB#6) in Boylan Heights near J. B. Hunts and in good weather walked to work. Near the end of her stay, before going to England, she moved in (IB#7) with Herb’s Mom and Dad.
She began planning with Teeny Perry and Helen Bridges for their transportation to England to join Herb, Paul and Charlie. They arranged to travel by bus to New York City to catch the Queen Elizabeth Ship for the trip to England.
Edna could not get all arrangements made in North Carolina to pick up her passport for traveling to England. So when the girls arrived in New York City, they had to go over to Brooklyn to pick up Edna’s passport.
Their room on the Queen Elizabeth was a small room somewhere way below deck which had four bunk beds. They had to share the room with another passenger. Their trip to England only took five days in September, 1952.
[As this was being proof read, Edna pulled from her archive box a receipt from the travel agency in Raleigh, NC, who made the arrangements. It was for a grand total of $495.00 for the tickets for the three of them on the Queen Elizabeth for departure from New York on September 3, 1952, for arrival in South Hampton 5 days later.]
Herb, Paul and Charlie met Edna, Teeny and Helen in South Hampton when the Queen Elizabeth docked.
Paul and Teeny headed for London in his car. Herb and Edna and Charlie and Helen headed to London by train.
We will never forget the taxicab trip between train stations in London traffic, ALL ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD FOR US (they drive on the left side of the road.). But we made it and boarded the northbound train to Hunstanton, which was at the very end of the track to the north some 2-3 hours north on London.
After a short taxi ride and we arrived at our new living quarters.
The English were still living in the economy created by the devastation of World War II. There was still some rationing of some things like chocolate. Our apartment (IB#8) did not have a refrigerator like most English homes. Shopping was a daily thing because of the potential of spoilage of the food.
Milk was delivered daily in small containers. The butcher shop would sell you small portions. A Green Grocer would come to the front yard in his truck about every 2-3 days. It was a real change of pace from back home.
Herb rode to the base daily with others who had cars. We decided on a car and it was delivered by the dealer to the Sculthorpe Air Force Base. It was a new fire engine red MG Roadster Sports car with two passenger leather seats and room for a small narrowed butt person [ maybe two] to sit in a hole crossways behind the two passenger seats. It had a canvass convertible top. When the top was lowered, the windshield could be hinged down towards the front in order to get a very streamlined configuration. We did not use that configuration.
The side windows which did not roll down but rather had to be lifted out of two holes in the door into which the plastic window was sewed into a canvassed metal rod frame that had pens sticking out. The side windows had to be stored behind the front seat. The gasoline tank was exposed on the back of the car above the rear bumper. The spare tire was mounted against the outside of the gasoline tank. Later we purchased a chrome luggage rack that was mounted above the spare tire. It was a real classy vehicle that cost us less than $2000. It drove and cornered on the crooked English roads like a charm.
The removable side windows could be conveniently removed to allow driving in the dense fog between the airbase and Hunstanton by sticking your head out and peering directly down about 2 feet in order to see the edge of the pavement of the road to avoid running off the road. The fog was too thick to even consider seeing anything straight ahead of the car. That was not a necessary everyday requirement.
Once we got the car, we were able to go to the Base Commissary which was a large grocery store well stocked with American food. We would go once per month after pay day and buy a month’s supply. English goods were quite different from American. It was even difficult to get use to the English toilet tissue for example.
This was well before television was available to anybody except those with a bunch of money and there was only one television station in England and it was a British Government station. No variety.
The car gave us all kinds of freedom to do things. There was only one movie theater in Hunstanton and we never missed a new movie when it opened. Two things unusual about English movies were that the recovery of the English economy had not advanced far enough to be able to provide an adequate supply of deodorant for humans. It was desirable to try to provide sufficient distance between us and them. Another thing was that at the end of each movie, I do not know if it was law, tradition or what, but they would always play a song “God Save The Queen” which was the tune as we knew it as “My Country Tis of Thee”.
There was also a movie theater in the village of Kings Lynn, some 7-8 miles away, which we attended frequently. Between Hunstanton and Kings Lynn, the road passed through one of the Queen’s estates named Sandringham. It was a beautiful place to which we were never invited. We did go there one Sunday morning and waited outside their little church to see the Royal Family (note that I spelled that with capital letters because that was the way it was) come out after services were over. We saw everybody. I am not sure that they saw us.
After a movie in Kings Lynn, as we would drive back through Sandringham, we would play “Rabbit Poker” wherein you counted rabbits on each side of the road and the one with the most rabbits won. We believe that we have counted in excess of one hundred several times.
England was blessed with a heavy rabbit population. They had so many that some people in the country made a living by hunting and selling rabbits. The rabbits would live in burrows in the ground. They did not hunt them with dogs and guns which is typical in the USA. They used a Ferret animal that was turned loose into the rabbit holes and when the rabbit came out, they would hit the rabbit with a stick.
The slain rabbits were then taken to town and sold in a market that specialized in things that had to be dressed (cleaned by skinning, plucking, etc). The animals, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys were hung up in the market without any refrigeration until a customer arrived and made his choice at which time it was cleaned by the proprietor.
The English, for some reason, sometimes liked for this kind of food to “ripen” for a few days before they purchased it to cook. We do not think that we ever participated in that. We would frequently buy a fresh rabbit to take home and fry it for supper. Rabbit is a very good meat and is very similar to chicken in flavor. And besides that it was cheap---one shilling per rabbit which at that time was $.35 .
Another English meal that we enjoyed was Fish & Chip. There were local businesses downtown where it was prepared and served to you on a piece of wax paper and wrapped in newspaper. It was crispy fried fish of some kind dipped in a special batter and fried potatoes. We could get enough for both of us for less than $.50. It was delicious and cheap.
Two apartments became available in the converted English Tourist home where Paul and Teeny lived so we (IB#9) and Charlie and Helen decided to move into them so that we could all live closer together.
The converted Tourist Home contained the English owners, the Rivetts, with their 3-4 children, Paul & Teeny, Charlie & Helen and Herb & Edna and another couple. That is 14 people. There was only one (1) bathtub to share in a bathroom that also had a toilet. There was also another toilet stool to be shared by the 4 apartments. Each person was assigned a 30 minute period each day for the bathtub. If you did not make it during that time, you did not get a bath in the tub. It was a tub without a shower. Tub it or miss it. Some missed it. Each apartment did have a sink in the kitchen and some had a lavatory in the bedroom. We had close commune and had a very enjoyable time.
Some time later Paul and Teeny found living quarters in a very nice beautiful English home almost adjacent to the Hunstanton Golf Course with a lady named Molly Fletcher.
Charlie and Helen found living quarters in another English lady’s home.
Herb and Edna learned of a very nice apartment back in Homefield’s where they use to live and moved in there.
The owner of Homefields was Tony Dean. The lady of the hose was Ms Murray.
The new apartment was on the second floor at the top of a winding stairway that was lighted in the daytime by a stained glass window on one landing. The apartment was nicely furnished with a living room with windows overlooking the very well kept garden/yard. There was a nice size bedroom and a well equipped kitchen (IB#10) except there was no refrigerator. We bought a small one for our use.
An unusual, to us, feature was an electricity meter on the kitchen wall that had to be fed with shilling coins kind of like a parking meter back in the USA. When the coins ran out, the lights went out. Heating of the apartment was with an Alladin parafin (that is kerosene) space heater.
Our bathroom was across the hall. It was a very large full bath large tub and shower.
During WW II, my Aunt Mavis and Uncle Jesse Penny made friends with an English Navy man, Wif, whose ship was in the yards in Norfolk for repair. He and his family lived in central England and we visited them every 3-4 months. One summer they rented a ‘caravan”, which is a trailer, and spent several days at a beach resort next to the North Sea on vacation. They were located only about 25 miles away on the North Sea and they invited us to come see them for a meal one weekend. That was a very good experience.
We went to their house in central England for a Real English Christmas. That was a glorious Christmas experience with most unusual English food and tradition.
We started going to a small church in the village of Hunstanton. We were two of four Americans in the all very English old church. We were cordially accepted but stiffly. The church did have an organ but it was very old. Seated beside the organ was the Organ Boy whose job was to grasp the lever sticking out of one side of the organ and push the lever up and down to provide compressed air to the pipes of the ancient organ.
The English also observed Day Light Savings Time whereby you set your clocks back or forward depending on the season of the year.
One Sunday we walked into church and the congregation was singing a hymn so we joined in. When the hymn was finished, everybody headed for the door to leave. We finally figured it out. That was the weekend for the time change and we had not changed our clock so that we would have made to the church on time. That kind of broke the English stiff upper lip ice for us in the church.
Every time we could afford it, we would get on the train in Hunstanton and go to London for a weekend. The U.S. Military had a house in the middle of London where we could go to rest and get a good American meal, like a cheeseburger, for a decent price. Usually we would go down with Paul & Teeny and/or Charlie & Helen and/or Trent & Lola (another couple that we got to know real well who had a two year old daughter, Carla, who became the child of all of us. We still see her yearly. She and her mother now live in Oklahoma.)
In London, we would go to the Zoo, to movies, to historic places, shopping, ride the subway to where ever we wanted to go and just have a wonderful time.
We took trips around England like to where Robin Hood did his thing in Nottingham and in Sherwood Forest. We went to Coventry and saw Lady Godiva, or at least a statue of her sitting naked on a horse.
We became interested in going to car races. There was a raceway not to far away, Sneterton, which was an air base during World War II and they used the runways as surfaces on which to race. We would make it an all day affair with a picnic lunch. We would also take along friends. That is where we really became interested in sports cars.
There was one race (the races were arranged by type/size of race car) in which a BRM (British Racing Motors) car was always entered. The car was powered by an engine of 1500 cc (1.5 liters) with 16 cylinders (very small diameter) which was super-charged and which reached its peak horsepower at 12,500 RPM (revolutions per minute). When it passed by, it was very necessary to cover your ears very tightly because of the noise made by the engine. It was extremely fast but there were so many rapidly moving individual parts and such a massive/complex carburetor system that it was a real task to keep everything at peak performance for very long.
We went to one International Race event at the famous (at that time) Silverstone Race Track. A major attraction was the Mercedes-Benz 300SLR racing cars typically raced in a stable of 4 cars. They were the pinnacle of technology in racing.
We have been inside Windsor Castle but not into Buckingham Palace, to the Tower on London and viewed the fabulous royal jewels, Big Ben, not in but by it to see the Houses of Parliament, to Automobile Shows, and anything that we could find and afford.
Another place of visitation was the London Zoo. We would get there via the London Tube (subway). We had started the Zoo visits in Chicago. [We have visited Zoos in Chicago, London, New York, Montgomery, AL and Atlanta.]
We saw all of the decorations in London that were set up for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1952. Paul and Teeny’s landlady, Molly Fletcher, invited us over to her house to see Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation Ceremony as it was shown on English television. That was a real privilege for us to have her invite us over to her home to see that majestic regal historic event in her English home.
On weekends, we four couples would play a bunch of pinochle cards. We would alternate weekends at each others house and would start playing on Friday night after supper and play almost continuously with breaks for preparing meals and eating, sleeping some and occasionally going to the bathroom until late on Sunday night. We had some wonderful times as almost a family.
One weekend when we were playing cards at Trent and Lola Crawford’s place, there was a very bad storm which came into the Hunstanton area out of the North Sea. We all spent the night at the Crawfords and were not aware of the storm until the next day when we went back to our apartments. There was major flooding next to the beach area and some deaths including Air Force people. The storm got international attention. We even had Queen Elizabeth and her husband Philip to come and visit the area and Edna went downtown to see them and got photographs.
Edna and Herb had talked about a trip to the continent of Europe for as long as we had been in England. We knew no one who had done it so we could not get any hints of what to do or expect or nothing. So we just started doing things to hopefully help us be prepared a little bit. We decided that we would go in September after the prime tourist season was over.
That summer, Herb had a very wild idea on a modification for the exhaust system of the MG. He conceived and constructed a “Y” to insert into the engine’s exhaust pipe just ahead of the muffler. The exhaust gas could flow normally through the muffler and be muffled. A “butterfly valve”, within the “Y”, was controlled by a choke cable whose control knob came through the floor on the left of the driver’s seat.
When the “butterfly valve” was opened, the exhaust gas was allowed to flow directly into a large flexible pipe to discharge out at the rear of the car without going through a muffler. The ROAR FROM THAT PIPE WAS QUITE NOTICEABLE!!!!! LOUD !
As a member of the military, Herb had to get official military orders prepared which cleared him and allowed him to visit the desired countries. Upon entering a country, the United States Embassy had to be contacted to advise the U.S. Government of where he was. We did not know exactly where we would go so clearance papers were requested for France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Austria.
We gathered maps, language interpretation booklets, Michelin Travel Guides for each possible country listing and rating hotels. Most were too expensive for our consideration.
Since The United States was an occupying force, Herb was suppose to wear a uniform at all times in Germany and Italy. Therefore, it was necessary to take a full dress uniform along. He, however, only wore a uniform when a military base was to be visited.
The only itinerary that we had was to drive to Dover, get on a ferry to Calais, France, and drive to Paris. The trip to Calais was uneventful.
In high school Herb was lucky enough to have taken two years of conversational French under Mrs. Jones. Upon arrival in France and starting to use the French that he had been taught, it became quickly apparent that Mrs. Jones had never been to France because those people in France did not speak the exact same language that he had been taught. (At a much much later high school class re-union at which Mrs. Jones attended, he advised her of either her or his shortcomings in French.)
The first thing that we had to do when we arrived in France was to convert some money into Francs. As we entered a town, there was a French policeman (Gendarme) standing in the middle of a busy intersection directing traffic. We pulled up beside him in the middle of traffic as he stood under a traffic light and Herb asked him in his best fluent French “Ou Est la Banque sil vous pley?” (where is the bank, if you please).
He did not initially understand Herb and Herb sure did not understand him. He was talking in some unfamiliar foreign language as far as Herb was concerned.
Finally, after many, many cars zoomed by, the policeman apparently understood what Herb had said and began to make hand motions:
- pointed overhead to the blinking traffic light and simulated blinking by rapidly clicking the tips of his fingers against his thumb on one hand,
- held up three fingers of the other hand,
- pointed straight ahead down a street,
- then waved to the right,
- held up a hand with two fingers,
- and said “la Banque”.
Having a slight idea of what he had communicated, we took off. Not being sure, we saw a man beside the street washing his car and Herb went over to him and said “Ou Est la Banque, sil vous pley?”
Herb had gotten better or something because the man put his washing towel down and waved us on and walked around the corner ahead of us, in our car, leading us and pointed at a building that had a sign on front which said La Banque. We got some Francs.
Now the menu in a restaurant is a real challenge. Some time we would not know what we had ordered or what was being served but those people over there are such wonderful cooks with different seasonings that we do not recall a single bad meal.
Standard fare for us was a Continental Breakfast, which was a roll of some kind and coffee. For lunch we would have a hunk of cheese and/or a hunk of some kind of stuffed meat sausage and/or a piece of fruit, a hunk of bread and a glass of local wine. Mid afternoon might be fruit or ice cream or some other snack. Supper/Dinner was for the first class meal. Herb will try later to talk about some of those.
When you drive in England, you drive on the left hand side of the road. When you drive on the continent you drive on the right hand side of the road. Both take a bunch of getting use to when you change from one to the other. On the continent, there is another very critical thing to learn. Any body coming from the right has and will take the right away regardless of the various sizes of the intersecting roads. That can provide some quickly awakening circumstances which stick in your memory.
While driving from Calais to Paris, the earlier conceived and installed exhaust system “butterfly valve” piece got so hot that it burned out completely allowing complete bypass of the muffler with resultant LOUD noise. That was no way to make a roaring entrance into Paris.
Herb had brought a hunting knife along for some reason. So we stopped beside the road and he went out into the woods a found a small sapling tree to cut down with the knife from which to make a wood plug to stick into the tailpipe on the un-muffled side. The car was quiet again, but the wood plug certainly did draw some long head scratching peers from many foreigners as we toured through the many countries.
We drove straight through from Calais to Paris with only the interruption of going to the bank and for some food. It was challenging and also wonderful to drive into Paris, such a famous city.
We had no idea where we would stay. As we approached the center of Paris with the Arch de Triumph visible just ahead about 2 blocks, there was a small hotel beside the main road on a parallel service street.
The name of the hotel was the Fleur de Lis, which is the name of a white Iris Flower. Herb went inside and they had a room, which we took. The room was on the third floor and was accessed by an old wire cage elevator, that had been around for many years. It was not a push button controlled unit. You had to grab a handle and rotate the handle in the right direction to get the caged elevator to start moving up or down and try to stopped at the desired floor level when you arrived or step up or down to get off of the elevator.
The room was very comfortable for our needs. We had no idea how long we would
We went to the Arch de Triumph. Driving around the some six lanes circling around it was extremely challenging. Due consideration had to be given that the vehicle on the right always had and would take the right away. There were six streets coming in from all over Paris which apexed into the circle around the landmark.
One of the streets off of the circle was the Champs É·ly·sées, an absolutely beautiful tree lined avenue with all the wonderful French attributes that you could have never dreamed of. There were parallel service streets on each side of the Champs É·ly·sées with an abundance of sidewalk cafes where you could stop and have a refreshment and sit and watch the French scenery and people walk by. That was really inspiring and enjoyable.
While we were in Paris, Edna just had to get her hair fixed so that she could say that she had done it in Paris. We found a beauty shop on the Champs É·ly·sées. Herb had to go in and talk to the hair stylist using his wonderful French language capability to tell them what to do. Edna only studied Latin in school and they did not understand that in Paris. At least, not in that Beauty Shop.
At the end of the Champs É·ly·sées was the Place de la Concorde which is an area of classic art statues and fountains from many years gone by. This beautiful area was a featured in the wonderful movie American In Paris with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron (which we have seen many, many times) among many other places. The buildings around the plaza were beautiful French architecture of centuries ago.
We found a group of people who were photographers and French models that drew our attention. Herb wanted some pictures but we were “shooed” away with vigor to keep us away. Possibly a first time “in public showing” of a famous fashion?
Then there was the Seine River that runs though Paris with wonderful shorelines fully populated by French merchants. You can find anything and everything in their markets. We bought three original watercolor/charcoal paintings of scenery in Paris. Those paintings are on our living room walls today. The apartments along the river are choice living environments.
The elegant Notre Dame Cathedral of Year 1345 architecture is on the banks of the Seine River. It is beautiful. We went through the inspiring inside of the Cathedral and climbed the many steps to the top of the front to see the Gargoyle Statues, which line the upper walls and looked down on the Plaza in front. Brought back memories of the great movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
We walked the beautiful parks of Paris. One day we were walking and needed to find a restroom. There was nothing to be found. We saw a Paris Policeman (Gendarme) up ahead and got his attention. With limited French, Herb asked him where we could a restroom for Edna and Herb.
The Gendarme finally understood. He said “ For Monsieur, beaucoup. For Madam, eeinhhn” as he raised both of his arms to the heavens and shrugged his shoulders to in effect signal none or few. [The sidewalks of Paris are frequently populated with men’s standup toilets. There is also a lot of usage of unused business entries.]
He pointed to the Eiffel Tower which was close by, to indicate that that was the nearest restroom for Madam Edna. So we made our way to the tower, completely unplanned for that day, found an elevator and went up to the nearest restroom.
The panoramic view from the top of the tower was fabulous. It can not be adequately described if you have just the faintest appreciation of what Paris is suppose to be like.
This was a very memorable point in this trip.
In the North of Paris is a hill named Montmartre. It is noted for its nightlife and for its associations with artists such as Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Utrillo. The original village of Montmartre was annexed by Paris in 1860. Many artist live in and use the area. They can be found with their easels and canvasses on many streets capturing the beautiful scenes. They do not mind if you look over their shoulders as they paint and we did. The beautiful white towers of Montartre Cathedral look down on Paris from the hill.
Also in Montmartre is a nightlife area called Pigalle (spelling?). One night Herb and Edna ventured up that way without a specific map and without any directions. We found the area after a while. Parked, walked around and were persuaded by a sidewalk hawker to enter one of the nightclubs. Before we could sit down, a bottle of wine or champagne had been opened at our table and two glasses had been poured and had to immediately paid our bill. We had no choice but to stay.
There was a floor show which involved a typical French lady stripper. We watched the show, emptied our glass, picked up our partially empty bottle and left. Went to the car and with the top down proceeded to find our hotel by wanderingly driving around Paris until we found it.
We stayed in Paris about 4-5 days before we headed north towards Belgium. As mentioned earlier, we had no itinerary or schedule and not much money.
The countrysides were quite different from anything that could be seen in the USA. There were hedgerows all along the road and around the small fields or native stone fences from four to ten feet tall. Tall growing trees had apparently been controlled.
As we traveled, it was impossible to avoid the thoughts of what it must have been like for the ground troops who fought for this ground in World Wars I & II. It had to have been HELL. I had a room mate at N.C. State, Angelo W. Montesanto from Southern Pines, who had been a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) gunman in World War II. He talked about it some.
Belgium is a rather small country. We went to Brussels. Can only remember one particular thing about our visit. There was a statute that we had read about in Brussels which for some stupid reason we looked up.
The name of the statue was Mannikin Pis (spelling ?). As the name kind of implies, it was the statue of a young naked boy who was standing on a pedestal who was relieving himself. How is that for a memory?
After probably no more than one day we proceeded to Germany with our first stop in Colonge. A very noticeable thing was the indentations left in old walls from many rifle, machine gun and cannon rounds. That was a little shocking to see when you could almost visualize what might have happened to the people trying to live there.
We found a modern hotel. After settling in, we asked at the desk where we could find a restaurant.
We were directed to a place near by. This was our first night in Germany. When we sat down at our table in the restaurant, it was obvious to us that we were the only foreigners there and besides that we were the conquerors, Americans, in the eyes of the natives. The penetrating stares of everybody made us very uncomfortable.
We ordered and ate in a hurry. Now, this was our first night in Germany and our first experience with their currency. Herb had a hand full of change and picked out some coins to leave on the table as a tip.
We learned when we got back to our room and looked at our money conversion sheets that the tip that we left on the table was equal to ¾ cent in U.S. currency. We left town early the next morning.
From then on, we were very uncomfortable in Germany. The language could not be interpreted by us. In Hamburg, we saw a home with a sign that indicated rooms and meals. We inquired and the very nice lady of the house showed us our room. Later we went down to the dining room and had a delicious Viener Snitzel (which is a veal steak slowly pan fried)(spelling ?). it was a wonderful relaxing meal.
The Autobahn roads in Germany are very early interstate (by American standards) highways but with no speed limits. You can be driving along at high speed and all of a sudden be very quickly passed by something too fast to figure out what it was.
From Germany, we went into Switzerland. In the northern part of the country, they speak German. In the eastern part the speak French. In the southern part they speak Italian. Most everybody speaks English.
Switzerland is far more beautiful than you can imagine. The cottages are different, but typical. Everything is exceedingly clean and orderly in the countryside, in the towns, on the lakes, in the mountains, everywhere. Even the animal manure piles in the country are stacked in square very neat piles beside the road.
One day for lunch, we stopped at an outdoor restaurant beside a beautiful crystal clear lake. Before we went up to the restaurant from beside the lake where we parked, we walked out onto a small pier over the water. Down in the water we could see schools of fish in the clear water.
When we walked up to the outdoor restaurant, we were seated at our table underneath a covering of grapevines which were loaded with ripening bunches of white grapes. That was a beautiful setting for a leisurely lunch.
We chose from the menu as our main course, Petite Filet de Perch. Of course you have the wine, salad, etc. leading up to the main course. The waiter brought a small side table to sit beside us. He then brought a stand with a flaming pot on it onto which he placed a silver platter of petite pieces of perch gently sizzling over the flame under the platter. The filets had been marinated and cooked in a wine sauce. You cannot believe what a wonderful luxurious meal was thoroughly enjoyed by Herb and Edna Stott.
I believe that was the day that we drove on down the road beside the beautiful lake until we could find an isolated parking space and lay down on the grass next to the water to rest and digest. We also think that was the day that we took our shoes off to put our feet in the cold water, which by the way was fed by melting snow in the mountains.
During our travels in Europe, we made it a deliberate point to look for overnight living quarters, which were not large hotels. The main reason was for economy. Besides that, we found that by selecting a small family operated facility which also served meals, that we had an excellent opportunity to get to really see and know and enjoy the native’s living styles.
One afternoon in Switzerland, we chose a small guest house out in the country for the night. After cleaning up, we went down to the dining room for dinner. The specialty of the house was Essence de Veau en Pomme de Terra. In strictly very simple layman terms, this was small dainty pieces of veal cooked in a delicately seasoned wonderful white sauce and served of a gently fried shredded white potato formed into a pattie that had been pan fried to absolute perfection and all garnished beautifully.
Without question, that was the superb meal of a lifetime !!!!
We have tried quite unsuccessfully to duplicate the dish with total failure.
Switzerland is small. We drove over much of it. The Matterhorne Mountain was a beautiful sight. Along the way we found a mountainside with possibly years and years old snow, which we got out of the car and played in.
We decided that we did not have time to go to Austria, so we headed over the mountains for Italy.
We chose the route over the Mount Goddard Pass. The Pass was at about 13,000 feet elevation. The road up the mountain was steep with many, many, many hairpin turns and with a very limited population of people and breath taking scenery.
So, we took the opportunity to remove the wooden plug from the un-muffled side of the exhaust system on the MG. The results were a sound wave reverberating off of the walls of the mountains like you have never heard before.
When we arrived at the top of Saint Goddard Pass, we found an isolated multi-story hotel in which we were fortunate to get a room because there was nothing else around for miles and miles. The room had just the bare essentials with a toilet down the hall that had toilet paper scissored out of a catalog similar to the slick pages in a Sears Catalog.
The Dining Room served a very basic menu. There was a quite elderly couple who had hiked in from somewhere back in the local mountain range for a meal. They did not exhibit the impact of age or altitude.
After dinner, we decided that we would walk out around a lake near the hotel. Now, the altitude was somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 feet. The oxygen level was extremely thin. We found out in a hurry that we could not breathe too well and we limped back to the hotel.
There was no central heat system in the hotel. As a matter of fact, there was no heat at all. The mattress on the bed was of a thick feather bed construction, which you sank into and the mattress hugged you to keep you warn. The bedspread was also a featherbed, which hugged you to keep you warm after you got in bed and pulled it up. There was a problem however. At that altitude, when you turned over underneath and on top of all that hugging paraphernalia, it took 5-15 minutes to get your breath back after all the exertion.
The ride down the mountain towards Italy through the Switzerland/ Italian border was extremely steep. Of interest were the many massive concrete bunkers on the border with huge slits for gun barrels to stick out on the border, which were similar to those on the German border. Switzerland was a neutral country during World War II and protected their borders from the enemy.
Italy is a passionate country. The first Italian village that we entered had quite narrow streets with sidewalks loaded with people and 2nd floor balconies over the street. The red color of our MG car with the top down and reverberating exhaust noises off the walls of the building lining the street, excited the people on the street and on the side walks. The enthusiasts lining the street vigorously waved for us to hurry up and come on !!! We accommodated.
We found another Country Inn for the night. As we prepared for dinner, a beautiful operatic voice drifted up from the kitchen area to entertain us. After dinner that night, we sat in the living room around the fireplace talking about our travels with the other guest including English people.
We visited the ancient cathedrals of Milan and all the other beautiful things. We headed for Venice.
Along the way we found signs advertising the M & M Roadhouse as a place to spend the night. We found the quite massive place and went inside to check on a room. The desk clerk said that he had a room and gave us a price that included a meal in the roof restaurant and a continental breakfast. He insisted that we allow him to take us up to see the room before we made a decision.
The room was on about the 5th floor and was really a suite with a balcony overlooking the old city of Verona.. We agreed to take the room. We went down to get our luggage from the car and the valet took the car and parked it in a secure garage. We got settled in the room and spent quite a bit of time on the balcony looking at the wonderful view as the sun was setting. At the appropriate time, we got on the elevator and rode down to the lobby for directions to the restaurant.
When we emerged from the elevator on the 10th floor, the Maitre’ D showed us to our candle lit table overlooking the beautiful city. On the way to the table, he pointed out the rotisserie on which the various main course meats were being cooked. The menu in Italian was difficult to read and comprehend.
Now we were just plain folks without any experience whatsoever with such a complex 5 to 7 course dinner. It all looked so good. So Herb told the waiter that we wanted some of all of it. The meats included veal, pork, beef and poultry. He brought us some of all of it. The last course was a large bowl of fruit. That was a wonderful meal.
The next morning we had a delightful continental breakfast.
The bill for everything including room, meals and parking for the two of us was a total of about the equivalent of $17.00.
We spent a full day in the unusual City of Venice. This is a place not to miss. The waterways and conveyances and bridges and housing and plazas and the beautiful cathedral and abundance of pigeons and everything make it all an excellent experience.
From Venice, we headed down the eastern coast of Italy along the beautiful Adriatic Sea to Pescara. The Italians really seem to enjoy life and live that way. We saw and remember one young beautiful Italian girl with long hair in front of her villa. We found a roadside stand at which we purchased a tasty watermelon to consume at an isolate place in the country. We then headed west towards Rome over rolling hills
Rome looks just like Rome is suppose to look. The Coliseum is as expected. The Vatican is as expected. The Italians drive with much passion, if that is what you call it. As we drove around Rome all afternoon, we continuously looked for a place to spend the night. The only thing that we could find were the huge modern too expensive hotels.
Frustrated at about 7:00 PM, we decided to take the first major road that we would come across and head out of Rome. We did that and got out in the country and found a road sign to match up with our map. We were heading South and our intent had been to head North. We turned around, still looking for a place to stay, and headed back through Rome.
Somewhere in Rome, we found a Guest House with rooms only and we took it. It was quite old. The walls in the structure were about 3-5 feet thick. We inquired about where we could get some food and were pointed to a restaurant some 2-3 blocks away. It was a community eating place at which we had a delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner.
The next morning, we felt that we should at least go and visit the Vatican, which we did. Then we found a northbound road and headed out. Needless to say, our impression of Rome was not that great.
We headed north up the western coast of Italy. Went by and saw the unusual Leaning Tower of Pisa. We even got a photograph with Edna holding up her hand in a position so that it looks like she is holding up the leaning tower.
The narrow crooked coastal roads of Italy were challenging. It was very necessary to keep your ears open to hear the very loud reverberating bus horns as they came around the approaching curves. There was a very serious problem of the distraction caused by having to looking out at the very deep blue of the beautiful gorgeous Mediterranean Sea.
As mentioned, the Italians are passionate about their driving and their cars. We stopped one time for gasoline and sitting at the service station was a Red Ferrari filling up his tank and checking everything under the hood including the V-12 engine. After the driver had completed servicing the Ferrari, he got his skull fitting leather cap on plus his goggles and cranked up that V-12 engine. To properly warm the engine up, he patted the accelerator to rev up the engine to about 5000 RPM and then took his foot off the accelerator. He kept patting the accelerator in that fashion until the temperature reached normal. That was a beautiful sound. When warmed up, he engaged the transmission and roaringly sped away rapidly.
We headed for Monaco.
As you approach Monaco, you come around a curve on the bluff overlooking the Mediterranean to look down at the yacht basin with it multi-dollar cost crafts and the city right along the shore. It was really a breath taking sight.
We drove down to the drive between the yacht harbor and hotels and casinos
on the city side of the street. It only took very brief moments for us to realize
that we were
completely out of our element, but it was fun to look at. After all we were in a sports car but certainly not of the character fitting of the lifestyle that was so visible. We did however enjoy walking around to see the sights.
We rode to outside of the city and found a Roadhouse just east of the built up area and got a room. We were located on a hill just across the coastal road overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean.
We went down to the beach with a blanket to enjoy the beauty provided by the white sand and the blue water. There were many people doing the same thing. A group of 4-5 people arrived. In the group was a beautiful French girl in street clothes. As we watched, Herb intently, the beautiful French girl covered herself in a towel and proceeded to change out of street clothes into a Bikini. Even though, with very intent eyes, Herb was unable to see anything except her removed street clothes in a neat pile and the Bikini which she had so ably put onto her beautiful body.
We had decided that we would spend our last days of our vacation, in Paris since we had loved it so much. We left Monaco and started driving across the center of France towards Paris. The French countryside was indescribable on our way for several days to Paris.
There are few to none Rest Stops along the roads as are typical in the USA, so there has to be some way to compensate for the natural demands of Mother Nature. As we were driving down the road one day, we saw a bus parked on a curve. All, or most of the passengers were just outside the bus on the shoulder of the road taking care of the demands of Mother Nature. The Europeans just take care of such requirements as natural events with no problem.
When we arrived back in Paris, we were lucky, without reservations, to get a room in the Hotel Fluer de Lis where we had stayed earlier in the month.
In addition to just seeing everything again, we decided to go to a famous Paris Show named The Follies Bergerie’ which was a lavishly staged and beautifully choreographed and displaying beautiful fully nude French women. Herb’s old maid Aunt Nita who has literally traveled the world went to see the same show the next year and she simply characterized the show as Classic Art.
On the way back across the English Channel on the ferry, we were able to see the beautiful panorama of the Cliffs of Dover that line the English Coast.
The trip through Europe for Herb and Edna was a memorable 30 day trip. We lacked for no enjoyment, had wonderful food, stayed in excellent quarters and saw more of the world than we had never dreamed.
When we added up all the cost including food, lodging, automobile expense, ferry cost across the English Channel and everything, we averaged an amazing $20 per day in 1953 dollars
We learned of a new car from magazines and Car Shows that had been designed under the guidance of Englishman racing driver Donald Healey. In a joint venture with the English Austin Motor Company, the car was placed into production and we fell in love with it. We decided that we would get one to take back to the United States.
We sold our MG to a Captain in the Air Force in Herb’s Communication Squadron. Paul and Teeny Perry drove us to the Austin Healey Factory in central England to pick up the car. It was a sky blue Austin Healey 100 convertible with blue leather seats for two and with silver colored wire spoked rim wheels.
The four cylinder engine connected to the 3 speed manual gearbox with an electric overdrive was a very powerful machine. It was a beautiful vehicle with lovely flowing lines.
In the spring, we took a road trip to Scotland. Our destination was Edinburgh and it totally lived up to our expectations. On the way up, we stayed in a Guest House way out in the rolling countryside. We had an excellent local native Scotland dinner that night. The next morning we were awakened by a flock of sheep just outside and under our first floor bedroom window.
As you drove down the country roads, it was necessary sometimes to park and give the right away to a flock of sheep who were being driven by dogs and a shepherd.
We also drove by Loch Ness but we did not see the monster. We also went through Glasgow.
One day on the trip, it was raining. We were on a fourlane road and came up on a local car who insisted on staying in the center lane avoiding being passed. Frustrated after a while, although illegal, Herb passed the car on the outside at with too much speed for the wet road and the curve ahead. Result was a spin out to off the road with the rear end of the Austin Healey striking a one foot high loose gravel pile that badly dented in the rear end of the body into the gas tank which was ruptured.
That required that a tow truck pull us in to a garage for temporary repair. The car was repaired sufficiently to allow it to be driven back to the Austin Healey Factory to be left for body repair which took 3-4 weeks.
Herb’s 4 Year Air Force tour was nearing its end and it was necessary for us to return to the United States. Our valuables had to be packed into a wooden crate which measured about 3’ x 8’ x 8’. The wooden crate was required to protect the contents for truck, ship and truck transportation.
It was also necessary to drive the Austin Healey car to South Hampton for it to be prepared for loading on a ship to be returned to the United States so that we could pick it up at the port in New Jersey when we returned. The car was shipped back at the expense of the Air Force. We rode the train back to Hunstanton.
Herb’s military orders required that he and Edna ride the train to London to catch an overnight train to the area of Preswick Air Force Base in Scotland. This was our first experience on a sleeper train.
We left Prestwick Air Force Base on November 8, 1954, on a DC-6. This was Edna’s first experience to have to hold up an airplane using the arms of the chair in which she was sitting. We only had very minimal hand luggage. All of our luggage was stored in the belly storage area of the plane. We were scheduled to make a brief refueling stop in the Azores at an airbase and return to the sky to finish the trip to the USA.
The Azores are a group of islands way off the East coast of Africa not a long way from the equator. As a result, it was hot.
After refueling, the plane developed mechanical problems that were to take a while to repair. We were advised that we would have to spend the night on the island. We were assigned a room on the airbase. As mentioned above, we only had minimal carry on stuff. We had no change of clothes of any kind. We were able to buy a toothbrush and such stuff but after a shower, it was required that the same clothes, everything, had to be put back on.
The next morning we left the Azores and landed at Westover Air Force Base in New England. We were transported with all of our luggage (that was a huge bunch of luggage to have to tote up high steps and down high steps over and between trains and down the railroad track ramps) to the train station. We had to ride to Camp Kilmer, a military base, in New Jersey to be processed for discharge from the Air Force.
We were assigned a narrow room in a military barracks. The walls of the room were paper thin and not noise restrainers. You could hear what was going on from several rooms down the hall. The food offered was not so good Government Issued stuff.
The best food that we found was in the base PX. It was fried bacon and egg sandwiches served on elegantly soft wonderful white slices of American loaf bread. English bread is tuff and definitely off-white. This United States bread was heavenly cake.
During the discharging process, Herb was advised to go to the Ports of New Jersey and pick up his Austin Healey car. The Dock Worker who showed him where the car was said upon inquiry that the car was ready to go. Inspection of the car revealed no damage.
At the dock in South Hampton, England, the radiator had been drained. That was not known. As the car was being driven up the hills from the dock pier, the engine began to ping. Figured that it must be the octane difference of the gasoline. The pinging got worse and the engine began to smell. Pulled over and raised the hood and saw a smoking engine with the paint on the cylinder head literally bubbling from heat.
Relatively close to where the car was parked, there was a village bar. Herb went inside and explained the problem to the bar keeper and asked if he could give him a bucket of hot water to fill the radiator. The water was poured in slowly with the engine running and the engine began to run normally. That could have been a costly disaster.
The discharge process was completed and we headed to Raleigh. It was wonderful to get home. We stayed with Dad and Mom on Poole Road while we allowed ourselves to acclimate to civilian life and began to seek civilian employment.
The Korean conflict was over and many former military personnel were now in the civilian job market. Jobs were kind of scarce.
One day in January, Herb went to the employment office of a very large new manufacturing plant that had been built in Raleigh by Westinghouse. Sitting in the area set up for applicants to fill out Job Application Forms, Herb noticed a man who he thought that he knew going in and out of an office at the end of the room. After long consideration, Herb remembered that he was John Alexander who was in the Bass Section with Herb some two chairs away of the North Carolina State Glee Club some five to six years before.
The next time that the man passed by, Herb asked him if he was not John Alexander and there was recognition on his part also. We greeted each other and John invited Herb into his office to discuss things from the past.
John was the Personnel Director for the Raleigh Westinghouse Plant. He said that he had a job opening for $196.00 per month in the Quality Control Department which Herb took. It certainly pays to know and remember people.
We found an apartment just off of Wake Forest Road in Raleigh and within about one mile of the Westinghouse Plant. It was a 2nd floor apartment with the Jeff Crowders who had a young daughter. It had a single bedroom, bathroom, living room, breakfast nook, kitchen (IB#11) and back porch. We had wonderful neighbors who every Saturday Night got together in the common backyards for a joint cookout. We did not participate each week because, pure and simple, we could not afford the cost of the food to cook on the grill.
Edna got a job at James C. Greene & Company, Insurance Adjusters, in downtown Raleigh as their Book Keeper. She rode the city bus to work. Herb drove the Austin Healey to work.
Herb and Edna took a trip to Sebring, Florida, to an International Sports Car Race in the Austin Healey.
On the way back a visit was made to see Denny B. and Joyce (English and married to Denny while we were in England) Johnson and to see George and Audry Knight at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS, who were also with us in England.
We had to drive through lower Georgia and encountered two men in a new Ford car who passed the Austin Healey and would slow down. We would pass them and they would pass us and slow down. That got to be kind of old so Herb dropped the Austin Healey out of overdrive, tromped the accelerator and left them way back out of sight as we passed 115 MPH. Never been that fast before or since and it was still speeding up.
Over the years, Herb developed what is known as a Pilonidal (spelling?) Cyst located at the base of his spine that developed into a quite sore draining thing. The cyst was surgically removed at Mary Elizabeth Hospital in Raleigh requiring about a weeks stay in the hospital. Today, it could possibly be done as out-patient surgery.
After less than a year in Quality Control, Herb moved into a Routing Clerk job in the Industrial Engineering Department. In less than another year Herb became Plant Cost Reduction Program Coordinator.
In about two years, he moved into being the Indirect Cost Measurement Engineer responsible to measure and develop annual budgets for manpower and material for the various areas and to be such that the budgets could be applied to variable annual or periodic business volume changes in future years. The areas measured included the departments of Industrial Engineering, Production Control, Receiving, Storerooms, Shipping, Plant Maintenance, Quality Control, Cost Accounting, Plating and Finishing, Purchasing, Drafting, Data Processing, Material Handling, Tool Room, etc. This was very broad exposure to many sectors of the operation.
On October 2, 1956, Herb and Edna bought their first house at 1340 Banbury Road in Raleigh, NC. The cost was $13,500 with an assumed loan at 4% interest with monthly Mortgage Principal and Interest Payments of $54.61, Taxes of $14.79 and Hazard Insurance of $2.60 for a total of $72.00 per month.
The house was a 3 bedroom (IB#12), single bath, living/dining room with fire place, kitchen and furnace room. The house was located on a hill with a very steep terraced front yard, a paved (with broken up about 1 foot randomly square chunks of asphalt roadway as the rough surface), a vegetable garden area at the top of the hill with an already established asparagus bed. There was also an outside wooden shop/storage building on top of the hill. There was an 8’ wide concrete paved patio with flower beds and place to park a car at the back of the house.
Herb’s Mom and Dad and Herb and Edna jointly purchased a 45” trailer at Atlantic Beach down near Morehead City, NC, from an individual in the Maintenance Department at Westinghouse. The parents used it extensively and got into enjoyable fishing on the ocean piers. There is no question that Dad’s new enjoyment in fishing and many new friends added several years to his life. We all enjoyed the trailer and the fishing.
Reid was born on September 20, 1958. Edna went into Rex Hospital of Friday September 19. Late that night, the hospital people told Herb that he might as well go home since birth was not imminent. We only lived less than a mile away.
They called early in the morning for Herb to come back to the hospital. Herb is not even today a human until after a shower and breakfast, so those activities were accomplished before going back to the hospital. The hospital people were surprised that Herb arrived all cleaned up. Reid was not born until after the N.C. State football game was well underway on Saturday afternoon, but the event was certainly worth waiting for. We named him Gregory Reid Stott. There were no Gregory or Reid names in our past.
Dr. Poole, Pediatrician, came by and demonstrated to us, to soothe our concerns of how to handle the small fragile baby, that a baby is not so fragile. He did so by grasping Reid’s head with two hands over his ears and gently holding him up off but over the bed with no other support.
The Austin Healey was not built to handle 2 adults, 1 baby and all the stuff necessary to take care of the baby. So we sold the Austin Healey to a Landscape Architect for the same price as our purchase cost of a few years before in England.
Mrs. Greene, Edna’s boss at James C. Greene Company would bring work to Edna for her to do at home and wanted Edna to come back to work full time but Edna did not want to leave Reid. Mrs. Greene knew of Lois Rogers who was a wonderful person to stay with Reid. So Edna went back to work at James C. Greene Company and Lois kept Reid.
Sometime along the way Herb became a manufacturing department Industrial Engineer responsible for manufacturing labor methods, tooling and time standards. Herb was later promoted to Manufacturing Supervisor for the Polyphase Watthour Meter Final Assembly Line.
This was the days of a federal wage freeze. Herb, however, was given a wage increase in spite of the freeze by some means, or was told that.
In the spring of the year, Edna got pregnant again. In the fall of the year, Herb took a couple of friends to the beach to fish one weekend and Edna stayed home with Reid.
In the hall between the bedrooms, we had a scatter rug on which
Edna slipped on and fell on her pregnant stomach.
In January, Edna went into labor and entered Rex Hospital to give birth. The labor was tough. That was before the wide availability of Sonogram technology and there was no determination that the baby was inappropriately positioned for birth. Procedures were taken to allow the birth.
Edna remembers when she first saw the baby on January 11, 1961, that something (she did not know what) was wrong. We named him Brett Van Stott. There were no Brett or Van names in our past.
Of course, Edna quit work at James C. Greene before the birth.
Lois stayed on to help in taking care of the children. Edna went back to work at James C. Greene later.
We noted that Brett’s feet were pointed extremely in outward
directions. We discussed this with a doctor who prescribed foot/leg braces that
applied pressure to align the feet into a parallel front pointed direction. He
had to wear the braces at night as he slept which had shoes with adjustable angle
positions mounted on a metal bar. Over several months, the braces accomplished
There were no children of Reid’s age in the immediate area on Banbury Road. He visited a lot with Mr. Miller who was our next door neighbor who loved to work outside most of the time in his yard. Reid got to know him real well and played in Mr. Miller’s yard a lot. Reid developed a fascination for some reason to play a war game of shooting Germans. Reid had no idea that Mr. Miller was of German descent.
There was a boy two doors away, Butch McKee, who was about 4 years older than Reid but who spent a lot of time playing with and entertaining Reid.
In 1962, Edna changed jobs and went to work in the State of North Carolina Department of Revenue in their Payroll Department. As a part of the interview process the State went back into the voting records of the State to find out Edna’s voting record and could find nothing. They inquired to Edna what her political party preference was. Edna confirmed to them that she had never voted and had no preference. She was advised during the interview process that the State Workers Employee Society dues were $6 per month but that contribution was not a mandatory thing (really just a prerequisite of continued employment and advancement opportunity).
Late in 1962, Edna became pregnant again.
Percy Holder was Edna’s Dad. He was born on May 16, 1901 and died on August 11, 1963, in Sanford, NC. See Edna’s earlier years write up.
In 1962, Al Hails who was one of Herb’s former supervisors at Westinghouse left and joined a company named Fairbanks-Morse Scale Company in St. Johnsbury, VT. He contacted Herb to explore his possible interest in a job at Fairbanks which would involved relocating the manufacturing plants of Fairbanks Scales from St. Johnsbury, VT, East Moline, IL, and Fair Lawn, NJ, to an already selected location in Asheville, NC.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, so Herb agreed to fly up to New Jersey for a interview sometime in early September, 1963.
Just before Herb had an appointment to go to New Jersey for the employment interview, Edna had to go to Rex Hospital to give birth to Carol LeeAnn Stott on September 2, Monday, Labor Day. There was no Carol in the past of either Herb’s or Edna’s family. The LeeAnn was taken from Herb’s mother’s name Cora Lee Stott and Edna’s mother’s name Annie Buchanan Holder and Herbert Lee’s name.
Edna worked the Friday before the birth but she did not go back to work the day after the birth. As a matter of fact, she did not ever go back to work in her old job.
Herb had the go on the interview in New Jersey before Edna and LeeAnn came home from the hospital. They were brought home by Herb’s Dad and Mom.
Herb’s interview went well. The eventual employment offer in 1963 was attractive at $10,000 per year (that compares to $2352 per year when he started at Westinghouse in 1955) with all moving expenses taken care of.
The first day of employment was to be November 17 with initial responsibilities as Operations Superintendent of the Electronics Factory in Fair Lawn, NJ, which was the Division Headquarters Office of Fairbanks-Morse Scales, a division of a newly formed Colt Industries located in New York City.
The electronics operation had been moved just recently from a facility in Yonkers, NY, which was a northern suburb of New York City. This was to be a temporary assignment for Herb until all of the details were worked out with the consolidation of the total division in Asheville, NC.
Herb got a motel room near the Fair Lawn plant along with other division people awaiting the initiation of activities to start the move.
Herb would fly home to NC most every weekend to see the family. One weekend while sitting in the Newark, NJ, airport waiting for a plane to go home, it was announced that President Kennedy had been assassinated in Texas.
The manufacturing plant in St. Johnsbury, VT, was the birthplace of Fairbanks Scales in 1839. Fairbanks Scales was a very major employer in Vermont and the core of all employment in St. Johnsbury.
The people of Vermont got together and made an offer to Colt Industries. Colt, as a newly formed company, was loaded down with the debt from consolidating and forming a group of many companies. Colt could not turn down the offer by the State of Vermont to build a brand new plant to replace the then 124 year old plant at no up front cost to Colt and a $1.00 transfer fee of the facility many years later.
In the winter of 1963, there was a need for Herb to make a trip to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, to the Fairbanks-Morse Scale Plant. There was the typical abundant snow on the ground. After walking about 6 blocks to the plant in the snow and in very cold weather from the only hotel in the town with a thin N.C. overcoat, there was an opportunity to tour the 124 year old plant. The facility was a multi-story facility that had been expanded in bits and pieces literally into small pockets dug into the side of the hills as space was required. The results were many, many small specialty little storage rooms and manufacturing areas.
There were more than 110 different elevation/floor levels. The facility straddled a small river running through the center of the plant. In olden days, machinery captured rotational power from water wheels submerged within the current of the river and transmitted by large overhead rotating shafts with connection to ground level machinery with long unguarded wide black belts.
There were bridges across the river. The lower bridge had swinging door walls that would swing open to allow the spring thaw waters to flow through without restriction. At the entrance/exit of the bridge was a pile of sand bags which were used to stack and block water from entering the factory. During such periods, the upper bridge was used.
Touring the plant required frequent changes in floor levels to go from department to department within manufacturing. The lowest level of the plant contained a huge foundry with a black sand floor in which molten metal was poured in huge quantities each day with accompanying sparks, flame and smoke. Quite frankly, Herb’s impression as he walked down from level to lower level with the increasing presence of smoke and dirt was that we were going deeper and deeper into the depths of HELL.
That old plant was a classic facility through which everybody involved with any kind of manufacturing exposure should have toured.
So, the move to Asheville, NC, opportunity vanished in early 1964. Herb had a job in Fair Lawn, NJ, and a motel room. He had a family in Raleigh, NC, and a house. After much deliberation, Herb and Edna decided that they would move to New Jersey.
So we put our house at 1340 Banbury Road in Raleigh, NC, on the market.
A house was found in Oakland, NJ, on which we entered an option to buy contingent on selling our house in Raleigh, NC. The house (IB#13) was a split level, front to rear with living room, dining room and kitchen with eating area on the front middle level, 3 bedrooms and bath on the upper level and playroom/den, utility room and half bath on the lower level which was ½ below grade level. Under the living room was a concrete floored crawl space for storage.
The house was less than 10 years old and was located near the eastern edge of the Ramapo Mountain Range about 8 miles west on Route 208 from the Fairbanks Plant in Fair Lawn, NJ.
There was a fully enclosed garage attached at one end of the house with a 30 ft. long driveway on an incline leading up from Loyola Place Street in front of the house. The lot had very large oak trees in the back. Houses in the back were about 350 ft. away and the houses on each side were about 75 ft. away.
We moved in early spring with Reid at age 5, Brett at age 3 and LeeAnn at age 6 months. Reid wasted no time in introducing himself to the neighborhood children with his almost formal introductory handshake (as we watched out the kitchen window).
Reid entered kindergarten when we arrived in NJ. He was in kindergarten before we left Raleigh. Later he started in regular school, which was just around the corner from our house.
The house in Raleigh would not sell. The NJ Realtor who owned the Oakland house stopped by Raleigh on a trip south and aided in the sale of the Raleigh house so that we could buy the Oakland house.
It was difficult for Edna and Herb to get to know the neighbors. We were from down South and did not understand their New Jersey upbringings/attitudes and those New Jersey people did not understand nor have much interest in learning how to accept Tar Heels. Herb had trouble when working out in the yard to get an acknowledgement of his “Good Morning” greeting to a neighbor who was less than 10 ft. away across a 3 foot high hedge between yards. It was difficult to accept that kind of suspicious upbringing. It took about three years to really break through what we conceived as a barrier. After the break through, they were wonderful people.
Within a few months, it was evident that Edna needed some kind of transportation since Herb had to drive our car to work. We found a 1950 Chevrolet with more than 100,000 miles on it. The engine had been overhauled and the body had a new “brushed on” paint job. It cost us $200. It ran like a top and Edna used it to go anywhere that she wanted to. We never had any problems with that car.
The area offered opportunity to see many things. We spent weekends with the children driving around to see things. There were the mountains and many lakes west of us. There was New York City with much to see and visit. There were Zoos, Empire State Building, outer drive, Wall Street, Greenwich Village, Central Park, The Bowery, Harlem, Time Square, Rockefeller Center, RCA Music Hall, Airports, Long Island, Lower New York State, all of New Jersey including the ocean, Pennsylvania, etc.
The Worlds Fair on Long Island happened while we were there which resulted in many welcomed visitors from North Carolina to stay at Stott’s Motel. We had some wonderful visits.
We developed an excellent group of friends with fellow Fairbanks employees. Over the many years since then, we have retained contact with that group.
The pediatrician who we initially selected in Oakland for Brett suggested that we immediately put him in a school for the handicapped away from home and in effect, forget about him. We found another pediatrician. With some effort, we found a local special education school for Brett to enter.
LeeAnn started kindergarten in a church school just around the corner from our house.
Reid would spend quite a bit of the summer at Granddad and Grandmother’s place at the beach in NC. Over time, he developed an ability to pencil sketch most anything that he wanted to. He would include sketches in his frequent letters home. We have many of those efforts in our archive records.
One summer Saturday after he had visited downtown Oakland when he was about 7-8 years old, he came home and said that he wanted to take art lessons at a art supply store downtown. He presented a business card from the art shop (which we still have) to let us know where he had selected to take the art lessons. He started taking the lessons and today we have in our house and Grandmother has in her house some excellent oil paintings that he created from pictures and from real scenes at the beach. After about two years, he decided to stop.
Reid learned to ice skate on a small lake that was 3-4 block from our house.
We experienced three significant problems with that house.
#1) We had a tremendous amount of rain over a few days. Our house had its own septic tank sewage system. The septic tank was located in the back yard. Due to the grade on the lot and the fact that the lower level of the house was half below ground level, the top of the septic tank had to be about 4-5 feet underneath the surface of the ground behind the house. We had so much rain that the ground became super-saturated very deep. Consequently the bottom of the surface water table penetrated the 5 feet of soil above the septic tank and the water pressure reacted on top of the sewage contained within the septic tank.
One morning during the rainy period, Brett went down to the lower level and came back to the kitchen and let us know that something was wrong in the basement. The surface water had exerted pressure on the sewage in the septic tank and it started to back flow into the toilet bowl in the half bath in the basement. When the toilet bowl filled up, it started to overflow onto the floor. That is the problem that Brett saw and came up to the kitchen to let us know that something was wrong.
Herb went down and tried to daintily hem up the flow on the floor with towels. The flow was too much to hem up. Daintiness abandoned, efforts were directed to get things up off the floor including chairs, couch, TV set, book racks, etc., etc. The depth of the sewage continued to increase. When it got to wading around in about 12” deep sewage which continued to come in, Herb sat down on the steps to rest and think.
The outside garage floor was eyeballed to be at about the same level as the concrete floor of the crawl space under the house. Herb took a 4 pound sledge hammer and attacked a cinder block at floor level in the wall between the garage and the basement. When the cinder block was fractured to open up a hole, the contained sewage from the basement surged eagerly into the garage, down the driveway and down the street.
Herb went to the Fairbanks Scales factory building and borrowed an electric pump to aid in final evacuation of the sewage. Water hoses, squeegees, mops and aching backs finished the cleanup. We lost quite a bit of non-waterproof stuff that was stored in the crawl space under the house. We purchased an electric water pump with a float on it to sense a rising water table. Thank goodness, it is still brand new and has never been actuated but we still have it.
#2) One winter night with snow on the ground, we awoke to a cloud of smoke which had filled the upper bedroom level of the house to a height above the floor equal to the elevation of our nose as we lay in bed. Sitting up in bed, it was impossible to see or breathe. The whole family was evacuated to outside the house. An electrical plug-in wall receptacle at the front door had caught fire inside the wall. The flame had the weather boarding on the outside of the house flaming.
Herb in panic while standing bare footed in the snow, stupidly directed a flow of water on the flame from a water hose that was at the front door. He heard an arcing electrical sizzle and immediately turned the hose off . Next, he reached with bare hands and pulled the flaming boards off the outside of the house. Edna took the children to a neighbor’s house and called the Fire Department. The firemen quickly put out the residual fire. The damage was the wall and everything including walls, furniture, carpets, clothing and all were fully loaded with smoke. Cleaning crews, carpenters, painters, clothes washing and dry cleaners got us back into living again.
#3) We had a wind storm which pushed over a tree onto the roof of our house. The house had wooden gutters that were fractured by the impact of the tree. This required replacement of all the gutters. There was very little roof damage.
One day, the President of Fairbanks Scales, Ken Hammer, from St. Johnsbury, VT, arrived at the Fair Lawn, NJ, plant with his entire executive management staff. He announced that the new Fairbanks Scale facility that had been built in St. Johnsbury, VT, was complete and that the total operation from Fair Lawn was going to move to St. Johnsbury.
He designated Herb as the Manager to be in charge of the move. Herb was also offered the opportunity (?) to relocate to St. J., VT, as Manager of Electronic Systems Operations. Most of the key people were interviewed and made relocation job offers. The vast majority of those offered a relocation job, declined but agreed to continue their employment until the move was accomplished at which time they would receive a separation bonus.
None of Herb’s Engineering, Design, Drafting, Manufacturing, Industrial Engineering or Material Control personnel agreed to relocate. Only his Lead Quality Control Inspector and also his Field Systems Installation/Service Manager [who was to be reassigned to the Fairbanks Scales Division’s National Service Organization] agreed to relocate. Additionally one of four Marketing Product Managers [who was to be reassigned to the Division’s National Sales Organization] agreed to relocate.
The product manufactured varied from relatively simple electo-mechanical scale instruments to products containing a process control computer all the way to large individually custom designed weighing/control systems which interfaced with several onsite customer computers.
Edna had said when we moved from NC to NJ, back in 1964, that that was as far north as we were going. She did not want the “rubber band” connection to NC to break. Even so, with considerable trepidation of the task facing him, and with concurrence by Edna, Herb decided to accept the momentous challenging task of termination, moving and startup of the operation.
Herb had to fire on the spot only one Fair Lawn employee who tried to kind of sabotage preparation of everything to move to St J. That quickly got the attention of everybody else.
Needless to say, the startup was a tremendous demanding task in a new environment of people who knew almost nothing about the product designs, drawing design files, application engineering files or very much about anything that we had designed, manufactured in Fair Lawn and installed nationwide and around the world.
The results, after very challenging and time consuming training, however turned out good.
There were four motels in the town of St. J. and when Herb went to St. J after closing Fair Lawn, he lived in one of those motels. The motels were owned by one individual, Burney Murphy. He also owned an old well maintained two story yellow three bedroom Victorian house with a wrap around front porch and a garage, across the street from one of the motels. The house was for rent and we decided to rent it. The house was on Portland Street.
We sold the house in Oakland, NJ, loaded everything into a moving van, connected the old 1950 Chevrolet behind our other car and drove to VT during early October during the beautiful colorful fall foliage season. When we would cross a bump, the somewhat worn out front end of the old car would begin to “shake, rattle, and roll” till it settled down but our tow car reverberated for a while.
The moving van from NJ backed into the driveway of the house on Portland Street and started unloading.
While unloading, the garage on the end of the house started vibrating and a noise emerged from behind the house. To our total surprise, there was an active train track about 100 feet away at the rear of the lot on which the house was located. The children loved this new adventure.
The train had a standard schedule of passing by every night at 11:30 PM. Sleep was scheduled after that event. Complimenting the noise of the train, we learned that our house was also adjacent to the terminal yard on the only trucking company in town, St. Johnsbury Trucking. As a standard routine, all of the over the road tractors’ engines were started at about 10:00PM each night in preparation for a departure of the total fleet of trucks starting at 10:30PM.
The house (IB#14) had 3 bedrooms upstairs and a half bath. There was a full bath downstairs with a tub. Also downstairs was a living room, kitchen with eating area and another room for whatever. We decided to convert that room into a guest bedroom.
The room had quite old rough plaster walls that needed to be covered. Herb patched the plaster and installed wallpaper over the patched walls. As a part of the wallpapering process, it is necessary to soak the wallpaper in water to activate the glue on the back of the paper. The wallpapering task was completed late in the afternoon.
After supper, we were sitting in the den area of the kitchen and heard a sound like “rrrriiiippppp” and it repeated. Searching for the noise, we found that the wallpaper was drying and as it dried it was shrinking enough to exert pulling pressure on the joint seams and that resulted in the seam bursting and pulling up a line of the old and patched plaster causing the noise. It kept happening until totally dried.
Several bottles of Elmer’s Glue squirted into the split seam and rolling with a wooden roller to reseat the split seam plus a few hours repaired the problem to a situation that we could live with.
Reid and LeeAnn walked to school together each morning just 1.5 blocks from our house. LeeAnn was in kindergarten and would get out of school before Reid. She would walk home by herself and Edna would watch for her to approach our house so that she could help LeeAnn get across traffic on the somewhat busy Portland Street.
Upon inquiry with the St J. school system, we learned that there was no special education schooling available for Brett and that there was no funding available to start one. Herb explored the problem. He found a contact in the Vermont Public School system. Then found a contact in the Vermont State Capital City of Montpelier who revealed that there was an unused/unallocated $75,000 fund that could be used as initial funding to setup a special education school in St. J.
The school was setup and started into operation with a large class of students including Brett. The town had needed a school for a long time. (In 1998, 30 years later, Herb and Edna visited St J. and the school was still in operation.)
The house had very high ceilings with a winding staircase in the front entry leading up to the bedrooms upstairs. The ceiling in the living room accommodated a 10-12 foot tall native spruce Christmas Tree that year. [The tree had to be bought into the full basement through the access trap door to allow the heavy snow on the tree to melt and dry out before we brought it up the inside steps from the basement.]
The house was heated by an oil furnace. The heat was transferred
to each room’s individual radiator via hot water pipes. Over the years, the house,
its insulation and heating system had been finely tuned very adequately to counter
the fierce VT weather.
It was very comfortable.
In prior years, the early owner of the house operated a sawmill about 3 block away and used sawdust from the sawmill as the fuel for the furnace before it was converted to oil. There was still a sawdust bin in the basement near the furnace. The sawdust was moved from the bin to the furnace by a motorized screw auger.
We installed our clothes washing machine in a corner of the kitchen. The washer had to be plugged into the electrical circuit in the kitchen. Our television was on the counter between the kitchen and the combination eating area and den. When the washer was turned on while the television set was on, the image on the TV screen kind of did a quick image shrink/collapse as the washer motor sucked in the electricity and overloaded the circuit. The house had really ancient open post porcelain insulators through which a single electrical wire was run like a clothesline. There was a pair of these wire/insulators run parallel under the floor joists as distribution of electricity through out the house. I had to rewire that circuit all the way back to the main switch box.
We did not have a clothes dryer. There were steps up to unheated storage attic above the garage in which clotheslines had been strung. In cold weather, the wet clothes would freeze dry. Most houses hung their clothes on the front porch to freeze dry.
The winters were fierce. A necessity for a car was to have a heating element installed into the side of the engine block to allow the engine to be plugged into the 110 volt electricity of the house so that it would start in the mornings.
We had to learn how to dress in the cold. The children would go outside to play in the always present snow and come in with blue extremities until we learned better what they should wear. The first Christmas, Herb’s Dad and Mom came to visit and we drove about 10 miles up to Burke Mountain and the temperature wind chill was –40 degrees.
On February 25, 1969, there was a 33” snowfall in St. J. in less than 24 hours. There was already an accumulation of some 3-4 feet of snow on the ground. For the first time since 1839 (130 years), the Fairbanks Scale Plant was closed right after lunch to allow the parking lot snow to be pushed off by snowplows for 2nd shift parking.
Edna had been trying to shovel the new snow out of our 40 feet long driveway. Herb went home to aid in that task. We would start at one end of the driveway and with snow shovels throw the snow off to the side of the driveway. When we got to the end, it was time to go back to the beginning and start all over again. The old snow and the new snow piled on top of it on each side of the driveway reached a height in excess of our capability to throw the snow any higher. It would come back in our face. We had never seen so much snow. The people of St. J. had not seen that much snow either.
As a standard part of the local weather report was a statement of roof loading created by the accumulated snow. There were crews in town whose winter job was to clear snow off of commercial buildings. Herb on 2 or 3 occasions climbed on the roof of our two story house to shovel the snow off.
We lost Edna’s car beside the driveway for about five weeks before we could get it out. It was covered with snow.
That February 25, 1969, snowfall established a record. So did the 60.5” for the month of February, 1969. The record for a winter was the winter of 1968-1969 with 139”. We were there for all of that.
Reid took lessons and learned to ski at Burke Mountain and thoroughly enjoyed it. (We still have his skis and boots.) Herb tried to ski without lessons and it was a disaster. Eventually, lessons helped him to stand up more than fall down so much and lay down so much and finally to enjoy it. By then, the snow was turning to ice and not as enjoyable.
In Vermont, snow typically arrives by Thanksgiving and stays on the ground until about May. Vermont, because of the weather, has very distinct seasons.
In the spring, the buds on everything are almost angrily straining to explode to expose something green. The trees can literally turn green almost over night revealing the magic of spring. The stark white trunks of the many birch trees are beautiful in all seasons.
The summers are generally quite mild. There is no air conditioning and little need.
The falls are exciting with the beautiful fall foliage that typically peaks about October 10. It is dangerous to drive during that period because of the mass of tourist driving through to look at the leaves and forgetting to watch the roads. Every fall Herb had to be in St. J for a business meeting in October. He would turn the car radio off during the driving trip up from Boston because of the distraction from the foliage beauty caused by the radio.
The winters, some 6 months long, are wonderful with all of that white snow clinging to everything early in the season but it is tuff not to see some naked dirt for 6 months. We got tired of it.
The Stott family developed a real love for the beauty of the outdoors. Reid and Herb developed enjoyment for fishing in the Vermont’s small streams for brook, rainbow and brown trout. On average, we would go about three times per week. Many of those times, everybody would go and take a picnic or cookout. We also enjoyed looking for deer. The fish made excellent meals.
After school was over that spring, our landlord of the Portland Street house advised us that we would have to move. He was going to tear down the house and build an office building into which the telephone company was going to move.
We found a house (IB#15) on Sumner Avenue only about 5 blocks away from Portland Street. The house was less than 10 years old, had 3 bedrooms and a full basement with garage. The living room had a fireplace that was continuously in use in cold weather. We even had a fire in the fireplace on July 5 to keep warm. We purchased an electric clothes dryer that eliminated the need to freeze-dry our clothes.
There was a relatively level lot that required mowing. In the yard, the former owner had created a bed of rhubarb plants that we learn to enjoy in pies. Never had any since.
Reid and LeeAnn had to change schools. The school was immediately behind our house that had to be accessed by a very steep path from the back of our lot up about 50 feet. It was interesting to watch the tugging and pulling as they climbed the hill each morning particularly when covered with snow. It was even more interesting to watch their sliding journey down the hill after school.
[Living near the school was a couple, Dick and Gertrude Lofquist, who were Fairbanks Scales people. Dick was a Marketing Specialist who had worked for Fairbanks in East Moline, IL, and in Fair Lawn, NJ, who later moved back to East Moline and was transferred to Meridian, MS, in 1975 when Fairbanks moved there. In 1982, Dick retired in Meridian with 40 some years of service. Gertrude has been playing in a bridge group with Edna for several years preceding the year 2000 and still does.]
On July 20, 1969, we had a guest for dinner, Joe Peterson from Fair Lawn, NJ. Before, during and after dinner we watched intently all of the proceedings leading up to Neil Armstrong taking the first steps on mankind on the Moon. That was suppose to be a never to happen or be seen event. But we saw it!!!
The technological efforts leading up to that successful event and the resultant follow on technological evolution has and is and will change this world and its occupants lives far, far beyond the very wildest possible dreams of the 1920’s when Herb and Edna were born.
One of the men who moved to VT from NJ had a 1963 Volkswagon that we purchased. We sold the old Chevrolet to a VT hunter for the same thing that we paid for it.
When it was announced that the Fair Lawn, NJ, Electronics Factory was moving to Vermont, Ed Goodwin was the General Manager of the NJ operation. He was not asked to move with the operation. He went with International Telephone & Telephone (ITT) in New York City on the Corporate Operations Audit Staff. One of the ITT divisions that he was responsible for was ITT-Mackay Marine in Clark, NJ.
That operation’s primary product line produced was a large radio communication system that was mandatory for ocean going ships. Mackay-Marine was a world recognized old operation but lacking profit. Goodwin took over the operation as Division President with the charge to turn the operation around.
He contacted Herb for a potential Director of Planning and Administration job to aid him in evaluating how best to improve profitability on the division. Herb went down to look at the opportunity, took a 8 hour long assessment test conducted by an ITT Psychologist which in itself was extremely interesting. Shortly, a job offer was made which could not be turned down.
Herb submitted his resignation to the Fairbanks Scale Weighing Division’s President Ken Hammer. Ken told Herb that if he ever saw anything that Fairbanks was doing in the future that may be of career interest, to let him know.
So, in the Fall of 1969, Herb started working at ITT Mackay-Marine
in Clark, NJ.
The house on Sumner Avenue in St. Johnsbury, VT, was sold. Herb looked for housing in New Jersey.
The housing was very expensive in NJ. More reasonable housing cost could be found the further away from the metropolitan area that was looked at. Eventually, a new house was found in Clinton, NJ, in western NJ. It was a 45 minute one way commute to the Mackay-Marine plant in Clark, NJ, mostly via Interstate Highway.
The house (IB#16) was two story with 3 bedrooms
upstairs, den with large fireplace,
2 car garage, etc. and was the 2nd house in a new sub-division located in rolling hills outside of Clinton. The house was not completed until winter had set in. As a matter of fact, in order to get the water line into the area, it was necessary to use dynamite to dig the ditch on the street.
Consequently, the yard was not finished and Herb and Edna took over the task the next spring to grade, rake out the rocks and sow the grass. That will be the last of that forever and ever.
The rolling hills were heavily populated with deer. Almost every morning we could look out on the hill within 100 yards of the house and see deer. At night, we would drive a few hundred yards to the cul-de-sac at the end of our street and shine the car lights out as we circled and count the deer. One weekend, we drove into Clinton, which was about ½ mile away and in a corn field near our house, there were 25 deer feeding on the two acres of corn. Herb planted some strawberries in our little garden spot and the deer came and nipped off the buds of the plants. We put up a string fence with tin cans hanging on the string and rattling rocks inside the cans. It kept the deer away and we had an excellent crop of strawberries.
There was also a good population of pheasant that would scare you to death when one was flushed out of the over growth on the hills.
Reid, Brett and LeeAnn rode their bicycles and wagon in the empty streets. Brett learned to ride the bicycle there. One time when he was learning, our car was parked in the driveway where he was riding and as he tried to control his direction of travel, he said “Watch out the Mercury”. That was a memorable communication from him.
Reid went to school at Spruce Run School that was almost in sight of our house. LeeAnn went to a little Red School House in the village of Annandale, which was adjacent to Clinton. LeeAnn walked with Reid to his school, caught a bus to her school, then returned by bus in the afternoon to walk home with Reid. Brett was picked up by bus to go to his school in the nearby little town of Washington.
The new house had hardwood floors that we decided to cover with new carpeting.
The 1963 VW was getting worn out by the long commute each day and we decided to buy a brand new 1970 VW at a new price of $1989.00 .
A detailed review of the Mackay-Marine business confirmed that it was not a viable stand alone operation. The Mackay-Marine Division was a part of the ITT Telecommunication Group that had manufacturing operations located in many states. One of the states was North Carolina, specifically Raleigh’s ITT Telecommunication Division.
With approval by ITT’s Corporate Office in New York City, Herb went on an exploratory/investigative/undercover trip to Raleigh looking at that manufacturing operation and at available inside and/or outside rental office, warehouse and/or manufacturing space.
Upon return from the trip, Herb put together a written proposal for presentation to ITT headquarters. The proposal was presented by Ed Goodwin and Herb. It was to move and consolidate the two divisions in Raleigh with Ed Goodwin as President of the consolidated Division businesses and Herb as Director of Operations. The operation would have about 650 employees.
The proposal was approved basically as presented.
When Herb came home to tell Edna about the move to Raleigh, her first ever wall to wall carpet had only been installed about 2 weeks before. She said “NO!!” but very shortly realized that the rubber band that she had fear that it would break back in 1963 and in 1968, did in fact still have some tension in it. We decided that we would move back to Raleigh.
The consolidation was announced and Herb left the family in NJ and went to Raleigh to initiate the consolidation starting in the fall of 1970. He commuted back to NJ on weekends.
There were several management terminations and new management hires and organization shuffles. Herb located a new division headquarters office away from the plant, a storage warehouse, new manufacturing space and coordinated moving all the various functions. Training of manufacturing employees for the new Mackay-Marine product was a huge task accomplished by a very capable staff of manufacturing supervisors who were transferred from NJ.
The move, consolidation, relocation, startup in separated facilities, training et al was a tremendous task but, over time, the anticipated and forecast results were accomplished.
Herb and Edna found a house on Keswick Drive in Raleigh and moved in March, 1971.
The house (IB#17) was a two-story brick house with 4 bedrooms upstairs and two baths. The first floor had a LR, DR, Kitchen, Breakfast Nook, 1/2 bath, Den with fireplace and deck. The basement had a two-car garage, small activity room, washer and dryer area and closets.
The house was in a very nice neighborhood called North Hills with some wonderful neighbors.
Reid went to Carroll Junior High School on Six Forks Road by bus. LeeAnn walked to Brooks Elementary School through the 5th grade. She started playing the Recorder musical instrument and that eventually led to the flute later. She then went to Crosby- Garfield for the 6th grade. Brett rode a bus to Myrtle Underwood School.
Reid reached the age of driving. We had some wonderful times
teaching him to drive. The rear parking lot at ITT was quite large and this was
a favored place for him to get acclimated to handling a car. There was however
one huge problem that had to be controlled as Dad hollered
WATCH OUT FOR
Reid took Driver’s Education at Sanderson High School in 1974 in the 10th grade.
The family took some good vacation trips from Raleigh. We went to Washington, DC, and stayed in a beautiful suite of rooms in The Sheraton Hotel, which was a property of ITT at which we received a huge discount. We toured all the sights in the town.
We spent a week on the beach on the Outer Banks of NC with all the sights. We had a week in an apartment on Atlantic Beach enjoying the ocean.
LeeAnn had an encounter with the shrubbery around the deck at the back of the house. She was playing with a basketball and walking around on top of the railing of the deck. She fell off and punctured her arm pit with the stem of a shrub. Edna took her to the emergency room who questioned the possibility of child abuse.
LeeAnn was riding her bike one day on the street with a girl friend riding kind of side saddle on the bar between the driver’s seat and the steering post. Her visibility was apparently obstructed somewhat because she crashed into the bumper of a parked car and tore up her body some. Herb took her to the emergency room for repairs. They had to wait in a line of people seated awaiting access to medical personnel. Sitting in front of us was a man with blood trickling down his shirt collar and onto his back. He had a funny looking thing dangling from his scalp at the edge of his hairline. The funny looking thing was a unsuccessfully cast fishing lure embedded securely with its barbed hooks into his skin. The bass got away.
There were huge work effort demands at ITT. The business grew generously. Herb was responsible to work with an Architect to design and coordinate construction of a new facility that doubled the former size. Then, everything had to be moved back inside but some of it would not fit. So we had to have an offsite warehouse.
During that time, employment grew from 650 to over 1250. Profits did what was expected. ITT Corporate was really based on financial control. Corporate imposed a new Finance Comptroller into ITT-Raleigh who really was inexperienced for a manufacturing operation and quite frankly he screwed everything up and kept Corporate absolutely confused about the real facts.
The President- Ed Goodwin resigned from the pressures and was replaced by an aide from the Telecommunication Group’s Staff in NY, [Name Deleted]. The replacement was a seasoned alcoholic who was far beyond a people/business manager. Particularly of Herb.
Ed Goodwin went to the Fluid Handling Division of Keene Corporation as the division President when he left ITT. The business was very old and had been newly acquired by Keene. There were two manufacturing plants in Tennessee. Division headquarters and the largest TN plant in the Cookville, TN, location. The 2nd TN plant was in Greenville,TN. Then there was a newly relocated filter manufacturing plant into a new facility in LaGrange, GA.
There was a strong deliberately possessive slowdown union that was beyond negotiations. Profits were unacceptable but there was a strong customer base.
Ed Goodwin decided that Herb could help him turn the business around so he offered a job. His timing was excellent considering the unlivable new environment at ITT-Raleigh.
So, Herb accepted a job with Ed. As vice president of Planning and Administration, he moved to Cookeville, TN.
It was quickly obvious that the Cookeville operation was not near term viable and not practically recoverable because the union would not even consider negotiations.
We sold our house in Raleigh and moved into a rental house (IB#18) in Cookeville. Reid went to Putnam County Senior High School in the 11th grade. LeeAnn went to Parkview Elementary School in the 6th grade. Brett went to school at Sycamore Elementary School.
While Reid was in High School he played the part of “Trapper John” in play
MASH put on by the drama club at the school. He also got an after school hours job as a Disc Jockey at a local Cookeville radio station WHUB. We have a tape recording of his voice on that radio station.
Reid was not challenged in the Cookeville school. Near the end of his 11th grade he indicated that he would like to start college the next year at Wake Forest before he even entered the 12th grade. He soothed our shock some by telling us how it could be done and what he had explored and had found out.
It could be done and we agreed. So he went to Wake Forest without a high school diploma. Initially he lived in a dormitory on campus. We well remember when he moved in because all his belongings had to hand/back carried to the 3rd floor. That was a task.
The primary product manufactured at Keene in Cookeville other than very special expendable fluid filter elements was a very wide variety of various kinds of fabricated and machined metal vessels to contain the fluid filtering elements. The vessel manufacturing was not difficult except that certain critical stringent operational pressurization governmental codes and very specific documented tests had to be passed.
After some detailed analysis, we decided to subcontract the metal fabrication, retain and move the filter element manufacture into the already operating new filter element plant in LaGrange, GA, and close down the Cookeville facility.
The product line was culled, many subcontractors were reviewed, two were qualified by Herb and the Engineering Staff. The Cookeville and Greenville facilities were closed and the remaining product manufacture was moved to LaGrange, GA. Herb was promoted to Vice President of Manufacturing.
We purchased a single level house (IB#19) with 4 BR, 2 ½ bath, LR, DR, den with fireplace, 2 car garage with one of the BR over it. It was located on a level large lot with many pine trees on 807 Wistera Way in LaGrange, GA. LeeAnn went to East Side Girl’s Junior High where she was on the soccer team. Brett went to the Troup County Training Center in West Point, GA, just south of LaGrange.
LaGrange started as a textile town. The mills were owned and operated by the Calloway family. They gave considerable monetary support to the town with all kinds of civic things. There was much citizen pride in that town. They were the developers of the beautiful Calloway Gardens about 35 miles south of LaGrange. There was even a small college.
For whatever reason, the owner of Keene, Mr. Glenn Bailey, and Ed Goodwin had problems in their relationship. It got bad enough that Ed resigned and another division’s President was brought in for the LaGrange operation.
Herb also had problems with Mr. Bailey for some reason. One Friday afternoon, Herb was given a reasonably generous termination package and that was it.
When Herb left Fairbanks Scales in 1969, Ken Hammer, the President had told him that if Herb saw anything in the future that Fairbanks was doing that Herb might have career interest in, to let him know.
Fairbanks Scales had moved its East Moline, IL, Heavy Capacity Scale manufacturing operation to Meridian, MS, in early 1975.
The East Moline Plant Manager who managed the move was formerly the Division Vice President of Manufacturing for Fairbanks Scales located in St. Johnsbury, VT. For whatever reason, he had been transferred from St. Johnsbury to East Moline as Plant Manager and then to Mississippi. He was originally from Alabama before going to Vermont and his wife decided that she wanted to move back to Alabama so the Meridian Plant Manager decided that he would go with his wife back to Alabama.
Fairbanks Scales placed an advertisement for an Operations Manager in the Wall Street Journal and Herb saw it. Upon contact, Ken Hammer-President said “come on up and let’s talk”. We got together, talked, Herb visited the Meridian, MS, plant, came to an agreement with Fairbanks and started to work in Meridian on November 17, 1975, as Manager of Heavy Capacity Operations.
Back in the summer of 1966, while Herb was at Fairbanks Scales in Fair Lawn, NJ, he was placed on temporary special assignment to run the East Moline operation for 2-3 months while a Plant Manager was being replaced. He was familiar with the operation and about ½ dozen of the East Moline management employees who he knew transferred to Meridian.
It was good to take over a position with knowledge of some of the supervision.
Herb initially started staying in the Howard Johnson Motel but due to the expense, which Fairbanks paid for, he moved to a furnished apartment that was also paid for by Fairbanks.
The house in LaGrange was put up for sale. Herb commuted home on weekends or the family came to Meridian on some weekends. When the house was sold in LaGrange, Edna, Brett and LeeAnn moved into a motel there (IB#20) until school was out.
We found a house outside of the City of Meridian on a two acre lot with considerable space around it away from other houses. The house was not immediately available, so when school was over in LaGrange, Edna and the children moved in with Herb in the small apartment (IB#21) with Herb in Meridian.
The house that we selected was one year old and was an end to end split-level. It had 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths on the upper level. There was a long Great Room with large fireplace on the half level. The other level had the large eat-in kitchen, deck access, dining room, den, laundry room and half bath.
The basement had a very large finished game room, bedroom, a full bath and furnace room. The house (IB#22) had 3300 Sq. Ft. of space and many windows.
[By the way, the (IB#1 to #22) symbols used in the text above deserve
explanation. Herb and Edna have lived in many places. We have used as a measurable
condition of setting up housekeeping to be that when we have stayed somewhere
long enough to need to setup an Ironing Board. Therefore the IB# signifies Ironing
Boards. So from 1950 to 1976, 26 years, we have set up housekeeping 22 times.
From 1976 to 2000, 24 years, we have not setup another Ironing Board.
That has been a bunch of experience.
It has been without question - - - challenging.
It has been quite disruptive for our children who have been in Elementary and High schools in NC, NJ, VT, VT, NJ, NC, TN, GA and MS for the period of 1962 to 1981.]
The yard of the new house was 2 acres in size and required more effort than our existing push lawnmower could handle. A new riding mower was purchased and was stored underneath the deck at the back of the house. It was parked on a piece of plywood laying on the ground.
One Saturday, Herb went out to begin mowing. The mower was hung up on the plywood sheet somehow, so Herb grabbed the rear structure of the mower and proceeded trying to lift the rear end while pulling as hard as possible to get the mower up the hill and out from under the deck. Suddenly the mower became un-hung and resulted in Herb sitting down extremely hard on the ground. Took his breath away for a while. Pain was huge.
That night, we visited the Emergency Room at the hospital and x-rays revealed three vertebrae which had been compressed into a wedge shape with a thinner edge thickness on one side rather than having parallel upper and lower surfaces. The doctor said that there was nothing that he could do except suggest pain medicine. He suggested an office visit on the following Monday, but considering that the doctor had said that he could do nothing, Herb never went to his office. Pain pills controlled it.
LeeAnn went to school at West Lauderdale via school bus. A real challenge with her was to teach her how to handle a car. A VERY REAL BIG CHALLENGE! She took a Drivers Ed class at school. Somewhere along the way, she started driving to school in one of our cars rather than go on the bus. Several years later she has discussed some of her experiences with the car. Fortunately, we were not aware of them as they were happening.
Brett went to school at Harris Campus School in a special education class.
Reid was at Wake Forest College in Winston Salem, NC.
A small group of employees at Fairbanks Scales wanted to create some disruption. They contacted the Steelworkers Union who began an unionization effort among the hourly employees. A Labor Lawyer was used to help in a campaign to counter the unionization effort and required considerable effort by Herb. There were frequent weekly meetings with employees to explain to them just how much Fairbanks was doing for them, why they should be happy with their jobs/benefits and why they did not need the union. It was a very involved/enjoyable effort resulting in a tremendous defeat of the union at a formal election. That was a milestone event.
[Much later in about 1990, some employees tried to startup another union organization attempt. Herb immediately called the employees together in small group meetings and confronted them with the facts of just what Fairbanks had and was doing for them and that some were still not happy. It is very important that everybody should be happy with their job. Herb told them, if they were not happy, please hurry and go get another job because Fairbanks had done everything for them that it could do. Fairbanks does not want and will not tolerate unhappy employees. Get Happy! Things calmed down immediately.]
1977 was the Golden Wedding Anniversary year for Eddie and Cora Lee Stott. The date was right in the middle of the union campaign and Herb had to be present at the plant for that activity. On the other hand, there was no way that Herb was going to miss the Anniversary Celebration in Knightdale, NC.
So, a motor home was rented and Herb, Edna, LeeAnn and Brett drove to NC. We spent the one night along the way parked on the street in front of Reid’s apartment near Wake Forest. The next day we drove to Mom and Dad’s house and parked in their back yard and used the motor home as sleeping quarters.
After the Wedding Anniversary, Herb went to the airport in Raleigh to catch a plane back to Meridian so that he would not be away from the plant for too long. Edna drove the motor home back to Meridian. The rental cost of the motor home and the cost of the airline ticket were paid for by Fairbanks.
LeeAnn got involved with Flute lessons and became a member of the West Lauderdale High School Band. She performed Flute Solos at First Baptist Church, played music at every opportunity including several weddings and really enjoyed all of it. She entered a student couple’s pageant at the High School with a beautiful long dress. She also entered the Junior Miss Pageant and won an award.
She became the West Lauderdale Band’s Drum Major and really dedicated herself to that responsibility and thoroughly enjoyed it including Band Camps. She had a wonderful group of girlfriends that we had a chance to see frequently.
LeeAnn finished High School at West Lauderdale and went to the Meridian Junior College (MJC).
Reid came home during the summer. One year, he worked for Woodall Electric Company as a helper. Reid moved into an apartment while going to school at Wake Forest and became an announcer on a local Wake Forest radio station while going to school.
The East Moline, IL, Fairbanks Scales facility had a very old antiquated cast iron foundry in which to make scale parts. Closing down the East Moline Operation required that new foundry suppliers be developed. Fairbanks Scales was a division of Colt Industries which had one of its businesses located in Mexico City.
They had a foundry with much available capacity. Meridian worked with the Mexican foundry to develop them as a supplier. Castings were shipped by railcar load from Mexico City to Meridian. Herb made two trips to Mexico City to visit the foundry.
There were Garner High School friends (Herb and Alan Compton had been in each others wedding) living in Mexico City. The trips gave good opportunity for visits.
The product manufactured by Fairbanks Scales in Meridian was heavily distributed in the northeast corner of the United States. The product was very heavy in weight resulted in a high freight cost for customers in the northeast.
A major material used in the product was raw steel that was produced in the northeast and the freight cost to Meridian was expensive.
Evaluation of those factors resulted in a decision to design, build and establish a Fairbanks Scales Distribution Center in Bethlehem, PA, near to the manufacturing point of the raw steel. An agreement was negotiated with the railroad to use the same railcar to ship raw steel from Bethlehem Steel to Meridian, load finished motor truck scales that had been manufactured in Meridian and ship the finished product to the Bethlehem, PA, Distribution Center for ultimate shipment to our customers.
The freight savings were attractive to Fairbanks, its customers and to the railroad because their railcars were returned/recycled to their area of need. The onsite employee at the Distribution Center reported to the Meridian Operation and required frequent visits by Herb to appraise the operation.
Over the years in Meridian, Herb had some very good civic organization involvement. This included service on the Board of Directors of the Lauderdale County Economic Development Group, Board of Directors of the Meridian Chamber of Commerce, Officer of the Meridian Manufacturers Association, Board of Directors of The United Way, Board of Advisors of The Salvation Army and Advisor on the Junior Achievement Program.
In 1978, Fairbanks Scales had an opportunity to acquire one of its major competitors on the West Coast. It was Holman Scales Company in Oakdale, CA. Herb was selected to visit the operation and evaluate the viability of the acquisition.
The acquisition was approved by our NYC Colt Industries Corporate Office. Upon acquisition of the Holman Operation, Herb was assigned responsibility for the unit and selected one of his Meridian employees, Billy Wynne, with his family to move out to Oakdale and operate the business.
Some of Meridian’s product designs were transferred to Oakdale for West Coast manufacture and distribution. Some of the Oakdale product designs were sent to Meridian also. There was commonality of manufacturing techniques and materials used and many items were commonly purchased at less cost from Meridian and shipped to Oakdale via full truckload and in full railcar loads.
In 1979, Fairbanks Scales celebrated its 140 year anniversary of being in
Managers and spouse were invited to a celebration of this event by a trip to Monterey, CA. Herb and Edna spent 3-4 very enjoyable days at the national meeting.
They then rented a car, drove to the Pebble Beach area and on down the Pacific Ocean coastline through the beautiful Big Sur area along the ocean shore of California.
After a night in a motel on the ocean, they turned inland to travel eastward across the irrigated desert land. There were very huge acreage of cotton and vegetables, orange tree and lemon tree orchards in the foothills of the mountains and then a drive into the 6-10 foot deep snow coverage in Sequoia National Park with all those unusual huge trees. The trip from the ocean, through the desert and into the snow was less than 6 hours.
The Fairbanks Operation that was moved from East Moline, IL, to Meridian had always been the lead contributor of profits to the total Fairbanks Scales Division’s profits. The operation therefore received substantial support for programs to preserve that profitability.
A significant problem with the operation transferred to Meridian was an antiquated product design and antiquated manufacturing processes and equipment. Those assets had been milked for even more profits over the years but without exploration for improvements that would further improve those profits and therefore provide a foundation from which to capture even more of the scale market.
Herb capitalized on that competitive opportunity and explored first, a Computer
Aided Design (CAD) system as the key resource to apply new technologies to our
This new CAD System technology was investigated through several potential suppliers. A system was selected, approved by Division and Corporate Management and the first ever CAD system between Atlanta, Dallas, Memphis and New Orleans was installed just before 1980 at a cost of about $400,000.
That successful installation led to several advanced product designs for the installation of a Computer Aided Robotic Welder System with a huge welding envelope measuring 13 feet wide by 15 feet long by 6 feet deep costing in excess of $300,000 and the first in the Southeastern USA. Both of those kinds of systems have since been duplicated several times in Mississippi after they were reviewed by other local manufacturers.
Several computer controlled machining systems were also installed in the Meridian Fairbanks Scales plant.
During those investigative/design/implementation process, Herb came up with two product designs on which he holds joint Patents registered with the United States Patent Office.
These cost improved manufacturing processes to support the new weighing system designs resulted in a Meridian product cost low enough that it offset the freight cost to transport the new design to the West Coast versus the cost to manually manufacture the product in our Oakdale, CA, facility. Oakdale’s manufacturing volume was not sufficient enough to justify the cost of new manufacturing processes. Consequently, the Oakdale facility was closed in the late 1980’s.
Brett graduated from his Special Education Class when he was 21 years old in 1983 and started to work at the new Mississippi Industries for the Developmentally Disabled (MIDD) facility in Meridian. Herb was on the Board of Directors of this recently formed operation. Brett went to work in the morning and work was over at about 3:00PM.
Brett could not get adjusted to his loss of daily school and then working at MIDD. His supervisors at MIDD were not trained or accommodating to his needs and he began to reject the new lifestyle.
Herb and Edna solicited the diagnostic aid of Neuropsychiatry. We used two doctors, Dr. Allen and Dr. White. Both advised various medications, but Brett became a real serious problem to manage in his daily life. We explored many options.
Finally through the aid of many excellent people in Mississippi involved with the care of people with Brett’s disorder, we and he were extremely fortunate to have the State School in Ellisville, MS, approve his acceptance in 1989.
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT COMMENT OF FACT. The Mississippi people in Developmentally Disability and their programs are the best that we have been exposed to anywhere in the order of NJ, VT, NJ, NC, TN, GA & MS. They are real professionals who employ only the most advanced and appropriate methodology.
LeeAnn graduated from MJC and went to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS, and majored in Computer Science. Quite frankly, we are not sure what the compelling thing(s) was that convinced her to pursue that career path but it certainly was the emerging career field of demand. Initially she lived in a dormitory but after one year, moved into an apartment with some of her girl friends from West Lauderdale High School.
LeeAnn almost became a professional student at USM because she enjoyed it so much. Finally, we convinced her that it was time, she graduated and moved to Mobile, AL, to work for a bank in their Data Systems Processing Department.
Reid left Wake Forest and moved to Warner-Robins, GA, and went to work at a local radio station. Later he went to Tallahassee, FL, and worked at a radio station. He came back to Warner Robins to his previous radio station as Program Manager for the station.
Reid decided that he would love to pursue a career in Photography. He went to a school, The Portfolio Center in Atlanta to pursue that training and career. During school, he worked part time at an Atlanta radio station.
One spring, we had a very bad thunderstorm which turned from rain to hail. The hail was about ½” in diameter and when the storm was over, we had piles of hail stones at the ends of the house equivalent to several, several bushel baskets full. Mixed in with the hail stones on the ground were black specks which were the former top surfaces of our roof shingles.
This substantially reduced the effectiveness of the shingles to avoid leaks of rain through the roof. Consequently, we had to find someone to put on all new shingles onto our roof immediately. Many people had the same problem at their house and we were lucky (?) to find an Uncle of a man who worked at Fairbanks who had some experience in putting on roofing shingles on new houses. He was available at that time and we hired him and a crew that he put together to put a new roof on our house.
His crew arrived, proceeded to remove the old hail existing damaged shingles and applied rolls of tarred roofing paper which was tack nailed into place onto which the new shingles would be installed and securely nailed into place on the roof.
The tarred roofing paper installation was completed late in the afternoon, so the crew went home so they could come back the next morning and finish the job of installing the shingles.
But, in the middle of that night, a sizeable thunderstorm came up with lots of wind. The wind ripped off the tacked on tarred roofing paper. The heavy rain fell directly onto the now naked 4’ x 8’ roof plywood sheets. It then ran down to the cracks between the sheets. The water then fell down onto the topside of 4’ x 8’ sheet rock panels in the ceiling of each room. It then gravitates into the seams between the panels and ultimately down to the floor/carpet in each and every room on the house that was under the roof.
Edna and Herb discovered as many as possible containers that could be set all over the house to collect all of the unplanned dripping streams of water so that it could be dumped outside. We had water EVERYWHERE. We had wet seams. We had damaged paint. We had a big mess!
The contractor showed up and realized that he had a huge task ahead of him to redo the roof, re-caulk the seams in the sheet rock and repaint all the damage.
When it was over, he had done a lousy job. He had no finishing and painting experience.
In about 1980 Edna starting running a slight temperature, but for a while but no other problem. Upon examination by a physician, it was determined that she had a massive kidney stone, known as a staghorn kidney stone . The crystalline stone completely filled all the cavities in one of her kidneys. The operation to remove the stone was major. She was in ICU for several days but recovered nicely with no further reoccurrence.
Eddie Milton Stott was Herb’s Dad and was born on December 14, 1896, and died on February 22, 1984, at age 87 in Raleigh, NC.
In the Spring of 1984, Edna’s Mother’s brother called from Sanford, NC, and said that she needed some help. Edna, LeeAnn and Brett drove to Sanford to get her. It shortly became necessary to place her in the Golden Sunset Nursing Home in Meridian. She died on August 16, 1984, at the age of 79.
In 1989, as part of a business trip to review the Oakdale, CA, operation,
Herb and Edna
went on a vacation trip to Yosemite, then on to Lake Tahoe, through the Wine Country of California and over to San Francisco.
Herb’s relationship with Fairbanks employees was a good two way respectful one. On one of his birthdays, the employees decorated his office with many things including a Black Flower Wreath. They had a problem in finding a Florist who would agree to make it.
A 20 acre plot directly across the State Boulevard from our house was purchased by an individual who intended to develop a 100 unit trailer park. There is no zoning in the county to control such a development. Herb proceeded to try to pull together a group of neighbors to explore means to avoid the trailers. Money was pooled by all, a lawyer was hired and we went to court to fight it.
One night a group of those concerned neighbors were meeting in the living room at our house discussing the fight and the doorbell rang. When the door was opened, the WTOK Television Station’s bright TV lights came on with a request from them to enter the house to interview those in attendance. Those extremely bright lights exposed all the cobwebs of the world in our house.
Eventually, the neighborhood group caused enough disruption in the developer’s plans, schedule and cost, that he decided to leave town and abandon the trailer park project. Today, there are $100,000 plus value homes on that street.
Herb made many trips on Fairbank’s business including a foundry in Mexico just across the border from El Paso, A trip to Winnipeg, Canada, to review a competitors operation, a couple of trips to Seattle to review competitors’ operations.
Undoubtedly the most fabulous business trip was an all prepaid business (?) trip of all of Fairbanks Scale’s Vice Presidents and their wives on a Cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. Edna was able to go because Reid volunteered to stay with Brett and take care of him while we were away.
Not only was it a fabulous trip but it was the trip for Herb and Edna that convinced them to never take another Cruise because of all the wonderful food that is available 24 hour a day.
On one trip to Oakdale, CA, Herb took Reid along who went up to Yosemite
Herb was at the plant. They later drove down to Monterey to see some more of California.
In late 1992, Herb’s Mom moved to Meridian after having lived in Raleigh by herself after Herb’s Dad had died in 1984. She was lucky to get an apartment in the Aldersgate Retirement Center just across town in Meridian.
On May 25, 1993, Herb had pulmonary failure, entered Rush Hospital for 2-3
After about a week at home he had to go back into the hospital for another 2-3 weeks. Those were some tough times with excellent support from Reid and LeeAnn and everybody.
Dr. Nicholson and Herb’s boss, Ben Graves, convinced us that continuing to work at Fairbanks was not a practical option. So, Herb retired.
As an aid to rehabilitate, Dr. Alexander, my Pulmonary Physician, recommended that Herb enter into the local Anderson Hospital Pulmonary Rehab Program. A pre-requisite to entering the program was an extensive stress test that was administered by Dr. Alexander. Herb was advised to wear Bermuda Shorts to allow the literal wiring of his body to all the medical equipment in order to measure and record various physical reactions to varying imposed physical exercise efforts. There was a Nurse assigned to each of the bodily functions to be measured.
Herb’s Bermuda Shorts were worn before he had had the pulmonary failure problems during which time he had lost several pounds of body weight. He was wired with the many sensors in a chair several feet from the exercise machine and had many many sensing wires attached everywhere. He was told to get up and move to the exercise machine as 8-10 Nurses prepared to move with him and his wires from the chair. The looseness of the Bermuda Shorts around his waist and the exiting wires contributed significantly to his shorts falling to his ankles in the presence of 8-10 Nurses as everybody tried to get it all together over to the exercise machine. There was much aid to assist in pulling up the shorts and also visibility. Herb, however, passed the stress test.
That prescribed 13-week long rehab program on M-T-F for one hour per day
while always wearing a radio that transmitted body function data back to a central
recorder/alarm system. There was a four person staff in the rehab area including two Nurses. That was a wonderful rejuvenating program which Herb started in September, 1993. He continues a similar self-monitored exercise program on M-W-F at the Anderson Fitness Gym even today.
Some years before, Fairbanks had promoted to its employees that the employee should enroll, at his own total expense, in a Disability Insurance Policy. The policy guaranteed that an employee, if he became disabled, would receive 70% of his pre-disability salary tax free [but, as it turned out, with extremely close administrative overview after disabled]. As it turned out, enrollment was a most intelligent decision to bridge the gap until standard Social Security payment and company retirement pensions from Colt Industries and Fairbanks Scales could start at age 65.
Dr. Nicholson was concerned about Herb’s heart function after the pulmonary problem and prescribed Heart Cauterization. Meridian’s three hospitals used a single Heart Cauterization lab. Herb entered Rush Hospital as an outpatient for preparation for the exam. Preparation consisted of shaving the groin area where the catheter was to be inserted for the Heart Cauterization, dressing in appropriate hospital garb and being transported by ambulance to the central lab escorted by a Nurse. The ambulance backed up to the central lab. Herb noticed that beside the double door entry to the central lab was a large sign on the wall which said Breast Care Clinic. He advised the accompanying Nurse that “they shaved me in the wrong place”. The Cauterization went off without any problems under the guidance of Dr. David Slife.
The people at Fairbanks Scales arranged a Retirement Party for Herb at the
Northwood Country Club. It was a well attended event with a wonderful dinner.
Even the company’s owner, Bill Norton, came from Kansas City. The crowning event
was the presentation as a retirement gift of a Personal Computer. Bill Norton
in earlier years during “State of the Business Presentations” had quizzed Herb
as to why he had not purchased a “Damn” computer. Herb told him that he just
did not have time to learn how to use it.
Well a computer is certainly better than a Gold Watch
for a retirement gift. My computer(s) have given me
hours and hours of enjoyment since my retirement.
In the spring of 1994, Herb and Edna took a trip to Florida including attending the Sebring Sports Car Races which they had also attended in the late 50’s.
We also went to the Kennedy Space Center to watch a Space Shuttle craft return from a mission and to tour the total space station complex. We had at some earlier time been to the Space Center in Huntsville and the Space Center in Houston. Huntsville had the best presentation of things to the public.
After the Space Center, we proceeded through central Florida down to Key West and back through the Everglades to the west side of Florida. The wild life and areas were very enjoyable. Then we came up the western coast. That was a very good trip.
In mid 1994 we took our first overnight train trip from Meridian to New Jersey. We had a bedroom on the train with bunk beds. Edna had the upper bunk and it had a window. She did not sleep much because she had the window curtain open so that she could see all of the night lights passing by.
We rented a car and drove to Clinton and Oakland where we use to live. The intent of the trip was to not only visit those places but also to take pictures of the houses that we lived in, the schools attended by our children, the libraries, town, etc. We did all of that in preparation for creating photo albums for the children. Upon development of the film, we had mostly double-exposures.
On the way home by train, we stopped off in Raleigh for a few days and visit friends and places that where we use to live. Got back on the train in Greensboro and had a compartment because a bedroom was not available. Now a compartment is a room about 36-40” wide with two seats facing each other looking out a window at the world going by. At night the two facing chairs are flattened into a lower bunk and an upper bunk is lowered from the ceiling with a very narrow ladder leading up to the upper bunk through a slot in the upper bunk. The ladder was located over a private commode in the room.
The available floor space was only sufficient in space for two pair of shoes to be stacked on top of each other. There was no room to stand, or place your feet while using the commode or to cuss a cat if you had dared to bring one along. Needless to say, we do not recommend a compartment to anyone.
In 1995, during a regular periodic examination of Herb, Dr. Nicholson discovered potential signs of Colon Cancer. Additional tests confirmed the signs and resulted in removal of 80% of Herb’s colon and his Gall Bladder (which had created some gall stones in earlier years) while the Surgeon was passing by that area. Later tests have revealed no problems.
Edna developed abdominal pains and frustrating medical examination in the emergency room determined that she had a ruptured appendix in 1996. The surgery was quite serious and she was an extremely sick women.
We have made some wonderful trip via car which had very little planning,
minimal to no maps, pretty flexible schedules and frequently without any end
destination and/or imposed reservations if possible. We had a couple of trips
to Cajun Country in Louisiana,
a trip to a 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration in Oklahoma with side trips into Arkansas and the Ozarks. trips to Tennessee and wherever else via the Natchez Trace, trip to Myrtle Beach to visit friends for a couple of days with stopovers in Charleston and Savannah and Atlanta and frequent trips to the Gulf Coast to explore for places that we have not seen before. We go just anywhere to see something.
A wonderful trip was our train trip to the north and west of the Mississippi River. That is described in a separate section of these memoirs.
In 1997, we took a trip to North Carolina for the 50th Class Reunion of Herb’s Garner High School’s Senior Class. Wonderful renewal of acquaintances. It was readily noticeable, however, that the former classmates had experienced quite an aging process.
In late 1997, Herb’s Mom was moved into a new facility at Aldersgate that is named Personal Care. She has a private room with a large bathroom, she gets three meals per day served in a beautiful dining room, all housework, all laundry and total administration and maintenance of her supply of medication.
In 1999, we took a train trip back up to New Jersey. We rented a car and visited Clinton, Oakland, friends in Connecticut that we had not seen since 1969, Bangor, Maine, Saint Johnsbury, Vermont. During that trip, we got all new pictures that we had screwed up before and then took the train back to Meridian. It was a very enjoyable trip.
For our 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, we went to Miami and boarded the Carnival Cruise Ship named Imagination with an itinerary of Key West, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. [at this writing, we have not done it yet, but know that it will be fantastic].