Mark Barry Interview:
This is file 93. This is Jean McMillen; I am interviewing Mark Stephen Barry on baseball and his father’s store. Today’s date is April 20, 2015. We‘ll start with the geological information.
JM:What is your name?
MB:Mark S. Barry
JM: The s stands for Stephen. When were you born?
MB:Dec. 31, 1956
JM:Where were you born?
MB:Sharon Hospital, Sharon, Ct.
JM:Your parents’ names?
MB:Ronald and Florence (Olds) Barry
JM:Do you have siblings?
MB:Yes, I do.
JM:His name is?
MB:Ronald (Butch) for a nickname.
JM:Tell me about your schooling. Where did you do to school?
MB:I went to Salisbury Central School right from kindergarten to 8th grade.
JM:When did you graduate?
MB:From 8th grade? 1970 Then I went to Housatonic Valley Regional High School and graduated in 1974.
JM:You said something about taking some broadcasting courses.
MB:Yeah, I took one in 1986 I believe.
JM:Now we are going to talk about baseball. Do you remember a baseball school that was run by Andy Whalen?
MB:No, I don’t. I did know of one run by Andy Russo.
JM:That was a question that came up when I was doing somebody else. You said that Reggie Lamson had done some coaching of baseball.
MB:Yeah and pitching of course.2.
JM:When was that?
MB:That was in the 1980’s, 1982 or 1983.
JM:Did you ever coach baseball?
MB:Yes, from 1990-1999
JM:What level did you coach?
MB:It was the Lakeville Tri State League Baseball team.
JM:So it was men’s.
MB:Yeah, I did coach or co coach a Babe Ruth team for one year. I was asked to help.
JM:Who taught you baseball?
MB:Well my brother butch and I used to catch all the time, my father once in a while when he was not busy with the jewelry business. Like I said previously Andy Russo did have a baseball school, but that was during the summer. I can’t remember exactly how…
JM:Did you ever have any association with Fran McArthur Sr.?
MB:Oh yeah. When I was a kid, even during their Tri State Baseball practices, they would let me go over and shag fly balls which I did. Also I played for Frank from 1975 until 1980; that may have been his last year coaching.
JM:When you were shagging balls, was there anybody that was giving the kids a nickel for every ball the caught?
MB:During the games, Mr. Reginald Jewel, everybody used to call him “Mr. Jewel”.
JM:Do you know anything about him?
MB:Not too much, personally, but I know he was just a great sports fan. One time we went to a Hotchkiss football game with him and a couple of other events. He gave a nickel or maybe a quarter for a ground ball or something.
JM:A big spender. But that is a nice little story.
MB:Yeah, it was very nice of him to do that too.
JM:What is the difference, or is there a difference between the Tri State league and the Lakeville Firemen’s League.
MB:They are the same. It was the name for the Lakeville team.
JM:Can you remember some of the men or boys that you played with in baseball?3.
MB:There are many. Geoff Marchant and later on I think he started in the 1973 year. We had John Gardiner, the McArthur boys, Dave, Doug and Frank Jr., Patrick Dineen, John McGuire, Art Walters, Bob Sherwood played too.
JM:How about Pete Thorsell?
MB:Pete Thorsell was actually the scorekeeper for the team and a great supporter for the team, too. He had a real positive attitude and kept all the statistics for the team. He wasn’t the manager, but he was there for every game for us.
MC:He taught at Salisbury private school.
JM:How about me neighbor Jean LaChaine?
MC:Oh of course.
JM:He was a pitcher, wasn’t he?
MB:Oh yes, he played and joined the team later on probably in the 1980’s and Champ Perotti as well. He was a catcher. There is further information on that about Jean and Champ.
JM:Now you showed me a plaque that you brought. It was the Lakeville-Salisbury Baseball Association. It was a plaque given to your father for his many years of special service. We don’t have a date on that, but it was a beautiful plaque and well-earned I am sure.
MC:Amongst many others (including Reg and Roseanne Lamson Ed.)
JM:Are there any other baseball memories that you would like to share?
MB:I thought it was always nice that many of the members of the Lakeville-Salisbury Baseball Association were not even players. My father used to close his business to go to the meetings. Daniel LaFredo who was the gate attendant the collected a dollar or two to get into the game and gave out programs. Everyone would give a donation. I believe Harry Bellini was a member of that. Jack Hawley was a member as well.
JM:it was a big deal.
MB:Oh yeah, it was nice because you got people to close businesses to go to meetings, and organize the whole team. That made it easier for Frank McArthur. He didn’t have to do all of that because he was busy.
JM:Do you remember any of the bat boys? Did you have a bat boy?
JM:Because one story that I have was an Ostrander, Dougie Ostrander was a bat boy. Then I did Richard Chilcoat and he had been a bat boy at one time.
MB:I don’t recall any. There may have been.
JM:Your father had the Salis-Lake Jewelry Store. He was in World War II and after he got out of the war, where did he train? Where did he learn to be a watchmaker?
MC:He trained up in Pittsfield, Mass.
MB:With Adolf Straylo.
JM:He was trained on watches.
MB:Basically clocks at the time, and then gradually got into watches. I think he started off with that.
JM:When did he go to Mahaiwe Jewelers in Canaan, Ct. as an apprentice?
MB:I don’t know. I know that he came from that store in 1953 into Lakeville. I can’t remember how many years.
JM:Well he got through with the war probably in 1945 or 46, then did his training and then worked at Mahawie for a while and then he came down to Lakeville in 1953. Where was the store located?
MB:Presently it was to the left of Patco, to the left of the driveway going into the Lakeville baseball field (Community Field). There were several businesses there that are gone now.
JM:That whole section is gone.
MB:Paul Argall’s barbershop was there, the Dufour block.
JM:Why did he name it Salis-Lake Jewelers?
MB:For Salisbury and Lakeville he combined the two names.
JM:What did he sell in the store?
MB:Watches, clocks, gifts: that is basically it, some jewelry of course.
JM:Did you work there?
MB:I worked there. He had a slogan: “Time piece care beyond compare”. He had several customers who would come in and ask him to do repairs that somebody else would not do.
JM:He was a specialist in his field.
MB:Piece by piece I used to look at those and wondered how he ever got them back together.
JM:And he didn’t leave anything out either. He was very special.
MB:I can remember special pieces that he used to work on, plus we did repairs too.
JM:I remember the store vaguely because my husband bought me a Lorus watch which I still wear. If I have needed any repair I would have gone back to your dad to do it because we would trust him.
MB:That is why he had repeat customers.
JM:It is a small town; you make your reputation in a small town, and if you are a good craftsman as he was, people will stay with you.
MB:He hardly ever advertised because…
JM:He didn’t have to. You worked there from 1975 to 1986? Is that when your dad retired?
JM:Why did he retire? Was it his health?
MB:No, it was a town owned building, and the town building was removed.
JM:So your dad rented?
MB:Yeah but he did all the expenses on the building.
JM:Was he only in that one location or was he in another location because what I remember was on the corner sort of.
MB;Well, when he first came in 1953 he was in the Dufour block which I think you may have gone up a flight of stairs. I think his store was there. I was too young to know that part of the store. I remember when he was in the other store which was moved in another building.
JM:It is the other store I remember. Where was that second building?
MB:Right across from the Boat House.
JM:That is the one I remember.
MB:Of course now there is another building there.
JM:Steve Owens built that colonial building. I remember that second building.
MB:Danny LaFredo‘s shop was very close to that one.
JM:Yes that I remember.6.
MB:A driveway separated the two.
JM:There was a driveway that separated them, that’s right. When your father retired, that building was moved by Judi Gott. (1986) It went down to Bissell Street across from the new Lakeville Journal building. That is where it is now.
MB:It is back a little bit.
JM:It was made into apartments, I think?
MB:I think so. I have never been in it. I am just so glad that they did sometime with the building because that building was so well built.
JM:It was a wonderful structure; it was a solid building. To have razed it and they did so many buildings, it would have been a crime.
MB:They tried to make a room for another business or something up above us. They tried to take a wall down to make one room, when they did this great big diagonal 6 “by 8” timber came down between the two rooms and they couldn’t make one room out of it. There was a steel pipe from the second floor down to the first floor. They couldn’t remove that either; that is how strong that building was. I know even up of the third floor; I went up there maybe once or twice for something, just to see it before it was moved. It was a tremendous building, a beautiful building. The doors of the first floor came out of the wall; those aren’t French doors.
JM:No they are pocket doors.
MB:That would have given you almost 2 rooms.
JM:After your dad retired from the business, what did he do? Did he continue doing repairs?
MB:He continued to do some work in his house, watch repairs.
JM:When did your father die?
MB:July 28, 1991.
JM:What have you been doing to keep yourself busy?
MB:A little bit of everything, I guess. I worked at ITW for a few years. Before that I worked with Don Silvernale for a year or so.
JM:In his construction business?
JM:So that is how you know Jeff?
MB:Oh no I have known Jeff ever since I was a little kid. We grew up together in school. We were always friends. Of course his mother and father were friends for years. Then I worked on a large estate in Sherman, Ct. after that. That was up to 1988 for three years down there.
JM:AS property manager?
MB:No I was working outside; there was a caretaker out there, a friend that asked me to if I would like to come out and work. When my father retired, I was in the store for 1975 into the 1980’s.
JM:You were in the store for a long time.
MB:I was in the store for a long time, so it was nice to get out and do something outside which I liked to do as well. So I did that until 1988, then I worked at ITW until 1992. They had an across the board cut.
JM:Did you go to Hotchkiss then?
MB:Then I went to Hotchkiss after that, yeah, and been there ever since. (1992 -2015)
JM:Steady employment. Are you in food service?
MB: Yeah food service.
JM:is there anything else that you would like to add to this about your dad’s shop or your dad in general? Or shall we close it?
MB:I can’t think of anything more.
JM:You have given us a good description of baseball, and your father’s business. I thank you very much for your time.
MB:Thank you too.
(The pamphlet included in Mark’s folder was printed at Heritage Press by Thomas McGivern, Sr. Reg and Roseanne Lamson did much work collecting the advertising for this publication. ED.)