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SALISBURY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Salisbury Association and Scoville Memorial Library
INTERVIEW CONTENT SHEET
NARRATOR: Gertrude Clark and later, John Clark. November 6, 1987
INTERVIEWER: Robert Steck
CONTENTS OF TAPE: Exhaustive and interesting discussion of Lakeville’s growth as a town – the early schools, the history of some of the early buildings and the businesses that existed. Discussion of some of the well-known families and townspeople
Gertrude Clark has a phenomenal memory of the early days of the Lakeville, and her husband, John Clark, has interesting stories of early aviation and the growth of the Gt. Barrington Airport.
Gertrude Clark interviewed by Robert Steck
RS….of Lakeville, November the 6th, 1987, interview with Mrs. John W. Clark and, later, Mr. John Clark
GC: Let me just change things around.
RS: No, we don’t have to change it. Let’s start then. What was your maiden name? GC: My maiden name was Gertrude Roberts Fenn.
RS: Fenn. How do you spell that?
RS: Oh, Fenn. I think you mentioned that it was your grandfather who came to Lakeville.
GC: My grandfather and grandmother came from Sheffield, England. I can’t remember what year. I’ve forgotten all that, but he was brought over to this country, or came to this country, to work in the Holley Manufacturing place – a shop which is now the Holley Place Restaurant Inn and they made Sheffield cutlery, far as I know. He must have worked there for years because I remember as I grew up, that he was working there. He had six daughters. My mother was one, I did find out they were all born in the United States. I had thought that maybe a couple of the older ones were born in England but they weren’t; they were all born in the United States. My mother was the second to the youngest, and her name was Beatrice Roberts. That’s where my middle name came from.
RS: Your middle name is Roberts?
RS: Was that from your mother’s side? Your mother’s name was Roberts? And then her mother was….
GC: My grandfather’s name was Walter Roberts. Walter and Lucy Roberts. First, they were married in England; I can’t remember how old my grandfather was when he died. My grandmother died when she was about 62. She died in Lakeville. I remember that.
I was going to school then, just grammar school. Then, let’s see… My mother was married to Merrill Fenn.
RS: Was he a native?
GC: My Dad came from New Milford,and he worked out in Redding, Connecticut. He worked for the telephone company for 47 years. I remember him saying, he started working with a horse and wagon for 13 dollars a week. Then, I said, “And you got married on that, Dad?” He said yes. I had three brothers; I was the only girl. So, where shall I go from there?
RS: Now, you grew up in Lakeville …your early years were here.
GC: ….I grew up in Lakeville. I married my husband when I was twenty-two, and we moved to Greenwich, Connecticut. That’s where his family came from, originally.
But the Merritt Parkway took their home. They came to Lakeville, and bought the place which is now the apartment house there. It was the Dr. Bissell house. That was our first home because we lived with them for two or three years until our son was born. It was a beautiful house on the Main Street. Lovely. First, they moved it and made apartments out of it. Then, we had two sons. They are both airline captains now. We didn’t care for Greenwich, we really didn’t – so we came back home to Lakeville and rented a house for a while until we built our home on the lake, which is now the Robert Yoakum house (196 Millerton Road). We lived there for twenty-one years, brought our sons up there – had the best of everything. The water was beautiful, clear and clean. The boys had a nice good life. They went away to college, and we sold our house. Then, we moved to Horseshoe Lane. We lived there for eleven years. We wanted to get a little closer to the village, so we rented for a year over on Ethan Allen Street. We had a nice apartment – it belonged to a doctor – while we built this, where we are now (42 Porter Street). We’ve been here for thirteen years.
I’ve seen a lot of changes in the town (over the years.) When we first, not when we first came, but my first memories are— we had at least, (this is what we were trying to count last night) – we had at least five stores to shop in. We had two meat markets: one of them was over near where the Laundromat is now, in that other building. One was up – well, if you walk straight up over the park, it was below Leverty’s Drug Store, which is no longer there and that, also, was a meat market. Then, there was Casey’s Market, which was in the building which is now sitting across there – that brown building- RS: Across from the Post Office?
GC: No, right here. That’s the market that used to be Casey’s Market.
RS: So, that’s right here on Porter Street, just across the way.
GC: That’s the one that was moved from the Main Street that was the jeweler’s finally. But, in between that, it was a grocery store, it was Casey’s Market and it was another chain market. I can’t remember now. Across the street from that was what we called the Roberts building – no relation of mine – and that was, that housed the dentist up above. That burned several times. The Post Office used to be right on the left of that, in the same building.
GC:: It was where the Holley Place is now.
RS: Mmm, um
GC: Of course, it was all remodeled.
RS: And the Post Office was—
GC: The Post Office was on the left of that, in the same building. The dentists were upstairs but that building burned. The Post Office again, in my childhood, was over under the theater, and the theater burned.
RS: Where was the theater?
GC: The theater was where the Brother’s Pizza Place was.
RS: Oh, yes.
GC: You see, after they’re gone, it’s so hard to remember.
RS: What was on the Main Street? That was a kind of business area over there.
GC: Then, on the Main Street. There was DuFour’s Garage and there was another garage at the end of the street where that new little convenience store (Patco) is going up now. RS: Oh, yes.
GC: Those were garages. Of course, there were no parks – that was Heaton Barnett’s store in between – and then, my father’s radio shop which, later, moved to another place across the street and Paul Argali’s Barbershop and then, you came to DuFour’s garage, and then, what we called the Hub, which was that building too. Yeh, it was the Hub too. RS: That’s the same brown building that you referred to…
GC: As far as I can remember, it was the same brown building. It might have been the Hub before it was Casey’s Market. You know, this is what gets mixed up when you’re— of course, I think they tore everything down there – it’s so hard to remember- there was Hugo’s, Hugo’s store, down around where all those shops are now. Hugo was there for years and years.
RS: And, what kind of a shop was that?
GC: That was little bit of everything – like-
RS: A general convenience store?
GC: —like Heaton Barnett’s was when Darwin Miller had that. They took all that down. They emptied the street so it’s hard to remember what was there. We had Martin’s garage and, uh, course, before, the Telephone Office was down there – my doctor was down there – Dr. Brewer was in one area there – but the buildings all changed. It’s kind of hard to remember just what….I don’t really know some of the people who are on those – who are in those buildings now – the businesses. Up the hill, we had – well, up on top on the left, was Newkirk’s Funeral Home – not Newkirk’s – Burdick – B-U-R-D-I-C-K. Down the hill, coming down the hill, we had Ben Jones’ house who used to own the Lakeville Journal.
RS: Ben Jones.
GC: Then we had Dr. Peterson who was probably my mother’s doctor – he was mine, for a while because I remember taking my son to him when he cut his finger off. And then, we had Dr. Simmons, then we had Dr. Bissell – these were all doctors – and then we had Dr. Tuttle and he was in my husband’s family’s second home, which is now Dr. Gott’s. RS: Oh, where Dr. Gott is now.
GC: Yes. That house and the big house were together there and after his family sold the big house, they bought the little house, which was Dr. Tuttle’s and then, the brook. Of course, the bank has all that now. Coming up the street, my school was where the Post Office is. That was my school..
RS: How many grades did they have in the school when you were there?
GC: They must have had eight. Because, I ….well, there may have been another little
school going up Montgomery Street on the right where Metz has those apartments now. That was a little school too, the one closest to the road .Because at one time, I lived across the street with my family and I remember that they moved just when I was getting ready to go to that school -1 was kind of annoyed because I was going to have to not be able to run right across the street to school. But, they—
RS: Well, they couldn’t possibly have be the same grades then, were they?
GC: Oh no. But I don’t know what grades started in the school. You’ve seen the picture?
Want to see the picture?
RS Oh yeah, oh sure.
GC: It’s in the folder. When I was in the eighth grade there, I was drilled and drilled and drilled to go to the spelling bee.
RS: Yes. The photograph is in – that Mrs. Clark is referring to is on page 34, in the Salisbury Connecticut Annual Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1987.
So, you went to that school—?
GC: I graduated eighth grade there and then, I went up to the hill, the high school. But, I don’t know, I guess it must have been the Lower Building because they probably didn’t have the Upper Building.
RS: No. definitely. Yes.
GC: I know I did not go to Regional. I took a Post Graduate course up there at the school because I didn’t get a chance to go to college. And, that was the school. Now, after the school, there were all — the church has always been there. My Methodist Church- RS: always been there –
GC: ’cause I used to go there with my mother. We used to go to Sunday School there. My boys went to Sunday School there for a while. We had Rudlen’s Market which is now where Dick Walsh’s Drugstore is. That was a Market and the Rudlens lived for years up above it. (Herman was his son)? Up the street—Oh, we had two barber shops. One was where the Western Union was, but the building is gone because that was a building that they destroyed when they made that park there – DuFour’s garage – then they took that building down. There was Joe’s Barber Shop, my father’s radio shop, Western Union was in there.
RS: Where was that in relation to the firehouse?
GC: Well, it would have been across the street and up a little. It was next to Heaton Barnett’s Store and in between was a little alley where you went down into Bessie’s Restaurant, we called it. But that building had about four different things in it: a restaurant, a barber shop, a radio shop, and a Western Union.
RS: Do you recall approximately what year those buildings, uh – did you say they were burnt?
GC: Well, I worked in my Dad’s shop after school when I was at High School so—and I graduated when I was seventeen. So, it had to be in my teen years but I don’t know how long after that because I got married and went away and I didn’t –
RS: I don’t remember those things
GC: But, uh—what other places did we have here—oh, there was even a Men’s Club.
Now, you know where the Farnum Tavern is now. That was always there. Just beforethat, there was another building which has been taken down between there and theHolley Place that had the Men’s Club where the men went and played pool and didthings – there’s no place for them ever to do anything like that anymoreRS: Wish they had.
GC: I know it, I know it. Isn’t it true?
RS: Particularly for the younger-
GC: Well, the married men went – anybody, I don’t remember anything ever beingespecially for teenagers – they didn’t have problems with teenagers then. The teenagerswere doing something at home or they had little jobs in town or things they can’t dopretty well now.
RS: Well, it’s much like your own case. You went to school and then –
GC: I worked in my Dad’s shop after school and then, later on, I did some typing forpeople because I went back and took a typing course. I couldn’t run an electrictypewriter now. I couldn’t do it. My brothers, I can’t remember exactly what they did.Worked in a garage and finally got a wonderful job with a company and rose up to beRegional Manager. He is now retired only a year or so. I have one brother who is dead,and he served in – he was a gunner in a B17 and was shot down over Germany and wastaken prisoner for fourteen months but only 5 of his crew lived. There were twelve ofthem, but he had problems and died several years ago. Then, my other brother was a lotyounger than I, seventeen years younger. That was another thing that kept me busy. Mymother had a baby when I was seventeen and I was a baby sitter among other things. Weused to do the craziest things – we’d take that baby out in the carriage and we’d race allover.
RS: Now, there was a form of entertainment there
GC: Right. Oh, I know what we had! We had the Lake! Everybody gathered at the Lake.I know they do now, but it’s not the same. The lake was the only amusement that – wehad the movies and the bowling alley. We also bowled over in Canaan too, but we neverlacked for things to do. The big thing in life was to go to the Saturday night movie – andthen go over to Canaan and have a hamburger in the Diner and that would probably costus all of two dollars- both of us.
RS: The whole evening.
GC: One night I won – they had these movie things where you won cash prizes and onenight, my name was called out, 1 had won ninety dollars! That was ninety dollars!
RS: Do you remember the movie?
GC: No, and my husband—he wasn’t my husband then, he was my date and it’s alwaysbeen a joke that I never shared my ninety dollars! But what I did, I took the ninetydollars and I opened up the first checking account I ever owned. And I paid some bills,
some little bills I had probably didn’t — but then, five dollars was a lot you could pay a
lot with ninety dollars. It didn’t last long.
JS: I’m sure.
GC: But it was a thrill. I can’t remember what kind of a contest it was but probably justhad to pull names or what we had to do.
RS: Back home, they just drew names and you got—
GC: Sometimes, they had dishes, glasses.
RS: Glasses, dishes.
GC: Right, right. But, uh, we never lacked for anything to do. Never.
RS: Did you have any social clubs? Or any kind of clubs that you belonged to?
GC: Well, I belonged, when I was younger, I belonged to May Bissell and she lived inthe house which is – oh my heavens, have they taken that away – which one was that – itmight be the one that – no, Ralph Ingersoll … it’s in the Harvey House. May Bissell hada – Oh, May Bissell’s was where the Litchfield Savings Bank is. She had a sewing club,and we’d go there once a week – I learned how to use a thimble. I couldn’t sew nowwithout a thimble – A lot of girls say, “ How do you use a thimble” — and, uh, I learnedto crochet and do that stuff you do around pillow cases (tatting). All kinds of little thingswe learned when we went.
RS: What was the –the May Bissell House is the Litchfield Bank, exactly that house?
GC: Yes, yes it is very well preserved.
RS: Yes, it is.
GC: You go in the same hall and I look to the left and I can remember we used to sitaround the window seat – the girls did – and May talked. She was a spinster lady whotaught sewing for years and years. She was so sweet. But that also became BronsonKing’s store at one time – a woman’s clothing store – after May was gone.She lived to a ripe old age, I think. She must have been Dr. Bissell’s sister? I don’t know.Course, Dr. Bissell was well known – that’s why it’s called Bissell StreetRS: He was a medical doctor.
GC: He was a medical doctor.
RS: Was he one of the early settlers here?
GC: I believe he must have been.
RS: He must have been.
GC: Because, — of course, we had -—we all went to our doctors in their homes. Iremember going up to Dr. Peterson’s house.
RS: Did they make visits to your homes?
GC: Oh, yes. Very different from now isn’t it?
RS: It is.
GC: Well, I understand I’m going to go to Dr. Battersand. I understand that Dr. Gottmakes house calls.
RS: And, uh, you know who else did – what’s his name – Carl Borneman in Falls
Village- he was our doctor.
RS: Anything else that you recall in terms of the physical setup in Lakeville? How aboutthe train station? That was active when you were there.
GC: Oh, yes, there was a train station and when I was a girl and for years after, we hadthe trestle running right across, you know. Right across the street from where the nurse’sstation is now, right across the street down to Community Service.
RS: Down that way.
GC: And the trains would be running. But the only train I can remember taking, myself,was when I took a group of my son’s classmates. We took them to New York on the trainto go on the Circle Cruise around New York.
RS: Oh, yes.
GC: I don’t know how many children we had but I think there were two – a teacher and acouple of parents. I was one of them. We took the milk train from Millerton – seveno’clock in the morning and we rode to New York and we got to Grand Central and thenwe had to have – every child had to have thirteen cents in his or her hand to board thebus.
RS: Thirteen cents
GC: Thirteen cents and we had to make sure they had it because they were going totroop in and no time to make change. We went over to where we got the boat for theCircle Tour. I’m not used to New York at all so it was as much a trip for me as it was forthe children. We used to go down there quite a bit when we lived in Greenwich but notto the city. We would go visit people that we knew in Riverside, people our own age.But, uh, we breathed a sigh of relief when we got them on the boat. We knew wecouldn’t lose any of them until we got off the boat. They were alright on the train, but thetransfer from the train to the buses was quite a job and they were all curious. This onelittle boy – we were walking down whatever the big street is there and he said, “Is therea bicycle shop here, Mrs.Clark?” He wanted to get a bicycle. When we got back toGrand Central that day, one little girl who had lived in New York with her parents beforethey came to Lakeville – she got away from the group and decided to go off somewhere.It got to be almost time for the train to go at four o’clock or something like that in theafternoon – she finally showed up – she knew what she was doing, but we didn’t knowthat she knew what she was doing. She probably didn’t go very far away but she gotaway from the group- when we got home that evening, we were all exhausted. But thatwas -1 can’t remember what grade my son was in but it was his class we took to NewYork. But, uh, as I say, I was married fairly young. We started going together when wewere about eighteen, I guess, and we were married at twenty-one, which doesn’t seem soyoung now when I see of the people getting married, or not getting married. But, uh, itdid seem young then. We were very much younger. We
seemed younger, when I think back on it, than a twenty-one year old does now. I don’t know what it’s a difference in the world—
RS: Probably – that’s interesting.
GC: When I was seventeen, I was still taking a Sears Roebuck catalog and cutting out paper dolls. I don’t mean that I was childish, but it was fun because I was dressing them, like you would dress yourself – you know – like this dress. We’d make these little things and put them over the shoulder and dress something that was in the catalog. It wasn’t because you were childish, but because you were interested in the clothing. Putting this outfit on, that outfit…. We didn’t have all the things they have now: we had no drugs.We didn’t pay any attention to alcohol. At that point, we had to grow up to do that. Although, I will say that we drink some things we shouldn’t have, like probably some homemade wine, beer and things. I can remember my father and mother making homemade root beer. Did you ever have that?
RS: Yes. My father made homemade root beer and beer, wines. The cellar was always— GC: My Dad didn’t make any beer or wine but I remember my mother making the root beer. I remember somebody putting (raw) eggs down in water (water glass or sodium silicate) What do they call that? They put ’em down—they called ’em glass eggs or something – they preserved eggs that way. Now, maybe that was my grandmother.
RS: They preserved the eggs by putting them in water?
GC: They did something to them. My husband would remember about that. If you wanted an egg, you would go get it out of this thing that had the water in it. I don’t understand that myself.
RS: I don’t either.
GC: There was a water glass in there – they called them glass eggs or something. I don’t know whether they were cooked or not. (no)
RS: In other words, they were raw to your recollection. That’s interesting.
GC: But, then the world started to .. Then you get busy bringing up your children.
RS: Both of your sons are not living in Lakeville.
GC: No. They left Lakeville when they were about -—one left when—Terry graduated when he was 17 – he would have been 18 the next month. He went off to Purdue where his brother was just getting through. It was a two year course, a professional pilot course. And he was a homesick boy for a little while. The other one graduated a year, at a later age because of his birthday. His birthday was in May. But, uh, they had earned their right to go to Purdue. There were ten boys a year picked from this course. And the first year was strictly academic. The second year, they flew as co-pilots for Purdue Airlines. Purdue Airlines flew basketball teams, football teams all around the country. And that’s how they got their actual experience but they had been flying for years at Great Barrington Airport.
RS: Why, afterwards, even at that point, young people were not staying in, didn’t remain in the community.
GC: Well, a lot were but we always felt glad in later years that they got out when they did because we found that too many boys who stayed in Lakeville did not get their opportunities at that age. You see, they got into the airlines at a wonderful time because now they’re 25 and 26 years senior pilots. In fact, my younger boy has been a pilot for twenty years, twenty years, and he’s only 45. But they got in when the airlines were hiring really, without any, well, with a lot of competition – there was competition because my boys had the background. They probably wouldn’t have been hired. One son was hired three weeks after he graduated and the other had to wait about three months but that was depending on the airline. But the airlines have changed so with deregulation that I am very unhappy about that.
GC: Their airlines are stable. They’re doing alright. And, uh, course 60 is retirement age when – one is 50 and the other is 45, but I feel that they’re pretty secure now.
RS: Good. They, you said, left to go to school when they were about 17 or so?
GC: Right after high school.
RS: Right after high school. Now, how was life different for them in high school than, let us say, for you when you were in high school?
GC: As far as I know, no drugs. We were always happy that we feel that our boys O escaped that era. Now, there may have been some we didn’t know about but we never had any. If we had any problem at all it would be with boys going out and drinking beer or something. Not especially our boys but I mean that is what they did for fun. They went out and drank beer, or they drank beer at the Lake or they— but, as far as I know, there were no drugs.
RS: Did they have opportunities for any kind of social activities in the churches, or in the schools? Anything like that?
GC: My boys didn’t for this reason, Bob. They went to work after school at the airport in Barrington. They worked weekends in Barrington. The younger one started at 12 and he worked his way up and soloed when he was 14 years old.
RS: 14? Non state.
GC: And at 16, they got their first rating where they could fly alone because that’s when they could legally solo. At 17, they had another rating. At 18, they were both chartering airplanes to New York and Boston because they were well trained. It was for this reason, after taking written tests and oral tests that they were able to get into this Purdue training thing because of their background. Well, my husband was always interested in flying, and we had some little airplanes of our own at the time. He did not get into the commercial part of it. He stayed with instructing in small planes. Because he had a family, he probably gave up some of the opportunities he would have had to become a co-pilot with a corporation where you were away from home a lot. He did have one chance and he didn’t want to do it because you could be
called out at two o’clock in the morning and this kind of stuff. But, he always— the airport is a second home – still is. And then, the older boy went to Indian Mountain School – he went to Town Hill – he went to Indian Mountain School and then, he went to Salisbury School. Well, he didn’t care for it. He did not like team sports. He loved to sail, loved to fly. He did not like football. The other boy was avid for football. He went through public school – did beautifully. The younger one went through public school from beginning to end. He didn’t want to go to private school. He had his choice. So his brother ended up his schooling in the Regional School for two years.
RS; That would be when Dr. Stoddard was there.
GC: Dr. Stoddard was there.
RS: Now, thinking back in terms of your own growing up, were there any social activities, like in the churches or other places that—? Other people had opportunities – GC; We had, uh, — oh, well, one of the biggest thrills every year was the Sunday School picnic that, uh, at Lake Buell – RS: – up in where?
GC: Lake Buell – up in the — let’s see, that would be, I think it was up in Barrington or a way from Barrington. My husband knows exactly where Lake Buell is, but in that area. Everybody went to the Sunday School Picnic. Of course, I went to Sunday school. My boys didn’t go very long because they were gone on Sundays. They went when they were little but then, they didn’t go after. But I can remember going to Sunday school every Sunday with – we’d have five pennies – that was our collection – because Sunday school was right in the Church part – RS: The Methodist Church.
GC: The Methodist Church. Our parents would give us each five pennies. Well..we’d be lucky enough if we got past McCue’s Candy Store down there – because for one penny, you could quite a bit of candy – penny candy – you might get five pieces or something for a penny so maybe sometimes we’d end up at Sunday School with three pennies instead of five. I can remember that little thing. Not much. But, whatever, – it’s funny what I can remember. I think of things when I’m alone but when I’m talking to you, I can’t remember them—
RS: (laughter) Well, that’s the When the railroad, there was a – when the station was right in Lakeville, was that the time when you had a lot of people coming in just for the use of the lake and for summer – there was a time, wasn’t there, when there were a lot of summer people coming up.
GC: I don’t seem to remember it.
RS: Oh, not in your-—
GC: It seemed to me that when we went to the Lake, we knew everybody who was there. When I go to the lake, I know very few people but I don’t go like I used to. I’m not a regular. We used to go – oh, skiing was our big sport in winter. My husband was associated with Jiminy Peak and Catamount and so that we – we were one of the
founders of Jiminy Peak and, uh, they had that for six years- we didn’t have a snow maker so that we didn’t make out – we used to go – Oh, here’s my husband, oh good. Hi Honey.
RS: So. Lake Buell was around Barrington?
JC: Yes. east of Great Barrington.
GC: East of Great Barrington.. Yeah. We were talking aboutWe didn’t -We never saw an awful lot of strange people at the lake in the summer. They didn’t come into the Lake. It was – it was mostly everyone we knew.
GC: Local, local people
JC: Everybody was there.
GC: We’re trying to establish in our? And, uh, oh, the other thing was we used to go by train to go skiing. We’d go up to —
JC: That was during the war.
GC: – during the war- oh, that’s right.
JC: We take the train to Millerton, go up to Hillsdale and they’d meet you there with a sledge and horse and sleigh or a wagon – take you up to Catamount and go skiing.
RS: With a horse and wagon?
JC and GC: Yah, Yah.
RS: What fun.
JC: Then we’d go up to Canaan to Great Barrington to the GbarS which is now Butternut, and we’d do the same thing.
RS: also a horse and Wagon?
GC: One time I remember it was so slippery that we all got out of the wagon because the horse couldn’t pull us
JC: What that was, it wasn’t slippery; it was they had a sleigh and the roads were bare. We had to get off to put the sleigh on the cement on the road.
GC: We were trying to figure out how many things we had to do in Lakeville – in the line of social things – and I said well, I could just remember that it was a lot of fun to go on the Sunday school picnic up to Lake Buell. I told him about going to Sunday school with five pennies in my hand and not make sure I get there with McCue’s Candy Store. RS: Which one was McCue’s?
JC:: The second house from the comer going towards Salisbury.
RS: In other words, at the bottom of Porter Street, turn left and the second house.
GC: I don’t know if I got some of the places straight that we had. But I’m better off with Bob asking questions because I don’t know when I’m veering off from something—
RS: No, it’s very good. I’ve gotten quite a —
GC: I told him how our boys flew early and why because he wondered if a lot of young
people stayed around town. I said I was always glad that ours got out when they didbecause a lot of boys stayed and did not –
JC: There was nothing to do for young people.
RS: That’s the situation today. When I taught at Housatonic, I was very concerned about,you know, that problem that—
GC: But there were more things to do than there are now because they used to work inthe garages. My brother worked down in the garage that was another garage.
JC: The grocery stores picked up a lot of the slack there, too.
GC: Right. You see there were the stores, the grocery stores, the garages, the theater, andthe bowling alley. You know, there were things in town for them to do but they weren’tcareers. They were just ways to –
RS But, at least, there were some social activities.
JC: Also, don’t forget, the living. There were homes available too – places to rent, placesto live in – rent is now out of range.
GC: Then, I was telling about the men’s club that used to be there where men playedpool and anybody, no special age or anything
JC: I used to belong to the men’s club.
RS: I wish they had it now.
GC: He wishes they had it now. But then, there was something funny I was trying toremember just before and now, I can’t remember things for five minutes.
RS: It happens. We do have a very clear picture of Lakeville, you know, what Lakevillewas like.
GC: We had so many stores and even when Johnny and I came here to this house, wehad the (JC chimes in.: the Lakeville Food Center). The Lakeville Food Center.
JC: Made into a Restaurant.
RS: Yes, I remember. That was here when we got here.
GC: There was, thank heavens no – there was that Village Tavern which I’m glad wasgone.
RS: Yes, I guess I remember getting a keg of beer there which I took to the event whenmy brother came up to visit. GC: The night that burned, Johnny and I didn’t even knowit, and here we were right there.
RS: Oh, yes, I have a quick question which I’ve had in mind. You mentioned that in thecourse of, you know, depicting what stores there were in town, you mentioned that therewere quite a number of fires.
GC: Yes, fires. The Roberts Building burned down three times.
JC: Three times.
RS: Was arson expected — (GC: oh, no) or was it just the fact it was a woodenbuilding?
JC: A wooden building, and perhaps poor wiring. The Roberts Building burned the topfloor first where the theater was.
GC: That’s right. The theater was up there too.
JC: They played basketball up there too. That burned – finally, it took the wholething. That was in the First National was there.
GC: I was telling Bob the theater burned on Christmas Day that was over where—there’snothing there now.
JC: That was where the Pizza place is: Brother’s
GC: Yeah, but there’s more to it than that. The post office was over there too.
RS: So, the whole town sort of shifted from where it was.
JC: It used to be Lakeville was the center whereas Salisbury was the suburbs. Now, it’schanged the other way round. The stores are in Salisbury. There wasn’t anything up inSalisbury, really except?
GC: There wasn’t too much up this street. Dick was here before we came but, thosepeople there, I mean, this street was completely foreign to me. The only time I evercame up here was when the firemen, my Dad was a fireman, and they used to have clambakes over there beyond the brook and they would bring their family — JC: There wasan ice house and we used to cut ice in Quarry Pond- the ice house down below.
GC: That’s something, I remember on the Lake. Every year I remember the year they cutice on the Lake – remember, Dave Doty?
JC: He had the ice house down back where the Mobil station is now. the ice housethere. Everybody had ice.
GC: Bob asked me what about what it was like when our boys were in school. I said the one thing I do remember when they were growing up and in their teens, there were no drugs. I couldn’t remember anything about any drugs.
JC: Drugs maybe, they went down to the city or something like thatGC: That’s what’s changed this world so much.
RS: Oh, badly.
GC: It hasn’t hit somebody like us as much as it would if we had children in that era.(JS: right) So, a lot of things, I am so happy about. Johnny and I had twenty-onewonderful years on the lake with good clean water. There was nobody when we built ourhouse there where Rob Wilson is now before when you get to Wagner’s – we used to callit Wagner’s Comer, it’s now Gott’s . There was nothing way on the left there till you gotway down. We had wonderful neighbors. Finally Bill Raynsford built there after awhile where Rob Wilson is now. The boys grew up at a good time, and they had thatinterest that I think worked out very well. Their interest in flying – it certainly gave themgood careers and they seem happy. I mean, they can’t imagine doing anything else. Let’sput it that way. I think anyone who flies could never be content sitting in an office fromnine to five. I know even he (her husband) couldn’t! But, he doesn’t have to worry aboutit now.
RS: You’re still flying out of -—
JC: Yes, I still teach, – instructor, teacher.
GC: We’ve had some wonderful years.
JC: I don’t know whether you brought it up or not but it used to be, years ago, Hotchkiss boys were a big thing in town.
GC: Oh, yes..
JC: They’d fill up the Jigger Shop and the Hub and places like that – and grocery stores-1 thought that many would come down every day.
GC: The Jigger Shop was where the Laundromat is.
RS: The Jigger Shop? What was it – an ice cream shop?
JC: Yes. A little restaurant and ice cream place and tobacco.
GC: Then in back of it, these drummers would come in with clothing (RS: Oh, yes) and the Hotchkiss boys would come down and buy clothing.
RS: Was there any antagonism? The town and gown type of antagonism between-— GC:/JC: Not really. Not then.
GC: The boys used to come down, and they’d mingle with the townspeople.
JC: Also, many times, they would come down and buy a sled or something like that and use it for a day and then give it to some kid you know, that type of thing.
GC: I don’t remember —Salisbury School didn’t come down so much – not like Hotchkiss.
GC: I forgot about the Jigger Shop. I told Bob- The Hub was that brown building there. It was The Hub. It was also — (RS) Bessie’s Lunch) —Bessie’s Lunch was underneath it. No, Bessie’s Lunch was not underneath the Hub.
JC: No, Bessie’s Lunch was underneath the barber shop.
GC: We did that part : the radio shop, western union — but The Hub was run by the DuFours, Ma DuFour — and that —do you know Bob DuFour?
RS: I don’t know him. I know who he is.
GC: We used to go – what was above there? – oh, Ray lived above there but then they made that Youth Center out of it in a space in back.
RS: Oh, they had a Youth Center? Was that recent?
JC: The kids tore it all apart. They had a Youth Center but –
GC: Not lately — not back then, Bob –
RS: Oh. It’s more recent.
GC: It’s probably the last ten years.
RS: Oh, it’s probably
JC: It seems something Housatonic could use themselves. Now it seems you can’t run – more disorganized. The town could use something that was organized.
GC: We spent so much time — the lake was our big amusement during the day time and then we had the movies, we had bowling, we had skating and, uh , (JC: sleigh riding too.
GC: Sleigh rides, sleigh riding
RS: Hay rides?
GC: I don’t remember – I was allergic to hay. It was almost—you never had to go to town for too much because you could do all your shopping in town. You’d buy your gasoline in town; we went out of town ‘count of the airport. We went to the movies – that was a big night when you went to the movies. Then I said we’d go to Canaan and buy a hamburger. Probably the whole night wouldn’t cost more than two dollars apiece, if that.
RS: How much were the movies?
JC: Forty cents
RS: Oh, forty cents. Things have already gone up!
GC: My Dad used to run the movies, so we got in for free. Madeline Garrity played the piano – the player piano. silent movies.
My Dad, I remember one timeupside down
RS: He was able to shake it out? Oh, good. You were lucky.
GC: Maybe the movies were – maybe they had two men up there or something -1 don’t know – but I remember on Saturday afternoons my brothers and I could go in for nothing because my dad was running it.
RS: What were the movies? Were they westerns or — Do you remember?
JC: We always had – not necessarily westerns —we had all the good shows in town too, many times before they got to the city for some reason or other. We always had newsreels plus a fair share of comedy and things
RS: oh, that cartoon—
JC: oh yes….
RS: What about cultural things in town. Were there lectures, dance performances, or theater coming through?
JC: Not too much on that.
GC: They used to have when I was in high school, we had those things where they – remember, I was in one of them – over at the Stuart Theater.
JC: They had a show in town but they would recruit the people from town to put on the show. There were – there was a theater group (Salisbury Players) in town that put on shows. Remember my brother Pat and those guys — sure, they used to have them up in the Town Hall, right there.
GC: oh, really, hon?
GC: There was a thing called – my mother used to go to it – and a church called Chautauqua?
RS: Oh, yes. Chautauqua was, – is a famous place where lectures took place – that’s Chautauqua, N.Y. – just above the city somewhere, they had a big tent there and Mark Twain, and Emerson and –
JC. Oh, all those people –
GC: Well now, that’s not evangelism? Because the Evangelists used to come through too. RS: Oh, yes – evangelists came through here?
GC: I can remember – what’s that song? “Right on the Corner where you are, right in the corner where you are.” (JC: that was before my time) – This was when I was a little kid and I used to go with my mother and they all sang, “Right on the corner where you are”. Remember that?
RS: I don’t remember that but we had the Holy Rollers every Friday night back in Rock Island, Illinois. That’s why instead of going to the movies or someplace like that, we’d go the tent, and sit in the back row and watch them go through that
JC: You had your own basketball team, too…
GC: Yes, I played basketball.
JC: ….in the summer time, we’d have teams that came through – like the oh, what was that team with the beards?
RS: Oh, the House of David? Oh, I was there.
JC: The House of David. Oh, I remember that. They came through. It was a big thing. It was always at a carnival.
GC: Oh, the carnival, always had it there.
JC: Once in a while, you’d get a one Ring circus with a pretty decrepit elephant.
GC: We can safely say that we had most of our entertainment in town or close to it. We never started going anywhere much until we were married, and then we’d go to the World’s Fair in New York or something like that. But we spent an awful lot of time at Canaan Airport when we were young. We went there before we went to Barrington. Canaan Airport was different than it is now.
JC: Canaan’s not even where it is now.
GC: It’s not even where it is now.
JC: Right where the road goes out of Canaan north into Ashley Falls,
JC: You can see the hangar on the left hand side – the sign is still there – just where it goes into Massachusetts
RS: I’ll have to take a look at it. Isn’t that funny—I’ve not noticed itdid you start
flying here locally?
GC: Course, they wanted to
RS: Did you start flying here locally?
JC: Yeah. I learned to fly in Great Barrington. Then came down to Canaan
GC: You know, Johnny, one of our friends was killed there – Fay Card. (Lagette). When he took off with a man he didn’t know which was not good because Fay was a good pilot. He went up with this man. They hit the house there at the end of the airport and burned.
JC: South end of the airport. They placed a cement block at the end -— Hit and burned RS: Johnny Staber flew out of Great Barrington, didn’t he? JC: Johnny did. Johnny is a good pilot..
RS: I think a friend of mine Earl Brecker?
GC: Oh, Johnny taught him to fly.
RS: You taught him to fly – he was just over this morning. And Virginia Turnure – they are so happy.
JC: Have you seen Virginia lately?
RS: I saw her about two months ago.
RS: How about her shoulder doing.
RS: It’s coming along very, very well.
GC: What did she do, Hon?
RS: Anything else comes to mind?
GC:doesn’t know what we’ve covered. If you can think of anything, Hon, anything.
JC: I don’t know if you’ve mentioned how clear the lake is from years ago
GC: I did say the water was so clear. I would say we had the best twenty-one years we had on that lake. I mean, there were good years before that but after that, it hasn’t been so good. They’re doing their best
RS: I think it’s a problem all through the country
I think it’s things going into the water and into the air. acid rain. RS: it’s not doing any good.
What about acid rain too?
RS: All of these things.
GC: It’s just the earth is getting older. More stuff is happening to it, I guess.
JC: There are a lot of snails in the lake—
RS: There are snails in the lake there?
JC: They say that the geese brought them in and stuff like thatbut it’s not true. They
were put in by Mary Raynsford- she lived right next door to us. I remember the day she put them in. They were Japanese snails she said and they keep the bottom clean around her swimming area. But, of course, they’re all over the lake now.
RS: Did they do any good?
JC: I don’t know if they do any good or not but I know they’ve died or else were killed off.
GC: They don’t seem have done any good.
JC: Look at where the weeds are in the lake now.
GC: Mary and Bill are both gone now. Bill was a kind of sheriff- he was quite a big— JC: He was a contractor too.
GC: Yeah — Raynsford’s building – now that’s right where the firehouse is or right next door to it – that little building.
RS: Which building is that – his construction building?
GC: Yeah. Right down there when you come down by the Holley Place. That little back road there. Bill and Mary had a nice place next to us on the lake there.
JC: Did you know they made skis in the Holley Place building?
JC: They made skis. After the knife shop closed down – many years ago – it sat idle. Then when the war came along, Sid Cowles and another couple in town decided to kind of renovate it and get it ready and had a contractor making skis for the ski troops. So, I went to work – the first one they hired – hired to get the things out of there. The old machinery and things like that in there had boxes of knives they’d made since World War I that had the spoon, knife and fork right in it – and barrels of those. Anyway, finally got that done. Then we made skis for the ski troops for a long time. The way they came out — the billets came in from the South. Hickory – we made hickory skis and just a tiny billet of wood that was cut up and formed and made into skis which were inspected and then shipped out where ever the army wanted them. There was quite a few people working there – we had girls working upstairs -1 don’t – like, eight or ten – putting steel edges on the skis – and down below, the first floor – actually the first floor, was where the skis were formed and the basement was where the wood was cut and planed to the desired thickness and so on, then laminated – they were all laminated skis. It was quite an interesting job.
GC: That was before you went into the service. JC: That was for four months.
GC: Johnny went in for two years – he was in Hawaii for one.
RS: What service were you?
JC: I was in the Air Corps; in the communication phase USCS, United States Communication System.
RS: I was in Air Corps intelligence – (Were you?) (GC: You were?) – were there any other war industries in the area, here?
JC: That was the only one. RS: That was the only one. JC: That was the only one I knew. RS: What was the atmosphere? Can you remember what the atmosphere was like in this area during the war?
JC: Well, the only thing I can definitely remember about was, at one time, you couldn’t drive for any pleasure at all, just for need – You might as well get something? to walk GC: Alrightwe had coupons –
JC: When you get three gallons a week
: . GC: We used to have food coupons too, butter, meat, or something like that
RS: And food coupons too. My wife—
JC: Meat, butter, sugar. But I don’t remember any other war issues.
GC: They didn’t do —Course, years and years ago when the knife shop was? Iron—
RS: Come to think about it; were there any other industry here in Lakeville?
GC: We forgot about the Chinaman’s Laundry.
RS: Oh, where was that?
GC: That’s where K and E is now – across from the Holly Place
RS: Oh, yes
JC: That used to be the forge – the Forge Shop for the knife industry and they madeknives there and then it became the Chinaman -1 don’t know what his namewas – it was just the Chinaman – that’s all. We had a Chinese laundry.
RS: It was a Chinese person?
GC/RC: Oh, yes.
GC: Wonder where he went to. (JC: Long gone now.) No, but I wonder why he— wasthat when Salisbury Products, Robert, Taconic Products? JC: Probably.
GC: There used to be some places up there they called the Beehive for poor people.
RS: A Beehive?
JC: That was the name of the building. It had apartments in it.
RS: It was for poor people? Local poor people?
JC: Yes.- local – Where the people who didn’t have very much income would find a placethey could afford to live. Right on the pond – on the north shore of Factory Pond.
GC: There used to be a swinging bridge across there.
RS: Where was that?
GC: Across the pond.
RS: A swinging bridge?
GC: Uh, uh. JC: They called it a swinging bridge RS: – ’cause you’d walk. JC: it hadtables and you’d walk across it to go swim.
RS: What purpose did that have or was it—
JC: Just to get from one side to the other, that’s all.
GC: Well, we’d go down the Millerton Road, what is now the Millerton Road, comeacross the lot, cross the bridge and over to the lake.
RS: Oh, I see.
JC: It was a shortcut.
RS: Oh, I see.
GC: It was built in the middle of the pond.
RS: Was the road there – the one that goes in front of, you know, where the Holley Placeis or where the Lakeville Journal was? Was that road there then?
GC, JC: Yes. That was there.
RS: So, you didn’t have to come that far.
GC: No, we both crossed. You know how kids will do.
RS: That must have been fun.
GC: In the winter when we skated, we’d hang our coats and things on it, you know, justuse the bridge – put our skates on. You could get your legs down between it.
JC: It was just wire. GC: Wire.
JC: The cables came down to the bridge floor.
GC: And you’d sit on the bridge and put your skates on.
RS: You mentioned that Salisbury was different at that time.
GC: Salisbury was smaller than Lakeville.
JC: Yes it was, Salisbury. This was where the markets were and everybody came to shop. At the Friday and Saturday night, it was crowded in town because that was when the stores – particularly Saturday night – that was the time to do your shopping.
RS: Does that mean that those stores – you know, even Shagroy, when we first came here, of course, was right on the Main Street – those stores were not there?
JC: No, what was before that- I don’t think there was a market there called Kimberly’s Market before Shagroy
RS: Yes, you mentioned—
JC: But, I don’t think that was there.
GC: I didn’t mention Kimberly, I mentioned Casey
RS: Oh, Casey..
GC: Salisbury grew since they took stuff off the Main Street
RS: When what’s his name closed the market here – then, I suppose people came to the Shagroy Market. What’s his name that was in the market? Forgot his name –
GC: Not Casey, Brickman.
RS: Brickman. Morris Brickman. What ever happened to them?
GC: They went to Florida.
RS:. Oh, they settled –
GC: They lived up in Palm City – Palm Coast? Morris used to come back once in whilein the summer and then, something – somebody said something happened to his eye -and I don’t think they come north anymore but they had sons – I imagine they’re bothstill alive –
RC: I remember they had a daughter that was in a class -1 believe
GC: They had a son who used to work in the store – remember? – the big, kind of fatone? – and then the younger Stuart Brickman. I don’t know if the mother and father arealive or not. I guess they are but they just don’t make the trip back up in the summer.
RS: I was under the impression that Lakeville, at one point, I mentioned this before,brought in, that people came here as if it were a resort. I’m under the impression thatEstelle Staber mentioned that.
GC: Well, they came because of the lake.
JC: Gateway Inn, Gateway Inn up there – was filled with people
RS: Oh, the Interlaken was here then?
JC: Oh sure, not because of where it is now(GC: the Gateway) — my mother and
father spent part of their honeymoon there
GC: Across from that was the telephone office – you know, where Community Fuel is? -RS: Yes. (GC: That was the telephone office. That’s where my Dad worked.)
RS: Where Community Fuel is now? The telephone office was there at that time.
GC: My Dad was there for years.
JC: That was when we had operators- not dial tone.
GC: My Dad, until he was transferred or went to Hartford to work. He was upgraded
? kind of a job.
RS: The White Hart Inn, of course, was here. Didn’t someone tell me that George Washington, presumably, slept at the White Hart Inn? Where didn’t he sleep?
JC: I don’t know.
GC: The Farnum Tavern used to be used –
JC: It might have been the Bushnell Tavern which is –
GC: Where the Farnum Tavern is now, was that the Bushnell Tavern?
JC, RS: No, no. The Bushnell is up in Salisbury – up where – the Warner house.
RS: Across from where the Town Hall-—
GC: Oh, oh.
RS: That was Don Warner’s house – that comer house?
GC: That’s the one that sold for a million dollars last week.
RS: Yeah, yeah. That doctor who came here for a short time? Dr. Ahroon. He did very well.
GC: But the Farnum Tavern was used for – wasn’t that used in the old stage coach days?
JC: Yeah, sure it was.
RS: Which Tavern now?
GC: Farnum Tavern
RS: Where was that?
JC: Halfway up the hill – on the right hand side – towards Millerton – just beyond theblinker light.
GC: on the right
JC: towards Millerton
RS: Oh, towards Millerton.
GC: the apartments –
RS Is that the – oh, the apartments. That was Farnum Tavern.
GC: That was a Tavern for years. We used to go there when it was a tavern JC: When itopened up again. When it opened up again. For a while there it was closed.
GC: Then, another thing – right before that, there was Smith’s garage that burned and Iremember when I was a girl, it burned and a man burned in it. And that was between theFarnum Tavern and?
RS: What would have brought a Chinese man up here? Probably just business orsomething?
JC: I don’t know -1 don’t know of anyone that knew his name, or talked to him. I mean,when you were a kid, you were scared of him, you know. It was just one of those things.RS: Yeah. GC: Yeah
RS: Remember those cartoons – what was that – that big, heavy guy in the movies all the time.
JC: Charlie Chan or something –
RS: Something like that – how about other, another – there aren’t many black families even now. I know when I was teaching at Housatonic I think we had seven or eight black families. Were there black families when you were growing up?
GC: Oh, yes. (RS: Oh, there were) My son grew up – there’s a boy who is now the manager, one of the managers, at Bradley Airport.
JC: Operation manager at Bradley.
GC: Operation manager. Carley Palmer.
RS: Palmer, from the Palmer family?
JC: Wonderful family. They all worked out extremely well. They were nice people. Always nice people.
GC: My older boy and Billy were friends all through their teens and then they separated when they left school.
JC: Actually been to our house – he flew with Billy.
GC: Yep, Billy did.
RS: And the Palmers, he had the garage here.
JC, GC: That’s the son
RS: Oh, the son. There’s an interview – come to think of it – their father was here –
RS: What’s his name? I don’t think it was Palmer – there was a lady who works as anurse – a black lady that lives down Farnum Road?
GC: Oh, Bertha Fowkles?
RS: Bertha Fowkles.
GC: They always lived down that way – Farnum Road – there were the Branches, thePalmers, and the Fowkles, and they were always nice people.
GC: What, dear? Shibault. They were always wonderful people. Nobody ever had anyfeeling – My boys never had any feeling against any other colored person
RS: That’s interesting.
JC: It never made any difference in this town.
GC: There weren’t that many of them but they were accepted –
JC: Bertha Fowkles’ husband, Billy, he was killed in an accident at Community Service.
A load of cement blocks fell on himsomething like that – killed him. Quite a few
years ago now.
GC: The one thing they didn’t do, they did not date together. That I do know. Billy wentto England in the service where black people were treated equally. (Yes) When he cameback home to America, he had a little problem because he had been treated as a white
personperson, I believeBilly went with Air America (JC: Did you ever hear of Air
23.person, I believe—-Billy went with Air America. (JC: Did you ever hear of Air
RS: Oh, yes, oh sure.) He was in charge of operations at the end. I guess that was a pretty rugged job.
JC: He got a dispatcher’s license through the FAA in the end and he worked for a time
GC: – and he came out. I don’t know what he did after that – well, he had a college degree in something but anyhow, he ended up as a Manager at Bradley where there are several for it’s twenty-four hours. (RS: He’s there now?) GC: Now he’s in charge of operations and he’s doing very well. Billy is a bright person.
JC: They tried to hire – Boston tried to hire him away- and he was going to go until they met the same pay scale at Bradley.
GC: He married a little girl from the Philippines and they had two darling daughters and now they live in Bloomington. He has a beautiful home. (JC: Bloomfield) (RS: Bloomfield) GC: I’ll think of it in a minute. (RS: Indiana. Bloomington, Indiana).(GC: Bloomington, Minnesota and Indiana. RS: Oh, there’s one in Indiana and Minnesota…. GC: Billy was —frankly, the only boy who did not go too far was John. He was the one who stayed in town. Terry went in the service and stayed there. He had a career. One of the boys was way up in the insurance business. insurance business for cars? Billy was at the airport and what was – and the little one – what was the little one? JC: Bobby? GC: Bobby’s in insurance too. JC: He’s got a good job out there too. GC: So, they all had careers and, of course, John has a career but I mean it’s not exactly too financially probably as the other boys. But I don’t know, John just…. John’s got a lovely wife. She’s got a lot to do with the Day Care Center.
RS: Oh, is that so?
GC: Does she run it?
RS: Oh, oh, yes. I met her through Laura?
GC: Good looking, tall. Well, that’s Johnnie’s wife. They live right down here at the end of the road. (RS: Yes) which I thought it was pretty sad when they cut those roads across there. They call it progress.
RS: You mentioned that there was a Jones that owned the Lakeville Journal when you were here.
GC: Ben Jones
RS: Now, one of the very nice things is, I think, that there is still an independent newspaper in some towns. Who – How did that develop? Who took it after Bob Jones?
GC: Ben Jones. Hoskins?.
RS: Oh, is that when he came in? Oh, I see.
GC: and that’s been until –
RS: What’s his name took it over.
GC: Estabrook and now Albany Company. JC: I don’t know who’s got it now.
RS: He lives over in Salisbury – I’ve forgotten his name. He lives right across from the White Hart Inn. I don’t recall his name.
24. White hart Inn. I don’t recall his name.
RS: Can you think of any other changes that have taken place – you mentioned quite a few. Can you think of any other changes that have taken place in the community?
JC: Just development in the way of housing and people moving in, that’s all.
RS: A lot of that. How big was the population when you were growing up here? Do you have any idea? Was it smaller or bigger than now?
RS: Much smaller?
JC: Years and years ago, it was probably bigger than it is now when the mines were open or something like that – fact, iron ore during the war – iron ore cut that out. (Ed. So much water in Ore Hill mine that couldn’t be pumped out – the mine closed)
GC: I worked on the checkers at the Town Hall for years — I’m trying to think – that was back – ‘course that was back a good twenty years ago at least. Back in the old days.
RS: What was checkers?
GC: The ones who check the Roster when you came in to the poll.
RS: Oh, I see, yes.
GC: I’d be there from quarter past five in the morning till eight o’clock at night – then I’d come home and I couldn’t see straight. I was trying to think of what the voting was then. It probably wasn’t much more than probably thirteen, fourteen hundred. What is it now? RS: Probably about, let’s say, they say it’s about two thousand.
GC: It’s more than that. ‘Course, you have your part time residents who live here now.
RS: You have the absentee ballot. The part time residents.
GC: That wasn’t far enough back to be much really part of the past.
JC: I’m sure you already discussed the railroads –
GC. We talked about the railroads and it went from the, it went right – that was the station there – the Nurses office – and then it went right across the street to Community Service.
JC: went right to Millerton
GC:I told about my trip on the milk train.
RS: Did the high school take many trips into New York – the Natural History Museum or Hartford?
GC: We took it to Washington our senior year -1 don’t know if they still do that or not RS: Yes, they do or at least, when I was there, they did.
GC: So, you can see all the government buildings and things like that. In the eighth grade I graduated. But then, I was at that little school up where Metz’s apartment was. Yeah, when Miss Horty, Miss Horty was my first grade teacher – she used to use the ruler – (slap) – remember that.
RS: (laughter) I remember that.
GC: Yeah, the one across –
RS: the one you mentioned.
GC: Next to the Masonic Hall. But, you know? Things evolve so slowly, not slowly, butgradually over the years that you can’t – you can remember your childhood but inbetween it’s sort of, you’re busy….(RS: Oh, sure) …you’re not paying much attention towhat’s going on unless it relates to you…. your own activities. So, I can just remember,we had a good childhood, we had good years.
RS: You lived here during the Depression Years?
GC: Well, I graduated from high school in 31. (RS: Right) The crash was 29, and Iknow that my Dad, although he was a full time employee of the telephone company, hehad to work another job. He had the radio shop, and three children to bring up. Now thatI am at the age where I can understand what that Crash was, it certainly must have beendifficult.
JC: Even when I was, even when I was working for the wrecking company, when I wastaking up the railroad, the pay was then fifteen dollars a week – it was a six day week, itwasn’t eight hours – we worked until it got dark at night. I worked throughThanksgiving. I remember that distinctly.
GC: It seems like everything that Johnny did – flying, skiing, everything, it was a longday. It started early in the -we used to go to Jiminy Peak at seven o’clock in the morningand you wouldn’t get home until way after dark. The same way with the airports. Weused to, we had to, we had to get our boys cars – not great cars – when they were sixteenbecause we had been taxiing back and forth to the airport, one of us would pick them upalmost at ten o’clock at night, after dark. Our family has always had, up until the timethat we could take things easier, long days.
RS: I think all service work—(GC: it is still like that- if you don’t have a nine to five job)— that’s my experience.
RS: You don’t have a nine to five if it’s not a factory job -— a shoemaker who works athis trade — and is finished.
GC: You worked in a factory for a little while in Torrington.
JC: I worked for a defense plant in Torrington – the Torrington Company – down therewhere they make bearings. I stayed there for a while on piece work. I thought I’d ratherbe in the service any day.
RS: A little more freedom than that.
JC: I couldn’t believe some of these people. A job they’d done for thirty years, they just- automation- part of the machinery.
RS: Never forgot when I first visited the Ford factory in Detroit and then saw CharlieChaplin’s Modern Times. Did you see that? It was perfect, absolutely. You mentionedthat the railroads that you helped disassemble that. Do you remember what years thatwas, approximately?
JC: Yes, let’s see – that’d be – let’s say – it might be around ’36.
RS: Around ’36. What caused the turn down?
JC: I suppose it’s natural that looser truck traffic was taking over(RS: Already as
early as that? )freight or something like that….course this was all steam through
here and throughout the winter. They didn’t have enough traffic for passengers becausebuses were picking it up.
RS: The war came along and there wasn’t enough
JC: The war came along and the rails were already gone.
GC: One of our big thrills when our son was about two years old, we’d get in our littlecar and we’d go to the railroad station in Canaan (JC: in Millerton)in Millerton,
and wait till the train went by so the conductors would wave (RS: would wave to you )and Pepper used to get such a kick out of that.
JC: It was quite a sight. Before you got to Millerton, when you got to the top of the hill,you’d look down on a cold winter day and billows of steam coming up out and they’d goover and add water to the tank – fill up with water.
GC: We took them on a train ride once because they’d never been on a train – where didwe go? – Amenia?
JC: That was a class ride that went down to Amenia.
RS: What do you mean by a clash ride?
JC: A class of grammar school.
RS: Oh, oh, very good.
JC: Then we took them to New York one time I remember this. We were walking along42nd street with Jerry and Lou and all of a sudden he stopped and looked and said,“Look at those great big buildings!” Well, we were hicks – we might as well admit it.
GC: We took them to the Bronx Zoo. I was telling Rob about the time when I took,down on the milk train, when we took the milk train down there. We took the kids fromschool down there. I forgot that we took a train ride. We figured they’d been inairplanes but not a train.
RS: But today you’d have to take people on a train ride because who would experienceit. We deliberately took a train from Albany – my brother is in Loudonville – down tothe city to JFK and, uh, what a difference. Remember, alright, I don’t know the detailsbut I – in Rock island we were right at the hub of all the railroads and we used to, youknow, go out to Yellowstone and places by railroad and, uh, you’d go into the diningroom and how nice it was – now you go in there and plastic knives, plastic ? AwJC: It used to be white linen from the napkins, silverware –
RS: It was such a joy and now–
JC: The food used to be delicious – all cross the country the train was like that
RS: Now it’s all canned food, so to speak – but, uh –
GC: Well, you know they try – they do a pretty good job sometime on some airlines -some are awful – we have had some quite good meals on the airlines. If you’re in FirstClass, you do get good service — it isn’t bad.
JC: when you consider the, uh, how it has to be done in the air I think we do a prettydam good job in all
RS: I’ve had a very good experience – we go – we were flying down – up until last
winter, we would go to Puerto Rico, believe it or not, because my father was down there. We’d fly American, and it was good. He had an “in” with the Airlines and he used to get us on First Class.
GC: isn’t that where Lauri and Al go down there?
RS: Yeah, that’s how they started to go down. They loved it down there too. I get a little tired of it now. But no. But sometimes
JC: That was a dirt road between Lime Rock and Hotchkiss.
RS: Oh, that was a dirt road? Oh, yeah, of course, it had to be. How long ago was that?
JC: Well, let’s see. I would say – let me check my memory pack – this is in 1928, ‘9, around in there, ’30.
RS: Around in there.
GC: That was before I met you, wasn’t it, hon?
JC: Yeah. Also was – that’s why the mail was stored in Lime Rock then. You know the general store? (RS: Yes) O.K. and then, there was a Post Office in there too. (Right) And the mail came up on the train and Bill Bonds – he was the mailman – he’d go down and get the mail at first light. They threw it off the train – they didn’t stop – they threw it off. RS: There was no train coming through Lime Rock?
JC: Oh, sure. Sure. It came all the way up from New York.
RS: That isn’t where the railroad tracks are going up towards Music Mountain? Up there? That where it was?
JC: Right through Lime Rock Station – right around the river where it goes through now.
RS: Off Route 7.
GC: Is that where they had that scenic train now?
RS: the scenic train
JC: Sure. They used to have a lot of trains through there all the time.
GC: Where was the station?
JC: The station, Lime Rock Station, is down if you went across to where the bridge is now, course, it didn’t used to be there, and turn right down in there. That was called Lime Rock Station. But the train didn’t stop through there long. The only paved road in town, in Lime Rock was the main street, at the foot of the hill until you get to where Dr. Johnson is – from there on, it’s all dirt.
RS: Were the forges working at that time?
JC: No, they were there but they were not workingand the dam wasn’t where it is
now. It was in an entirely different place.
JC: The dam – we used to swim in that. They changed the dam just so there would be water going over the dam. We used to swim in that. It was pretty deep too. It was all different. Used to be a store where the hotel is.
RS: Where you go up the steps. Yeah.
GC: We used to go there a lot when it was the Lime Rock Lodge. (JC: That was good.)
GC: That was wonderful. We used to have that English Kidney – Steak and Kidney Pie JC: It had a good write up. Mentioned in? Ford. Ford used to put out a little booklet that they sent around with recipes. She was noted for that. She was in there. Carol Brett. RS: What was her name? Brecht?
JC: Carol Brett – B-r-e-t-t.
RS: Is she still – uh – no.
GC: There used to be so many nice bakeries to eat around that didn’t — remember Oakhurst –
RS What’s the name again?
GC: Where they’re making a development up the road towards Sharon—
JC: Up the road going towards Sharon
JC: The Oakhurst Inn – up the road going towards Sharon on the road halfway up the hill.
GC: Didn’t that bum?
GC: Oh, that used to be the most wonderful food.
GC: You could go have a wonderful dinner for three dollars. JC: You can’t even go to Burger King for three dollars anymore.
RS: You can get a bowl of chili for three dollars at this place in Great Barrington, on Railroad Street.
GC: Oh, Twenty Railroad?
RS: I like that Pub. I love their chili.
GC: We do too. I’ve had their chili there. We’ve been there three or four times. Chili with Genose Cream Ale.
GC: One of my favorites. We haven’t been there in a long time, have we, hon? We used to know the man who worked, ran that kit –
JC: Well, that was quite a while ago.
GC: He’s, well you might say – the head maintenance man at Sharon Hospital. Henry Seigfried.. (JC: Henry Seigfried.) They didn’t call it 20 Railroad then, did they?
JC: Speaking of Lime Rock again. Speaking of young people ruining themselves. Other fellows there, we all had a rifle – a twenty-two rifle We’d spend a whole day to go out and hunt woodchucks. Nobody bothered if you wanted to go hunting down there, go ahead, and shoot woodchucks. Today if you were going along with a rifle – it would get them jailed. RS: It says No Trespassing. I don’t pay attention. So many people took advantage of those things too.
GC: When we lived on the lake, we had almost three acres because we were six hundred feet. And we had a target thing for our boys. Johnny wanted them to learn to use guns. Because he didn’t like somebody who didn’t know how to use a gun. He’s got a rifle and doesn’t know how to use it. We had a big thing out there – it was plenty of space – (JC: oh, we had hay bales) – hay bales – and the boys would shoot their guns – their twenty- twos – and then, finally, the ranger? It wasn’t their fault really – we had to stop it because
they made a wild game preserve out of the area. There was no more chance of that bullet going anywhere near a bird because we were shooting at.But the boys did learn to
use the guns before that stopped. They were good little guys. That all stopped. There was another thing that stopped. That stopped when the boys were still – long before they ever went to school and to college ( JC: oh, yes) So, at least they had that – they had an old car down there- you could do those things then, now—
JC: If the lake froze overnight, they’d cut up on the lake.
RS: On the lake? When it was frozen?
JC: Oh, yes. We used to have them handle a car on the ice – it was good training. One time when this man who used to give me flying lessons, he landed down on the lake when we were out there skating so we went up for a ride. I got in the airplane and went up and landed on the lake. One day I flew with Johnny and we landed up on Copake Lake.
RS: Yes, uh, Stokes? told us some of those stories. They had some difficulty with some neighbors, I gather, about landing on the lake there….
GC: Oh, well, this was so long ago. (RS: that was earlier) But now of course, they wouldn’t let you.
JC: It used to be you could take a light kind of a flying Cub from Rochester??? When that froze over you would fly right over and land up on the mountain.
GC: Howard Hughes landed up on our lake.
RS: He did. Howard Hughes.
GC: To visit what’s her name, Lansing, who now has the Hewitt property way up –
RS: Up on Selleck Hill?
GC: Yes. What was her name – she was a beautiful girl. (I can’t remember her name) (Mary Ed) But Lansing –
JC: He came right in the lake and patched it right in there – a weatherman phib – an amphibian – We were over there swimming and he asked us to help him lower it. There were pontoons, and we swam out there to tie the thing in with the anchor whatever he was doing, I can’t remember.
RS: Was Howard Hughes here to visit this young lady?
GC: Lansing property was for years it was called the Lansing property. Isn’t that where Hewitt lives? Donald Hewitt.
JC: Yeah, I still think of it as the Lansing property
RS: It was beautiful scenery.
C: Where the Lansing girl lived. He apparently had a date with her. I don’t know how he got up there from the lake.
(JC: They probably came down and picked him up.) GC: They probably came and got him.
JC: The chauffeur – there always was a chauffeur.
RS: In other words, you could drive the car right up on to the lake?
GC: Oh, yeah. JC: When it was frozen.
GC: We had a little English Austin — an American Bantam without anyand Jerry
was born in July, we planned him for June but he was born in July. We were out on that lake in the winter with me pregnant in that little car, skidding all over the place.
RS: I bet.
GC: Didn’t bother me a bit.
JC: Put a rope on it. And the kids would hold the rope and have on skis and away they’d go like crazy.
GC: Years and years ago, when I was a girl, – (JC: You didn’t have the fear you would have now of such things)- a man drove out on the lake and his car went in and he drowned.
JC: He was cutting ice and he drove to the place where he was cutting —
GC: He was to marry this girl named Dora O’Connell and the whole town was just absolutely devastated. That was something that stuck in my mind how this man went right down and drowned. “Course, it was icy cold. But, uh, where did she live? She lived up in Waterford?, I remember. Hold on, it’s just a dim memory – I don’t know if she ever got married. She was an “old Dora that never got married”. I don’t remember if she ever got married. But that was one of the sad things about our life. Well, we did have children drown, not too long ago. But this was unheard of to drive a car out and drown. We used to drive the car but we made sure…
JC: If you wanted to do it today, you’d get arrested again. You’d get playing and then the State cops would on you in no time.
RS; That’s right, that’s for sure.
JC: We’re restricted so much now in certain things.
GC: Another thing I’ve noticed in our town – it doesn’t bother me one bit, in the past few years how everybody’s fencing themselves in. RS: Oh, yes, the fencing, the No Trespassing Signs and, of course –
GC: The big fences have been built up on Main Street and then, on top of the hill both sides on the left and up on the right. Of course, some of it could be for noise. You know the traffic noise.
RS: Fact is, they could put trees up. Then, of course, you get the buildings.. Many places where we used to hike, now, you’ve got new buildings
JC: No matter where you live, there are new buildings.
GC: You ought to see that tree in Millerton Road – the tree right in the road – the big one on Belgo.
RS: Oh, at the beginning of Belgo.
GC: And then, two just before – brand new – have you seen those two?
GC: Well, I’m of the school that says if they want to do it, they should be able to do it.
JC: It’s their money if they want to do it.
GC: Sometimes, I envy them. We had a few but we chopped our trees so many times because they would obscure our view of the lake. I don’t know if the Yoakums even use
their shore. Maybe they do, but it must be all weedy and everything. I saw Alice Yoakum up at Charlotte’s at election night
GC: The Harvey House is where Ingersoll Building…. (JC: Yeah). I was trying to remember isn’t there something’s we’ve seen there, in the telephone -—Where the telephone building is, it used to be the Hartford Electric Light Company. Right? JC: Next house down used to be Hartford Electric light. That’s where it used to be. You got a got burnt up bulb, you’d take it in and they’d give you a new one – nothing.
GC; Oh, I told about May Bissell’s little sewing club. (RS: Yeah) That’s the Litchfield Bank. And then Martin’s garage.
RS: It’s a beautiful place.
JC:The town was run right out of Martin’s garage…he was the First Selectman.
RS: Where was Martin’s garage?
JC: The Mobil station. It was a little bit bigger then. He and Bill – Bill was the Town Clerk – his office was on that flat land behind the station. Lila Nash would give you a picture. If you wanted a hunting license you’d go to Lila. The town didn’t have its own equipment. They had the trucks – it was all rented but you might not get the plow out as soon as you wanted to. It would get out eventually.
RS: Was the Town Hall run out of here? Yes, most of the time it was run right out of his garage down there
RS: What’d they do with the building in Salisbury? There was just nothing there?
JC: Not sure there was anything there. They used the upstairs. Sometimes – for shows and that type -(RS: oh, that type of thing) – the Post Office was up there too. Remember that lady that -1 forget her name –
GC: Oh, McCullough – Billie McCullough.
JC: Billie McCullough worked for Martin here but another lady worked up top there – Lila Nash worked there –
GC: Stuart? (JC: I can’t remember her name. I can picture her but I can’t remember her name.)
GC: What did we do? I was thinking of some of our childhood fun. We used to go up by the Catholic Church. The road wasn’t plowed much. We’d all be up there with our sleds and we’d slide all the way down into the village. They didn’t bother plowing the roads. JC: They didn’t sand them anyhow. They didn’t have to.
RS: You came here as a young man?
JC: I came around –