This is Jean McMillen interviewing Weesie Hannegan, alias Louise Rudd Hannegan at her home 49 Canterbury Lake, Lakeville, Ct. She is going to talk about her memories, the Rudd family, and anything else of interest. The date is August 28, 2012.
JM:What is your full name?
LH:Louise Bancker Rudd Hannegan
JM:What is you birthdate?
LH:February 6, 1930.
JM:Where were you born?
LH:Montclair, New Jersey.
JM:Your parents’ names, please.
LH:Emily Hayward and Theodore Oliver Rudd.
JM:Do you have or had siblings?
LH:Yes, I had a sister Anne Kennard Rudd. Her last marriage was to Arthur Eddy. She was called Nancy.
JM:Tell me about your grandparents. Who they were and their children.
LH:Williams Beardsley Rudd and Maria Coffing Holley Rudd. This is how the Holleys and the Rudds connect.
JM:They had four children?
LH:They had four children: Alexander Holley Rudd, Fanny, Malcolm Day Rudd, and Charles Edward Rudd.
JM:Alexander Holley Rudd would have been your grandfather?
LH:Yes, Alexander Holley Rudd was my grandfather.
JM:And he married whom?
LH:He married Celina Bancker Holley.
JM:Where did he live?
LH:In Lakeville, he was born in Lakeville.
JM:Specifically was he at Upper Farm?
LH:Not then, not when he was born. He inherited the Upper Farm on Belgo Road, but they lived at Holleywood because they were all born at Holleywood. I don’t know if he lived there up until the time he met my grandmother, I suppose so. I believe that they met at the Perkins Boarding House.
JM:Specifically where is the Perkins Boarding House? (235 Main Street, Lakeville, Ct. ED.)
LH:That was toward Salisbury from Lincoln City Road.
JM:It now has a green metal roof, (right next to the Bad Corner Antiques Shop Ed.)
LH:It used to have a porch and that is where everybody sat in their rockers. There used to be a wonderful stone wall, but most of it is gone now. They had wonderful bushes that we called Snowball bushes; they had little round balls. You could squish them and that was great fun. It was my grandmother and her sister who would be there, and Aunt Louise; they all came up from Brooklyn. That’s where my grandmother was from. They all came up in the summertime and stayed at the Perkins Boarding House. My Aunt Min had 2 children. She married Charles Lester and had two children: Helen and Charles. My father who was called Ted and Helen and he (Charles) was called Chick and they all played together. They played with Liz has who was Liz Perkins. She was the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Perkins. They remained friends forever.
JM:The house that Liz Haas used to live in that is now Pastorale (223 Main Street, Lakeville Ed.); was that house there in the same time frame as Mrs. Perkins Boarding House?
JM:Who lived in that house?
LH:I have no idea. Behind that house were several other small houses. It was called the Patch. When my Aunt Helen, I don’t know why, she was older and Aunt Min was very old, they moved up to Lakeville from Montclair. Aunt Helen lived in the Patch. Liz Haas and her husband built separate from the boarding house the Iron Masters Motor Lodge.
JM:Where was that red house? (231 Main St. Hope & John Mongeau live there Ed.) Is it still in existence?
LH:Yes, in back of the boarding house and to the left; whereas the motel was to the right. (This was according to Jim Vail originally the blacksmith’s shop for the Davis Ore Company. The only other miner’s cottage on the site was behind Pastorale and used to be a restaurant. Ed. See Hope Mongeau’s tape.)
JM:What did Alexander Holley Rudd do?
LH:He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and he ended up Chief Signals Engineer.
JM:Wonderful! He and Theolene Bancker Oliver had 2 children: William Beardsley Rudd and Theodore Oliver Rudd. Was it your grandfather who was called “the mayor of Belgo road?”
LH:Yes, because they built their house on Belgo Road in 1938. In the good weather, he and my grandmother would sit on the front porch: he is his wicker rocking chair and she in just a little plain armchair. He would read the paper and sometimes he would read it to her while she was sewing. He would smoke. When a car would go by, he would just simply lift his arm and wave, and he really never knew who was going by. But he would just wave. So he got to be known as the “Mayor of Belgo”.
JM:Was this property called Upper Farm?
JM:And that’s 69 Belgo Road, I believe.
JM:Now tell me about your father, Theodore. What did he do?
LH:He started out working for the railroad, but that was only for a couple of years. Then he went to work for the Keyrite Company in New York which was wire and insulated cable. They were at 30 Church Street in New York. It was a very specialized company, upscale type of insulated cable. He was a salesman, and he was with them all the rest of his life. He ended as vice president, then president and chairman of the board.
JM:Now tell me a little bit about your mother’s side of the family. Who Were Emily Hayward’s parents?
LH:This is a wonderful moniker. Her mother was Claude Brownrigg Dawson. Her father was Charles Eccleston Hayward Jr. I think. They were both born in Maryland: my grandmother in Easton and my grandfather in Cambridge on the eastern shore. I am not sure how they met. They were married in 1900. They had three children: my mother Emily Eccleston Hayward, Charles Eccleston Hayward and William Groome Hayward.
JM:Your parents were Emily Hayward Rudd and Theodore (Ted) Oliver Rudd.
JM:They had two children.
JM:Anne known as Nancy and Louise known as Weesie.
JM:Now you married David Hannegan.4.
JM:You have two sons.
LH:David Worthington Hannegan Jr. and Garret Bancker Hannegan.
JM:Well, we got that sorted. Now I would like you to tell me about the story of the “Wizard of Oz.”
LH:When I was young, down on Ethan Allen Street where Mizza’s Pizza is now was the Stuart Movie Theater. In 1939 when I was 9 years old, we went to see the “Wizard of Oz”. Now I am not sure how long after we were married, Dave says, “I was up visiting the Goddards, and we went to see the “Wizard of Oz” at the Stuart Theater. We figured that we could have seen it at the very same time. That would have been serendipity. It was Madeline Garrity who sold tickets at the Stuart Theater and she also worked at Barnett’s Five & Dime. It wasn’t really a Five & Dime.
JM:It was more of a department variety store.
LH:It was a wonderful store with old wooden floors, and the smells in there were just wonderful. I loved it.
JM:Were you ever around at Christmas time for the Barnett’s Christmas Toyland display?
JM:You missed a treat. Who was Mr. Wylie?
LH:He ran the A & P. Or as my first brother-in-law would say the A & Poo Feed Store.
JM:The Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company!
LH:I know. I remember what he looked like; he was tall, partly bald, wore glasses, always had on a white apron, very kind. We used to like to go in there.
JM:Oh sure, if people are kind, you want to go back. That is important.
LH:The other thing I remember talking about kind people, actually he wasn’t as kind but old Doc Leverty at the drugstore. He was gruff; at least that’s what I remember as a child. I can remember when my grandparents rented the Harrison’s house which is opposite the Dean meadow.
JM:I am going to stop you because I do not know where the Harrison House is.
LH:Do you know where the Dean Meadow is next to Holleywood?
JM:Is that what it is called?
LH:That’s the Dean Meadow. I don’t know how it got its name.
JM:Then the Harrison house is?
LH:It’s across the street, and there are the Thelma Apartments( 69 Millerton Road), if that is what they still are.
JM:Is it the big grey house on the corner of Belgo Road. (Built by Samuel Robbins Ed.)
LH: No this is Emily Miles Cottage (57 Millerton Road Ed.); you are coming from Lakeville on the right hand side there was Emily Miles house and that big…
JM:Oh where Wanda Landowska lived (63 Millerton Road ED.)
LH:Exactly, then came the Thelma apartments, and then Mrs. Harrison Grey lived in that house. It had a big porch on the front. It is much more handsome now because they took off the front porch. We used to love the front porch.
JM:Is it a large white house with green shutters? (#81 Millerton Road Ed.) You can cut through their driveway to get pass the apartment house to get into Wanda Landowska’s house.
LH:Yes which I had forgotten.
JM:And that was Harrison house?
LH:That’s where Mrs. Harrison Grey lives, but it was called the Harrison House. Next door coming toward Belgo is Harrison Street and I am sure that is why it was named such. The little house was nearby where Mr. Silvernail lived with Maudie, his daughter. Mr. Silvernail kept his horse in Mrs. Harrison Grey’s barn.
JM:The Miles cottage, then Denise Restout/Wanda Landowska house, up on the hill that was called Twin Oaks, I think, then the stucco house which was the Thelma Apartments.
LH: The Williams family was behind the Thelma Apartments.
JM:Then there was the Harrison House, which is next to Harrison Street now.
JM:Now you bring up another point. Your husband has a connection to the Goddards.
LH:Yes. The Goddards and the Hannegans were very close friends in Cheshire, Connecticut. That was Allen and Charis Goddard. Allen was the son of Rev. Calvin Goddard from the Congo Church.
JM:Then Rev. Goddard’s name was Calvin, because the references I have are just Rev. Goddard. I didn’t know his Christian name.
LH:He was Rev. Calvin Goddard. It would be when my grandparents were renting the Harrison House and I was a baby in a baby carriage. Dr. Goddard would come to the house. There is the story that one time Libby, the maid, came running out and snatched me out of the baby carriage because she didn’t want ”that man with a beard” kissing her little baby. And he did; he had a goatee. That was a wonderful house.
JM:It looks like it would have been a lovely house.
LH:The porch on the front, we were always out there.
JM:It would overlook the lake; you can see the lake because it is high enough, and that overlooks Dean Meadow?
LH:Correct. We would go down to the lake through Holleywood.
JM:Who lived in Holleywood at that time?
LH:That was Charles Edward Rudd and Emma Rees Rudd.
JM:How many children did they have?
LH:Just one child John Krom Rudd.
JM:Whom did John marry?
LH:Virginia Burchfield from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
JM:Did they have children?
LH:Yes, one John Holley Rudd, known as Jay. (In 2010 Jay sold Holleywood to Donald and Helen Klein Ross. Ed.)
JM:I remember John speaking of his son, and I think he lived out in Michigan.
LH:Yep. He lives in Holt, Michigan.
JM:When you went to the lake through Holleywood, would you cross the road and go through Dean Meadow or…?.
LH:No, there was a west driveway; it was treacherous, and then the east driveway. The west driveway was used for quite a while. They had to build up the earth to make the driveway and that came out almost in front of the Harrison House.
JM:Is it still there and the land floods on either side?
LH:Yes, but that is how we would walk down.
JM:Was it beach sand or shingle or just rocks and dirt?
LH:Just rocks and dirt.
JM:Was that where Hop Rudd had his camp?
LH:Almost, Hop Rudd had his camp next to the Town Grove so where we would go was one little section and then between that section and the Grove was where Hop had his camp, the swimming part of his camp.
JM:There was the Grove, then there was Hop, and then there was you.
LH:Yes. That was Holley wood’s section, and there was just a small dock.
JM:Tell me about the swinging bridge.
LH:I think I only went across it once with Nancy, and I think I made it swing to scare her.
JM:That sounds reasonable. That’s what kids do.
LH:I am sure that that’s the way the guests at the Gateway Inn got to the Grove. Wasn’t it Mrs. White’s Boarding House?
JM:Was that the Gateway?
LH:No, this was across the street from the Gateway.
JM:The Gateway was on the same side as the…
LH:The Holley-Williams House.
JM:So Mrs. White’s would have been across the street from the Gateway.
LH:I think it was that then, but maybe it was just a private home but I don’t know what it is today.
Then you had the Holley Block.
Hannegan Interview Part 28
LH:It was on the corner of Holley St., and Borden’s Dry Goods Store.
JM;Was that Borden of the Borden Creamery, Milk…
LH:I don’t know.
JM:But it was Borden’s store?
LH:Yes. Nancy and I once in a while would go down there and help them fill orders. Oh we loved it. I don’t know whether they did.
JM:They wouldn’t have asked you to come back, or wouldn’t permit you to come back if they hadn’t because you can defeat a child if you want to. Obviously they didn’t want to. You were also going to tell me something about Kent Fulton and Hob Nob Hill.
LH:He was wonderful. He hired so many people to build that golf course, and he built his own house in the middle of the golf course.
JM:Where is that located?
LH:You go out the Undermountain Road; do you know where Oogie Hoystradt lives?
JM:No, but I know the hill. (175 Undermountain Road on the left Ed.)
LH:Yes, there is a big hill with the driveway. Before you get to the driveway, there’s you know it is all overgrown, but that was the first hole. It was beautiful because the green was surrounded by trees. It was lovely.
JM:When he died, it disappeared.
LH:Nobody took care of it. Nobody bought it.
JM:Now the story that I have read is that he built this because he wanted the local people to be able to play golf without an expensive greens fee.
LH:I believe so.
JM:You could bring a guest and often he would waive the fee.
LH:He was a very generous man. Also there is the story about… Well because in the Holley Block was also the telephone company upstairs. That’s when everybody had either two or three numbers as their phone number. Holleywood was 91 and the upper Farm was 242, and my Aunt Helen was some ring 2 because that was a party line. My father tells about calling Kent Fulton, and the operator said, “Oh Mr. Fulton just went into the barbershop.” So I don’t know if he reached him there, but anyway that was when it was a small town.
JM:Oh yes, when we moved out to Gt. Barrington from the eastern part of the state, they still had operators where you could ask for such and such a number. It didn’t last very long, but it was, “Number, please.”
JM:When I worked at college I was a telephone operator there which I enjoyed very much.
JM:Except when the President wanted to put through a call.
LH:I can remember when Nancy and I would go into New York to visit our father’s office, they would sometimes let us fool around with the switchboard. I don’t know what they did; they must have disconnected everything, but that was great fun. I can remember in Montclair, I am not sure how old I was, but I had an imaginary friend Miss Mary. I wanted to call her on the telephone. I told the operator who of course said, “Number, please.” “I would like Miss Mary, please. She lives just around the corner.” The operator, God bless her, she rang and said, “There doesn’t seem to be any answer.”
JM:That’s a wonderful story.
LH:isn’t that sweet? I just said “Thank you”.
JM:People are so kind, and so good, so many of them; so unexpectedly. Are there other memories of things you would like to add to this interview?
LH:Well, historical thing or just hysterical things?
JM:Well, either historical or hysterical.
LH:I can remember going to Leverty’s. This was with my grandparents’ maid Libby who weighed over 300 pounds. They took her to the railroad station to weigh her because the doctor’s office scale did not go up that high. She would walk us down to Leverty’s, and we got ice cream cones. In those days you got sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles. They would simply turn the cone upside down in the sprinkles. We’d come out, there was a big sidewalk in front of all the stores, and I remember my ice cream fell out of the cone. Libby reached down and picked it up and put it back in the cone. I was happy and finished eating it. I didn’t get any disease or anything. That was great.
JM:We all have to eat our peck of dirt.
LH:When we would come up, I guess during the war, we would stay at the Upper Farm with my grandparents. Mother and Daddy slept in the guest room, and there would be one cot in there for one of us. The other one of us would have to sleep in the room with my grandmother because she had twin beds. We would always flip a coin to see who would sleep with grandmother because in the middle of
the night sometimes my grandmother would have some kind of a dream and she would go,” OOOOOHHH” and we didn’t like that. The other thing was that my grandfather slept in the next room. He snored so loud that you would think that there was a bear in there. My grandmother whom we called Mammy and Baba; Mammy always thought that we flipped a coin because we WANTED to sleep in the room.
JM:You were clever.
LH:Nobody ever told her.
JM:That is marvelous; what wonderful memories you have.
LH:Oh I have a hysterical one about my grandfather. He smoked 3 packs of Chesterfields every day, as he was sitting on the front porch waving at the cars going by. He sat by the side of the porch and the ground was covered with cigarette ashes and cigarette butts. He was a character. At night when he would go up to bed, he would go up at 9:00 to listen to Gabriel Heater. On the stairs would be a tumbler and it would be half gin and half milk. He would take that upstairs to his bedroom and shut the door. He didn’t open the window, and he would smoke, listen to Gabriel Heater, he would write in his diary, and do his correspondence and then he would listen to the 11:00 news. Then he would go to bed. After he died and they were cleaning the room, when they took the pictures off the wall, the wallpaper underneath them was lighter because the rest was nicotine stained, but he never opened the window, summer or winter. It is a wonder he lived as long as he did.
JM:He may have fumigated himself with all that smoke.
LH:Unbelievable. He was a devil, too. He always drank too much when he was young, so when he got older, he was only allowed 2 drinks. It didn’t matter where we were either at the house or at Holleywood, his nose would almost light up with 2 drinks. Then he would do silly things like, well he had false teeth uppers and lowers from the time he was in his early thirties. He would say to Nancy and me, “Can you touch your tongue to your nose?” We would try like crazy, and he could do it easily because he didn’t have his uppers in. We didn’t know that for years. We just thought he was too clever.
JM:Too clever for words, of course he didn’t share this.
LH:No, oh no he was funny. He was a great raconteur, very much in demand at gatherings at the Pennsylvania Railroad when they had their conventions. He was in demand as a story teller. My father inherited that wonderful gift.
JM:And so did you. This apple did not fall far from the tree.
LH:My father was a great, whenever there was a party he would almost always end up telling stories. In our house in Montclair my sister and I shared a room at the top of the stairs. We could hear almost everything that went on, and sometimes we would sneak out and sit at the top of the stairs so
we could hear a little bit more. There would be almost silence because we really couldn’t hear my father and then there would be a great roar of laughter. Just the telling of the story, people could hear the same story over and over again because of the way he told it.
LH:The other thing they would do when the men had a party at our house, they would play golf. They would put the bathmat in the bathtub upstairs, and they would chip out of the tub into the hallway, ricochet the ball against our bedroom door, and it would bounce down the stairs, and hopefully roll into the living room which is where they put the little hole. So we would hear the ball on our door and then bounce down the stairs.
JM:Were the stairs carpeted?
LH:No. That was fun. We always had fun in Connecticut; we always had fun in Lakeville.
LH:We went one summer to Hop’s camp, just the swimming part of it. I guess back in the 1930’s it was just a day camp. I have the feeling that it was just a day camp. Then later on it became a sleep away camp. Hop had this big old Marmon, a touring car, and one or two summers he had this camp way up on Belgo Road. With the Marmon he would bring the boys down to the lake and this time my grandfather would have to look up because Hop would toot the old horn as they would go traveling by.
JM:When you say they had the camp on the top of Belgo Road, it was way up at the top of the hill wasn’t it?
LH:Yes. It was a long low building I think.
JM:Is it still there?
LH:The building is, yes. Then of course when Hop and Jo moved to the lake, then they had to have the camp at the lake.
JM:They didn’t take children under the age of 5, except when my husband came up to visit his brother-in-law Henry Chiera. Henry Chiera persuaded Hop to take Foster’s children and Stanley and Belinda were 3 and 4 because Henry really didn’t want little children around when he was doing his sermon. I have asked Stanley what he remembered of Hop Rudd’s camp, and he doesn’t remember anything except riding in a car.
LH:Ok well that was probably the old Marmon.
JM:Thank you so very much. It has been a delightful experience, and such good stories.
LH:Thank you, I could keep going. If I think of anything else, I will call you.