This is jean McMillen interviewing Judith Harvey and her brother Vergne Harvey at Cindy Smith’s house, 18 Lakeview Avenue, Lakeville, Ct. The date is September 14, 2012. I am going to start with you Judith.
JM:May I have your full name?
JHB:Judith H. Brown is my name at this point.
JM:Where were you born?
JHB:April 5, 1934
JM:Your parent’s names.
JHB:James W. Harvey & Laura Starr Allen Harvey
JM:Do you have siblings?
JHB: I have many.
JM;How many brothers and how many sisters?
JHB:I have 4 brothers and 4 sisters.
JM:What is your educational background?
JHB:Salisbury Central School, Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Mt. Ida Jr. College, and numerous other colleges, and classes.
JM:Now I am going to turn to your brother and ask the same questions and they had better sort of agree.
JM:Your full name?
VH:My full name is Vergne Anthony Harvey.
VH:Sept. 28, 1938
JM:Your parents’ names?
VH:They were James Willard Harvey and Laura Starr Allen Harvey.2.
JM:Do you have siblings?
VH:I’ve got the same ones except for me, three brother and five sisters.
JM:Your educational background?
VH:I, too, was educated at Salisbury Central School, and Housatonic Valley Regional High School, and then I went to General Electric. I worked for them and became a tool maker apprentice and eventually a tool and die maker.
JM:That is a fascinating occupation. My father was the same. Both of you now, where did you grow up?
V&J:Right here in Lakeville, Ct.
JM:Specifically what house?
VH:It is the house on the corner of Main Street and Walton Street, 308 Main Street on the northern side of Walton. When we lived in it, it was a 13 room house.
Cindy:Now it is Peter Gott’s house, the Professional Building.
JM:Do you remember Heather Hoskins who lived in the Day house?
JHB:Yes, she was my buddy.
JM;I interviewed her.
JHB:Oh good, I haven’t seen her since…she went to a different school after grammar school. (Indian Mountain School Ed.) We went different ways.
JM:Now I want to do Lila Nash stories; so tell me about Lila Nash and her house.
JHB:I don’t remember
VH:It isn’t so much about her house, but during the Second World War, my brother and I used to play that we were soldiers. We would go down to the electric company and Lila would give us various decorations that she had cut out of magazines and we would glue them onto our clothes for temporary decorations; purple hearts and stuff like that. That was a lot of fun, but at that time we didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation. We had a brother doing it, two brothers in the army.
JM:What part of the service were they in?
JHB:Air force, I think.
VH:They were both in the Army Air Force.The older brother Bill was actually a tail gunnerin a B25 and was shot down over Italy. He did not survive that.
JHB:At the Brenner Pass
VH:Yes, at the Brenner Pass; it was about a month before the end of the war.
JM:That is so hard.
VH:Yes, it was hard then. Jimmy was in the Military Police and stayed on after the war was over at some Air Force post in Germany. I believe it was Baden Baden.
JM:Where did Lila Nash live on Bostwick Street?
JHB:I don’t remember, do you remember.
Cindy: She lived across from my grandparents Barnett over on Bostwick Street, right at the top of the hill, right across from my grandparents’ garage.
Cindy:I have no idea. That is where she used to live and it was a wonderful place. She always entertained kids on her front porch. I shall never forget as a kid several of us, my sister and I specifically, were riding our bikes around on the block. Lila had a dog named Radford; we all called him Raddy. We used to come around the block, and we came down the hill from her house to ours. We used to put our feet up on the handlebars because the dog ran out after our feet on the bicycle. So we always had to come down the hill, not up the hill. I imagine that Judy and Vern remember some of that, too.
JHB:I remember riding bikes around and putting my feet up on the handlebars, but that was just to whiz down the hill. I am not recalling Lila and the dog particularly. I wasn’t around there all that much.
I do remember eating little tomatoes out of your garden.
JHB:We would go out there and play hide and seek, and it was the first time I had had fresh tomatoes off the vine. I was reminded of that the other day. Yeah, they were so good.
Cindy:My father had a victory garden down by the brook. There still is down there a fresh spring of water. A lot of people had victory gardens during the war down there. We used to go down there.
JHB:We had them too; only my father put a goat next to brother Bobby’s part of the Victory garden and the goat ate it all.
Cindy:I can remember a blue bird building a nest in one of the old fence posts down there. There was a rotten fence post and the blue bird build her nest in it and that was a lot of fun. We had all kinds of
vegetables that we grew down there. I guess dad must have put them in his old truck and dragged them up home so mom could can them.
JHB:During the war people were encouraged to have home Victory gardens so you could grow your own food. You wouldn’t have to depend upon the distribution services in the country which could have been interrupted. We all did a lot. I can remember canning corn and tomatoes, green beans.
VH:Remember the milkweed pods? We used to pick milkweed pods for the life vests, to make kapok out of them.
JHB:Oh that’s right too.
Cindy:I can remember taking my pillow case out. Ma didn’t enjoy it too much. We went out and picked a lot. We must have picked more than anybody else in the school.
VH:That was an example of using natural resources. They were weeds we were using.
JM:Did you do any airplane spotting?
Cindy:Yes, I did right in my backyard, Jeanette Axleby and a couple of nights we had a tower you would sit on and watch the planes go through. It was one night a week I would go up and sit there with her and watch the planes go over. It got so that I could recognize them and name them as they flew over. I can’t do it today.
JBH:Our father was a Warden, an Air Raid Warden. He would walk around the town and drive around to make sure nobody could see any lights coming out of anybody’s house. We all had these shades that we would pull down at nighttime so we could turn lights on inside our houses. He would make people tape them shut so that they couldn’t see the lights out.
JM:Did he have a specific area that he covered?
JHB:Probably around our house.
VH:I would guess a couple of blocks.
JHB:Because he would go out with his flashlight and his helmet and vest. He wore a vest; I think it was a flack vest of some sort. He would be gone for a couple of hours and then come back home.
JM:Anything else about World War II? Rationing?
JHB:We had ration books. We had rationing.
VH:I had to stand in line to get my quarter pound of butter.
JM:Was it butter or was it oleo?
JHB:Real butter, we got a quarter of a pound. We got a little stamp so each family could get butter.
VH:You had to go pick it up personally.
JHB:They also rationed shoes. I can remember mother had a ration book, and we had to put out so many stamps to buy a pair of shoes. There was also some other foods, I don’t think the vegetables were rationed. Flour was rationed, butter was rationed, and sugar was rationed.
Cindy: I think beef was rationed too.
JHB:Yes, it was; meats were rationed.
Cindy:I don’t remember rationing for clothing.
JHB:They did for shoes because I can remember sitting in the old shoe store.
JBH & VH: Danny LaFredo!
JHB:And mother tearing out the little stamps. We also saved all the cans, broken glass, anything was saved and we put it in a different bin down in the cellar.
JHB:Recycling early because they used the tin and the lead; they separated it out of the cans, and they used lead in cans then.
Cindy:None of us got lead poisoning back then like they do today.
JHB:There was a lot of rationing going on and also gasoline; that was the big one. You couldn’t buy new cars as I recall. Cars had to have; you could only buy a car at a particular time.
VH:They weren’t making cars; they were making bombers.
JHB:Yeah they were making military vehicles instead of cars.
JM:Did you have to have the headlights half painted black?
JHB & VH:Yes.
JM:Was that something that your dad had to check?
JHB:No, he was just checking houses.
VH:And looked for light leaks.
JHB:But I do remember seeing all the cars top headlights painted black.
Cindy:I don’t remember that at all. I can remember the shades. My father made little cardboard stickers that we had to pull the shades, rather than tape it down we put stickers on it. They would keep the shades closed so we could have out lights on.
JM:Anything else on WWII?
VH:When the war ended in 1945, I was but 7.
JHB:I was about 12. We had to collect bacon fat, any kind of fat and turn it in at the grocery store.
VH:It was amazing the stuff we did back then.
JHB:That was something to do with the manufacture of making a bomb, they used the fat for.
VH:Touch a match to it and it burns.
JHB:That was a very serious war.
VH:Well, there was a total involvement of the country. It isn’t like the wars of today, we sit here and know nothing; we don’t see it. We don’t feel it; we don’t hear it.
JHB:That’s the horrible thing about the way we fight wars now; we don’t know when it’s coming our way. I understand the only reason we have not been really attacked is because we are an armed society. So people who are trying to take away our arms are getting us ready to be attacked?
VH:What a lot of people don’t realize and we are finding out today those of us who were children then that they kept from the general populous the fact that they were sinking ships by the bucket load right off the East coast, and they were attacking the Japanese submarine which were patrolling our West coast.
JHB:They were shelling the West coast from Fort Ralston and further up.
JM:OK let’s come back to the neighborhood. Tell me what you can remember about your neighbors or your playmates? Oh she’s got a grin; she’s got a good story.
JHB:There was a family that lived down the street from us, the Garnes family. There was mom and dad, and Johnnie was the only kid as I remember. I think he had a little sister.
Cindy:I just remember Johnnie, too.
JHB:He taught me how to swear!
JM:And he wasn’t even on the school bus.
JHB:I would go play with him and I can remember coming home one day, I don’t know how old I was.
Cindy:You probably were about 6 or 7: we were allowed to be alone outside.
JHB & VH: We could go anywhere until dark. If we didn’t come home by dark our parents got very worried. We scared my mother one time.
JHB:He taught me how to swear. I came home one day and mother was cooking at the stove and I said what does @#$%^ mean? I tell you I got quite a reaction that I didn’t expect. That was a word that I was not supposed to use, it was a bad word. I must have been around 4 or 5. Later on mother used to have this ladies group that would come to the house.
Cindy: The Mother’s club.
JHB:Yeah, they would meet at our house and play Bridge or whatever and have their meeting. Well, there was a bay window; I think it is still there on the house. We had a little grassy knoll. I was sitting on the grassy knoll with my knees crossed and just looking at this beautiful sky, using every swear word that Johnnie had ever taught me. I was screaming it at the sky. Mother came out and said, “No, you are not supposed to be using those words: don’t use them anymore.” So she went back in the house, and of course I immediately forgot her instructions. I started doing it again. My mother came out of the house like a shot; she grabbed me by one arm, and yanked me up, “Go up to your room, young lady!” One of the few things I truly remember from when we were little kids. I remember one Thanksgiving we had snow…
Cindy:We always had snow at Thanksgiving when we were kids.
JHB:One Thanksgiving we were waiting for dinner to be made and my mother always made this huge spread that was absolutely delicious. My older sister and I think my older brother were there: that was Angie and Billy, and Barbara and I, my next oldest sister who now lives in North Carolina; she had spotted a dead cat lying on a rock down there. So she said, “Let’s go and take a look.” I think my mother had put me into my snowsuit and so forth because we said we were going out to play. So we went down to this brook, called Burton Brook.
VH:The name now is Burton Brook, but the original name was Burden.
JHB:So we went down there in snow boots and everything, sloshed out there and got out to where the cat was, and the water was deeper than out boots. We got stuck down there; Barbara doesn’t remember this but that was probably because she was the instigator. We are screaming down there and Angie and Billy came out and rescued us, took us in the house, and got us all cleaned up in pajamas and into bed for a little while. That was one of the most horrible moments I ever remember.
Cindy:I can remember as kids, probably 7, 8, 9 we used to go down to the Burton Brook, way down. You could walk the brook from here Rt. 44 all the way down to the sewer plant which was down in back there. Now it is all covered over; you can hardly see the brook. We used to go down there and there was a big area of pine trees. It was all just pine needles, no growth down there; we used to get these grape vines and we climbed up a tree and tried them to the tree, and we used to swing across the brook. Our parents used to say, Clayton and Marion were with us, “Don’t get your feet wet!” All of us were able to get across except Clayton. He couldn’t get across; so he always came home with his feet wet. We all came home with our feet wet.
JM:Marion also came home with wet feet.
Cindy: We all came home with wet feet, but Clayton ended up right in the middle of it. It wasn’t very deep, maybe up to your knees, but it still was wet. We would go down there and play that we were camping. It was a lot of fun back then. We used to walk the sewer pipes which were mammoth. There was one big place where we could lift the top off and see the people’s poop floating by.
VH, JHB, Cindy:It was fascinating when we were little. You won’t get any memories from me like that because I have the same ones.
VH;It was nice and grassy down there.
JHB:I used to go down there and just lay in the grass.
JM:The grass is always greener over the septic tank.
VH:We overcame the stench somehow; we played down there a lot because the grass was nice, the ground was nice. I sneaked smokes when I stared smoking.
Cindy:I can remember Clayton going into his father’s house, his father used to smoke, and stealing a pack of Camel cigarettes. We used to go out behind the garage which is all pine trees and smoke out there. Then we had a little place under the garage where we would hide the cigarettes. Under the pine trees was not the safest place to be to smoke a cigarette.
JHB:I can remember the sewer pipes were not covered with gravel; they were just a plain big black sewer pipe. They were on these cement stanchions.
Cindy: Today you wouldn’t even know they were there.
JM:I didn’t know they were there.
Cindy:Well, you wouldn’t know it today because it is all grass; it looks like a big grassy knoll over all the sewer pipes.
VH:Do they still have the sewer beds?
Cindy:Yes, but it is much different and it was.
VH:They used to have fountains spraying water into the air and it was naturally purifying it.
Cindy:it is all inside now I guess.
JM:Probably more chemicals.
Cindy: Oh absolutely. That how our bicycle trail is; where the train tracks were?
JHB:Have they pulled up the tracks? Aren’t the tracks there anymore?
VH:They are doing that all over New England.
Cindy: The bicycle trails runs from here to Salisbury; it gets kind of muddy in the springtime, but it is there. A lot of people use it to walk the dog, ride their bike, people use it to ride their ATM, but that’s not allowed anymore.
JHB:We used to walk the tracks over to the lake.
Cindy:Right, the trestle which went across Farnam Road and 41. We used to walk the trestle and sometimes when we were walking the trestle, we had to look down to make sure there were no hobos down there. That’s where they used to live.
JHB:Under the tracks. That’s another Second World War story. My mother used to feed the hobos; they would come around and knock at the door. She would have them do some work around the house on the outside; they would sit on the back porch and eat, and then they would go on their way. There were so many out of work men who couldn’t get into the military for various reasons. They were hobos; they just traveled on the trains and stopped at houses to do little jobs and people fed them. My mother fed a bunch of them. Then the other Second World War story-one Christmas Eve my sister Angie was living elsewhere but was coming over to our house for Christmas Eve picked up a sailor who was hitchhiking. He was 17 or 18; she invited him in and I think we fed him; they did some telephoning and got him a ride to the train station in Canaan so he could catch a train to wherever he was going. That was a wonderful thing that she did. It always makes me tear up when I think of it. I think it was towards the end of 1944, a few months before the war ended. When I got married the second time around, I married a sailor who was married in his sailor suit.
JM:They are pretty unusual, sailors are. Do you have any memories of sports, like baseball down at the park?
VH:Well, we used to go down there and have pick-up games of softball and baseball. I was basically a coward when it came to hard ball. I learned that pitching softball because I caught a couple right in
the face when they hit them right back at me, and I couldn’t get myself out of the way. I am not a ball player; mostly I was just a spectator.
JHB:Did they have Sunday games down there?
VH:Yeah, they used to have, because Tommy Parsons pitched down there for the Firemen’s league, or it might have been the American Legion League. The Belter boys played down there; Belter was a good name because they could belt the ball. Actually I can remember shagging fly balls by the screen when I was a kid because they would hit them right over the screen. I would shag the balls because they would reuse them because they didn’t have big baseball budgets back then. I was tall and really skinny as a kid; I couldn’t play basketball to save my life. I had a problem with coordination, like walking and chewing gum at the same time. I do have a story about the ball park. My friend Jerry Boyles and I after one Fourth of July somehow contracted to clean the place up get all the stuff out of the bleachers that people left after watching the fireworks; they had left all kinds of garbage behind.
JM:There were bleachers then?
VH:There were some bleachers, there weren’t many; they were where the ball field is. There was a dugout and some bleachers. They had been there for a long time.
JHB:I remember the wire fence, too so that balls wouldn’t come back into the crowd.
VH:Well, yeah but they did. They came up and over; that was why we were shagging flies. Anyway jerry and I were going to get $15 for cleaning the place up; we may have contracted with Wilber Hemmerly, I am not sure, because he was kind of in charge of the ball field. We’re cleaning this stuff up, and there is a guy painting the flagpole. We had this little fire going where we were actually burning the trash to reduce it so one of us found this thing; it looked like it was wrapped in a paper bag, brown paper and some strings around it, and was probably 8 inches long, and 6 inches in diameter. We just tossed into the fire, and didn’t think too much about it. We were working around and it took about 5 minutes for that triple aerial salute to go off. He was half way up the flagpole; he had started at the top and was painting down the length; that is a good thing because otherwise there would have been ashes all over the bottom of that thing. He was helpless when this thing went off; it blew the fire all over the place. Jerry and I both hit the ground; it was like we were old infantry men. Splat face down! That’s about all I can remember about that story except we had to finish cleaning up. That was one firework that had not gone off. It was laying out there by the railroad tracks.
JHB:Wasn’t Mr. Hemmerly a coach?
JM:Yes, he was the first director of sports in town.
VH:He was at Salisbury Central. I can remember Wilber had this great talent; I call him Mr. Hemmerly out of respect; he did this for every gym class with the boys, I don’t know if he did this with the girls, but perhaps someone else did the girls. He would stand at the outside of the circle of the ball
court in front of the basket. He would turn around away from the basket so his back was to the basket, close his eyes, take the basketball and toss it over his shoulder and make a basket. Almost without fail!
JHB:I remember him now; we used to go up to the upper field.
VH:Mrs. Hemmerly taught seventh grade history.
JHB:Look at all those pictures.
Cindy: I think I have a picture of us all sitting on the bleachers down at the ball field.
VH:There was a bandstand; I don’t know if it is still there. I played many a concert with the Lakeville Salisbury Band.
JM:Oh tell me what you played.
JM:Who were some of the other trombonists in the band?
VH:Well there was a guy named Mike Le Clare who was actually from Cornwall. There was a kid named Raymond Trudeau who was actually killed in Viet Nam in the late 1970’s. We found his name on the wall in Washington. Ray played with us; he was a real nice kid. Patty Athoe played the Sousaphone; Jimmy DuBois played the drums along with somebody else. Jimmy was a fixture in this town for about 180 years. Bill Meder was our director. I loved Bill Meder. I went to see him shortly before he died. His daughter took us over to see him; I was really sorry to see him go, but he was just a marvelous man. He taught so many kids.
JM:He was Music Director at Salisbury Central School for some of the years that I was teaching there. I did an oral history with Lee Collin once on the history of the Salisbury Band as well as the history of the Housatonics. (See tape #135 A&B) so you are confirming some of the names that lee had told me about.
VH:I can’t remember them all; there were kids from other towns that Bill roped into playing in the Lakeville-Salisbury Band. We used to go to Firemen’s Parades all over the area as far as 100 miles away. We went to Port Chester, New York. I remember that trip because on the way home the lights went out on the bus and we went off the road. I remember a gal by the name of Paula Mony who is still a friend. We still keep in touch; she lives in Nebraska. She got knocked out by her clarinet when it fell out of the luggage rack. We got out of the bus and my brother and I and Jimmy Dubois had harmonics with us We found some paper bags and some sticks. We started a little fire up behind the bus and stood around playing the harmonica. They finally got a second bus to come. I guess the fire truck was going back to Lakeville from the same parade and they stopped. They took the word to somewhere and got to a phone and got us another bus so that we could ride back here to Lakeville. That was really scary
because all of a sudden the lights are gone and we’re going bumpity bump and the bus got stopped by a couple of saplings and a stone wall.
JM:But no one was injured?
VH:No one except Paula being knocked out by her clarinet. We were lucky.
Cindy:These are pictures of the stand at the ball park. This is Mr. Hemmerly, Wilber Hemmerly had us all doing exercises.
JM:So he did the girls as well as the boys.
JHB:Yeah, he was our instructor.
Cindy:he was in charge of the athletic program in the summertime. This picture is when he had us dressed up as Grecians. We had some kind of a Grecian thing. This is Betty Livesey, Betty and Jimmy Livesey, who were part of our group. These are the bleachers down there.
JM:Were you in girls Scouts?
Cindy & JHB:Yeah,
Cindy & JHB:Yes
JM:Who were your leaders, do you remember?
Cindy:Polly Miner was one and my mother was part of it, Mary Barnett.
JHB:My mother was a den leader, Starr Harvey.
VH:She was my den leader.
JM:Oh you must have had to behave!
JM:How many in your troop?
Cindy: I have no idea.
JHB:There were a lot of us; it was combined Lakeville and Salisbury.
Cindy: Maybe 10 or 12 of us.
JHB:Didn’t we meet in the Scoville Library?
Harvey interview Part 2.13.
Cindy: I really don’t remember.
JHB:I remember being up there for several meetings.
Cindy: I remember that I made the Curved Bar. (Highest award in Girl Scouts Ed.)I had I don’t know how many badges. It is gone now.
JHB:Same here. We had that hurricane and flood in 1955; all my stuff in my parents’ basement with the flood, I lost it all.
Cindy:That was on my 21st birthday. It flooded out the whole downtown here.
VH:They were working on the road; they were putting the new road in. I can remember Bob and I getting in a Willy’s Jeep driving around down through Lime Rock. The factory got washed right out. Uncle Vern’s place had got flooded; he was down there trying to dry out his library. He had books lying all over. That was pretty disasterous. It wiped out Winsted. As I recall there was a house across the street from us right next to the brook. Pa and I went over there; we had an old Volkswagen, a 54 Volkswagen, I can remember pulling out of the yard to go across the street to help the lady, I can’t remember her name. The engine went underwater and kept going. We got over there and picked her up. She said, “Look in my cellar.” I opened the cellar door and the water was right up to the top of the steps. That was the only time I ever saw Burton Brook that high. We did not get that much water in the cellar. Your stuff probably got ruined because that cellar was wet anyway. I had stuff that got ruined down there, too. It was never really dry. Our cellar did not actually flood.
JHB:I know that my stuff was ruined during that time because when I came up 2 years later, it was after I had had Kelly because I came up with Allen and Kelly. They still had my stuff down there and it was useless. The pictures were all deteriorated.
VH:That happened to everything that was down there. Pa built Starr a little room down there, like her den, and they built it with sheetrock and 2×4’s. That thing would just crumble because it was so damp.
Cindy:My grandparents lived across from your house, Dr. Tuttle.
JHB:Oh that’s who he was rescuing then because weren’t they right next to the brook?
Cindy:Yeah. Where the bank is now.
VH:I recall rescuing only one person.
JHB: Yeah but that was the small house that was right next to the brook.
VH:And it was a woman.
Cindy:I don’t think they were there then. How old were you?
JHB:I was only…14.
VH:When Pa got the Volkswagen; he bought it new in 1954, so I was 16, I was in high school.
Cindy: I was only about 6 when Aunt Helen got married there.
JM:Is this Helen Martin the artist? (There is a calendar with some of her pictures in the Smith/H
Harvey folder. Ed.)
Cindy: Yes that is who it is. They were gone from there then because my grampa Dr. Dr. Tuttle, died just before my twin brothers were born. They were born in 1939. I think Nana probably died a couple of years later.
JM:It is helpful to have the dates for this.
Cindy: So they weren’t there then when you went over. Garrity was in that house at one point.
VH:I didn’t know who was there; I just know she called us up if we would help.
Cindy: I know Dolan Garrity and his wife lived there for a while, but I don’t know who lived in that house after my grandparents left. I was too little.
JHB:Helen Martin was your aunt?
Cindy:Yes, mom’s sister
JM:How many siblings or sisters did your mother (Mary Barnett) have?
Cindy:Three sisters, she was the youngest of four.
JM:So there was Helen, Mary…?
Cindy:There was Helen, Mary Marion, and Clara, being the oldest. I just showed the calendar to Judy because she has not been here for ten years so she did not see it when it came out.
JM:Any memories of Lakeville Lake, the Grove?
VH:We used to spend all summer there. I can remember walking over there over the oiled road in bare feet. I couldn’t do it now to save my life.
Cindy:We all did in our bare feet.
VH:We walked all the way over from up here to there. We would spend the whole day there. It was Timmons who ran it. He had a little store there, and we could buy ice cream and soda and stuff like that. That’s what we lived on until we went back home at night.
Cindy:They had the lockers there, too. We used to buy one locker for a quarter. We all used to use the one locker which you weren’t supposed to do, but we all did that.
VH:One of the problems with the lockers was the hornets’ nests.15.
JHB:The bees were terrible there.
VH:Oh they were awful! When you stop and think about what an operation he ran there and what the town turned it into; it is day and night. He probably made a few bucks off it.
JM:Do you remember the motor launch “The Thelma” that he ran? It would go around the lake.
VH, JHB, Cindy: No.
Cindy: The only thing I remember going around the lake was, not too many years ago, the weed harvester.
JM:Now they have a pontoon boat, but that’s done by Mike Beck. I was telling him about “The Thelma” the motor launch that Timmons had. Nobody knew in the family who he named it after because nobody in his family was named Thelma, but the guess was that it was named for Thelma Hamm. Mrs. Hamm, Jigger Shop?
VH:I had a Miss Hamm for a teacher at Salisbury Central who became Fran LeMoyne.
JHB:Do you remember the boys’ camp?
Cindy:On the other side.
VH:Didn’t Hotchkiss School have a boat house on the other side?
JHB:Yes, they did. You can see it.
Cindy:Yeah, Hotchkiss still has the boathouse. It is still there.
JHB:Also the Wake Robin Inn; you can see that up on the hill.
JM:You can’t see it now; too many trees.
VH:What was the name of the inn that was up on the road heading toward Millerton where they used to walk down …?
Cindy & JHB:Gateway
VH:The Gateway and they would cross the swinging bridge over to the lake.
JHB:Was it the Interlaken?
JM:It’s on 112; it has always been on 112. Would you like to add anything Clayton? Do you remember the swinging bridge?
VH &JHB:We sure do.
JM:Any stories about that one?16.
JHB:Oh it was scary.
VH: The Factory Pond was there and a lot bigger when we were kids. They filled part of it in.
JHB & Cindy:We used to ice skate there.
VH:I don’t know if you have heard any stories about Dr. Barr the dentist, but I used to play with his son, Wally. Walter and I decided one day to take all the soda bottles because we’d get a nickel for them. We took all the soda bottles out of his house without his mother’s knowledge. We decided that we were going to take them over to…
Cindy:A & P?
VH:Whatever it was it involved crossing the Factory Pond on the ice. It was winter.
Cindy:It could have been Doc Leverty’s; that was right next to Dr. Barr.
VH:I am trying to think because we are walking across from Dr. Barr’s across the Factory Pond towards Allen Street.
JM:It could have been Goderis’s Market?
Cindy:That was down next to the Jigger Shop.
VH:I am not sure the Jigger Shop was there at that point, but we’re crossing the pond with all these bottles and bags because we’re going to get these nickels and we’re going to go buy cigarettes or something. We were bad kids. As we’re crossing the pond, Wally goes through the ice. So I from my Boy Scout training, I learned the first thing you do is get on your belly to spread your weight out. I forgot about the bottles, I crawled on the ice and got him by the arm before he went under and I pulled him out. We very carefully backed up to where the thicker ice was, and went back to his house. We took our clothes off and did our best to get all dried off. This was at the time of day that his mother was off somewhere and wasn’t coming back for a while. We got dried off. As Paul Harvey says, “The rest of the story is …” Shortly before that John Hickey had been written up in hero comics for saving a dog from a pond. Milton Smith, Smitty, who worked for Pa had seen this, seen me pull Wally out of the water. Pa sits down at the table a couple of nights later and says that Smitty saw all this stuff that you didn’t tell us about. My father says, “Do you want to get written up in Hero comics for that?” I said, “No, there is no reason to do anything.” It was an accident; I pulled him out of the water. Everything is fine. There was no way I could justify why in the heck we were on that ice; we were 2 stupid kids on thin ice. End of story.
JM:That’s a good one. Did you do any skiing?
JHB:Oh yeah. There was a ski run; there was a tow ski run that we had between Lakeville and Salisbury.
VH:It was a small hill.
JHB:It had a rope tow.
VH:That’s where Penny got caught with her scarf.
JHB:My sister Penny got caught; she was almost killed on the thing.
Cindy: That was over by the ski jump, wasn’t it?
JHB:No, it wasn’t; it was over between Lakeville and Salisbury. They set up a tow; you would just grab hold of the rope and it would take you up to the top of the hill.
JM:Would it have been by Chaiwalla because that used to be a ski area?
Cindy: Gee, I don’t know. I don’t recall it. We skied on this hill.
JHB:Yeah, right, but it was on the other side of the road as I recall. Maybe it was up between Salisbury and Canaan.
VH:It could have been.
JHB:They had rigged up a little house where they had the motor and everything. They had it electrical or maybe it was motor driven.
VH:It was electrical.
JHB:There was always a fellow there who watched it and we would go up to the top and ski down. It wasn’t a really long run but it was great for beginners. I can remember going up and down that, but after Penny I don’t think I ever went back there.
VH:I can remember that day. The scarf actually strangled her. She passed out.
JHB:She got her scarf tangled in the rope. You know when you go to grab the rope like this but her scarf got caught and went with it. She was holding on and when she went to let go, the scarf was still attached. It pulled her off.
VH:It pulled her off. I thought it was Wally, but when I talked to her she said it wasn’t Wally but herself.
JHB:It seems to me they took her down to the hospital. It was bad. I don’t recall skiing after that.
Cindy:I don’t remember that at all.
JM:You may not have been there.18.
JHB:Lots of times in the winter you were not that well.
Cindy:That’s true; I had asthma and they really didn’t know how to deal with it.
JHB:Do you remember going into the bathroom with your…
Cindy: Opium! I would sit there inhaling the fumes from a little bit of opium in a dish. That would clear me up.
JHB;I thought it was sulpha.
VH:That explains a lot.
JM:I am so glad that you said that.
JHB:I would stay overnight at their house. Before she went to bed at night she would have to go into the bathroom with her little pile of stuff. We didn’t know it was opium. Then she would come back and sleep through the night. In the winter she didn’t do a lot of stuff because you were home sick a lot.
VH:I remember you were allergic to peanuts.
Cindy: I was allergic to lots of stuff that I have outgrown. Peanuts now my latest episode was 2 years ago.
JHB:So you are still allergic to peanuts.
VH:Do you carry an epipen?
Cindy;I have one, but I don’t say I carry it; it is probably outdated by now. Two years ago I was at Anna Blagden’s and wound up in the ICU for 3 days. That was the worst ever in my entire life. I have outgrown tomatoes, shellfish and other stuff.
JHB:You would come to our house and we’d be careful what we could eat.
Cindy: I have learned that from kids I have taken care of after I got married. They were allergic to this or that. I was a safe house.
JM:That makes a difference, because if you are allergic you are more aware. If you have never been allergic to anything, then you do not think about it. I used to say I was allergic to kids and work.
Cindy:And you became a teacher!
JHB:I used to sneak in over there and play the organ, and I played the piano at home all the time, before I knew anything about playing. Evelyn Dann who was our choir teacher and the organist caught
me in there one day. I was playing away and having the grandest time. I was playing my own compositions. So she contacted Louise Scribner and asked her if she would take me on as a piano student. From the time I was about 8 until I graduated from high school she was my piano teacher. They never locked the church. The church was always open.
Cindy:It still is.
JHB:I was offered free piano lessons until I graduated from high school. My parents never paid for it and I got a full scholarship to Mt. Ida Junior College to study piano with Leo Litwiiz who was the pianist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He taught there, and he was my instructor. One day he snuck up on me when I was in the place where they had their pianos and I was doing another composition that I was working on. He says, “Where the hell did you learn that?” “I’ve been making it up.” So he asked me if I wanted to study with Leroy Anderson. I said I wanted to because I wanted to be a composer, but my parents couldn’t come up with the money; it was 4 or 5 thousand dollars. So that was it. I got married and went off on another career. So that is my memory of the Methodist Church. Of course I remember the choir we were in, Sunday school.
JM:Who taught the choir?
JHB:Evelyn Dann was the choir director.
VH:It wasn’t so much as put up with us.
JHB:Who was the minister who was there who went off in the Second World War?
VH:Jack Savage. He was after that.
JHB:It was the guy when we were little.
VH:Yeah and his son and I were best buddies, and his name was Snell.
JHB:Right, Pastor Snell, now I remember. He had a wonderful family.
Cindy:I didn’t like him.
VH: His son Phil and I hung around together. As kids we had a lot of fun. We were the same age.
JHB:I remember one Halloween when we were out waxing windows, and we were going to go wax the windows of the Rectory, or the place where he lived right next to the church. Everybody kept saying, “No, no, no, don’t do that.” So we finally passed his house.
JM:What did you wax the windows with?
JHB:We just used paraffin because you used paraffin in your skis and your skates. We just go like this across the windows.
VH:At the time we did not realize how hard that was to get off.
JHB:Yes, we had to use razor blades; we didn’t have the nice detergents we have now. We just had soap. We had to use hard water, hot water and soap after they had used the razor blades to get it off. We only did that one year.
Cindy:I can remember having a party up at the grammar school, and coming back from that. My mother and father’s car was parked along the way so we said,” Hi Mom, hi Dad.” on the window with paraffin. We didn’t know anything. We never heard anything the next day. We never heard a thing about it.
VH:After he boxed her ears, she couldn’t hear anything.
Cindy: Actually I don’t know if it was soap or paraffin, but we did it.
JHB:We used paraffin one time, but it was soap we were supposed to be using. Of course the soap was easier to get off.
Cindy:A little hot water and elbow grease.
JHB:Halloween was a lot of fun, I think. I can remember getting dressed up many a time. When they did have the party at the school, I won some kind of a Chinese outfit that my mother had gotten for me. The next year I tried to win with it again, but I couldn’t win again.
JM:Do you have any Halloween stories?
VH:I sure do. One year when we were in grammar school, they had a contest, a window painting contest. You had to come up with a design for the window, and if your design was chosen, you got to paint it on a window on one of the store fronts in Salisbury. I came up with a picture of a clown’s face, and it got chosen. Somebody else and I painted this thing on the window. What you do is to square it out and paint it by grid. I had put a grid on the paper; you know how it goes. We got this thing on and did a marvelous job with it. They had the Halloween celebration at the Salisbury Central School on Halloween, All Hallows Eve. They are sitting there and naming who won. They get to the last one, and it was Honorable Mention, the clown’s face on the drugstore window (it wasn’t Whitbeck’s it was the store across the street.) The clown’s face by me and somebody else. My mother was there, and she said, “Didn’t you do that clown face?” “Yes”, I said, “I did that clown face.” So we had to go to correct them. The person whom they had named also corrected them. It was one of those things where somebody just got their wires crossed. That’s my Halloween story.
JHB:They probably couldn’t pronounce your name.
VH:I have a prank story that is not Halloween. This may clear something up for somebody from 50 years ago. One night there were some of us decided to borrow this guy’s bike. We took his bicycle down to the ball field, and hitched it to the lanyard on the flagpole. We pulled it up the pole. And tied the pole off and left the bike up there on the pole. This was on a Friday night. Saturday morning we went down to the ball park to see if the bike is still there. The bike is down on the ground, and Wilber Hemmerly is standing there with smoke coming out of his ears. “You guys have any idea who did this/” “No sir, not at all.” That’s the end of the story.
JHB:What about the windows?
VH:When they were building K & E, the Chinese laundry…
JM:Now back up what is the name of the Chinese laundry?
VH:Gunga Lee. If it is all one name it is Japanese because there is only one syllable in a Chinese name. That is what we called it; whether that is the real name I don’t know. They had just put all new window sashes in on one side of the building. Eric Dean and Harry Boyles and myself decided to put a 2 by 6 that we found lying on the ground up against the side of the building and climb in up onto the roof. So we are on this 2 by 6. I think Harry and I got up there, and Eric was climbing up when the 2 by 6 slipped and wiped out all that new sash. We left the scene of the crime hurriedly. The next morning Ma is sitting at the table and she says, “You know somebody found all the windows broken in the K & E building. Do you guys have any idea who might have done that?” “Not a clue, Mom.” She is dead now, and I don’t think I ever told her. Shame on me!
JHB:You did a lot more stuff than I ever did.
VH:Well, we had a different bunch of friends. I can remember we used to go to hung out, I can’t remember the exact spot, but we used to go and smoke cigarettes. We were someplace in the woods over near Wally’s house; we’re all sitting around smoking cigarettes, and all of a sudden who comes barging in but Judge Raynsford with about 5 other men. That was the time when the 12 year old girl disappeared from the camp. That’s a lot of years ago. They were looking for her, or her body. I think it was a month after she had disappeared; it scared the snots out of us. They ignored us; “What are you boys doing here?” It was kind of obvious to the judge, but anyway they kept going. They told us we probably should go home.
JM:Now tell me about the camp and the missing girl because I’ve gotten bits and pieces. What camp was she from?
Cindy: Camp Sloane; I don’t think she has ever been found.
VH:As a matter of fact, I think if you go down to the Post Office, you might still see the bill on the bulletin board because it was there when I was here 5 or 6 years ago. I think it was still there MISSING.
JM:Did she just disappear from Camp Sloane?22.
Cindy:I have no idea.
VH:I am trying to think because I would have been about 15 or 16, no maybe younger maybe14.
JHB:My friend Patsy Gibbs and I were playing a trick and it was one of those kinds of things, not me, I was never there. I think someone was found in pieces and parts in New York spread all over the place. It was winter, patsy and I were heading up the hill toward her house and we saw a bus coming full of basketball team players; so we said, “Let’s play a trick on them. The road and everything was just covered in snow. It had been plowed but it was still snowy so we lay down in the bank on this side of the road and just spread out like we had been hit by a car. So as the bus went by we heard kids screaming, “There are bodies over there!” She and I got up and the snow was deep so by the time they could get there, the guy couldn’t just slam on the brakes otherwise they would have gone sideways. The bus came to a slow stop. She and I got up and we tried very hard to get out of there. The snow was so deep that we could hardly move. We got out of there in time, so we saw the kids because we got behind some bushes. The kids were out of the bus looking around for them; so somebody finally said, Oh it was just a joke, you can see where they ran away.” They got back on the bus; we never did anything like that again. It scared the living bejesus out of us. Today they would have called the cops and all that kind of stuff.
Cindy:`Today they would, but not back then.
JHB:But that was kind of a horrifying experience, but it started out as just a prank.
Cindy:I don’t think they ever found this girl from Camp Sloane.
VH:No, they didn’t as far as I know.
Cindy:They bring it back on TV when they have one of old stories of somebody found after 20 years. I can see her name, but I can’t remember it.
VH:It has to be 60 years, now. It was probably in 1974d when I was 13 or 14.
Cindy:it would have to be 60 years ago because I was probably down in New Haven.
JHB:I don’t remember probably because I wasn’t here.
Cindy: I remember hearing about it.
JHB:Yeah, I do too.
JM:That brings me to another point, why did you leave the area?
JHB:I went to college and then I got married a few days after I got out of college. My husband and I moved around. We had a trailer and it said “California or Bust”. I was a pretty good artist at the time “California or Bust” with a lot of little Pogo characters. I loved Pogo. Walt Kelly turned out to be a good friend of Bob’s. I was able to copy all the cartoon characters Albert, Pogo and Skunk. All of our earthly possessions were in there. We just drove around until we finally did settle in to San Antonio, Texas. That took me away and I never came back, except to visit.
JM:Why did you move away from the area?
VH:I had to work somewhere else; all the work that was here was Harvey Bullets.
VH:That’s right Our father’s business was Lakeville Arms.
JHB:It was the only manufacturing going on here.
VH: I think the factory had started up where the old Milk Bar used to be, Lakeville Engineering or something like that?
Cindy: It is across the street from the Milk Bar.
VH:Yeah, Lakeville Precision Molding was the only other act in town.
JM:What was the manufacturing that your father did?
VH:Well, he was involved in a lot of manufacturing over there where Pocketknife Square is. He was an inventor, but he didn’t own the business; he managed it. I think Sid Cowles may have been, there was a Board of Directors involved. He had the Harvey Lures. At one point there were probably 20 girls working in the factory making fish lures that were patented. Harvey Lures were sold to Montgomery Ward. Montgomery Ward kind of put him out of business. He did that and before that during World War II they had contract to make skis for the mountain troops. They made fish nets, but I don’t think they made fish poles, just nets and lures to the best of my knowledge, and bat nets. I have a bat net.
JHB:They were in the building that…
VH:They were in the whole thing.
JHB:Well before that he had his lure business with about 30 gals employed in a building across the street.
VH:I have a movie of the wheels spinning. They used to have bicycle wheels that they would put the fish hooks covered with cork on it. They would stick the lures, after they had lacquered the fish lure, they would stick the hook into the cork and the wheel were always spinning so they would dry.
JHB:They would what they called bloom; they would bloom.
VH:I can remember going up there when Harry Boyles used to collect their soda bottles to take them back for the 2 cent deposit, and then we would buy more soda. The galls all drank soda and stuff. They worked all day long; Angie was boss there.
JHB:Yes, she was.
JM:Who was the boss?
VH:Our sister Angie, Angie Willard Harvey.
Cindy:I can remember you father making flies at home.
JHB:Yes, he did.
Cindy: He had his own little office there by the bay window.
VH:He invented a machine to tie flies, but I’ve got a movie of him actually running that thing. He could tie them by hand faster. He forgot the idea. It was complicated, all kinds of gears and whirligigs and whatnot, but he could tie flies faster.
JHB:He was also involved in ballistics and in archery. He invented what is called a broad head scabbard because there were a lot of hunters who would go out with their bows strung. It was loaded, but not pulled back. A lot of them fell and they would be pierced. The broad was very sharp, and a lot of them were dying on the trails from bleeding to death. So he invented this broad head scabbard; you could load your arrow into the bow and then this thing would go from the back of the bow to the front.
VH:You tied it to the bow itself and you stuck it over the broad head and it was felt lined, so the felt pressure would hold it on the broad head. When you drew back, it would come off and hit your hand or the bow; the scabbard would fall off and the deer was dead meat.
JM:I am going to stop it at this point because I want you to have time to chat among yourselves. Thank you so very much; I do appreciate it so much.