Charles P. Hines Interview:
This is file #1 Cycle 2. Today’s date is Sept. 16, 2015. This is Jean McMillen and I am interviewing Mr. Chip Hines whose father was a veterinarian in town and his grandfather was a blacksmith in town. He is going to talk about growing up in this area, some of the information will on Grassland Farm as well as other places where he has worked. We’ll start with the genealogical information.
JM:What is your name?
CH:Charles Peter Hines
CH:July 7, 1944
CH:Actually born in Canaan at Geer Hospital.
JM:Your parents’ names?
CH:Charles Patrick Hines and Ruth Woodward Hines
JM:Do you have siblings?
CH:Yes, the oldest was Peter Woodward Hines who perished in 1944 Hartford Circus fire, the next one is Gerald Malcutt Hines, myself, and then Margaret Lucille Hines, and finally Anne Christine Hines, or Bartolino now.
JM:Where did you go to school? Did you go to Taconic?
CH:No my first year of kindergarten I went to like a private school up at Hotchkiss because my mother didn’t want me in Grove School because of the fire potential. After the first year I went to Salisbury Central, the Housatonic Valley Regional High School. (He attended Town Hill School 1949-1950. Ed. )
JM:Now I am going to ask you about some family connections before we go on to your teenage work. On your father’s side, your grandfather’s name was what?
JM:What was his occupation?
JM:Did he have a specialty or could he do everything?
CH:He could to everything but he was very well known for shoeing horses as well as his mechanical ability.
JM:I wanted to take a picture of the building this morning but the light was wrong, but I am going to take a picture of the building.
CH:On Walton Street half way down on the right (#19 Ed.)
JM:Your father what was his occupation?
CH:He was Charles Patrick Hines and he was a veterinarian in general practice.
JM:He was born in September on 1913.
JM;He had a specialty.
JM:You said he was very good with diagnosis.
CH:Yeah he was very strong at diagnostics; as a general practice he took whatever came in,
JM:Was his practice always in Taconic or…
CH:No, it started out on Wells Hill Road in Lakeville. In 1944 my mother received the farm after the death of her parents in the Hartford circus fire. So they moved up to Grasslands in 1944.
CH:I was a teacher and a school administrator of a secondary school.
JM:I am going to do the maternal side now.
JM:Tell me about your Woodward grandmother.
CH:Lucille Woodward was a college home economics teacher married to E. G. Woodward. E. G. came here to work for the Scovilles as the farm manager. At some time he bought Grasslands Farm from the Scovilles. (He owned it by 1936 and in 1944 Dr. Hines’s wife inherited it. Ed.) Lucille was very active in starting Regional #1 High School because she where she had come from there were always regional schools so she was a strong advocate for the first regional district in the state of Connecticut. In 1937 the state legislature OKed it and it was put together. I think the first class was in 1938.
JM:Either 1938 or 1939. Tell me about your mother Ruth.
CH:She was very active; she liked working with people. She had 5 kids or 4 kids. She went to the University of Vermont. I have this delightful letter from my grandmother warning her about those Catholic boys at St. Michael’s, and to stay away from them. They (his mother’s family Ed.) were from Missouri originally. She was basically a homemaker, she married dad fairly early, and I don’t think she ever finished college. She went to multiple colleges and never finished.
JM:Did she go to school in Taconic?
CH:I believe she did. She had a younger sister by about 2 years Doris Durst and I do believe they went to the Taconic School. I can remember asking mom and dad about all these gates in the woods up past our house. You could operate them by horseback or they also had steps up and over the fences. The explanation was that that was how we went to school. They would walk on paths or horse paths. She died very early at either 45 or 47 of cancer. Not a fun year. I always considered her in hind sight very much a feminist. She believed that women could do more than they were allowed to do. She worked at the House of Herbs as a secretary for a short period of time; she was very involved with the mental health center in Lakeville.
JM:Good for her.
CH:She was a strong advocate of women’s rights and also of women.
JM:Grasslands Farm, the list of owners that I have is From Herbert Scoville, to E. G. Woodward; there was a sale catalogue dated May 23, 1936 where the Guernsey cows were dispersed. When did you father buy the property, 1950?
CH:I want to say 1944.
JM:It came to your mother because her parents had died in the Hartford circus fire.
CH:Aunt Doris got something else, maybe she got some money. Apparently there was a pretty intense family discussion on who was going to get the farm because Uncle John, Doris’s husband was a farmer whereas dad was a veterinarian. They ended up owning a farm in Amenia, New York, just across the line.
JM:How long did your father own the farm? When did he sell it?
CH:I want to say he sold it in 1955 or1956 I think.
JM:To whom did he sell it?
CH:He sold it to David Sibbal, I think, who owned a masonry company in Newington, Ct. He owned a farm in upper New York State.
JM:He sold it to Robert and Sidney Paine.
JM:Do you know the size of the farm?
CH:I believe it is 270 acres.
JM:What kind of a farm was it when your father had it?
CH:Absolutely a Guernsey dairy farm; my grandfather and father and the Scovilles had a renowned herd.
JM:Did you have a milk route?
CH:No the milk was picked up by the Torrington Creamery or whoever owned that.
JM:Did you do any breeding or Guernseys?
CH:Oh yeah, I have books from back in 1917 when the Scovilles owned it. The whole herd was based on one prize bull which was used for breeding. The ads in the Guernsey journals of 1917 to 1920’ indicate that they were always selling off young bulls and young cows. I assume my grandfather did the same thing.
JM:I had a request for information from Jim Caton whose dad worked as herdsman for Mr. Durst.
CH:Yeah Gus Durst, not Gus but John Durst. By the time I was aware of what was going on, we had the farm and John’s brother Gus was the herdsman for Whitridges over in Taconic. John and Amy Dorset with their family moved to New York.
JM:When you were living in Taconic did you go to the Union Chapel?
CH:I remember vaguely being in a Christmas pageant there. That is the only thing I remember. Ma did marry an Irish Catholic. They were married not at the altar but like they did before. The irony is that mom was the one responsible to get us to church; at different times she was Presbyterian, and then her funeral was here at the Episcopal Church so she stayed with her Protestant roots. In fact she is buried in the Protestant cemetery here in town.
JM:The Salisbury Cemetery behind the White Hart?
CH:Whereas my dad is buried in the Catholic one, St. Mary’s.
JM:As a young lad you worked in several different places. I am going to go through those. We’ll start with I hope Lucy Drummond. What kind of a business did she have?
CH:She had a stable with over 100 horses, thoroughbreds. She trained horses and sold horses, taught riding and had an extensive summer programs for the camps in the area.
JM:Where was it located?
CH:On Undermountain Road5.
JM:What was it called?
CH:Holley Hills Stables
JM:How long did you work there?
CH:I started working there in 1960 and I worked there off and on until 1969.
JM:You told me a good story about learning how to ride a horse. Please tell me that story again.
CH:Much to my father’s chagrin, I fell in love with horses. We had a pair of horses, 2 Morgans a matched pair named Daisy and Dolly. When the Sibbals bought Grasslands, they brought horses in too. They had some Western tack horses. So I was trying to ride and my father noticed that my hands were atrocious. I can’t quite use the language on this tape that he used, but he gave me 12 lessons at Lucy Drummond’s because she taught horsemanship. He was absolutely emphatically clearly wanted me to know if I was going to do it, I should learn how to do it correctly. As far as my hands go, you don’t treat an animal that way. I started with the Pony club there and really fell in love with the place and all the horses. At one point Lucy whose mother was in a home at that time became ill and Lucy was spending a lot of time with her mother at the hospital or home. Lucy needed extra help and it was my freshman year in high school. My father volunteered me and I was very glad he did. That started my working there. It was always confusion for me between the western seat and the English seat; I could never get my heels down. I was going to have them surgically cut so I could keep them down. I really liked working with horses. There was always a gaggle of kids there and I found that I really liked working with kids teaching them something. I think that was probably the start of my education experience.
JM:If kids and dogs like you, you are OK. You also worked at the Onell store.
CH:It was for Mr. and Mrs.
JM:Frank and Muriel?
CH:Yeah I would never know their first names. Frank I would know, but not her.
JM:Where was it located?
CH:It was located in Taconic right at the fork right next to the church, the Union chapel (which is gone now Ed.) The store is still there. It was a store/post office and it had a dance hall attached to it.
JM:Why did it have a dance hall attached?
CH:Because its summer clientele was predominately people that worked at Camp Everett; they would come down after the kids were put to bed. There were pinball machines in there and a juke box, but I don’t remember anybody dancing; it was all about the pin ball machine. As a local we used to crawl under the building and stamp up which would kill ass the machines on the New York kids. Then we would run like crazy for the woods.
JM:Kids are the same all over.6.
CH:I spent a long time and a lot of nickels spent playing the pinball machines up there and eating Hostess cupcakes.
JM:You said that when you were working there, the store kept open until midnight and that was because the counselors would come down. What was camp Everett?
CH:Camp Everett was a residential summer camp for Jewish kids from New York City.
JM:Mixed, boys and girls?
JM:Do you remember anything specific about the Christmas pageant? Where you a Wise man or a shepherd?
CH:I remember not singing “Silent Night” so well. I had a part but I don’t remember it.
JM:We’ll go on to the Salisbury Pharmacy.
CH:In 1961 or so I decided that I wanted to work inside instead of outside on the farm. What better place to work than where they had frozen root beer, hot fudge sundaes, and fresh peanuts? Sam Whitbeck, bless him, encouraged to take it all. Very shortly it became less enamored. I went to work there at the soda fountain. I worked with Anna and Walt, Bam and Audrey and Sam. I would say I was there almost a year and then realized that I missed the horses and also there were time limits so you didn’t have to work so late. I think by half way through my senior year in high school I had gone back to Drummond’s farm, but I am not sure of the exact date. I know I worked at Whitbeck’s all summer so it would have been my junior year 1961-1962. They were great people to work for.
JM:I have heard that from other people. I think you mentioned something about Sam putting something so people would not sit by the window?
CH:He put on like metal teeth all along the rim of the window ledge because with the soda fountain there that was a real natural hang-out for everybody. The way the front windows and display windows were designed they had a very good ledge so people would just sit there and talk for hours, me included. Some people were not comfortable seeing all these people standing there talking, all the kids. So Sam did the metal teeth. He also had a little trick where he would take a part out of an expensive item like an electric razor that was easily replaceable. If anybody stole it, they just got a piece of broken equipment.
JM:That was clever, because there is always shop lifting. Tell me about frozen root beer.
CH:We had Hires Root Beer. It looked like a keg, not of wood. I think it was just a keg looking thing with a faucet through it, but we had all these mugs that were pre frozen. You would pour the root beer into the pre-frozen mugs. It was just absolutely delicious.
JM:What is black and white ice cream?7.
CH:Black and white ice cream soda is basically a chocolate ice cream soda with the vanilla ice cream. You mix it and you add the two together. It is still one of my favorite treats because it is not overwhelming sweet. If you had a chocolate soda made with chocolate ice cream, it is almost too sweet.
JM:Is there a trick to making hot fudge?
CH:The trick was not so much the hot fudge, but keeping it at a certain temperature so it didn’t over cook and therefore become bitter. I had to make sure it didn’t over cook or it would become hard because of evaporation. That was Walt’s area. He would show you how to make simple sugar syrups which as you know is superheated sugar and water. I still do it for the hummingbirds. It was always for whoever was on call that morning to make sure that the hot fudge was stirred and kept at a warm enough temperature for the ice cream but not so hot that it would deteriorate.
JM:I am coming to your education. Did you plan to go to college?
CH: You have been talking to my teachers!
CH:The answer is yes. But the teachers that I worked with would absolutely say NO! Thank god for Mrs. Gandelli, she was my savior along with Mrs. Smith those two. Apparently I had a learning disability that they did not know about; this was before Special Ed. so you’ll grow out of it. So you say to yourself OK I have to do things differently. By fourth grade I have been in the Principal’s office like a million times. I loved to build very sharp Indian tomahawks and bring them to school. The Principal would call dad up periodically and hand back all these tomahawks. I had one particular student that I didn’t like and for some reason, I was always seated next to him. He would taunt me; I can remember Mrs. Miner who was the 7th grade teacher sat me next to Christopher and I asked her nicely, “Mrs. Miner, could you please change my seat?” “No, that is where you are sitting.” It made no sense because his last name began with N and mine was Hines, but that is where we sat. He started taunting me; I broke a pencil off in his leg, not nice. I ended up in a clothes closet a lot; that was Mrs. Miner’s punishment. She would put you in the clothes closet.
The irony of all of this is I went to college. I wanted to be a veterinarian and didn’t have the academic credentials to get there. I was in pre-med; I went to Norwich University up in Vermont. Then I went to the University of Hartford; I changed my major to education, science education because I always liked science. In my first teaching job was 5th grade as Salisbury Central in the same room where I had been in 5th grade with the same teachers who didn’t believe in me. They were all around me still. Mr. Cliff Fails was a first year teacher when I was in 8th grade. I got all the kids in 8th grade all the boys not to catch the balls that he threw. He carried that grudge right straight though. Nice guy, but he just couldn’t stand me. Mr. Meder the music teacher in 3rd grade I got the whole third grade in my class room not to play the tonette: recorders were then called tonettes. Even in high school Mr. Meder wouldn’t talk to me. Then when I became a teacher, oh my god! Mrs. Smith was someone who played it dumb and left me in
the advanced reading group. I never worked so hard in my life to stay in that group! She really understood how I worked.
JM:Oh yeah, you needed a challenge. You needed to be challenged.
CH:Most of my friends were all in the advanced reading group.
JM:You wanted to stay with your friends, peer pressure.
CH:I worked hard and I think I learned how to overcome the challenge. My basic problem was that by fourth grade I couldn’t read. I faked it; then when I wrote on the mirror with the quartz and stuff that was my way of getting help. It certainly worked.
JM:You act out because you want attention. You want help but you don’t know how to do it.
CH:Mrs. Gandelli knew how to play boys.
JM:There is a trick to it.
CH:Absolutely. She was one of the most influential and wonderful people in the world. She looked like a bulldog, shaped like a bull dog.
JM:I worked with her.
CH:I don’t know what she was like to work with, but in the classroom she had firm rules, but they were fair. You could work with her.
JM:That is all you have to do.
CH:She was the one who changed my name from Chipper to Chip. I remember she made a public announcement one day in class because I was trying to do it. She said, “From now on Chipper is no longer Chipper; he is Chip.” She enforced it; that is how I can always tell when I see a classmate of mine. They will at first say Chipper because while I was in elementary school I was Chipper. At Housatonic I had Mr. Kirby as 9th grade advanced general science teacher. I had many a run-in with Dr. Stoddard. There are two people who really, there are more than two but two who consistently helped me and got me turned around. One was Mr. Edward Dorsett who was the vice Principal; he was a huge guy. By my sophomore year I was in the Vice Principal’s office 11 times before October.
JM:That’s not a bad average!
CH:No body, no teacher in polite society swore or used barn language at all. You didn’t hear it. I can remember Mr. Dorsett sitting me down behind a closed door and looking at me and says, “You know Chip shit or get off the pot.” When I hear that I knew I had really crossed the boundary because that guy would never use that kind of language. The other one that helped me was Mrs. Caroline Wakefield. She kind of took me under her wing and tried to help. There was a time when I had to sort out that I was not
my parents. I was responsible for my own behavior and regardless of what your parents are doing or not doing, it was my responsibility. She did a beautiful job with that. Mr. Just who was an Algebra teacher and a graduate from Annapolis was tougher than tough stopped the class one day (I was upset because I had gotten a “C”) and said,”You ought to be very proud of that C because you have worked hard.” My Algebra 1 teacher used to give us seat assignments and then go out and drink. When she passed out, I picked up the phone and said, I was very young and calling the office, I was asked, “Why are you on the phone?” “Well because Mrs. ______ has passed out underneath the desk.” Dr. Stoddard came in, picked her up and carried her out, bodily. Stoddard was a big guy; we never saw her again. Meanwhile our Algebra 1 took a kick in the head. So for a whole year we had to go to during an activity period to relearn Algebra.
JM:So you had a remedial class.
CH:Yeah because of what we missed.
JM:I think you told me that you had planned to go to college, but you didn’t have the funds for it?
CH:Yes, I had planned to go to the University of Connecticut because my grandfather was the Dean of Agriculture out there at one point before the darn Hartford Circus fire. A lot changed with that fire, my whole life. Aunt Doris was the last remaining side of that family; I said about 8 years ago “We are done talking about that.” I have been interested in reading about it. People have their facts wrong. The question was about income. I was going to go to the Torrington branch which was located in the brand new Torrington High School; it was a brand new building at that point while they were building the campus up on Campus Drive. When certain people heard that they thought it would be healthier for me to go to a residential college and get away from a lot of family issues, alcoholism, the family was falling apart.
JM:It was a way of making you independent and that was a good way to do it.
CH:Right. I had no money and dad didn’t offer any; he actually didn’t have any money. His mental health problems were getting to him by that time. I figured I would go to UConn which was $75 a semester. Rev. Jim Hyde came up and approached me .He was also a client of my father’s. He was a nice guy. “You need to pick a college and I have a group of people who will pay carte blanche, everything.” “Do I ever have to pay it back?” “No, you just have to make sure that you help other people.” Which I think I have done; I know I have done.
JM:You know you have if you have been a teacher. You always do. That is part of the profession.
CH:Right. Then all of a sudden I had to pick a college, this had happened spring of my senior year. I thought maybe the military would be a good place for me because it would give me structure. I applied to and go into Norwich University which is in Northfield, Vermont. I stayed there a year and one half. My father convinced me otherwise that maybe the military wasn’t a good thing for me.
JM:It gave you some background.
CH:It would protect me from the hazing I would get in the military afterwards. At Norwich freshman year it was all about psyching you out and in the military it is all about physical so it was pretty easy for me. Then I went to the University of Hartford to get my QPA up so I could go UConn. I realized that I really liked the University of Hartford so why would I leave? The irony of it is that the majority of the people who contributed to that fund were people that I had worked with for mowing their lawns or selling them watercress. I made a lot of money selling watercress from Granby to a market here and a market there.
JM:Where did you get the watercress?
CH:My grandmother transplanted it from wherever to a spring in Grasslands Farm down in a back field. It just took off. It is still there. When I look at the watercress I see today and look at the watercress I sold, mine was much better. I had a watercress route where other people had a newspaper route. I had a weekly bike route all through Taconic and Twin Lakes delivering watercress to people who knew what it was. Most people didn’t even know what watercress was. Shagroy Market here in town hired me. I had to produce X amount of bundles a week as well as for the market in Lakeville.
JM:Well it was First National; there was an A&P.
CH: The A& I didn’t do. There was another one. The A&P was down next to Barnett’s store.
JM:Yes, it was next to Barnett’s but this one was right on the Main Street. I think it was the First National.
CH:By that time it probably was. I went to different restaurants; I delivered watercress. I have a little card made up. I made a ton of money on that, to say nothing about earning people’s respect or trust. The only problem having a group of people and this is consistent throughout Salisbury because they did other kids, it was not just me, was that It is a small town and if you weren’t doing well in college, you heard about it. There was no free lunch; we are paying for you and we expect you to talk differently, we expect you to act differently which is fine. I think I told you about how in the drug store when you got into trouble up at Housatonic, if you got thrown out, Sam would not serve you. He would say at the fountain, “You know we don’t serve thugs.”
JM:Well good for him!
CH:That was the kind of town it was.
JM:It still is in a lot of ways.11.
CH:It is very supportive.
JM:But you have to do the expectations.
CH:There was no hesitancy about using shame to shape you.
JM:It is something that is New England. Tell me about Stanley Mason and Sarum Tea.
CH:I first met Stanley Mason; he was a client of my dad’s. He had this really beautiful accent that I couldn’t figure out, but it sounded delightfully different. He was there blending teas because even then he did it. This was just fascinating to me. He was just the nicest guy in the world. He would take time to explain that I do teas and I import them. As I got older especially when I started working at the drugstore I could see the commercial aspect of it, rather than just the human aspect of it. We would always go to his place for Trick or Treat. He was just a really nice guy; he has a very interesting place to live because he was right at the confluence of two roads that went around Beaver Dam Pond. One road you would take to get to the private road to our far. It ran through from Beaver Dam Road through to our farm. That was a Scoville road and now it is all overgrown, but that is where the Scovilles had their water supply.
JM:Was that their water tower?
CH:No it wasn’t the tower. It was buildings, low buildings which had these huge sand pools of spring water in them on the side. If you are riding a bike you often would go, because we swam at the channel all the time which was right at the end of Beaver Dam Road. You would ride your bike down through the farm down and out. We all learned to drive our cars on that road. You would come out on the Beaver Dam Road. If you took a right that would take you over to Drummond’s eventually up past the Scoville and the Hambergs and then down. Mr. Mason was right there at the corner; he had that little triangular lot. As you know I talk too much and I loved talking to adults so I would sit and talk with him.
JM:That is a good thing to do.
CH:They compare me to one of the Woodwards that I never met.
JM:Before we close is there anything that you would like to add that I haven’t covered?
CH:When you talk about a village raising a child, Salisbury actually was the epitome of that. It had a lot of issues and a lot of snobby people but a lot of really good people who would go above and beyond to help people like me become successful.
JM;What a wonderful way to end this interview. Thank you so much.