Tom O’Loughlin Cover Sheet:
Interviewee:Thomas James O’Loughlin
File #: 100
Place of Interview:Home of Martin & Bonnie Black Whalen, Forge Lane, Lime Rock, Ct.
Date:July 9, 2015
Summary of talk:Family background, schooling, Ore Hill village, Lakeville Post Office people & stories, local businesses and houses, more Post Office, Holley Block, baseball, Brick Whalen picture in NYC paper and job from it, Tom’s career jobs: rural carrier, Hotchkiss, restaurant, catering with Salisbury Fare, short cut and ore pit, bartending, businesses by Farnam Tavern, and baseball picture of 1938 team.
This is file #100. This is jean McMillen. Today’s date is July 9, 2015. I am seriously interviewing Tom O’Loughlin with chiming in by Martin Whalen and his good wife Bonnie. I am going to ask Tom questions that go back to his childhood, his career, and we are all going to have a good time. We’ll start with the genealogical information.
JM: What is your name?
TOL: Thomas James O’Loughlin
JM: Your birthdate?
TOL: July 22, 1926.
JM: You were born at Sharon Hospital?
TOL: Yes ma’am.
JM: I cribbed that from your first interview. Your parents’ names?
TOL: Thomas and Elisabeth
JM: What was her maiden name?
JM: Did you have brothers and sisters?
JM: What kind, how many, and their names?
TOL: Elisabeth, Katherine, and Winifred. But if you called her Winifred, she would shoot you. Her nickname was “Una”.
MW: How do you get “Una” out of Winifred?
TOL: It is Irish, an Irish translation.
JM: Where did you go to school?
TOL: Salisbury Central and Housatonic and a small private school because my mother thought that I would learn more if I was sent to a private school. Its name was Billard in New London, Ct.
JM: She put you as far away from home as possible.
TOL: I was a devil!
JM: You still are! You showed me a picture of your class of 1933, and you said that you could name all of the teachers.
TOL: I could name all of my grade school teachers.
JM: Whom did you have in first grade?
TOL: Hazel Flynn
JM: Was she a relation to Jack Flynn.
TOL: No, she was a different Flynn. She was related to the selectman Abe Martin.
MW: She was Abe Martin’s sister.
TOL: I think so.
JM: Whom did you have in second grade?
TOL: Bet Matteson
MW: That was my aunt.
JM: Grade 3?
TOL: Hamm, I can’t remember her first name.
JM: Frances, Fran LeMoine.
TOL: Everybody wanted to be in third grade because you always wound up going to the Jigger Shop for ice cream.
JM: Do you know why the Jigger Shop was named the Jigger Shop?
TOL: I haven’t the slightest idea.
JM: Nobody else does either. I have been researching that.
TOL: I am glad I am in that crew.
JM: Oh you are in the group. Fourth grade?
TOL: Betty Miner
JM: Fifth grade?
TOL: Mrs. Eggleston
JM: Sixth grade? You said that you had her for two years.
TOL: She was fifth and eighth.
JM: I pass on 6th grade; I’ll tell you later on. (He called Martin later; Bea Metcalf was 6th grade.)
JM: Seventh grade? (Miss Wilson)
TOL: Pass and I’ll come back to it.
JM: That’s alright; you are doing beautifully. I can fill it in with other people. Who was the principal or the head of school? Did Mrs. Eggleston run it?
TOL: Yeah and before that was Loring, Mr. Loring was the principal. He lived up on Lakeview Avenue.
JM: Were you ever in the Lower Building for school.
TOL: Yeah, up on the hill we went there 7th and 8th grade.
JM: The reason I am trying to be specific is because there was a move from the Lakeville School where the Post Office is to the Lower Building so I am trying to date that. You are doing very well.
Tell me about Ore Hill village. Now you mentioned the, you showed me a picture of the Ore Hill Basketball Team and the building that is now where Arnoff is. What was in the village at Ore Hill? I know about the school, but were there a general store or shops or anything like that? Or was it just residential?
TOL: Just residential to the best of my knowledge. The little building going up Ore Hill Road on the left (#2 Crooked Oak Farm Ed.) used to be the paymaster’s building for the Ore Mine people that worked in the pit.
JM: As you go up Ore Hill off Rt.44 it has Victorian gingerbread on the porch. I know which one that is. Elmer Erickson used to live in that house.
JM: This is how I learn.
TOL: She’s telling me more than I know. Miss Wilson was seventh grade I think.
JM: You’ll come up with the other one. I have a picture of the (Ore Hill) Basket Ball Club. Did the Ore Hill boys have other sports clubs, did they have a baseball team, or did they have a band? Or was it just basketball? (In the post card picture of the ball club, the building before which they are used to be where the Arnoff Moving and Storage building is now. Ed.)
TOL: Just basketball, All I know is basketball. They could have had others.
JM: Do you remember when the Meehans had a pig farm?
TOL: It was there someplace.
JM: Yeah, it is way out on Ore Mine Road going toward Millerton.
MW: That’s why it is called Pig Town.
JM: I didn’t know that until I was doing Michael Flint; he said Pig Town. Then I called up Russell Hoage and I said, “Have you ever heard of Pig Town?” “Oh, yeah.” Then I called Mike Meehan to get an oral history from him. I have not heard back from him yet, but I’ll work on it. This is how it goes. I knew about Strawberry Hill but I didn’t know about Pig Town.
Martin said your father was Post Master in Lakeville?
TOL: No, it was my uncle Joseph was Post Master long ago. His wife Marie, he had a stroke and was not able to continue so she became Post Mistress.
JM: Can you give me some years?
TOL: No. I think after her, my aunt, was Fred Constantine, I think.
MW: You’re right.
TOL: Then after Fred was Buck Whalen, Joe Whalen Marin’s father. Then Martin followed him.
JM: I remember that. It was real hard to buy stamps when Martin was on the window.
TOL: As a side bar to Martin Whalen was when I was working there as the janitor, Martin decided that he wanted to paint a white line across one wall in the basement. The purpose for the white line was he wanted to practice his tennis strokes. It is true.
MW: I would practice on the lunch break; it was a bright red line just three feet off the floor. It was a huge room down there. You couldn’t hear me doing it.
TOL: Then one day an inspector came from Hartford. He went down cellar and asked by chance what that line was for? Martin said, “Well, you remember the flood of 1955; that’s where the water was!”
TOL: I think that all of the people that worked at the Post Office when Buck and Martin were the Post Masters, to me it was one of my most enjoyable jobs.
JM: You always were happy when I saw you in the Post Office. You always had a smile on your face and very cheerful.
TOL: I tried to be; I tried to remember everybody’s name when they came in and stuff like that.
MW: We had a grand group.
TOL: We had the best group.
MW: That was fun. It was fun to go to work.
TOL: It really was.
JM: I am fortunate; I can say the same thing. I really enjoyed teaching.
TOL: Martin was there. Ed Geer was working across the street at Mabel’s Tea Room. He worked in there. Ed Carter worked in there. Somebody else was in there too.
JM: You lost me on that one. Who was Ed Geer?
TOL: He and his wife had a room for rent in the Borden Building (350 Main St. Lakeville) almost like a bed and breakfast. He also had a tea room there.
JM: Is that where they had like ice cream and that sort of thing?
TOL: I don’t remember that.
JM: I knew that it was a restaurant or food service of some sort.
MW: Tony Gentile started the Apothecary Shop.
TOL: Yeah right
JM: It was in the Borden Building first and then it went across the street.
TOL: My dad used to own that too first before al Borden bought it. Al Borden bought it from my dad. Long ago my grandfather Dr. Simmons came up out of Brooklyn who was an eye doctor. He retired in the height of the Depression in 1929, and bought the house called Rosewood. (299 Main St., Lakeville).
JM: Where was Rosewood?
TOL: The building on the same side as the bank but on the opposite side of the brook. Do you know the brook?
MW: The house where the fence keeps getting knocked down.
JM: Burton Brook? Oh it used to be Dr. Noble’s house at one time?
MW: My mother still refers to it as the O’Loughlin house.
TOL: My grandfather named it Rosewood; there were all kinds of roses back there then. Dr. Simmons bought it from my dad.
JM: I know I have Dr. Simmons in my index. He was an eye doctor. I think it was mentioned in Vergne Harvey’s oral history. I think he used to play with someone that lived in that area.
Martin, who was the good group you were working with that you said was such fun? Can you tell me when did you become Post Master? I try to do the dates so people have a clue. I shouldn’t spring it on you, but revenge is sweet!
MW: When my father retired; it was the same year as my father retired. I want to say 1979.
JM: Is that when your dad died?
MW: No he died in 1984.
BW: You took over in 1979.
JM: How long did you work at the Post office in Lakeville? I know you went down to Litchfield.
MW: 27 years
JM: Other than our friend Tom here, who else worked there?
MW: Donny Allyn, Dick Barton, Gilford Robinson; they called him Robbie.
JM: Him I don’t remember.
MW: He was the African American who worked for me.
JM: Oh gee, he was nice!
MW: He was a lovely guy. He was a pleasure to work with.
JM: When I came to town in 1967, it must have been your father who was Post Master.
JM: Now my story with the Post Office. I was going to be a teacher here at Salisbury Central School and I was coming to town in 1967. So I had to get a place to live. I didn’t know anything but there was an ad in the paper for an apartment in the Holley Block. I went into the Post Office and asked where the Holley block was. I don’t remember who the gentleman was at the window, but he said, “Are you going to be working in town?” I said, “Yes, I am going to be a teacher.” He said, “You do not want to be in the Holley Block. Let me give you Jim Vaill’s name.” I wound up at Jim Vaill’s. But that is how because of that nice gentleman in the Post Office.
TOL: He did not steer you wrong.
JM: No he didn’t, but someone new coming into town, I wouldn’t know. The town has always been very special to me for a lot of reasons.
TOL: Do you know how they used to keep the dust down in the hallways and the stairwells at the Holley block? They would mop them with oil.
JM: Yeah that would keep the dust down.
TOL: That was when Harry Miller owned it.
MW: That’s right he had a plumbing shop underneath.
TOL: That’s right and he every once in a while would mop with oil to keep the dust down. Of course he did not realize that he was making a big tinder box. Back in those days nobody knew enough.
JM: Were there apartments in the Holley Block?
TOL: I lived there. I lived on the first floor
MW: I remember going there. I used to babysit for Kathy.
TOL: There was a great big wide area about 10 feet wide. You could fit your furniture all in. I remember walking up those stairs. It is comical when I think about it now. Harry Stanton a good friend of mine painted my apartment for me. My wife then wanted green. So we had green painted in the living room. Then he took a sponge and he dabbed a darker green on the light green. His Uncle Tom came in and saw it. “What the hell are you doing with the goddamned bear tracks on the wall?” I hadn’t thought about him in years. He was a nice man. I am not sure where this conversation is going.
JM: One of the nice things with a group is that one feeds off the other and if I am smart enough to remember who saying what. We have to do baseball. Your dad coached?
TOL: He was a manager.
JM: What was the name of the team or league?
MW: It was Interstate league at that time.
TOL: That’s right. It was Interstate and then became Tri-State before the war.
JM: Which war?
JM: Just checking
TOL: No not the Civil War! It was fun. I was the bat boy.
JM: I was going to ask you about that. Do you have any good bat boy stories?
TOL: We used to go once in a while to Copake Falls and play under the lights. There was a hotel, the Hosapple House.
JM: What was the name of that one?
MW & TOL: Hosapple House
JM: How do you spell that one?
MW: I have no idea but I remember being there with dad.
TOL: There was intense serious rivalry back before the war, unbelievable between the different towns. The nearest thing I can remember is that there was a fellow named Dresser, John Dresser who used to live on the end of Indian Mountain School Road. He was German; he used raise flower and vegetable seeds and sold them. He raised four leaf clovers and he would give each player on the Lakeville team a clover to put in the brim of their cap for good luck. It has been understood on occasion there had been financial bets being taken. At one game they said that over one thousand dollars bet on Lakeville.
MW: At lot of money changed hands at some of those games.
JM: That’s a lot of money back then.
TOL: That’s in the 1930’s. But it was understood that there was $1,000 bet on one game. I think if I remember right the game was between Canaan and Lakeville. Don’t quote me! Another thing about Canaan there was a game scheduled for Lakeville at one time and it was raining so they called it off. The next time they met with Canaan, on the Canaan ball field, all of the base men who played third, second and first base, the catcher and the pitcher all went out on the field; they all carried an umbrella and opened them up and put them on all the bases and on the pitcher’s mound to tell Canaan this is not a rain maker.
JM: I remember I called Martin because I was doing somebody and I don’t now remember who and they were talking about the 4 Whalens: Brick, Buck, Turk and Babe. What is the real name of Brick?
MW: Thomas Francis
MW: Joseph Anthony
MW: James Patrick
MW: John William
JM: The reason that I ask is because if somebody is researching the Whalens, this gives them the genealogical, the real name. The nick name is great, but you can’t do genealogical research if you are trying to look up Brick Whalen. I really try to pinpoint the buildings, the years, and the names.
TOL: Brick Whalen was on the front page of the Daily News in New York City when he came home on vacation; he was wearing his military uniform.
MW: I had forgotten that.
TOL: I forget how many papers they sent up from New York to sell up here in this area. It was all sold out, and they were looking for more. Do you remember that?
MW: I have a few vague memories something about hi and NYC but I didn’t know exactly what it was.
TOL: It was the whole front page of the New York Daily News. A picture of him with a trench coat on his arm and…
MW: My mother told me that from picture he got job as model for Abercrombie & Fitch,
TOL: That’s right.
MW: I don’t know how long he did it.
JM: What was his service?
MW: He was in the Army.
MW: I think he retired as a Colonel, a full colonel. He spent his entire life in the service.
JM: That was his career. Anything more you want to add on baseball or shall we move on to your work at Hotchkiss?
TOL: I can’t think of anything else.
JM: You worked at Hotchkiss for a while. What did you do?
TOL: I ran their Post Office and eventually added on the shipping and receiving. For a side line I used to have to go around the buildings and restock the coke machines and take the money out and all that good stuff.
JM: How long did you work there?
TOL: 4 or 5 years
MW: Yeah it was all of that when you break it down.
JM: When? 1970’s?
MW: No he retired in …
TOL: I retired 29 years ago
MW: 1985, I think you came to me in the Lakeville Post Office for 10 years?
TOL: More than that.
MW: You brought back all these memories. At one time tom was the rural carrier, that was years before me.
TOL: During the 1940’s I was the rural carrier.
JM: What was your route?
TOL: #1 there was only one route.
JM: What was the area then?
TOL: All of town of Lakeville; I skipped to the Sharon Post Office for a little bit, too. From there I decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence and I went to Pittsfield, Mass. I ran a barroom and restaurant for my father-in-law for a while.
JM: Where in Pittsfield?
TOL: No, Lenox
JM; Where in Lenox?
TOL: Actually it was on Route 7.
JM: Right on the border between Pittsfield and Lenox?
TOL: There is a shopping center there, just as you go down that long hill and go across right there. I think it is a candle shop now or a steak house.
JM: Oh yes, The Yankee Candle. It used to be a really good restaurant, the Lenox House and then it became something else. You didn’t have anything to do with the Springs up in New Ashford, Mass.?
TOL: No. The Springs was up north further.
JM: Oh I know. That was a good one. Is that how you got into catering from having run a restaurant?
TOL: Yeah, I guess so.
MW: You have done a lot of things in your life.
TOL: I am like that stuff behind the horse.
JM: How long did you do the catering? That I didn’t know about; I knew about some of the other stuff.
TOL: There was Toni Haines, John Harney, George Ernst, and myself. We ran it 5 or 6 years probably.
MW: Oh yeah. It was only the track. Do you remember the name of the business>
TOL: Salisbury Fare, right.
JM: Oh I remember that. Of course I was not in a position to have anything catered, poor school teacher. Toni Haines he was
TOL: That’s a girl’s name.
JM: John Harney was he connected with the White Hart at that time?
JM: George Ernest had the Shagroy Market. What was you specialty?
MW: You were working at the Post Office at that time.
JM: Oh you were moonlighting. Can you give me some dates as to when you were doing that? I know this is always the hard part.
TOL: It was right around the time I was getting ready to retire.
JM: So it would be in the 1980’s.
TOL: A couple of years in the Post Office and then years past the Post Office.
JM: So it would be mid 1980’s? Was it after the catering that you opened the card and gift shop?
TOL: I had that before. It was Hallmark Cards in the building where the Harveys used to live. (308 Main St. Lakeville)
JM: Did you build that addition?
TOL: No, it was built for the Litchfield Bank. Hines was his last name was the Manager.
JM: Yes, Sid Hines. My husband ran into him (actually his car) with his Lincoln. I remember that one.
TOL: He lived up on Lincoln City Road.
JM: His house was called Hines Quarters.
MW: That’s where the Hickeys used to live.
TOL: Right, that was the Hickey house. I can remember the Hickeys walking down the hill and going across where the quarry was to get downtown right?
MW: That was a short cut, a really short cut.
TOL: It sure was.
MW: I still remember where that path was.
TOL: I visualize it all the time.
MW: Going up that hill.
JM: That’s a steep hill.
MW: It was. But there was a definitely worn path.
TOL: It was right by the quarry too.
JM: Which quarry?
TOL: Everybody walked up there walked it.
MW: The ore pit up by Mom’s house (top of Porter Street Ed.)
JM: Which ore pit-Davis? No
TOL: I forget.
MW: Did it have a name?
TOL: I don’t think it had a name.
JM: It was called the ore pit. Then what street did you live on?
TOL: Main Street going back to the Simmons House property.
MW: It was in back of what used to be Dr. Noble’s house.
TOL: All the way back; that was a 10 or 12 acres piece of property.
MW: We never heard; we just called it the ore pit.
JM: Davis was by Salisbury Central and I know where the Chatfield and the Ore Hill were. Those are the only 3 that I knew of right in the Lakeville area. So there is one back in there.
TOL: That property was sub divided and there are houses up in there now. But we used to go back there on the right hand side it sloped up and we used to build a ski jump up there and break our necks trying to…
MW: That was a hill to the right of where the path.
JM: You were real dare devils, weren’t you?
MW: Now it is all covered with trees.
JM: When you are young you get into a lot of mischief which is great.
TOL: That is what you are supposed to do.
JM: I know. I am still waiting! What else would you like to tell me about?
MW: You had a bartending business.
TOL: Oh yeah, I bartended private parties by the ton and Martin was along most times. Martin helped me.
MW: We used to do a lot of them.
JM: I have been to a couple where you and Tom were working.
MW: Caterers would get our name and we would bar tend for that caterer.
TOL: Did you go down to New Jersey that time?
MW: No I never want there, but I went to Poughkeepsie one time. We went to the St. Benedictine Hospital and did that party. That was the best party. We rolled those tables up those stairs. They didn’t have an elevator. The elevator wasn’t in service. We had round tables; we just rolled them up the stairs.
TOL: At one time I went down to a winery in New York someplace. Somebody went with me. I think it was Don Stevens may have gone with me. We did the things down there for the winery. I bar tended in a few bars around here. I worked at the White Hart, the Stagecoach, and the Gateway. They had that little building out in back which was a barroom. When Jim Connelly had it?
MW: That was after the big hotel had sort of closed down. That was the only thing that was left was the little building which was a bar.
JM: Who owned the Gateway at that time?
MW: I have no idea.
TOL: I worked for a while at the Sharon Inn; where the monument is used to be a great big inn there down in Sharon.
JM: That’s gone now isn’t it?
TOL: Yeah I worked there bar tending. I worked for Dick Hamzy when he had the hotel over in Canaan.
MW: What was the name of that? Where was it?
TOL: You know where Geer Nursing Home is and there is an apartment house right alongside of it.
MW: That’s right. That used to be a hotel. Dick Hamzy had it and I used to bar tend there for him.
MW; I can’t remember the name of it.
TOL: I can’t either.
JM: You guys have got homework to do.
MW: I had forgotten that. As a kid that was a hotel.
MW: Now it is apartments, right?
TOL: Yeah. Where else did I work?
JM: This man got around!
TOL: Farnam Tavern used to have a bar underneath. Do you remember?
MW: Yeah. Remember the last time I was talking to you, you told me that there was a, and I don’t remember it but, there was a car dealership behind the Farnam Apartments.
TOL: Yes there was. It was not behind the Farnam apartments. You know where Farnam apartments is and there is a cement wall and then there is an alleyway. It goes in there. My dad and uncle used to sell Hudson Terraplanes. In that building along with the dealership was a repair shop. There was a guy named Marty Goggins who had a little restaurant in there. I think there were 4 stools at the little counter. Also in that building was 2 bowling lanes. My dad and my uncle had some fingers in that at the time. Then my uncle had a meat market. I do not know if you know that or not. It was back where the Holley block used to be. O’Loughlins were into everything
JM: What was the name of the meat market? Was it O’Loughlin’s?
TOL: Yeah, O’Loughlin’s I still have some bill heads from him.
JM: Well if you have I would appreciate one.
TOL: I shall send you up one.
MW: You sent me, actually Kathy brought it to me, that the baseball picture. I took that to Joe Meehan and he reproduced it. He sent that thru the E-mail to the archives at the Academy Building before I got home!
JM: Is that the ball team 1938?
JM: That is going to be in “Sarum Sampling #2” as the head of my Baseball Section.
TOL: Thank you so much for that.
JM: I am thrilled! Because I was going thru stuff with Katherine and I found this wonderful picture of the baseball team. I try to do pictures the local stuff and that was perfect!
TOL: All the names are underneath it.
MW: That is why I went to Joe Meehan because I wanted to reproduce that digitally and get the names. A lot of people just reproduce the picture, but they couldn’t get the names. He did it, but I do not know how.
BW: Scot was the one who told you.
MW: Yeah Scot my son.
JM: Oh I remember your son Scot and I remember your daughter Tami.
MW: He said take it to Joe Meehan.
BW: Scot does a lot with pictures. He worked with…
JM: I am so please because I didn’t have the background on that particular picture, but I have Rusty Chandler on baseball, (See #146 Rusty chandler) Steve Griggs (File #62 Steve Griggs)talking about Frank McArthur Sr.
MW: I played with Steve Griggs; he played short stop.
JM: I’ve got Dave, oh yeah you are mentioned, on his dad, (See #143A David McArthur) those are the three that I can remember off the top of my head. I have this really neat section, I think it is a neat section, on baseball. This picture was perfect. Is there anything else that you would like to share with me, or shall we give you a rest and let you drink your coffee which is probably now cold. Let’s give it a rest for a bit.
TOL: You’re the boss.
Property of the Oral History Project: The Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library, Salisbury, Ct. 0606