Lorraine Stevens Interview:
This is file #15, cycle 2. Today’s date is January 26, 2016. This is Jean McMillen. I am interviewing Lorraine Stevens. She is going to talk about the White Hart, private parties, Indian Mountain School and anything else we can think of to talk about. We’ll start with the genealogical information.
JM:What is your name?
LS:Lorraine (Belleveau) Stevens
JM:When were you born?
LS:October 26, 1932
JM:Where were you born?
LSPatterson, New York
JM:Your parents’ names?
LS:Clara Belleveau and Joseph Belleveau
JM: Did you have siblings?
LS:I did; I had two brothers and two sisters
LS:Donald, Gene, Beverly and Garnet.
JM:I think you said that you came to this area because your dad worked on the railroad? Tell me a little bit about what railroad he worked on and what he did?
LS:Well he was a ticket agent and he did Morse code.
JM:Oh he was a telegrapher.
LS:He worked for the New York Central for a while, and then he worked at New Haven.
JM:New Haven and Hartford?
JM:Was he stationed in this area?
LS:Well he moved to Housatonic, Mass then we lived in Patterson, New York when he was on the New York Central.
JM:Then you moved to wherever he was stationed.
JM:When you married, did you live at Deep Lake Farm?
LS:No when we got married I lived in Housatonic and Don came from Sheffield, Mass.
JM:Whereabouts in Housatonic did you live?
JM:My first school teaching job paid was in Housatonic. When did you move to Dep Lake Farm?
LS:A long time ago, I can’t remember.
JM:What did your husband do there?
LS:He was a farmer. He milked cows He was one of the farm workers
JM:Did they have dairy cows or beef cows?
LS:They had dairy cows, Guernseys.
JM:Who owned Deep Lake Farm at that time?
JM:Was Bill Chilcoat the Manager at that time?
LS:Yes, he was.
JM:Do you know if it was a large herd?
LS:Oh yes it was a fantastic farm.
JM:How big was it?
LS:Oh acres and acres
JM:It is no longer a dairy farm?
LS:He was a few cows.
JM:But not like that he had?
LS:No, nothing like Sam Berke had.
JM:How long did you live there?
LS:Nine and a half years.
JM:When did you go to work at the White Hart? You went someplace else first.3.
LS:I started at Elsa’s Kitchen.
JM:Where was Elsa’s Kitchen?
LS:Out in Taconic.
JM:When kind of an eating place was that?
LS:That was mostly private parties. She had a few people that stayed in, mostly weddings and private parties.
JM:Was it sit down service or buffet?
LS:Mostly buffet. Thanksgiving would have been sit down.
JM:Did she do a lot of Swedish dishes?
JM:I remember the Swedish meatballs; oh they were good. When you worked there, did you work all day or did you just come in for the parties?
LS:It depended sometimes she had two parties in one day. I would go in early and go home late.
JM:Who told you that the White Hart was looking for people?
JM:How did she know?
LS:Her uncle married my sister so that is how we got together.
JM:So you went from Elsa’s Kitchen to the White Hart. Was the work different even though it was food service?
(For more information on the White Hart see file #5, cycle 2 Elyse Harney, file #12, cycle 2 John Harney Jr. and file #71, Jane Fitting)
LS:Oh yes it was.
JM:How was it different?
LS:At the White Hart it was all sit down service; Elsa’s was mostly buffet.
JM:How long did you work at the White Hart?
JM:Who managed the dining room?4.
JM:Were you there when the Nortons ran it?
LS:No, I came right after the Nortons. (The Harneys managed the inn from 1960 to 1983. Ed.)
JM:So you worked for Mrs. Harney.
JM:Did you work with Olive DuBois?
LS:Yes I did.
JM:Can you tell me a little about Olive?
LS:Olive was good at what she did. She now how can I say this?
JM:She ran a pretty tight ship, I understand.
LS:Yes, she did.
JM:I heard from the boys that if they did not toe the line, she told them where to head in.
LS:Oh yes she could do that.
JM:Do you remember any of the other waitresses?
LS:Yes there was Mel Smith, she is dead now. Carol Curtis, Lori Webster, Lucille Taylor was there.
JM:Mary Barton also worked there, didn’t she?
LS:She did, but she was gone by the time I got there. Then there was Donny Silvernale from Millerton, she worked there. Florence Gosso worked there.
JM:Do you remember any of the chefs that worked there?
LS:I remember Tom, but I don’t know Tom’s last name.
JM:He was an African American, wasn’t he?
JM:He made blueberry pancakes.
JM:I got that from John Harney Jr. How about Danny Lee? Had he…
LS:I was not there when Danny Lee came.5.
JM:He came later?
JM:Rolf Schenkel? He ran the Ragamont (See file # 6, cycle 2, Rolf & Renee Schenkel)
JM:But sometimes he did the German Nights for the Harneys, but that was later.
LS:I don’t know.
JM:Do you remember the year you went to the White Hart?
LS:No, but it had to be in the 1960’s. Mimi Heiser worked in the kitchen and she worked in the pantry. Pete Robinson worked in the pantry.
JM:I heard about the ice cream balls? Nut balls?
LS:Oh the nut balls.
LS:He remembered that?
JM:Yeah, Bobby Day remembered that.
JM:He did better that a lot of them; again to come out of an institution and to be able to function in a community and be cared for. That is pretty neat. After you left the White Hart you went to the Salisbury Pharmacy?
JM:You worked there how many years?
JM:When did you leave the pharmacy?
LS:In 1989 maybe? (If she worked there 30 years, it may have been 1999. Ed.)
JM:What did you do at the pharmacy?
LS:I did just about everything except to do the drugs. I made the hot fudge sundaes; I made the milk shakes, the root beer floats.
JM:I heard about the root beer floats and I heard about the hot fudge sundaes. Michael Brenner (Se file #79 Michael Brenner) I think was the one who likes the root beer floats, and I think it was Chip Hines (See File #1 cycle 2 Charles Hines) that likes the hot fudge sundaes.
LS:I would not be a bit surprised.
JM:Who was the bookkeeper?
LS:Nancy Paine, but her mother or I think it was her aunt that was there. Nancy Pain was the last one that I knew.
JM:Who was Dolly Winterbottom?
LS:Dolly worked there too. She was from Canaan.
JM:Did you work with Barbara Roraback? (See file# 42 Barbara Roraback)
JM:You worked with Sam, Audrey, Bam, Anna and Walter.
JM:Were they good people to work for?
LS:Oh yes they were, wonderful.
JM:I think I asked you if you worked for Elaine La Roche, the new owner.
JM:Now I am going to ask you about this house.
LS:I was trying to find the thing that Ginny Moskowitz did. I don’t know where I put it but I might have given it to Donny eve, so check it out.
JM:This house belonged to whom?
LS:Who did we buy it from? Olive and Jim Dubois sold it to us.
JM:They built another house?
LS:Yes, right next door.
JM:Is that where the Rorabacks now live? (20 Grove Street, Salisbury)
JM:When this house was moved, the kitchen and the next room were…7.
LS:The school room, Grove Street School.
JM:It had two rooms; did it have two entrances one for boys and one for girls?
LS:Yes (A picture of the Grove Street School hangs in the town clerk’s office at Town Hall. Ed.)
JM:When did you buy this property?
LS:In 1962, I believe.
JM:This school building was the first school?
JM:Then they built another one?
JM:What happened to the second one, did it close or was it burned?
LS:I don’t really know. (It was closed in 1953. The building was taken down by Calvin flint in the late 1950’s according to George Parsons. Ed. See file #72 George Parsons)
JM:When somebody added on to this house and the wall was exposed, what did they find on the school wall?
LS:We found writing on there and it was the old time language that they used to use. It was quite exciting to see it. The painter took a picture of it, but he never showed it anybody.
JM:But there was a picture taken of it?
JM:When I went over to see the Ore Hill School, they actually had like a black board and there was writing on that too. But this is even earlier to write on the wall which was great.
LS:I probably should have called somebody to come and look at it but I was afraid I would not get my dining room back.
JM:I think you said that it was Olive Dubois’s parents that had the house first?
LS:I don’t know.
JM:But they had it before Olive did?
JM:Then it was rental property.8.
LS:Olive and Jim lived there after them. Then Olive and Jim rented out to the Burcrofts and then they rented to Barnetts.
JM:Then you bought it in 1962. What have you done to change the house?
LS:We changed the stairway, we put a new window in side of the house, we added on a living room, a wash room, and a laundry room.
JM:How much land do you have?
LS:We had three quarters of an acre.
JM:That is a good sized lot.
LS:Yeah it is.
JM:Now I am going to move on to private parties because you worked with Tommy O’Loughlin.
JM:Tell me about Tommy O’Loughlin and Marty Whalen as the bartenders.
LS:They were wonderful; they were great to work with.
JM:They both have very happy personalities. It would seem that they don’t get upset easily.
LS:No, they couldn’t afford to, but there were a lot of bartenders at that time.
JM:How about Joe Burns? Was he the cook over at Indian Mountain School?
LS:Yes, he was for quite a while. He started at the White Hart.
JM:Was he part of the catering service from the White Hart?
JM:That was the Guardian Catering Service.
LS:Yeah I think that is how he got to Indian Mountain School.
JM:John Harney Sr. and Joe Burns and whichever of his sons was there worked at Indian Mountain School doing the catering. Then Joe burns just stayed there as the cook. He was cooking in the 1980’s when my husband worked there.
LS:I can tell you then I was there when your husband was there because I worked there then.
JM:Foster could remember the ladies; he wasn’t so good about remembering the guys, but he could remember the ladies.
LS:Good for him.
JM:Did you do private parties at Hotchkiss or Salisbury School as well?
LS:Yes, I worked at Indian Mountain, Salisbury, and Hotchkiss.
JM:They were all faculty parties or parent parties?
JM:Who actually ran the business? Was it Tom O’Loughlin or…
LS:No it was just word of mouth. Jean Olsen (Bill Olsen was Headmaster at Hotchkiss in the 1960’s Ed.) would call me to work.
JM:So you were all kind of independent?
JM:Was the pay better working at the White Hart or Elsa’s Kitchen or was it better at private parties?
LS:I think working at the White Hart was better because it was fast money. I mean you worked yourself to death, but at least it was worth it. At private parties you made pretty good money but you also did the dishes and cleaning up.
JM:Yes because you have to set up and have to do the party and then you have to clean up so there is a lot of hidden time.
LS:You have to push up the pillows after everybody has gone.
JM:When you worked at the White Hart, now they call it time-sharing, but did you have to work all day or could you work like just a dinner or a lunch?
LS:Another thing about working at the White Hart, I could be home when the kids got off the school bus. That meant a lot to me. By the time I worked at night, my husband was home so somebody was with the kids. That was the best part.
JM:When I interviewed Mrs. Harney, she said that they tried to use the working women with children because then they could split the schedule. Somebody could work the lunch shift only, or the dinner shift depending upon where their kids were. I thought it made it so they could have more employees that were happy.
LS:Yeah you almost have to do that because if you got sick, you have to have somebody take that shift. It was a lot of holidays, Sundays. It was entirely worth it. I enjoyed every second I was there.
JM:Oh good. That is the best accolade a boss can have.
LS:Yeah I enjoyed it.
JM:You have done a lot of different things in your life.
LS:I certainly have. Yes, I have.
JM:Which part did you enjoy the most? Or are they so different that it is hard to tell?
LS:They were all different because the drugstore, the bosses were wonderful. I do enjoy people and I volunteer over at Noble because a lot of my customers were over there.
JM:If you like people and you have a good boss, you really have it made so matter what you do.
LS:If you are in business like the drugstore, the customer is always right. No matter what, the customer is always right.
JM:That is the way it is in almost any kind of a business, all service businesses.
LS:It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.
JM;No and it does make things go a lot smoother.
JM:Please and thank you are good words to know.
LS:That is right.
JM:What have I forgotten to ask you that I should? We have talked about Deep Lake Farm, Elsa’s Kitchen. The White Hart, the pharmacy, your house with the school… Oh I wanted to ask you when this house was a school, did they have a hot lunch program. Mrs. Senior used to do the hot lunches.
LS:Mrs. Senior lived across the street (17 Grove St. Ed.). I don’t know this really but this is what they tell me. She used to have the kids have their hot chocolate. The kids walked through our driveway and go to school there and have their lessons.
JM:I thought that was so nice that they had something hot to drink. I heard that I don’t know where. (See File #46, Barbara Roraback)
LS:Yeah people are really friendly; they are really nice people.
JM:Oh yeah and that makes it so much easier: it really does.
LS:There are a lot of nice people.11.
JM;I thank you so much Mrs. Stevens.
LS;Well you are welcome.