“I am a California child. Its mountains high, its valleys wide------“ I can’t remember the rest nor can I remember whether this was recited before or after the pledge of allegiance but this is how we started the elementary school day in San Mateo.
AT&T transferred my father to their headquarters in New York City so at age eleven I joined my mother and brother Dana as we caught up with him by taking a boat via the Panama Canal. There not being any transcontinental air service the only way to cross the country was by rail but the boat trip was more interesting.
We lived in Westchester County, New York. Two years in New Rochelle and then on to Pelham. James West, head of the Boy Scouts of America, was a local resident and although I never met him his presence prompted me to become a scout. I reached the Eagle rank. Another unique benefit was that we lived just a few miles from the Glen Island Casino where the Dorsey Brothers and Glenn Miller often brought their bands.
My father, Dartmouth ’09, interviewed applicants for admission. He was kept very busy as evidenced by seven locals entering the ranks of 1939:
Jerry Beattie-His beautiful wife,Joan, also deceased, lived a few doors away We would walk to Pelham High School together.
Don Wheaton-His family owned two Packards
Then there are two of us still in relatively good health.
Lester Graves- He and I were roommates all four years. Three in 310 New Hampshire where we would often relax over a game of cribbage. When our janitor, Bert, came by to make our beds he also relaxed by making it three-handed. Our fourth year we roomed at Tuck. Neither of us went to Tuck but we had a nice room and ate at Stell Hall for $10 a week.
My father, brother Dana 1937 and I were all members of DKE
Summers while in high school were interesting:
Manual Diaz, a fellow student, whose family owned the Diaz Freight Line made it possible for a group of us to take a trip to Casablanca then Spain and Italy. We spent much of our time on board chipping paint and were rewarded with a bottle of delicious sweet Vermouth. At dinner we found about six plates on top of each other. Our first course was soup in the top plate, the last was fruit. Two of the remaining four were turned down almost universally, squid and bacalao (cod in olive oil)
Three summers I attended Tabor academy to study navigation and learn how to sail. The last summer we sailed the Tabor Boy, a 100 foot schooner, to the 1933-34 .Chicago World Fair. After taking down our masts at Troy,New York we followed the Erie Barge Canal to Buffalo and our rigging came back up. The next summer I sailed on the Isle de France to tour Europe and spend a few days in Berlin with the family of twins I had met at Tabor. They were SS troopers. This was the time of the 1935 Olympic games. I was there when Jesse Owens won the 100 meter race. Adolph Hitler was quite upset.
My freshman year at Dartmouth I was a heeler. We were candidates for team managers. Football was the prize, particularly since we were meeting Stanford in Palo Alto the next season. Jack Boynton won. I was appointed soccer manager which,unlike today, was no big deal although working for coach Tom Dent was a privilege. In winter I learned to do back and front flips with the help of gym coach Pat (?). How I envied Chuck Farnum who did this with the greatest of ease.
As I approached my senior year a law degree looked attractive mainly due to the influence of Leon Burr Richardson. Columbia Law said “yes” and Yale Law said “no”. Then the thought of immediate income vs several more years of study caused me to accept my father’s suggestion of finding a job with AT&T. He arranged interviews for me with top executives in about six companies. Back then AT&T was made up of separate companies for almost every state. In any event Illinois and Washington, D.C offered me a job and the other four said “no”
Our classmate, Charlie Grant, was working for his father in Washington. We were very good friends. We would play squash in the evening at the University Club. He usually won but I drowned my sorrow as we had a beer in their bar. Charlie decided to be an educator and in a few years was professor of history at Middlebury College. Then tragedy struck. He died of cancer in his early 40’s. His wife, Kitty, lives in Boston. We keep in touch.
When war broke out in December 1941 the telephone business in Washington went wild. We imported hundreds of experienced employees from other Bell System companies. There was no way I would be drafted. Social life was good because there was a surplus of women. At one particular party I met Eloise Collingwood. I presented her with a diamond engagement ring as we sat on a bench in Lafayette park and we were married a few months later in January 1945.
Our first child, Susan, was born in D.C. I was transferred to Huntington, WV where Debbie was born. Then to Beckley where Tom was born .Then Pattie in Wheeling followed by Laura in Charleston so when number six was about to arrive we wondered to what city I would next be transferred. Fortunately we stayed in Charleston when Sally came forth. Both she and Laura were delivered by Dr. Chambers whose son,John, is head of Cisco. Through hard work and good luck I climbed the ladder finally becoming General Manager- Network Services and retired in 1977.
Most of our summer vacations and often in winter we went to Colorado, specifically Snowmass Village near Aspen. Debbie and Pattie married local men and we bought land planning to build a retirement home. But “The best schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley”. Our focus was now on the Dartmouth area and that is where we went. Daughter Laura, Class of 1980 was there and a few years later we were able to persuade Tom and family to move to Hanover. Tom makes recorders which are sold through-out the world. He employed me part-time for many years.
There were quite a few classmates in the area: Al Abbott owned a bus company,George Boswell and British wife Bridget who has returned to England. Howie Chivers the great outdoors-man struck down by melanoma, Bob Bryant whose wife Dale is active in local affairs,Bob English who loved to play the organ, Duncan Farr built his home in nearby Canaan,George McIlroy I remember best as a soccer player, Ed Wells was an anesthetist practicing part time.Ralph Holben whose wife Gudrun had a severe stroke which required a lot of care. Bob Kaiser and I are the only ones left. We are very fortunate to have wives who make it possible for us to enjoy our senior years.