Saturday, July 30, 2011

# 8 for the Haight family

In 1960, my senior year at Newark High School, my parents decided to build a modern house. 1103 Church Road in Christine Manor became quite a project. The architect was dubious about the western "Ranch Style" home with a 'butterfly roof', redwood and red brick siding with turquoise painted trim.

A kidney shaped swimming pool took up about one third of the back patio, half-covered by the roof. The interior fireplace was massive with a smaller outside grill fireplace connected but open to the patio.

It was quite an entertaining house, with hardwood floors in the living room covered with a huge teal carpet that was rolled up for dancing.
I had a summer job at LeBro Lincoln Mercury as a telephone solicitor. The following summer after graduation, I went to Rehoboth Beach with friend Leilani Snow to work in the restaurant business as a short order cook. We rented a room over the restaurants on the first block of Rehoboth Avenue.[#9] In pursuit of a career in Journalism, I also had a column in the weekly newspaper - "A Bird's Eye View by Robin" mostly a synopsis of social activities going on at the beach.
When it came time to go to the University of Delaware for my English/Journalism career education, I was assigned a room in Kent Hall [#10] with a roommate, Barbara Campbell. She talked in her sleep ... in French! I had asked for someone 'interesting' on my dormitory application. She was the daughter of a DuPont employee from Geneva, Switzerland. Although an American, she had been schooled in French. I have lost track of her.
I did not do well enough in required courses to stay at the U of D; I played too much bridge and studied too little. My choice was to attend the Delaware Hospital School of Nursing for an education that was very suitable for life. The tuition, room and board, books and uniforms was far less than the U of D. $300 for all three years compared to over $1000 for one year at university. I moved once again [#11] to the Nurse's Residence on Brandywine Avenue in Wilmington, Delaware. Nursing students were often employed as babysitters by the Medical Staff. My favorites were Dr. Mette's five children who were bi-lingual and helped me practice German and Dr. Mustafa Oz, Chief of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Mehemet Oz was five when I first met him. He and his younger sister were brilliant and well-behaved children.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back East for #6

My parents had divorced and re-married in 1951. My dad was transferred to a Baltimore DuPont pigments plant and we lived in a house at 1924 Norman Road in Glen Burnie, MD. I attended 2n'd through 4'th grades and remember watching Queen Elizabeth's Coronation. My parents took dance lessons from Arthur and Kathryn Murray and appeared on Television as dancers. I appeared on T.V. in the peanut gallery of the Buffalo Bob show with Howdy Doody and Clarabelle the clown. We had an English Setter named 'Ski' and he loved to chew on shoes. We had a housekeeper / babysitter who was later fired for stealing.

 Next move, dad was transferred in 1953 to the Louviers building in Newark, DE where he was one of the first five DuPont employees trained to run the first computer, the "Univac". Those five each trained five other employees and so on until most of the staff at Louviers were computer-literate. Meanwhile, I struggled with math. We lived in home #7 at 530 Papermill Road for $75/month rent. Dad could walk to work. The house on 365 acres was owned by Hallock DuPont. It was a 6 story 1860's house with 18 " thick walls, a slave cellar, a coal steam heater with rattling old cast iron registers, a tin roof over the porch, window seats, and wasps in the attic. We had a black Collie named "Shep", a grey kitten "Misty" and "Liverachee" orange stripe.

The property had an immense barn with 12 " beams, lots of pigeons, a hay stack inside for great jumping and stored some of the farm equipment used by High School Ag classes. They grew mostly corn in the fields surrounding the barn. The Delaware Police push-mobile derby track was a relatively new feature used once a year for races; the rest of the year we had a private bicycle race track and sledding hill.
The Wilbur [Bill] and Vieve Gore family of five: Susan, Bob, Ginger, David and E.[Betty] Gore lived on the other side of Papermill Road and they were the only other Idahoans I met in Delaware. They also had a swimming pool. Bill developed teflon products - Gortex - in his basement and left DuPont to pursue his own business creations.
 I attended 5'th grade through High School in Newark. My parents started the first Fred Astaire franchise in DE. I met Bob in Cotillion Ballroom class when I was 13 and he was 14. I got to go to "Philthadelphia" with mother's teen dance class and dance on Dick Clark's Bandstand. The featured 'stars' were Eydie Gourme and Steve Lawrence.
I met my best friend, Nancy Bonney, in Newark. Her parents were both teachers. More to come ....