In August, 1963 we camped in a private camp ground in Estes Park, CO and I rented a car so that I could drive to Boulder to present a paper at the University and Doris kept the Impala wagon so they could sight-see in Estes Park. I had been carrying a suit bag with a business suit, shirt, tie and shoes throughout the trip for this occasion.
On the morning I was giving my paper, I dressed and came out of our tent, got in one of our two cars and drove away, watched by a fellow camper in his underwear, cooking eggs and bacon. I have often wondered what he thought as I drove away. My paper was well received and I was back at our tent by supper time.
We drove through Denver and headed home, visiting several tourist attractions on the way. At one location, we celebrated Melanie’s fifth birthday with a party. We gave her a cowgirl’s outfit with hat, gun and belt which she proudly showed to the boys.
At home, we soon got back into our school and office routines and Doris was busy with house and garden. I had not mentioned a visit from Doris’ Uncle George who was a retired stone mason and came over from London for about two weeks. He helped me completely tile a patio area in our backyard. I had previously been building retaining walls around the area and had built a brick and stone barbecue pit. There was no shortage of stones as Connecticut apparently was where glaciers melted years ago. I was always complaining about them “growing” because it seemed as though we had a new crop every year. Uncle George, with me as cement mixing apprentice, laid flat stones and tiles over about 200 square feet of patio with steps going up to the garden in the back. I also built a rather good tree house which attracted lots of friends for our three. In summer, we practically lived on our patio as we had equipped it with table, chairs and an excellent hammock which I frequented.
Together with our neighbors, the Shafers we went to several shows in New York. Working in the city, Russ and I could easily get tickets and the girls would drive down for dinner and theater. We attended several first nights, many of which never had second nights. In 1962, we saw “I can get it for you Wholesale” which was quite good. We were particularly impressed by the Jewish secretary, Miss Marmelstein, who had a wonderful voice.
A few months later, Shafer came over to our house with an album of a singer that had impressed him and we listened to a slow version of “Happy Days are here Again.” The name of the album was “Barbra” and the singer was Miss Marmelstein or Barbra Streisand. We later learned that she was the star of a new show about to open called “Funny Girl.” We tried to get tickets for the first night but none were available. We did however, get them for the second night and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The seats immediately in front of us were occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Belafonte and we saw several other famous people. We felt as though we had discovered this fabulous singer. It reminded me of when I played in a University golf match against the Vaudeville Society in England when I was matched with Ted Andrews of “Ted and Barbara” vaudeville fame and learning later that their daughter was Julie Andrews.
Our group of friends in the Two by Two Club were always looking for entertainment at our club nights. Some of us decided to have a revue. We had a guitar player in our group and one member was Ted Jones, the son of Alan Jones who was a frequent singer on the stage and on the BBC radio. Ted’s younger brother, Jack Jones became a very popular singer. With help from Jack Wisner, Ted and I came up with a program for our revue. Doris and I had seen the Broadway shows, “My Fair Lady” in 1959, “Camelot” in 1960 and “Fiorello” in 1961 and had bought the original cast albums, so we based the songs in our revue on these shows.
We were all New Haven RR commuters so we had one song about that. To the music from “I’m getting married in the morning” we had four men singing, “We’re a bunch of good New York commuters, dressed up and really in our prime,” followed by four wives singing, “and we’re their faithful spouses, who look after kids and houses and get them to the train on time.”
Because the New Haven was bankrupt, we had a funny set of verses about the coaches and the service which had a chorus, “New Haven, New Haven, New Haven line. If you can’t afford a quarter you ought to give a dime. If everybody gave, we could save the New Haven line.” We had a clever song from “Fiorello” about picking our president, a job nobody wanted. The analogy was the Republicans picking somebody (Fiorello) to run against the powerful Tammany Hall Democrats in NY City.
We rounded off our singing with some popular songs like “The Sloop John Bee,” “Marianne” and some other island songs. I made a fool of myself dressing as a WWI Tommy and reciting Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din.” Our show was so much fun and so well received that we put on a repeat performance at the Silvermine Tavern, one of the best local restaurants.
We had many times discussed buying a boat since we were living in a boating community and I signed up with the US Power Squadron to take their course in boating courtesy and learning how to navigate in a fog. I passed the course but was not allowed to join as a member because I was not a US citizen. This upset me so much I decided to join the Shorehaven Golf Club in Norwalk instead. I enjoyed that very much though only at week- ends. My locker partner was a man named Jim McManus who actually turned out to be Jim Mckay of ABC sports and commentator of 12 Olympics.
In 1964, I had been with Air Liquide for ten years and I was working in a two-man office, the other being my boss who was not going to ever be promoted or transferred. This started me thinking about another job. Coincidentally with this, Standard Oil of New Jersey (which later became Exxon in 1973 and Exxon/Mobil in 1999), formed a new company called American Cryogenics with a new office expected to be somewhere in Connecticut. I was invited to discuss employment with them which I quickly agreed to do. This becomes another memory for another day.