Friday, October 26, 2007

Marcella Armstrong's Journal, Installment 8

I am afraid that I have digressed from writing about Dick.

He was transferred again, this time to Central Quality Control in Westfield, N.Y., but we continued to live in North East, Pennsylvania. We had bought quate a new house on Haskell Rd., three miles west of the borough. It had been built by Earl Dailey, who worked for Welch Co. He had planted many trees and shrubs.

Dick commuted in a car pool with several girls. Normal Jell was one.

He was liked by everyone. He was on the Session of the First United Presbyterian Church. He was chairman of the church library board for a while. I was the librarian then. He as very interested in church.

Because I wanted to live in Westfield so badly -- he agreed to move there. We found a one-floor house at 73 Third Street and moved. We rented our North East house to Tony Balut, who worked for the Welch Co. Dick had a feeling that we would come back. The year in Westfield was not happy -- even though we were near his work.

So we moved back and sold the house to Norman and Irma Kramer, who had lived in Kennewick and were transferred back too. Their home had been in Silver Creek, New York.

When Dick retired from the Welch Foods, Inc. there was a dinner for him at the Country Club near Dunkirk. There were speeches and gifts. Two brown suitcases of different sizes and bookends were given to him.

After he retired he was very busy. He was asked to help at the Lansmith Cherry plant in Ripley. He trained their chemists. Then he went to the big Veterans' Administration Hospital in Erie and asked if he could do volunteer work there. They interviewed him and put him in the Physical Therapy Department one day a week. He chose Mondays. He enjoyed the work and did far more than he was required to do. He cleaned the whirlpool bath, repaired anything needed, helped patients, made friends. His last certificate of service award stated that he had given "1681 hours and 6 years_ of dedicated voluntary service on behalf of veteran patients." The last certificate was dated May 5, 1977.

He also drove the GECAC van every Wednesday. He picked up senior citizens for the government's nutritional program. It was for lunch and recreation at our church. The women liked him so much. He was nice to them all. He always got out of the van and helped them in and out. He drove extra times too -- to the dinner theater in Erie, etc.

Every Saturday morning at 8:30 he was at a Bible class at church. It was taught by Reverend Lloyd Baird. Dick was faithful and became such good friends with Dan Reese and Glenn Shorts. He would sometimes take our dog Kees to class.

On Tuesday evenings he played Duplicate Bridge, a Y.M.C.A. project. He played Bridge well.

We were in a Bridge club with Adelaide and Roger Marshall, Paul and Nina Homer, Mae and Peter Smaltz. The latter couple dropped out. Evelyn and Philip Hatch took their place. We played in the club for 15 years at least.

He loved his garden. His rose bushes bloomed. He had enormous dahlias and gladiolii. He raised string beans, peas, broccoli, cabbages, Swiss chard, tomatoes and even cantaloupes.

He canned peaches, pears, prunes and tomatoes with my help. He froze vegetables. He kept the yard mowed and trimmed. He bought riding mowers, beginning with a small one and ending with an International Harvester Cub Cadet. He bought a cart to attach to it. He took Paul and Brian for rides and Kees. He could fix anything, even the color TV set.

He liked photography. We had a movie camera and projector when the girls were small. He bought a Retina Reflex camera and we had slides and a slide projector. Our trips to the Grand Canyon, to Yellowstone, to Yosemite, to Victoria, British Columbia, to Grand Coulee Dam, to Grants, New Mexico, to Idaho Falls, Idaho, to Los Angeles and Mexico, to Glacier National Park, etc. were more interesting with a camera. We joined the Erie Color Slide Club.

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