Shirley B. Sarris

 

 

Shirley B. Sarris Born July 17, 1930

Age 60

“Always There”

Part I: From the Beginning

 

According to my birth certificate, I was born on July 17th, 1930. And the reason I say according to my birth certificate is because when I was a little girl all I could think of is that I was always adopted. I don’t know why, I guess because I was taller than my parents and I didn’t seem to look like either one of them.

 

They were going to name me Sandra or Shirley, but, my Aunt Helen insisted that it was going to be Shirley, I think it had to do with Shirley Temple, who was a little rising star at that time. They decided that they would go with Shirley.

 

Aunt Helen was my father’s sister. She lived with her brother, my Uncle Ralph. She had a brain tumor when I was young and often times had epileptic attacks. Not having any children of her own, she was always very interested in me.

 

I don’t remember anything about my birth. I believe we lived on Ocean Street in Dorchester. At that time my father, was selling medical supplies, my mother was a homemaker it was 1930.

 

My grandfather (on my mother’s side) died, when he was a relatively young man, he was age 56, and 10 years older than my grandmother, Suzanna. Everybody called her Annie. I don’t know how they met, they must have met in Scotland, because I found some old newspaper clippings, which filled in some information for me. When he came to the United States he was a tanner from Glasgow, Scotland. He was a dapper young man, he used to wear a derby hat, and when he came to this country he was a chauffeur for a wealthy family in Brookline. He loved big cigars, having a good time. He always wore stick pins in his ties, gold cuff links, and a watch with a gold chain. I think he had a brother named Jim, who was in show business, because there were some pictures that I found, but they didn’t have anything written on the back, what a shame.   I think his name was James Aitken. My grandfather loved to go down to see the Broadway shows.

 

My grandmother was 10 years older than my grandfather. She came from a family of 12 children, 6 boys and 6 girls, she often took me to her sisters, two of which were living in Brookline, Mary and Essie. I can remember going to my Aunt Mary’s, she served either soda bread or corn bread that she would make from scratch. And we would always have tea. It was so good because it was always right out of the oven. My parents used to go away a lot and my grandmother would take me with her when she went to to clean houses. That’s how she would make money, she cleaned houses. It was neat to see how other people lived and see how wealthy they were. She came to live with us when we moved to Bridgewater, during the war and when my father was in the

 

I can remember one time when my father came home unexpectedly and we had to move the belongings of the man that lived with my mother at the time to the attic. I was very upset with my grandmother because I felt she shouldn’t allow my mother to be doing these things behind my father’s back. I was 13.    The beginning of my adolescence.

 

My mother worked at an ammunitions factory. I remember because she had a white streak in her hair. This is when her hair just started to get white, I remember it well because it got all yellow from the powder from the whatever she was filling. I don’t know where she met this fellow, I can’t even really remember him. She never explained him to me. My mother always did what she wanted.   My grandmother explained to me that my mother always had her own way and she would do whatever she wanted. All I can remember from this incidence is how upset it

made me.

 

I can remember we lived in Bridgewater, in a big old farmhouse with a main house, and an apartment. We had a dachsund, Margo, a cat and a duck. The duck we called Davey Daisy.   The dog was my mothers. And that was the time that I can remember I was a candy striper. The other candy stripers and I would go down to the service hut, which was for all the fellows who would hitchhike to the Otis Airfield Camp. We were little girls serving these fellows cocoa, donuts and coffee as they came through town.

 

I did have an older brother who died as a child. I think it effected me in looking back at it, because I think my mother took it so badly when he passed away. He died very suddenly of septosemia. It is an infection of the blood stream. Apparently it was a type of virus that was difficult to overcome. He was born, in 1927. Then he died, I don’t know if my mother was pregnant with me it was a short time after that. All I know is what I see on the grave stone. My mother would never talk about his death.

 

My mother and I never got along. She was mean to me. She was verbally abusive. If I would be going any place she would say, “Now don’t do this and don’t do that.” “You know that if you do it, something will happen?” She would give me a lecture on everything. By the time, I was ready to go out the door, she would have me in tears. She would spoil the whole time for me. I never wanted to go.

 

My mother was very beautiful, spoiled and very intelligent. She had a brother, Matt. She was very talented with her hands, artistic, friendly to her peers, spiteful, selfish, and a complainer. Mother was born in 1903 died in 1986, she went to Mount St. Joseph Academy. We lived in Brighton, Dorchester and Bridgewater and then they moved down to the Cape to Gray Gables. She was active in the Old Colony Woman’s Club, Tobey Hospital Guild and the Wareham Business and Professional Woman’s Club. She worked as the activity director at the Royal Megansett Nursing Home and later as an Occupational Therapist at the Barnstable County Hospital. She had a lot of friends, and she liked to work with leather, and ceramics, oil painting.

 

 

She would alway complain about having something wrong with her. Sometimes she might have had some minute things wrong with her, but you wouldn’t believe her because she was such a complainer.

 

She was jealous of me, I think when I got older, and got married and had a nice home. She only came to this house about twice, in all her years. One thing I found out going through things, I found her birth certificate, we had always celebrated her birthday July 12th and on the birth certificate, it stated she was born July 11th. And the other thing I never knew her name was Anna Victoria. She always went by Victoria Anna. She grew up in Brookline with her brother Matt.

I don’t know how she met grampy or Ross my father. I found some pictures of my father as a young man, he went to Mount Hermon for a year and was up in Vermont. The pictures of him are with some other fellows and girls. And my mother is in some of the pictures. This is when I think they met.

 

I always felt that no matter what I did for her I could never satisfy her. She never made me feel that I was doing something good. She never used to thank me. She was always very

spiteful. She was jealous of me. Maybe that’s wrong word, I don’t know. She was nice enough to her peers, but to her family she was mean. My poor father would do lots of things for her he was always waiting on her. She was like Queen Bee.

 

My father was Roscoe Royal Brenize. He was born in 1898 and died in 1985. Description , he was handsome, intelligent, fun loving, sincere, bigoted, loved fishing and drinking. He was

also artistic as well as a poet. He drank too much, they both did as a matter of fact. They only saw situations the way they wanted to.

 

I was much closer to him. He was the one that would talk to me. I can remember when I was going to go to camp one year when we lived in Brighton, we were filling out the application. And this is how I got to learn about menstruation because it said, has menstruation started yet? and I said what does that mean, now, I was 10 or 11 years old and he sat down and explained it to me. My mother never bothered with any of that stuff. I think my father overcompensated for me because my mother never did. The main thing I inherited from both of them was my artistic ability.

 

I grew up as an only child. I was pretty much of a loner. I used to have friends but, most of the time I spent alone. I’d read or draw or hang out with my grandmother. I really wasn’t very active like you kids. I never had anybody over to the house. I had friends, but I guess I never had them over to the house. My grandmother would talk to me, she taught me how to cook, iron, do things around the house. I see in a lot of pictures, with her I am always holding her hand. We were very close.

 

 

I can remember she wanted to give me her wedding ring. I wouldn’t take it. And she said, “you should take it because your mother is never going to let you have it.”   (a laugh..she was right, my mother never did let me have the ring) “I said, no, I shouldn’t take it because mother should really have it because she is your daughter. And she said, “no, she is very selfish and she will never let you have it.”   She wanted to gratify herself all the time. I never did get the ring until my mother died.

 

I never saw my grandparents on my father’s side. I do remember when I was a little girl going down to Lebanon, PA. We drove down because my great grandmother died. Looking back, I never, asked my father about my grandparents. I never asked and I’m sorry, I didn’t.

 

My father had a brother and a sister. Ralph the brother. Helen the sister. And Daddy Bob was his father. That’s the way they called people, the Pennsylvania Dutch, Daddy Bob.   Daddy Bob,

got married a couple of times. I never saw my father’s mother. I don’t remember Daddy Bob that much. I do remember he did have a spitoon. He used to sit by his chair and spit into it.

 

Part II: Earliest Memories

 

I can remember going away to somebody’s house when my grandfather Matt died, my mother’s father. At the time we were living in Milton on Brush Hill Road. This was in 1935. I was five years old. I don’t think I had ever been away from home before. I can’t remember who I stayed with. Nobody ever explained that he had died, I wouldn’t realize it until later. My grandfather spoiled my mother.

 

(Showing pictures‑ Bringing back the Memories) click

 

My mother was a beautiful woman. click

 

I can remember my birthday party with my cousins. We used to go down to Minot Beach. We used to go down in the summer time and one summer we went down for my birthday party it was in Scituate. My Uncle Matt, was married to this woman called Ruby, which nobody in the family liked because they said that she forced him to get married because she got pregnant with my cousin, Sally, and then there was Ann, Barbara, and Bobby. I can remember them coming to my party out on the porch. And I can remember wearing the hat and the balloons. I must have been 4 or 5. click

 

I can remember going to the Beach. See pictures of me on the beach playing in the sand. I can vaguely remember that.

 

Occasionally, when I was older, I would go over to my cousins. I would stay overnight. They lived in a three decker in Brookline. It was very sparsely furnished, but it was just as neat as a pin. I remember my cousins always had to wash their underwear and their socks every night before they went to bed, that really impressed me. Then they would hang them in the bathroom. I don’t know why this impressed me so much but, it just did.

I know I didn’t have to wash my own underwear and socks. click

 

 

I used to go visit Uncle Ralph and Aunt Helen. I didn’t like to go visit with them because they were strict, and boring. They didn’t know how to talk to kids. They were doing their own thing. They wouldn’t take me any place exciting.

 

Aunt Helen was your god mother. My father helped her get a job at Middlesex Sanitarium. Up until that time she took care of my uncle, he died of lung cancer. She died when she was about 59. She died of a heart attack. She was a spinster, Uncle Ralph never married either.

 

In my Dad’s family It was Roscoe, Ralph and Aunt Helen. Aunt Helen was the baby of the family. I think she never married because she had all those health problems. She had epileptic fits. I can remember she was on special medication for that.

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Mrs. Loring was the woman, my grandfather used to chauffeur for. She never had any children, was very wealthy and lived in Dorchester. She lived in an old Victorian home, with a lot of land around it. They had beautiful oriental rugs. Every year at Christmas time, she would give me all sorts of beautiful gifts. It got to be a habit that every year my grandmother would take me there. And I did it every year, even when Phillip was a baby, I would go see her at Christmastime. She got very sick and went into a nursing home and passed away, one year when we were in Greece. She was married and her husband’s name was Roy. I remember going to the house and having   luncheon with her. She had a maid. I can remember watching the maid, ironing the linens before lunch, seeing them all piled up you know it was very impressive because it was in this big old kitchen, a typical 30’s kitchen. She gave me things that a little girl would like. One of the things she gave me was a wooden doll with another doll inside and so on and so on. click

 

My father used to belong to the country club when we were in Brighton, it was way up on the hill, called the Commonwealth Country Club. He would let me go with him when he went to

play. I loved that. I used to go around with him and used to think I would play golf but I never did.

 

Mrs. Dodge, (Angie) was a woman that played golf there, too and was one of my mother’s closest friends. She lived on Commonwealth Avenue, near where Dad and I had and apartment when he was in Law School. I remember she gave me her racoon fur coat. I lived in Brighton and I was a junior in H.S. And I thought I was the Bees Knees. I loved going to school in that racoon fur coat. When I went into nurse’s training, I left it at home. My mother gave it away to the cleaning lady. I could have killed her. She just gave it away. I don’t know why. click

 

Brush Hill Road ‑ the picture of me in the snow storm on the sled with the dog.

 

Jigg’s was a terrier. Brush Hill Road is in Milton. And Jigg’s ran away one day. The main thoroughfare is on the otherside of Brush Hill Road. The one that you, I can’t remember the name of it. It was a pretty busy road then. I can remember Jigg’s got away and I was having a fit because I couldn’t get him. I was running through back yards, chasing him.   I was so scared he was going to get hit. I finally caught him.

 

Jigg’s was named by my father. My father used to call me Jigg’s as a nick name. click

 

Beach pictures

 

I can’t get over the curly hair I had. I don’t remember those kids in the picture. click

 

Looking at pictures of her on the beach with her mother, father and uncle. click

 

That’s Minot Beach. My uncle Matt, who was 6’1″ was very handsome. That’s my cousin, Matt, who looks like Phillip. click

 

Camp‑

I can remember going to camp. And I don’t know if it was girl scout camp or what. I can remember having to jump off the diving board, the platform, like when the kids taught you how to swim. I learned in a week. I came home brown as a bee. I can’t remember where camp was I think it was in N.H. click

 

Looking at pictures‑

I had a big ribbon in my hair. Mrs. Loring used to go down to Minot in the summer. That house was hers. That’s my Daddy Bob. That’s your father. That’s uncle Ralph and Aunt

Helen. And that’s, I can’t remember, for some reason the name Arlene comes to mind.

I have no idea who is taking all of these pictures. But, it was right near Minot Light.

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There’s a picture of me some place near Brush Hill Road.

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We lived on Sutherland Road in an Apartment. One Easter, I can remember, getting that hat, a felt hat.

I used to get a childhood magazine. I can’t remember the name of it, but, I remember there was a young couple living on the top floor and they used to go up and get tanned on the roof. I can remember I used to pester them a lot, I think he was sick or something and he was up sunning himself on the roof. I took up all my magazines up so he could read them. When I went to get them, he said, “I didn’t think you wanted them any more and I threw them away.” I was just devastated. I thought how could he do that to me. Here I was doing a kind thing and he threw

them all away.

click

 

There were two different camps and I just can’t remember. Alexander Hamilton School was the school I went to and I can remember we had sewing class and that’s where I made bloomers. You were required to wear bloomers in gym. A white blouse and bloomers, royal blue. I can remember our task in sewing was to make those bloomers. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are in a box in the garage down in the cape.

 

 

1941‑ We still lived on Sutherland road. Pearl Harbor that was a Sunday, and we were listening to the radio in the living room when they announced the attack on Pearl Harbor. I can remember how upset my father was. I remember it was a special moment because my father got upset and I can vividly remember the radio. You know the one down the Cape, like the pupil of the eye the green with a certain roundness, the needle was bobbing for the tuning. I think my mom was there. I can remember listening to the radio and hearing it and my dad being really upset.

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This is the picture of me in the Easter outfit. I loved that outfit, because of the straw bag. I think it was a brown cashmere color coat. A pretty light blue hat. Everything coordinated. We lived on Sutherland Road then. Years later we lived there when Daddy was in Law School. We lived there when Nicky was born.

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On Sutherland Road there was a quadrangle with apartments all around it. That’s where I used to play. I can’t remember this little girls name in the picture. We used to play jump rope and doll.

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The World’s Fair‑

 

That dress my grandmother knit for me. My mother used to knit a lot. It was a light blue dress. I remember my parents surprised me. They told me we were going to go away for the weekend and we got in the car and we started driving and I said where are we going? My father said, “we are going to take you to the World’s Fair.” I got all excited about that. We stayed in a hotel and went out to eat, a lot.1 can remember looking at all the fountains and the shows, in New York. We

went to the Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center. I had a beret that was navy blue with a light blue ribbon in the back.

click

 

The Dentist’s Camp‑

 

We used to go up to their fishing lodge a camp in N.H. I would take the row boat out and get a tan, fish and be by myself.

 

All by myself, I was always with older people growing up. click

 

This is the quadrangle, and we used to have, they used to put out the hose and we would play in there in the summer time. click

 

We used to dress up, we would get our mother’s shoes and dresses.

We went up to Westpoint, I don’t remember too much. click

 

I forgot about the swan boats on the Boston Garden. My grandmother used to take me on an annual trip to ride on the Swan boats.

 

Part III: Some Reflections

 

Some of my happiest memories were going with my father to the golf course and being with my grandmother. I was happiest then.

 

Probably my biggest struggle as a child was my mother because she never paid attention to me.

I remember living in Middleboro during the first years of the War. We lived with a family because they were good friends of my father and we had to move. We lived with them a year then we moved to Bridgewater, I loved that house it was a big old farmhouse that we rented. My mother found that house. I don’t remember when my father left. But, I remember there was a

little room off of my mother’s room and I used to study there at the roll top desk. I was like a freshman in H.S. Then we moved to Dorchester.

 

I always wanted to be a nurse, I don’t know why I just always wanted to be a nurse. I didn’t have any mentors.

 

We moved frequently. When we lived in Middleboro, it was their custom, the family we lived with, they waited until their relatives made all of the rounds and then they would finally come to their house late in the afternoon, we would have Christmas dinner at night not in the afternoon. I’ll never forget that waiting all day long, shaking the presents, it was just awful to wait all day to open the presents.

 

I really didn’t have too many friends when I was younger. I remember I used to have to walk to school and I would have to walk home for lunch. And I can remember I used to love to have Franco‑American spaghetti out of the can for lunch, that was my favorite lunch. My grandmother would make it for me. I don’t know where my mother was. And then we used to listen to Our ‘gal Sunday on the radio. And when that was over, I knew I had 10 our 15 minutes to walk back to school. My grandmother really loved it.

 

Self description when young:

Well, I was always tall. I hated that because I was the tallest one in the family. I was very lonesome, had poor self esteem and craved friendships. I think I had poor self esteem because my mother was always bitching at me and I was a good kid. My mother just wanted all the attention.

 

I liked my grandmother, ice cream sundaes, being with, my dad, learning how to cook. My mother did like to sew, and she used to make clothes for me, she would try to pick out the styles, I didn’t like some of them, but she used to sew clothes for me, I really liked that. Relatively speaking I had, compared to today, I would say I had a happy childhood, I was not abused, I was just a lonesome kid. I think my parents would never let me go on my own because in those days you just didn’t do those things you stayed close to home. I can remember in Dorchester, I was a junior or senior in H.S. I used to go into town to the movies or whatever, but, that was no problem, because you would just hop on the T and go right in. I think the happiest memory was going to the World’s Fair. That was a really happy memory. I always wanted a brother and sister. The most difficulties I had were with my mother and math. I was never a good student and to this day, I hate math. And I do the checkbook, because I would rather do the checkbook than hear your father complain about it. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. I always wanted a brother or a sister and I always wanted to be a nurse.

 

Part IV: Adjusting to Adolescence

 

I really don’t remember anything traumatic happening. Maybe when my father went away to the war. But, I can’t remember anything bad happening or that was too traumatic.

 

I can’t remember a favorite teacher. And I know kids in H.S. had a favorite teacher. My first two years of H.S. were in Bridgewater and then I went up to Dorchester H.S. for girls and if you don’t think that was a downer from going to a coed school to an all girls H.S. I remember I had to study very hard. I got all A’s and B’s except in chemistry. My chemistry teacher said, I’d never get into nursing because I was too dumb as far as chemistry was concerned.

 

Moving to the Dorchester school was sort of traumatic because we were in the middle of H.S. years and you know you have your own click of friends in H.S. and it just uprooted me away from

them. And I finally had a group of people that we would go to the movies together, there were no cars, we would walk to every place we went. I had a nice group of friends we just had a good time. Moving to Dorchester, I had to reestablish myself and it was all girls. I was very shy. In Dorchester my first friend was Nancy. She sat behind me in homeroom. She got me to go to Trinity church with her. A lot of her friends were there. That’s were I met my first boyfriend. His name was Dick, he was tall and blond.

 

Church was fun, we used to have Sunday School. This was my first experience going to church. I can only remember another time going with a friend’s parents to a church in Brookline. I went one Sunday and everybody was talking and so on and I didn’t understand what they were talking about, I didn’t understand the prayers or anything. And I came home and asked my parents why they never went to church? And they said, “because they didn’t like church. I could go to whatever church I wanted to.

 

I finally was 17 or 18 before I was baptized. I was baptized in the Episcopal church because I made my own decision of what church I wanted to be baptized in. Trinity Church was Episcopal and that is where I was going to Sunday school and it seemed like the logical thing to do. I enjoyed going to church. We used to go Sunday evenings they had a young people’s group. I would take the T in and go with Nancy.

 

We used to do a lot of things together. We would meet at Sunday school. My father would come in and pick me up and on the way home we would get a hot fudge sundae. It was like a reward for going to church. Church was a fun time. There were a lot of nice kids there. They had a church camp, that you would go to in the spring time. They would have a cookout and then we would help clean up.

 

They used to have a big Christmas program, with the creche scene and so on. We would all participate in that in some way or another.

 

My boyfriend, Dick was a nice guy. My parents didn’t like him for whatever reason. He was in my Sunday School class and I took him to my senior prom.

 

I didn’t feel I knew how to talk to boys growing up because I never had them around growing up.

 

Some of the best memories of my adolescence was finally graduating. When I say finally, it wasn’t like I got held back, or anything but, I was glad to get out. I wanted to move on into nursing. Nursing was always something I wanted. I had to take a test and be interviewed. I went to Children’s Hospital School of Nursing. I chose Children’s because, we looked around and I decided, I would rather work with children than with adults. So that’s where I applied. Nursing School was very difficult, I had a hard time with the math. Figuring out the formulas and so on. But, I loved it, I loved every minute. It was tiring. We had classes and then after classes we had to

work on the ward and then we had studying to do. It was a long day. Now they just either have classes or work. But, in those days you had everything. It took me three years. The first year was called the probie period when you start learning the different procedures.   And they increased your time working on the wards and the second year was affiliation. We were affiliated with the Boston Lying In for obstetric training. And the Peter Brent Brigham Hospital for adult training and McClean Hospital for psychiatric. So I was away from Children’s for a whole year. And then you would come back to Children’s for your third year and they assign you to medical, surgical, operating room, and orthopedic.

 

I can remember one of the first things I saw on the wards as a student was a boy from a farm in Maine and he didn’t have any male parts so to speak, but he was very male. And we were going to give him an operation and give him hormones so that he would be a male. He didn’t have them when he was born. That surprised me. I don’t know.

 

I remember the first time, I saw a baby being born. It was a beautiful experience ‑ overwhelming. It’s just incredible. And something that is very … to see this little baby being born from a woman. It was just an observation. To hear that baby cry and come out of the birth canal was just incredible. It’s something that is really beautiful.

 

Part V: Coming Into My Own

 

I finished nursing school when I was 21, in September 1951. Then I went to work, I wanted to work in the operating room, but that was the popular choice for people so my second choice, was orthopedic. That’s what they gave me. I worked on the 5 lower. At that time it was called 5 lower, that was where all the kids came in for spinal fusions, scoleosis. At that time a bunch of us moved to a three decker on Francis Street about where the parking garage is across from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. So anyway, five of us had an apartment, so that we could walk to work. My parents got very upset with me because they wanted me to move back home and they had bought me a car and they said, if you don’t move back home, then you can’t have the car. And I said, fine than keep the car. I am going to move back in with my friends. I felt very independent. I was truly an adult.   When I got my first pay check, that was the big thing. I went out and bought an alligator bag and alligator shoes, I went out and blew the whole paycheck.

 

It was wonderful, I had a lot of responsibility. There were a bunch of us, we would have parties, it was really fun. We worked hard but, we had fun.

 

I started feeling like I was coming into my own. I was more with people.

 

I met your father in 1952. 1 was 22. He was going to Colby at the time and he, that summer had been out to the Midwest to a fraternity function, people came from all over the country. He had gone by train and so on and then he came back and he had played football and he didn’t feel well and he finally went to the infirmary because he fell down and couldn’t walk. They rushed him to the hospital and they diagnosed him with polio. He was up at the Hospital, Thayer in Waterville, for about a month and then they transferred him to Children’s. At that time the floor that they transferred him to was, Division 36, where I was working. Polio was the big epidemic at that time, a lot of people were coming in with it, we used to give them hot packs, the Sister Kenney method of hot packs. You would put a flannel pack and a…. I can’t think of the name. But, it was a heated pack, and you would put the pack in a heater type thing, which would spin it around. The hot packs would be put on the limbs that were affected with polio. And then you would take them off and give the patients passive exercise. When I say, passive, I mean they couldn’t move their limbs themselves, so you would move them, in ranges, and motions, to try to get their muscles to come back. But, anyway, your father came in and he was a patient there. I couldn’t stand him, when he first came. He was feeling so miserable, he was a terrible patient.

 

I can remember the mood of the hospital, it was very busy, we were overworked and were getting a lot of admissions, and no one was being dispatched. It was a lot of work. And we were understaffed. I recall the first time I met him, he was still in the stretcher from the ambulance that had brought him down, he was in the hall. We didn’t have a bed for him. So he was sitting there. Somebody, had been transferred from some place else, so we finally got the bed ready. I got the bed ready because we were so short of help, despite the fact that I was the Assistant Head Nurse at that time. We all had to pitch in, and do what we could to help everyone else.

 

I became Assistant Head Nurse because I wanted to go into the operating room and they didn’t have any openings and so I went into orthopedics. I started on 5 lower and because of the polio epidemic they had to move everybody around. I moved up in positions because I had some experience covering on 5 lower they sent me up to 36. That’s were I was the Assistant Head Nurse. In those days, it was informal. I didn’t have to wear a name tag that said, I was the Assistant Head Nurse, it was just known.

 

I remember Nick came in on the stretcher and he kept saying, “when are you going to get a bed, when are you going to get a bed?” “I want something to eat, I want something to drink.” And I said, O.K. we are going to get you something, we are not going to ignore you. He was hurting, he was in a lot of pain, we finally got him squared away. He was in a lot of discomfort, you know when you are in a lot of discomfort you are very short tempered. I think, I said, I vaguely remember saying, there’s a lot of people just like you and hold your horses. He finally got to be feeling better. His home town, Amherst, was 100 miles away and his family, being from there would only come down on weekends. He used to have a lot of out of town visitors come. In those days it wasn’t a short ride as it is today. It was an all day thing.

 

So they wouldn’t necessarily get there during visiting hours, but, they would come up whenever they would get there. And that used be a hassle sometimes because there was a strict rule you could only come during visiting hours. They weren’t as liberal back then as they are today. But, we were flexible with those things.

 

We used to talk a lot and he used to help a lot when he got into a wheel chair. He would feed the little kids when they couldn’t feed themselves or he would get them to eat. They just didn’t feel like eating so he would help out when he was in his wheel chair. He offered to do that, a lot. He was in the hospital for a year. We started to talk about different things and our views on different things. And finally got to know each other.

 

One of the Head Doctor’s or actually the Head Orthopedic noticed us talking one day. I used to go back and talk with him when I wouldn’t have anything to do, if everybody was out for supper or something. We would talk and so on. We talked about everything. The doctor saw us talking and the next day I was transferred out to Wellesley. At that time, at Babson, they had the Mary McCarther respirator unit. Because at that time I had a lot of experience with the respirator and the little kids.

 

He thought there was hanky panky going on. That’s why he did it. Actually there was nothing. We didn’t have any experience. We weren’t feeling serious about each other until he left the hospital for home. And then that summer I would visit.

 

That summer he took some courses. I used to go up and visit him in Amherst. I used to take the bus up. Then he went back to Colby that fall and I would visit him up at Colby. Then he pinned me… he gave me his fraternity pin (laughter), and that meant we were going steady.

I used to take the train up. I would work all week and I used to run and get the train, spend like 5 hours on the train. I would get up there and be exhausted and I would stay with some married students that were friends of his. They would have an extra bed so I would stay with them. Then Sunday night, I would head home. During the end of the year there was always somebody driving back to Boston, so I would drive back to Boston. It was awful. I was exhausted.

 

A couple of times I went skiing when I was up there. I thought I was a good skier. Once in a while, some of the Doctors and some of the nurses would go skiing. I never really was very

good, especially the hill your father took me to. It was like this (steep, hand motions going down), I nearly broke my neck on it. He said, “I want to see you ski,” and I said, “O.K.” It was icy. I got up there and I walked down because it was so bad. It was too intimidating. I never skied again.

 

When I went up to Colby they used to have fraternity dances. Nick had his own car then, it was a green chevy, with hand controls.

 

I never thought of him as having a handicap. That was the concern of my parents. They had him investigated, when they found out I was serious about him. They didn’t want me to marry him. They never came to the wedding.

 

I really don’t remember when we got serious, it kind of just evolved. It wasn’t like, you are this way one day and then this way the next. We just started writing, as a matter of fact, I just found the letters we wrote to each other. We’ve got to put them all in sequence and then we’ll write a book together… A Love Story. It just happened!!

 

Part VI: It Just Happened!

 

Nick decided to go to law school, because one of his Professor’s said, that’s what you should plan on doing, because you would make a good lawyer. He applied to law school and he finally decided to go to B.U. This is before we decided to get married. We decided to get married when he got accepted to law school. We would get married while he was in law school. And wait before we had a family, until he graduated.     We didn’t know if we would ever have children. As it turned out we just looked at each other and we had four kids. (a big laugh)

 

I graduated from Children’s in 1951.   1952 1 was working. 1953 was the Colby weekends and the train and the car rides. Nick’s graduation from Colby. At that time they had graduation inside, I remember, his sister and mother and father came up, we stayed in a hotel in Fairfield. He had a big write up in the paper, it was a big deal.

 

Nick’s parents, Baka and Nana just loved me because I went up there to visit Nick on weekends. We finally told them we wanted to get married and we told them we would do it while he was in law school and they were worried about us having kids and so on. They wanted us to wait, and we said, oh … yes, yes, yes! Sure enough, we weren’t married for 6 months and I was pregnant. (laugh)

 

We got married in September, in Amherst at the chapel and we had the reception in the back yard. Jimmy and Norma White got married the day before we did, and Jimmy was going to law school with Nick. He went to Colby and was a fraternity brother of Nick’s. So all the Phi’s that were up at Jimmy’s wedding came down to our wedding, they rolled in like an hour before the wedding, still in their tuxes, reaking of beer. It was a riot.

 

It was a very small wedding, my parents wouldn’t come. They didn’t allow my grandmother to come. So I had to walk down the aisle alone. That was kind of hard to do. And Betsy, who was one of my friend’s from Bridgewater, somebody who I’ve always kept in contact with. Her father even offered to escort me, and I said, No, if my father can’t do it, then I will do it myself. That was a big disappointment in my life. They didn’t want me to marry him because he was handicapped. They just didn’t feel that he would make a good husband for me. So, I said, well, you are just pushing us together more. Anyway, we got married and we moved to a basement apartment, like the second week we were there we had a hurricane. we had a nice little yard and a garden. It took down our fence, we had no garden anymore, so that’s where we parked.

 

Part VII: United as One

 

I worked doing special duty nursing. I worked with patients with respirators. I was making $12 ‑ $15 an hour. That was good money. I was the one bringing home the bacon. Daddy got a scholarship that he found out about and applied for. He got it for three years of law school.

So, all we had to do was pay for the rent of the apartment which Baka paid for the rent. We paid for the utilities and the groceries. And then Phillip was born in 1955.

 

Everybody got upset. Baka and Nana weren’t too upset. Themis was upset at Daddy, she said, “how dare you get pregnant, you said you weren’t going to.” We said, “Well, those things happen.”

 

That kind of broke the ice and I went and told my parents. We took Norma and Jimmy and went down the Cape and told them. We told them they were going to be grandparents. They were happy, but, I had to go to them, they wouldn’t come to me. I felt that was a good chance to do it.

Jimmy and Norma were fun. They had an apartment in the same building as us and Jimmy and Daddy used to study every night and I’d go to work. After Phillip came Norma used to go over and change his diapers. They’d call, and say, “Norma, we have something we want you to do?” Norma and I were pretty close. Norma and Jim used to go home practically every weekend. She was working as a Secretary. We used to buy our food together. I would work 3‑11 shift.

 

I took care of Phillip in the morning. And Dad and Jimmy would take care of him 3‑11. I chose the name Phillip because I liked it. I didn’t know he was going to be a boy. He was born a week before Christmas. The night before we had a Christmas party.   Classes had just ended and Daddy had imbibed too much and had a hangover. (Laugh) We had a Christmas Party at our apartment that we put on. (Laugh) So what else is new? I had diarrhea and I felt crampy and so on and then I started having contractions. I called the Doctor and he said, “come over and let me check you out!” I went over and he was all dressed in a tux to go out some place. This was in the evening. The nurse that admitted me, was from Amherst and I was suppose to have a ward room. We couldn’t afford anything else. Blue Cross and Blue Shield didn’t cover it. She gave me a private room, because nobody was in the hospital. So I had this private room at ward rates. But, anyway, let me get back, that was at the time, they were just starting to talk about you shouldn’t have any medication when you have the baby and actually Phillip came so fast that, the Doctor told Daddy to go home because it would probably be awhile. He would call and let him know. It happened in about an hour. Nick was just getting back into the apartment, when I called and said, you better come back and see your baby, son. He couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know what the gender would be. I felt great relief. It was a wonderful experience. We didn’t even know if we were going to have kids.

 

And 2 and 1/2 years later Nicky came.   And 3 years later Laura came and 2 and 1/2 years later Andrea came.

 

I never thought about not having kids and being apprehensive about marrying your father. I never thought about not having kids. I didn’t think of it that way. I thought if it’s going to be..it’s going to be… it will happen.

 

I don’t remember how long I stayed out of work. I can remember I stopped two weeks before Phillip was born. I can remember he was due Christmas day and he came a week early. I think the following February or March, I went back and worked 7‑11 or something like that. Phillip got a lot of money (laugh) as gifts, so we lived off of that. So that helped.

 

Nick graduated from law school in 1957. He went   to work for an insurance company. His first pay check was $142.63 for two weeks.

 

Part VIII: Family Times & Dover Days

 

Nick graduated from law school. We looked for another apartment. He was looking for another job. They were doing construction there at the railroad tracks where the Hynes Auditorium is now. All the rats had started coming out and it was a wet, wet year. There were millions of cats around, and the rats were scurrying around. We couldn’t wait to get out of there. That summer we found an apartment on Sutherland Road, Nick got the job. Then Nicky was born.

I think I stopped working when Daddy started working. Nicky was born. Sutherland Road was the apartment. It was the basement apartment. It had one big bedroom that we divided off. We put the bed there and the crib for Phillip and Nick. We lived there a year and then we moved to Brighton.

 

On Presentation Road. I finally got a job at Newton‑Wellesley Hospital. I did what I had to do. We were able to get by. I was able to get a babysitter every once and a while so that I could get away. We used to have somebody over for dinner every night of the weekend. If I wasn’t working, I was cooking. Daddy got involved in Little League. I would get the kid’s ready for bed and we would go over to the games and the one of the coaches wives would watch them. I would go off to work. Some how Daddy got them in the house. I don’t know how he did that. I remember Daddy falling asleep in the chair and locking me out. I had to go down to the pay phone and call to wake him up.

 

Then we decided we wanted to find a place to live. We would look in the paper and we looked at houses. Everything was really expensive. Even when we bought our house here it was more money than we could afford. I’ll never forget the night we came up the street, the boys were in their jammies and I was pregnant with Laura at the time. We really needed more room. I saw the ad for this house and so we took a ride out to look at it. I can remember driving up the street and all the kids, the Dalton’s, Sherman’s and Hagerty kids were out playing. And Daddy, said, this is it, I don’t even want to see the house, this is where we are going to be! Because it is right close to the center of town. He couldn’t get into the back steps anyway. We had to fix the back steps. This was before we had a porch out there. But, we managed.

 

We called Baka and asked him to come and see it. And told him the price of the house and he said that was too much money to pay for a house. He went over every inch of it. At that time

he was Trustee of a bank in Amherst, so he knew somebody who was in a bank down here. The person said, no problem, Mr. Sarris, the house is well worth the price and it’s a good investment and he helped us with the down payment. That’s how we got our house.

 

I can remember the guys that moved us. That was the time my uncle had died that year, my aunt was moving out of her place that year so I had to take all her stuff, plus our stuff, here. Plus, I was pregnant. We were going to pass papers, and the movers were coming. I remember the movers coming out and saying, “Where are the Indians?” Because they thought it was

out in the boonies, but it really wasn’t that far from where we were. It was just more in the country. So we moved in. And Laura was born 2 weeks later. We had no furniture.

I think I went back to work every other day. Daddy at that time, was still with the insurance company. Then he got involved in something at the State House.

 

The house we didn’t have to fix up at all. The floors had just been done. The walls were a light pink, everything was immaculate.

 

I can remember we still entertained a lot in the early 60’s. We invited all the neighbors over and had a party to meet them. Bess, next door and came over the first day or two we were here and brought us a pie.

 

When we moved to Dover, we got involved with the couple’s club, we were the secretaries. Laura was just a baby. 1961‑1963, Daddy got involved with the Little League. They started offering stenciling courses and decorative art courses. So I used to take that. I went down to the Town Hall. It was in the morning and I can’t remember what I did with LuLu. But, I do remember taking them in the morning. I loved to do things like that. It kind of gave me a little freedom to do things on my own. I did the desk in the den.

 

1964‑ we celebrated our loth wedding anniversary and we had a party. You were born in March of that year. It was suppose to be it after LuLu, (laugh) but, I said, no let’s have another little girl and Dad said, “How do you know your going to have a little girl?” and I said, Well I don’t know, but let’s just try and have another one. He said, well we are going to be in deep shit if we have another little boy, because we only have two bedrooms upstairs (fortunately we had you ‑Andrea) and I said,, well, let’s worry about that when it happens.

 

Part IX: Time Passages

 

So, then in 1965, we started going up to Great East Lake. We went up there for four or five summers. Phillip was going to Camp O‑AT‑KA. I don’t know how I got all the food together, packed all the staples, packed all your clothes, got the car ready. Daddy would only come up on weekends. And I was up there alone with you guys for two weeks. I must have been out of my gord. That was no vacation!! Remember the boys would taunt you with the spiders.

One of the gals, in decorative arts owned the place up there. They used to go up there in the summer time. They had this other lodge on their property that they rented out. Craig used to go up.   That was fun.

 

The boys were involved with the cub scouts. 1966 Lulu started school. 1967 we put in the pool, LuLu had dancing lessons.

 

Missy, our first cat, came from Great East Lake. We got her when we went up there one summer. Smudgy was in Missy’s first litter.

 

1968 ‑ you learned how to swim. 1969 was our first trip to Greece. I can remember leaving. Marge and Mitch were taking us into the airport. My new stove was just coming. Butch was

going to babysit. Pete had to come over with a shovel to jack the other stove out so that they could the new one in. We left. We went with Baka and Ann and Byron. That was our first trip to Greece. We were gone from October 16‑November 3. it was the first time out of the country. You got sick. I was also involved with my nursing school’s Board of Directors.

 

The trip was great. We had to go up to the village and we weren’t looking forward to it because it meant visiting relatives. We got up there and we had to stay with relatives and it’s a village in the mountains.   It’s cool in the evening but, it was nice during the day. And we went to see the house for first time, the house was just a big Turkish style house, with 4 bedrooms, and the salon upstairs and the kitchen and the two rooms downstairs and the cold rooms. It had beautiful copper trays and some nice chairs. Everything was pretty dusty. There were some old trunks and things. And I said to Nick this is gorgeous. We should do something with it. He said, well, let’s think about it. Baka said, “No, No, No, if you spend money over here you never know when there is going to be a war.” So we just let it go by the boards. It was very impressive and we said, wouldn’t it be fun if someday we could live in the village for several weeks in the summertime wouldn’t that be a great vacation? We could be down to earth right with the village people, you know have a garden. What we needed to do was to plan where we had to put a modern bathroom, for dad. That was the first time we saw the house.

We also on that trip, went to Rome. That was fun. We saw a lot of Rome. Did the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. I remember it was a great trip. I missed being away from you kids. But, on the other hand it was fun traveling and learning about history and how other cultures that are different. The family unity struck me how the nuclear family stayed together, and how the grandparents lived with the family and how everyone watched out for everyone else. And how they put the kids out at night and the kids stayed out all hours, they didn’t have a babysitter. I was also impressed with how they utilized everything and didn’t waste anything. They were very frugal. All the women cooked, and sewed, crocheted, their hands were always busy. They would sit on the door stoop. And this was true in Italy not just Greece.

 

1970 ‑ was Dad’s 40th birthday and I had a surprise birthday party for him. All his fraternity brothers, college friends, all our couple friends. When dad came he said,, “how much beer did you get?, how many kegs did you get?”, and I said, three and he said, “well, that’s not enough you better get some more.” That was fun. That’s the year I made the memory book for Dad. Phillip went to Tabor that year he was a freshman. That was real hard. I missed him. It’s always hard to let the first one go. Let them start to have their own independence. I kind of felt at a loss. I said, to dad, are we doing the right thing? and he said, “definitely, yes.”   He had gone there. That was hard. But, I think he was home sick at first. He started playing football.

 

1970 ‑ was also the year that we started the Coachman Hackney, Ind. Daddy, had this bright idea that Dover needed a Taxi to take people to the airport. Mitch drove. I finally ended up doing it. I said, enough, I’ve got enough, to do. If we can’t get help let’s forget it. So that lasted a year.

 

1971 ‑ LuLu was involved with Girl Scouts. 1972 ‑ we took our second trip to Greece. We went with Baka and Sally, who was Ann’s sister and Lou Mattolla. That year we went from May I ‑‑ May 23.. We went to Athens, and Rome and Geneva. Well, we did a lot of traveling, rented a car and went to Thessalonika, Ipsilometopo, and Napi, Baka’s village. In Geneva, we saw Cousin Sara, she was over in France studying for that semester.

 

It was hard traveling with Baka and of course, Dad needs his creature comforts and some times we would get into predicaments, but on the whole it was a fun trip. On the whole we had a great time. That same year we went down to New Orleans to the super bowl game with the Billington’s. That was fun. I have forgotten what game it was or who was playing. New Orleans was fun, it was Mardi Gras time and everybody was just wild. We stayed in this little motel off of Bourbon Street. Across the street was this church and the choir would wake us up every morning with their beautiful voices. It was just gorgeous. It was a fun time, and we saw a lot of New Orleans.

 

We could afford to travel now, because Daddy, had started his own practice. But, he also had another job, too. He did both. A little more money was coming in and we could do more things.

 

1973‑ you and Laura went to Girl Scout Camp. I started work at the Jr. H.S. I loved it. Why not get that type of job, because you guys were in school. Nicky went off to Tabor. I was happy for him, although, I didn’t know if it was the right thing. I questioned that too, because I didn’t want Nicky to feel as though he was following his brother’s foot steps. I think as a second child, Nicky some times felt left out, in a lot of things. He was very sensitive like I was. Nicky is a lot like me. Actually, he’s a lot more open outside of the family than inside.

 

Phillip graduated from Tabor, in 1974. He went to Springfield College, he started playing football. 1975, when I went back to school to be a Nurse Practitioner. That was great. I needed something like that because it helped me to become more assertive. It was hard work and I not being a very good student had to plug away. It was a year. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who is taking courses on physical assessment. She is under the auspices of the doctor. And she works with a set guidelines that she puts together. Some nurse practitioners work on their own, some work in a health clinics. The program that I took was school nurse practitioner, working in the school system. A Pediatric Nurse practitioner was specializing in school health. To give physicals and diagnosis. I had hoped to bring it into the school. Giving physicals and doing more things with the community and the students and teaching. Unfortunately, the school wasn’t ready for it. So, it wasn’t until I had to leave, after I had to retire, because of my hip, this was a good fifteen years later, that things were just beginning to come around. They were willing to accept my role as a nurse practitioner. I was a visionary.

1976‑ Nicky graduated from Tabor and that was the year when I finished Northeastern. Daddy fell and broke his hip. Nicky went to Springfield and Laura went to Mt. St. Joseph’s Academy because we felt she needed the discipline because she was not a good student, but, she was running around with all the wrong kids. I don’t know which was worse, leaving her here or having her go there. I sometimes wonder if we did the right thing. I felt, very pulled when Dad broke his hip and I was finishing school. Because you had to spend a certain amount of hours during the week, at a Doctors office, help him with the patients, and write up physical exams, and of course, I had studying and then I would come home and make supper. Make sure, you guys got to where you had to go, I was juggling time. The boys weren’t around. I kind of felt that I neglected you

girls. But, it was something, I had to do, and I’m glad, I did it. The next year was the year I took the EMT course, that took a lot of time to study. Plus, that was the year Dad had his fraternity reunion down at Tabor, I felt very comfortable at all the functions. He was always able to get around to all these functions that never seemed to be a problem.

 

1978‑ We went to Greece for the third time. We went with Ann and Byron. I don’t remember, I think we just went to Greece. 1979 ‑ Phillip went to Greece to work, but, he never got his working papers, so he ended up, staying with Thea Anthula, and that is when he wrote the letter home, saying, at that time somebody wanted to buy the house. He said, “Don’t ever sell the house,” and I agreed with him, because it’s our heritage, we’ve got to keep it. So, Phillip, finally came home, I can remember wiring him, money (deep chuckle). The story of my life, with all of you guys.

I worked on the Architectural Barrier Committee in Dover.

That’s the committee they set up in town, to see what public buildings needed free access for the handicapped.

1980 ‑ on your birthday, I broke my hip. LuLu graduate from Mt. St. Joseph and went on to Centenary. Margriet came, the Dutch girl that Phillip met when he was over in Greece. He said, if you come over, come and visit, so she did, stayed for three years married Jurgen and has been here ever since. she stayed and helped out.

 

That year when we went to Greece we went to Siros with Jimmy and Norma and the Cartrights and then we went over to the island and stayed in the hotel in Molyvos. That was the fourth time. That was the year we decided we were going to fix up the house. That was also the year we met George Katarines and his wife Sophia. We had to take the boat over to the island because there was an airplane strike. That’s when we met George. He came up to help us. He suggested the people to come up and help us fix the house. He got the people for the wiring, the walls, and so on. That was the year I was still on crutches because my hip wasn’t healing so 1981, I had a total hip replacement. That was our fifth year to Greece.

 

1982‑ Andrea graduated from H.S. My baby going off to college. It was a hard thing. Aja, was brought into the house, I didn’t care if we had a dog, but, it was your father, that said, we are not having a dog. We went to Greece for the sixth time. Reachout was the program the town had just

started. I was on the Board of Directors of that. The program was for kids involved in alcohol and drugs. I went back to work.

 

I was glad to get back to work. I wasn’t very stressed. The only person that ever made me stressful was LuLu. You try to teach your kids to do the right thing but, she never would do

the right thing and on top of that she would lie. I think that hurt the most, because you would want to trust your kids, but, sometimes, you couldn’t trust them.

I think time was a stress as far as working. We were still entertaining a lot.

1984‑ Sylvester the kitty cat. Our seventh year to Greece. I went to Santa Domingo with the friends from school and I got a vacation away from Nick.

1985 ‑ You went on semester at sea. I was greatly excited for you, I was envious,.I wish I could have done it too. We went to Greece. Oh, in 1983, we started living in the house in Greece. The years after that from 1983 ‑ 1986, we were working on Baka’s book and Miriam Sargon came over and they would require a lot of timing. It seemed like all I did over there was work at getting meals.

1986‑ you graduated and we went to Greece and had a family reunion.

1987 ‑ our tenth trip to Greece. I am still working. 1988‑ I went on a school trip with the kids, we took the kids to London and Paris. 1987‑ 1 started using a cane, because my hip was bothering me. December of 1988, was the year I stopped working and January of 1989, I had my second surgery, and had a replacement of my total hip. We went to Greece for a long time that year from June 17, to August 6th. That was the year Phillip got married.

I never in a million years would have believed that we would be going to Greece every summer. Although, looking back, when we lived in Brighton on St. Beverly Street, there was a Greek family, I was friendly with the daughter. I used to love to go her house, because on the holidays, there were so many traditions, and they always welcomed me in with open arms. Looking back, I think it must have been fate. Something moved me to Greece. Phillip’s wedding was great. It was fun. They did all the paper work and so on. The paper work did not stress that they had to be baptized in the Greek Church in order to be married in the Greek Church. Consequently, that’s why they got married on the Greek steps. One of the traditions of a Greek wedding is the women take the bride and dress her and the man comes to the house and all the women dance and sing with the bride while the groom is going through his routine with the males. They didn’t do a lot of traditional things with Phillip but, I guess they had some kind of a routine. Then we had a big reception and all the relatives and people invited to the wedding followed the bride and groom throughout the village tossing flower pedals as they walked. That was beautiful. Very traditional.

1990,‑ 1 retired, that was our thirteenth year to Greece.

Part X: Some Thoughts

Celebrations are real important. Like at Easter time. Tomorrow is Easter. I colored the red eggs, and they are red, because they symbolize the blood of Christ. And the game that we play, well, first of all this is not the Greek Easter. The Greek Easter always falls the week after Passover. The Easter greeting to everyone is “Christos Aneste,” which means “Christ is risen.” and the reply is “Alethos Aneste”, which means “He has truly risen.” We crack the red eggs at home with

relatives. One holds the egg and the other person puts the pointed end down and tries to crack the egg. The defender who has the uncracked end at the end is the winner. Everyone gets vicious at the end because they want to win. If you win, you are suppose to have good luck. I like to have everyone home for Christmas, I love to cook and have an open house. I like to make the cookies and the baklava and put the tree and the creche up.

The most important thing that I taught you children is honesty and integrity. I tried, we, not just me, in a joint effort, tried to teach you children if you want to do something you’ll have to work for it.

My parents taught, and my grandmother, taught me to be honest and have integrity and I think that’s what we tried to teach you kids, too… that’s real important.

The special people in my life were my grandmother, Baka (Efstratios), and Nana (Parthenope) and the reason I say them because they were the type of people who knew so much about life and tried to teach you in everything they did, whether it be cooking or conversation or just doing things in general. There was always a lot to be learned. And my classmate Sister Katherine, Kate, who is a Mary Knoll missionary, I think she is very special for what she does ‑ teaching. She’s a regular person, but, when she talks she gives you a peace, and it’s so nice to have somebody who is so radiant around.

My grandmother and my father when I was younger shaped my life. And I think Daddy has also shaped my life. As well as, me shaping his life.

I don’t think I have a hero or heroine, I think that is more perceived for the younger people.

I think the crucial decision, was if I should marry Nick. was this the right thing? What would it be like if, of course, it’s different, you can’t do a lot of things that normal people can do. I think there is a question some place, what is your imagination or fantasy? I think one of my thoughts in my imagination is having Nick walk without crutches or dancing or something like that. Trying to imagine or fantasize like that. That was a big decision. In that we didn’t know whether we would have children. And of course, there is a future now, that we are in our later years, hopefully, how much longer is he going to be able to use the crutches? Are we going to have to move to another house? Move to place that is warmer? In years to come, is he going to be bedridden? Those are things that we have to consider and think about. We have to be prepared for them and think of these things eventually. We’ll have to worry about them when they happen to us, we can’t think of them now.

I can’t think of any mistakes. Nothing‑comes to mind.

Well, I think, my children are an accomplishment. Being a Registered Nurse, a nurse practitioner, kids, painting, reading, things that when I’m gone people will remember me in a picture or phrase.

I am not religious per se, I do enjoy going to church, but, I’m not one that will go every Sunday. But, I think I have an inner calmness and a sense of happiness.

The 60 birthday is the one that threw me. I think that I’ve only got 30 more years to go. There are so many things I want to do. I want to travel more, read more books, paint more pictures, plant more perennials in the garden. There are things I want to do and it seems like time is just fleeting by too quickly.

Well, as I just said, the time factor, you know you never do. That’s why when we want to do something, we just do something. Maybe there is not enough money, but, when we decide to do something we’ll find the money, there is always a way. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so you might as well do what you want today and be happy.

I would describe myself as a person that’s kind, thoughtful of others, who should sometimes speak out, and isn’t as assertive as she might be. Good mother, good friend, good wife.

As the years go by and you find a marriage partner, you grow together and you learn from each other. And you go through the different stages of life and you learn from others who might not be at the same stage as you are but, you learn from other people.

You should never forget to be loving, compassionate, forgiving. In giving advice for another generation, you should set goals for yourselves and have determination and always be there, always work for what you want and be fair and generous.

I got stuck on that last question, How would you title your life story. So I had to ask Daddy. He said, I would title your life story: “Always There”.

This has been very interesting for me, because it’s like a catharsis.

Some of the questions were hard and I didn’t feel …. well, I’m glad I had the questions because it gave me a chance to think things through. I went through a lot of things to get the sequence of events.

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