Jul 25, 2017

More than you ever wanted to know about printing ink...


The Hugh Purvis in Drydock in Boston, Undergoing Fleet Remodeling & Modernization, 1960
I served aboard the USS Hugh Purvis (DD-709) from June of 1962 through January, 1964.  She was an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer that had been built near the end of World War II.  She was commissioned on 1 March, 1945, with the German surrender following in May, and the Japanese surrender in August.  It was a perfect assignment for me, and I was immediately assigned to the engineering department as Main Propulsion Assistant.

I reported aboard the ship when it was in a dry dock at the Boston Naval Shipyard in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  However, Boston was not the ship's home port.  We were actually home based in Newport, Rhode Island.  As a result, most of the married officers and crew commuted on weekends back to Newport.  It was about a 2-hour commute of about 75 miles.  Some commuted daily.  One of those who commuted almost daily was an officer named Kermit Carlson, who went by the nickname "Ken."

Ken was an outgoing, very friendly individual, and was well liked by both officers and crew.  He and I got to be good friends.  He was, in fact, a bachelor, but he drove back and forth from the Charlestown Navy Yard to Newport nearly every night because he was dating a young lady in Newport.  And he made the trip in a brand new 1962 bright red Corvette.  Not a bad way to commute if you have to make the trip!

One evening after dinner on the ship (I had the duty), I happened to be having a conversation with Ken, who was also aboard, as he had been assigned to my duty section.  I asked how a young Lieutenant (Junior Grade), making about $400/month could afford a brand new Corvette.  He informed me that he was actually quite wealthy because of a family business that his grandfather had founded and an invention of the very same grandfather.

A 1962 red Corvette like Ken Carlson's
The story was that his Granddad has gotten into the business of manufacturing printer's ink.  And he had gotten really good at it and built up quite a broad and loyal clientele.  One of his customers happened to be a little company that manufactured a soft drink called Coca Cola.  In the teens and twenties, Coca Cola shipped their syrup in glass jugs that were packed in cardboard cartons transported in delivery trucks.  Sometimes when the trucks maneuvered too abruptly, the cartons slid on each other, sometimes falling and breaking the jugs.  It was a problem that Ken's grandfather decided to address.

He mixed powdered latex into his Red printer's ink that he sold to Coca Cola and suggested that they print on both the tops and bottoms of the cartons as well as the sides.  They tried it and found that the rubberized ink prevented the cartons from sliding on one another.  The ink, which Ken's ancestor had patented, became known as "Coca Cola Non-Skid Red."  Ken's family had something of a monopoly that had been very fortunate for them -- hence the new Corvette.  And to make it even nicer for me, there were a few occasions on which he asked me to be the designated driver while he partied -- I got to drive the beautiful brand-new sports car.

I thought about Ken a few months ago and became curious if there still existed a Carlson's Printing Ink Company, which was the name of their family business.  I learned through a Google search that the printing ink industry has an organization -- the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM).  That organization awards a service-to-the-industry award called the Ault Award.  And then I learned the following:

DEXTER Frederick V. Jr., died Friday, July 10 at his home after a brief illness. He was 82, and a 50-year resident of Ridgewood. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Barbara S. Dexter; four sons, William and wife Patricia Reinhardt of Rochester, NY, Thomas and wife Anita Blackaby of Glouchester, MA, Robert and wife Gail of Manchester Center, VT, Donald and wife Karen of Ridgewood; and ten grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert C. Dexter.Fred Dexter was born July 14th, 1926 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn NY, the oldest son of Frederick V. Dexter, Sr. and Mabel Carlson Deter. He was in the first graduating class of Fort Hamilton HS in Brooklyn and graduated from Lehigh University in 1949. After working in the rocket industry during the 1950's, he began a long career in the printing ink industry and retired as Chairman and Chief Executive of Roberts and Carlson, Inc., in 1991. Since 1996, he was a member of the Board of the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM) and in 1980 was elected a Printing Ink Pioneer. In 1991 he was recognized with NAPM's Ault Award in recognition of his many years of service to the industry. He was also a member of the Chemical & Specialties Management Council, an organization of top executives among private chemical manufacturers.Fred was President of the Ridgewood-Glen Rock Boy Scout Council, President of the Yaw-Paw Camp Foundation, and a recipient of the Council's Silver Beaver Award for Service to the Council. He was also Treasurer of Hobbyists Unlimited in Ridgewood.A lifelong sailor, Fred loved to race and cruise in small sailboats. He joined the Nyack Boat Club in 1962, serving in small of positions in the Club including Commodore from 1972-1974. He was awarded life membership in 1998. He taught all of his sons to sail and race, and many of his grandchildren are also active in the sport. He served as U.S. Sailing Principal Race Officer for regattas, including national championships of one-design sailboats. During his retirement, he spent lengthy vacations with his wife Barbara sailing to New England and Chesapeake Bay on "Prime Time", their 35 ft cruising sailboat. He was a member of The Corinthians Association, frequently joining in their annual cruise.A Memorial Service will be held Tuesday 5:00 pm at the Feeney Funeral Home, 232 Franklin Avenue, Ridgewood. Visiting hours Tuesday 3:00 - 6:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contribution to be made to the Yaw-Paw Camp Foundation, 135 Prospect St., Ridgewood, NJ 07450 -OR- the R.D. Hinsch Sailing Scholarship Foundation, 2 Eucalyptus Rd., Montvale, NJ 07465.

I also found that the EPA Registry of Chemical Producers has included Roberts & Carlson as a New Jersey registered cleanup site.  Not so good.  They apparently are no longer producing Coca-Cola Non-Skid Red, but they clearly have left their mark in the sand, so to speak.  I hope that Ken, if he is still among the living, is still enjoying his Corvettes.

Jul 24, 2017

Tall Ships, 1976

Tall ships in the Hudson River, July 4, 1976
In 1976, I was living in Gautier, Mississippi.  As the country's 200th birthday approached, I debated where I might want to observe the occasion.  I considered going to Washington, D.C., where the museums were going all out with special bicentennial exhibits and a fireworks show that would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  New Orleans, much closer to home, was going all out, as well, with dozens of musical events planned.  I had a long tradition of joining one of my close friends, Roland Racko, a high school classmate for holiday weekends.  Roland was living in New York.  I finally decided to visit Roland for a long weekend.  The fourth was on Sunday.  I would fly to New York on Friday and return on Monday.

One tradition that Roland and I would observe when we got together was to try out new restaurants.  This trip would be no different.  After I arrived on Friday, we decided to find a Czechoslovakian restaurant.  Only in New York would we find several to choose from.  We picked the closest one (Remember using the Yellow Pages instead of Google to find a restaurant?).  It was only a few blocks from Roland's apartment on West 76th Street.  We approached the restaurant to find that it was located just below street level in an old but restored brownstone.  We stepped down a few steps and entered into a subdued and charming atmosphere.  We soon were seated and learned that each day a specialty meal was available 
√† prix fixe.  That sounded like a good idea and the meal of the day included pheasant, which neither of us had eaten before.  I recall many courses, small cups of soups, little dishes of salads and appetizers, and ultimately a generous and delicious Czech entree.  The price included two or three kinds of wine and a dessert.  And price for all this was extremely reasonable.  We left the place, the name of which I can't recall, full and ready to move on to the next part of the nation's birthday celebration.


The next day, Saturday, we slept late, cleaned up, and went over to Broadway to a restaurant that had a marvelous champagne brunch.  They specialized in omelets cooked to order along with all the expected breakfast specialties -- pastries, fresh fruit, breakfast meats, fruit juices, etc.  I ordered a Spanish omelet.  We waited and waited and waited.  About 25 minutes later our omelets appeared.  Instead of my Spanish omelet ( I expected to cut into cooked potato and onion done in olive oil with a little parsley.), I encountered a dark green something combined with what appeared to be feta cheese.  I asked the server what kind of omelet I had gotten.  I got the perfect New York response, "Just what you ordered, a spinach omelet.  And we had had to go out and buy the fresh spinach!"  I quietly ate my spinach omelet, which was actually quite delicious.  In her defense, we were sitting at a sidewalk table and the traffic noise was substantial when we were ordering.


We left the restaurant and took the subway to the Fulton Street subway station and walked to the South Street Seaport to get in the mood for the next day's parade of tall ships up the Hudson River.  We visited a few shops and mixed with the tourists (of which I was one) and generally relaxed basking in New York's abundant maritime history.  After the day of walking, we didn't hesitate to turn in early in anticipation of a busy 4th of July.


We rose early and got a nice open-air breakfast at a nearby restaurant.  We proceeded west on 72nd Street past the Henry Hudson Parkway to find a place from which to observe the proceedings and to take lots of pictures.  We were shocked to find that a huge number of people had already taken their places along the Greenway that faces the Hudson River.  We walked north toward the 79th Street Boat Basin and finally found an unoccupied area with a good view of the river.  The weather was perfect with a light breeze, partly cloudy skies, and a comfortable temperature.  We set up our tripods and cameras and anxiously awaited the arrival of the tall sailing ships.  The river was already full of small craft awaiting the appearance of their larger counterparts.



The small craft filled the Hudson River in celebration as the tall ships arrived
At about eleven o'clock, the first of the tall ships made their way into view.  The sight was spectacular, made even more inspirational by reflecting on the occasion for this great tribute.  It was likely that there would never again be such a gathering.  Each vessel that appeared seemed more remarkable than the ones before.  Some of the most impressive and the countries they represented were Amerigo Vespucci (Italy), Barba Negra (Norway), Christian Radich (Norway), Danmark (Denmark), Dar Pomorza (Poland), Eagle (United States), Esmeralda (Chile), Gloria (Colombia), Gorch Fock (Germany), Juan Sebasti√°n de Elcano (Spain), Kruzenshtern (Soviet Union), Libertad (Argentina), Mircea (Romania), Nippon Maru (Japan), Regina Maris (USA), Sagres (Portugal), Sebbe Als (Denmark), T/S Te Vega (Panama), Tovarishch (Soviet Union), Peyk (Turkey), Roseway (USA), and Transition (USA).  In addition, there were dozens of smaller, privately-owned sailboats of every imaginable sail configuration, square rigged and otherwise.  The procession upriver went on for a couple of hours.  The ships turned around at some point upriver, so that near the end of the procession, it was as if the whole "parade" began again.  Many of the ships sailed past going southbound to their anchorages for the evening.  We were overwhelmed by the magnitude and majesty of this great tribute.

Italy's Amerigo Vespucci looked especially impressive with her
newly-painted hull and dark-stained sails.  I had seen her in La
Spezia, Italy during my 1961 Midshipman cruise.

Roland and I eventually packed up our photography gear and headed back toward his residential hotel.  We rested for a while reflecting on what we had just witnessed.  It was a lot to digest.  We decided to close out our celebration by going out for a steak dinner at a nearby eatery.  The meal was wonderful and reasonably priced.  After a leisurely walk around Central Park's western perimeter, we went back to our riverside observation point to watch the evening's fabulous fireworks display.  After the long day, we were more than ready to proceed to Roland's place where we turned in and were soon asleep.


The next morning as I arose and began to pack to fly back to Mississippi, I thanked Roland for his hospitality and told him that I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.  With nearly forty years of hindsight, I haven't changed my mind.  It was a rare, inspirational, and never to be forgotten weekend.  I felt that I had really been at the heart of the celebration of our great nation's 200th birthday.

Jul 22, 2017

A Wedding in Hot Springs, N.C.

The Chapel of the Redeemer, the church in which Margo and I were married.
By Christmas, 1977, Margo Burge and I had decided to get married.  I was 38, she was 37, and neither of us had ever been married.  We decided we didn't want a big wedding; a modest wedding would better suit our personalities and our stage in life.  That, however, raises the question of "Whom do we invite?"  And that raises the issue of how not to offend those who are not invited.  We finally decided to elope over Easter weekend.  The couple who had introduced us would be our witnesses.  We also decided that after the wedding we would throw a celebration party somewhere on the Mississippi Gulf coast and invite all of our friends and relatives.  That eliminated the issue of offending someone who might not have been on a wedding invitation list.

Jim and Linda Schmidt had introduced Margo and me about a year earlier.  I had met the Schmidts a few years earlier through the Pass Christian Public Library, where Linda served as the head librarian.  My sister-in-law, Joan, worked there as a volunteer.  Margo, my soon-to-be bride, was the Head Librarian of the Gulfport/Harrison County Library System.

Jim Schmidt and I had backpacked together on a number of occasions over a period of several years.  Shortly after Margo and I had started dating, we and the Schmidts had gone on a backpacking adventure on the Appalachian Trail.  So our conversation at one point turned to, "Wouldn't it be cool to get married on the Appalachian Trail?"  That led to my calling an old friend, Peter Julius, who had completed hiking the entire trail two years earlier.  I asked Peter if he had encountered any interesting churches or chapels along the trail where a wedding ceremony might take place.  He suggested the Chapel of the Redeemer in Hot Springs, North Carolina.  A former church-run orphanage, it served as a hostel for hikers and was primarily a Catholic retreat center served by a couple of Jesuit priests whom Peter thought very highly of.  The priest in charge was a middle-aged man named Charles Jeffries "Jeff" Burton, who had served extensively in South American missions before being assigned to the backwaters of rural North Carolina.  His colleague at the retreat center was an elderly "retired" Jesuit named Andrew Graves, who had been serving in Western North Carolina since the 1930s.

Margo and I called Father Jeff Burton within a few days.  He was most gracious and said that although they didn't have very many weddings at the center, they'd love to perform our marriage ceremony, and we settled on Easter Sunday, April 27th, 1978.  Because I was at that time a Roman Catholic, I would have to coordinate the arrangements through my local parish in Mississippi.  There was also some paperwork that we would need to fill out to bring to North Carolina to get our Marriage license.  That had to be done in person prior to the weekend of the wedding.  The state also required a physical exam (not just a blood test) but that could be performed by a physician in Mississippi.  Father Jeff said he'd send the necessary forms and papers the next day.

From the time I had arrived on the Gulf Coast in 1972, I had spent most weekends at my brother's home in Pass Christian.  I usually attended Mass in either Pass Christian, or at some other rural Catholic church in the area.  I lived in Gautier, Mississippi, about 40 miles from Pass Christian.  I didn't even know the pastor of my so-called home parish.  As soon as I received the papers from Father Jeff, I proceeded to St. Mary's Catholic Church on de la Pointe Drive in Gautier, and introduced myself to the pastor, Father Cleery, an Irish priest.  We did not hit it off well.  He immediately wanted to know why I had never attended Mass at "his" church.  Eventually, he agreed to administer a questionnaire that was required for engaged couples.  All went well until the question, "Do you intend to honor all the privileges and obligations of the married state?"  I assured Father Cleery that I intended to enjoy the privileges of the married state as often as possible, but that we did not plan to have any children (one of the "obligations" of the married state).   I explained that Margo had been advised by her gynecologist that she should probably never get pregnant, as it was unlikely she could ever have a successful pregnancy.  Father Cleery expressed dismay.  "I don't believe that a valid Catholic marriage can be performed under these circumstances!" he declared in his thick Irish brogue.  I responded by requesting a meeting with the diocesan Chancellor, the Bishop's assistant in charge of interpreting canon law among other duties.  A few days later Margo and I met with the Chancellor in Biloxi, who had absolutely no issues with our plans to limit our family and cleared the way for us to be married in the church on Easter Sunday.

The requirement for a physical exam created an interesting problem.  I had never needed a doctor since I had arrived on the Gulf Coast.  I didn't have a "family physician."  Margo had the perfect solution.  She had worked for several years as a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society.  They often ran free Pap Smear Clinics for early detection of cervical cancer.  As a result, she knew just about every gynecologist on the coast.  She called up one her doctor friends in Biloxi.  He'd be more than happy to give me a physical.  So, during one lunch hour, I met Margo at the rear entrance to a doctor's office.  Just as we got there, a gentleman in a very sweaty tennis outfit came running up and hugged Margo.  "I'm so sorry to be late.  I forgot our appointment.  Is this the guy?" he asked.  Margo informed him that I was indeed the guy.  The doctor introduced himself and asked me how I felt.  I said I felt fine.  "Would you take him even if he was in bad shape?" he asked Margo.  "Sure," she said.  "Where do I sign the form?" he asked.  My physical exam had been completed!

Father Jeff fishing in Chile in the 1960s
On Good Friday, the Schmidts and Margo and I packed into one vehicle to head for Marshall, North Carolina, the county seat of Madison County, which encompasses Hot Springs.  As we drove through Chattanooga, we realized that in our careful planning, we had neglected to account for the time zone change.  We were now one hour behind our planned itinerary.  Jim drove like a bat out of hell and we arrived at the Marshall County (NC) Courthouse at 4:57 PM.  We ran inside hoping they'd still be open.  Two ladies greeted us with big smiles.  "We were going to wait as late as we needed to.  Your wedding is a big deal to Hot Springs and we figured you might have forgotten the time change."  I love rural America.  We signed the necessary papers, gave the ladies a big hug, and headed to Hot Springs.

Father Andrew Graves, 1971
Courtesy of the Marshall, NC
News-Record
The one motel in town had not planned to open until the following weekend, but Father Jeff had convinced them to open early to put us up.  We got checked in, cleaned up, and headed for the Chapel of the Redeemer.  We were greeted at the door of the priests' residence by an exuberant Father Jeff Burton.  He invited us in and ushered us into their comfortable living room.  It was as if we had known each other for a long time.  I asked about Father Graves and Jeff explained that he'd be in later.  He was accompanying the local Baptist pastor to a funeral service that was taking place high on the mountain at a log cabin.  The two clergy were going by jeep as far as they could and proceeding the rest of the way by mules.  Father Graves had been asked to go "because he's about the only one around who knows how to get there."   A couple came into the room and Jeff introduced them as his sister Kathy and her husband, Pete.  They inquired if we'd mind if they attended our wedding.  We told them we'd be honored by their presence.   It was getting late, so we excused ourselves and told Jeff we'd see him and Father Graves the next afternoon, as I had offered to cook a lasagna dinner for everyone on Saturday night before the wedding.  We went back to the hotel, downed some snack food, and crashed.

The priest's residence in Hot Springs, adjacent to the chapel
We rose early on Saturday and headed for Asheville to buy groceries for the Saturday night dinner and to get flowers for the girls.  We went to a florist's shop (Remember -- This is the day before Easter.) and informed them that we needed flowers for a wedding.  I thought the woman behind the counter was going to faint!  The girls explained that it would be just the two of them.  The delightful lady began to help Margo and Linda.  Meanwhile Jim and I began looking around and found a section of the place that had several samples of funeral wreaths and sprays on display.  Since great minds work alike, I immediately laid on the floor and Jim started placing various floral arrangements on me and taking pictures.  The florist and the two girls walked by and the lady was shocked to see me on the floor with my arms crossed on my chest covered with a wreath.  She did a double take.  Margo said, "This is so typical.  Can you believe I'm marrying that one?!?"  Soon we had our flowers and were on our way.  After getting the ingredients for lasagna and a salad and some dinner wine, we were on our way back to Hot Springs.


After we stopped by the motel and got freshened up, we proceeded to the residence where I began preparing our evening meal, lasagna, in a wood-burning kitchen range!  I prepared the sauce from scratch, boiled the noodles, cooked the meat, mixed the eggs and ricotta, assembled the dish and began baking it while I prepared the salad.  We also had fresh Italian bread that we had gotten in Asheville dipped in seasoned olive oil.  There was plenty of food and wine for everybody and lots of toasts were offered for a happy, healthy, prosperous marriage.  We cleaned up the dishes and left the kitchen spotless as we returned to our motel close to midnight.

On Sunday, we awoke early and got cleaned up.  The wedding was planned for one o'clock.  We all attended mass at the chapel at 9:00 AM, where Father Graves was the celebrant.  He pronounced that we had three things to be especially grateful for that day.  It was the Feast of the Risen Christ.  Bob and Margo would be pronouncing their vows of marriage in this very chapel later in the day.  And there were more Catholics present in the chapel than they had ever seen -- a total of 28!  Of course, the wedding party and Father Jeff's relatives helped boost that number by six.  After Mass, we returned to our motel to change into our wedding clothes.   After a few minutes, Jim showed up at our door with a couple of celebratory shots of Jack Daniels to share with me.  We downed them with gusto just as Margo came out to see what we were up to.

Margo must have known me well, for she immediately called the church and asked for the wedding to be moved up to noon.  There would be no time for additional toasts.  We finished getting dressed and headed back to the church.  I think she knew that if we didn't head for the church for another hour, there was a good chance I'd be three sheets to the wind before the service.

The church was small, but still seemed quite empty with only Father Jeff as celebrant, Father Andrew, Jim and Linda, Margo and me, and Pete and Kathy, who were sitting in the front pew.  We started the service, which was simple and solemn.  Soon, I couldn't help hearing Kathy, who was sobbing uncontrollably, even though she hadn't met us until a couple of days previous!  In only a few minutes, we had pronounced our vows and the ceremony concluded with a solemn blessing.  We were man and wife!  Father Jeff invited us back to the residence to do some final paperwork.


We were shown a large leather bound book, which was the register of baptisms, confirmations, and marriages performed over the years at the Chapel of the Redeemer.  Father Jeff had already filled in the lines describing our marriage and had drawn the lines where we were to record our signatures.  As he handed over the book, he pointed to a line a few rows above ours.  "I hope your marriage works out better than this one did," he said.  "She caught him in bed with another woman and shot him dead!"  We signed our names in the appropriate places and closed the book.

Margo looked out the window at a hiker who was removing his pack on the path outside of the residence.  "Isn't that your friend, Pugh?" she asked.  I looked up, and sure enough, it was my old hiking friend, Bill Pugh.  Margo knew his face because she had patiently sat through far too many slide shows of earlier hiking adventures, many of which included Bill Pugh.  We dashed outside to greet him.  (Several months earlier, I had confided to Bill that Margo and I had been discussing the possibility of eloping in Hot Springs at Easter.)  He had decided to walk from Petersburg, VA, to Hot Springs to see if we were serious.  He almost made it in time to witness the ceremony!  He took one look at me in my pastel green leisure suit and gold turtleneck and said, "Get out of that green outfit and let's go hiking!"  We bid our temporary farewells to the crew at the Chapel, and headed to our motel to change into more appropriate hiking attire.  And then the five of us hiked up to Lovers Leap on the Appalachian Trail.


Father Jeff had told us that the parish wanted to celebrate our wedding with a little get-together that evening.  He suggested that we might come to the residence around 5:00 PM.  After our hike, we all got cleaned up and headed to the Chapel's residence, where we were warmly greeted by Fathers Jeff and Andrew.  


After our introductions, I wandered into the kitchen to make sure I hadn't left anything amiss the night before.  I noticed a large ham hanging in a cloth bag suspended by a string attached to a ceiling rafter.  I reached up to turn it so I could see the label when I was startled by a piercing voice, "Don't you touch that ham!"  I looked at the source of the voice.  It was a diminutive black woman standing by the sink on the other side of the kitchen.  I had not noticed her when I walked in.  "Ain't no quicker way to mess up a ham than to let white people mess with it!" she declared.  I asked her who she was and quickly learned that she was Lucille, that she had been the chief cook and house mother when the place served as an orphanage, that she was the "onliest" black person in the county (and she stayed so "they won't forget what we look like"), and that she was preparing our meal that evening.  She then kindly asked me to get out of her kitchen so she could work.  Amen!

We learned over the next few minutes that a few of the former residents of the orphanage and their spouses would be joining us for dinner, that there would be a local band (mostly made up of the former residents) hosting a dance in the rec room later in the evening, and that Pete (of Kathy and Pete, Father Jeff's relatives) would be performing a magic show in honor of our marriage!  Who knew?  We couldn't have planned a celebration like this in a million years!

As we assembled for dinner, Lucille came up to me and apologized for her abrupt words earlier.  She told me that she was not a wealthy woman ("although these Priesses have been very good to me.  They takes care of me."), but she wanted to give me and Margo something as a gift for our wedding.  She handed us a quart Mason jar full of homemade moonshine, assuring us that she had made it and that she used an all-copper still, with "no lead in it."  We were deeply moved.


There were probably twenty-five or more people at dinner, which was served buffet style and included that magnificent ham I had seen earlier.  They had opened up the social hall, which had been decorated by the locals.  The arriving guests brought mountains of additional food -- salads, casseroles, appetizers and more desserts than one could imagine.  Everyone ate to their heart's content.  After the tables were cleared, Pete set up his magic show and performed for about an hour.  He had apparently hauled his magic paraphernalia all the way from Maryland in anticipation of doing a show.  Then the band set up and people just started to arrive.  Soon the dance floor was full.  People whom we had never met were coming to our table, wishing us well, and toasting us.  It was surreal,  And all too soon, it was over.  Exhausted, we returned to our hotel and collapsed.

The next day we stopped by the church to thank everyone for such an amazing outpouring of love and hospitality.  We stayed in touch with Fathers Jeff (who died in 2011) and Andrew (who passed away in 1995) for many, years, as well as Pete and Kathy.  What started out to be a quiet elopement to a small town in North Carolina had turned into a marvelous event and a myriad of great memories.

As a footnote, I have learned that the papers of Father Andrew Graves are preserved in the Georgetown University archives.  He was a treasure and wrote extensively to friends, for the press, and in his own publications.  His papers are described thusly: "Papers documenting activities of the Jesuit mission in Madison County, North Carolina, ca 1925 to 1973. The work was centered in the towns of Hot Springs and Revere, and Fr. Graves' records amply document many aspects of a small rural Catholic community, as well as giving first-hand evidence of the Jesuit missionary enterprise in the twentieth century."

I feel blessed to have shared a brief moment in that "Jesuit missionary enterprise."

Jul 15, 2017

A Round of Golf, Anyone?


My father, Dr. Harold R. Mead, was an avid golfer well into his 60's.  I had been told as a kid that he was at one time a very competitive golfer.  This article from the Journal of the American Dental Association, published in January, 1927, seems to bear that out.
"Golf Tournament: Announcement has been made of the winners of the 1926 Tournament of the American Dental Golf Association, held in Philadelphia last August.  Of the ninety-two contestants, the winners were: G.T. Gregg , Pittsburgh , Pa., champion; Robert N. L e Cron, London, England, runner up; J. J. Hillsley, New York City, handicap winner; Edward F. La Fitte, Philadelphia, Pa., runner up; Class A: low gross, A. M. Yessler, Woodstock, Ill., runner up E. W. Browning, Salt Lake City, Utah; low net, Reinhard Nell, Philadelphia, Pa., runner up, W. W. Powell, Philadelphia, Pa. Class B: low gross, A. J. Hefferman , Wilkes Barre, Pa ., runner up, Harvey Schwalm, London, England; low net, A. E. Webster, Toronto, Canada, runner up, A. L. Orr, Philadelphia, Pa. Class C: low gross, H. E. Beiser, New York City, runner up, Frank J. Erbe; low net, Harold R. Mead, Schenectady, N. Y., runner up, A. L. Mulford, Philadelphia, Pa. E. E. La Fitte, Philadelphia, turned in the best gross score for morning play; E. W. Browning, Salt Lake City, the best gross score for afternoon play. O. W. White was elected vice president; Thomas P. Hinman, Atlanta, Ga., secretary-treasurer (reelected). Frank M. Casto, Cleveland, Ohio, has concluded the second of his three-year term as president. The 1927 tournament will be played in Detroit."

Well done, Dad!