Jan Hungerford and I went to High School together but only knew each other casually. We ran into each other in 1962 and both needed a date to our mutual friends Gigi Schey and Bob Simons Wedding. We dated a little then carried on a correspondence via mail while I was in California.
We were married secretly On April 5th, 1963 (my 21st birthday) in Berwyn by a Justice of the Piece. June 1st 1963 we had a formal wedding at St Cletus Church in LaGrange. We honeymooned in Florida, staying with my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Hardin.
My parents graciously offered us the opportunity to live in their home in Western Springs allowing us to save some money to purchase a new home. We rented my old bedroom (Gordon and I shared this room but he was now off to the University of Illinois) and fixed it up as a nursery as Jan was expecting. During this time Jan developed a lifelong friendship with my family that outlasted our relationship.
The real highlight of my life to this point was experiencing the miracle of pregnancy. I was evolved in every step and found it a fascinating. Robyn was born Feb 20th 1964. The hospital experience was disappointing, I was treated with indifference and sometimes even rudely. Fathers were considered a nuisance or worse in those days. I seriously considered suing in the future for the right to participate in my children's birth. I was not allowed in Jan's room when Robyn was present and did not get to hold her until we were leaving the hospital.
All was forgotten in that very special moment when I was handed that beautiful baby for the first time.
Soon after, Jan was pregnant again. We decided that it was time to seriously look for a house as there would not be enough room for the four of us. It was with mixed emotions that we would leave as the arrangement with my parents was quite satisfactory. Mom enjoyed having the baby round without being fully responsible for her. Jan and I appreciated the help and babysitting she gave. After many futile attempts, a realtor that we had meet 6 months earlier called us and asked if I was still interested in a 2-flat. We had about given up on this concept as our $1800 down payment was not going to buy us much. She said that she had a brand new brick 2-flat available at 1739 39th Ave. Stone Park, IL and had already talked to the owner about us and he was willing to take our meager down payment and sell the building to us on a land contract. Mr Bartocci was an electrical contractor and received the property from a builder that defaulted on his payment for the electrical services. He kept one of the 2 buildings he received and sold me the other. Later his son Neno moved into the one next door and he and I still keep in touch today.
Due to Mr Bartocci and a heart to heart talk from the realtors husband I screwed up enough courage to buy this building. The price was $28,000, $1600 down and a payment of $239 per month. Doesn't seem like much but I was making $80 per week. The upstairs unit already had a tenant. Sally and her four children whom I became an ersatz father to. She never missed a payment and stayed until we had to move upstairs to the larger unit.
We moved in during the spring of 1965. Shortly afterwards I joined the Stone Park Volunteer Fire Dept but more on that later.
June 11th, 1965 I was woken by Jan early in the morning, stating that she thought it was time for the baby. Neither of us felt any need to rush based on our experience with Robyn. Surprise, I ended up having to deliver the baby myself at home. I have promised myself that someday I would write what happened that day and 40 years later here it is. (Full Story)
During this time I left Victor and went to work for Xerox as a service tech. While it was a significant increase in pay and included a company car I really didn't like the job. I worked on the 3 original products, the 914, 813 copiers and on a rare occasion the old manual predecessor. The problem was most of the time was spent doing maintenance calls, cleaning out the nasty powder toner, with occasional ho hum repairs. Nowhere near as challenging as the adding machine repairs. I was trained and did work on the 2400 just before leaving and that was more interesting. They claimed it would be there last electrical mechanical machine before switching to a more electronic product.
I began to realize that there were better career paths then carrying a tool box for the rest of my life and started looking for a sales job. It was difficult as most were not interested in giving a non college grad a chance. Eventually, my friend Chip Stewart (circa 1942 - 1999), who was now a buyer for Jewel Food Stores, informed me that one of his venders was looking for a sales trainee that had a service background. I went to work for the J B Dove Division of Franklin Electric working for Jack Thompson around 1968. In 1970 they offered me the job of Regional Sales Manager of the Cleveland Branch covering 6 States. We picked up the family and moved to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
I enjoyed my stay in Stone Park mostly due to my involvement in the fire dept. I advanced to Lieutenant and was offered a Captain's job but I was leaving for Ohio. The camaraderie of men sharing a dangerous job is very special and 40 years later I can still name most of the key people.
My brother-in-law Jim Hungerford and his family moved down the block from us and one weekend they invited us to go camping with them to Lake of the Woods, Indiana about 90 miles away. I owned a large tent and the 5 of us went. This was to be the start of a long period of spending every weekend at the lake with the family. Life long friendships were established with the people we met and shared these adventures.
1963 - 1970
1971 - 1986
1987 - 1996