I was scheduled to return to Reed for my senior year in the Fall of 1951, but Tek needed another Field Engineer in the New York Office and they asked me to go. It was too good an opportunity to miss. I had already started school when the opportunity came, and withdrew. (I never did get back).
This is the place to note two events that happened earlier. First, during my sophomore year at Reed I began to 'toy' with the idea of surrendering my Christian faith, which I did the following year.
However,this is not my spiritual 'odyssey", so I will not deal with it here,except as it affected my job. Second, at fifteen months, Nancy came down with severe asthma, which necessitated her having to enter the hospital six times in the next 3-1/2 years, which wreaked havoc with my school and our bank account. Again, this is not an account of the state of Nancy's health, except as it had an effect on my job.
Just before we left for the East, I spoke to Byron Broms in the Test Department, as I thought he had the capabilities to make a good Field Engineer. He did and transferred shortly after I left.
When we were preparing to move from Portland to the East Coast, there were many things we had to do. One day when both Margie and I had to do several things together, Frances Frost, whom I didn't know well, 'volunteered' that his wife Margaret, would 'love' to take of Nancy while Margie and I were busy. They also had a daughter, Nancy Jo, who was just a little older than our Nancy and it was a big help at a difficult time. The two girls hit it off immediately and, when the Frosts were transferred East in the early summer of 1952, they first came to
New York before going to Baltimore to work for Ed Bauder. Jack and Norma Cassidy came into NYC one afternoon during the summer after the Frosts arrived, and we all went to Rockefeller Center for lunch, then walked down Park Avenue to Grand Central. Both Nancys were full of 'high jinks' and, because I knew Jack had a short fuse and would think that neither the Days nor the Frosts knew how to raise children, just as we were walking through the archway from upper Park Avenue into the tunnel around Grand Central, I 'grabbed' the two girls, one in each hand, very firmly, to keep them apart, and things went calmly. I thought that Nancy Jo might not like me much for treating her so, but she dearly loved me, and for a long time, we had 'something' going. Fortunately, Cassidy didn't notice.
It was the beginning of a long and special friendship with the Frosts.
Frances was a first cousin to Howard and, people were afraid of him; they thought he would 'carry tales'. When they found out that he wouldn't and didn't, they took outrageous advantage of him. They were transferred back and forth across country several times and many times to positions that were not especially desirable. When they eventually came back to Portland, he was given jobs that were far below his capabilities. It continued well after I was gone from Tek, Finally, it seemed as though there was nowhere for him to go and he was going to be let go from TEK. I thought it was outrageous, and I wrote Howard a letter at his home, telling him some of these things and saying that I thought it was a shame that a place could not be found for someone who was as capable, faithful and loyal to TEK as Frances.
Evidently, Howard must have said something to someone because he was transferred to Otto Zach who, by then, was in charge of manual writing and Frances was able to work to retirement age doing something he liked and for which he was highly qualified.
We flew to NYC just after Thanksgiving. Remember that this was 1951, nearly ten years before jet travel, so I scheduled us to stay over night in Chicago in order that we could arrive in early afternoon in New York. Of course, it was the start of the Christmas season; what an introduction to the city! We stayed at the Belmont Plaza just across
Lexington Avenue from the Waldorf Astoria. Our office was at 19 RectorSt in the Wall Street district, and I commuted by subway each day. We had a marvelous time, in the evenings and on the weekends going to Radio City Music Hall, plays and other entertainments. We stayed for two weeks, then moved to a hotel in Summit, NJ, and finally to an apartment in Plainfield, NJ.
It was during this time that Nancy, not yet five, announced that she was going to be a doctor. As I said earlier, she had spent much time in the hospital and had much experience with doctors and nurses. She was a bright, intelligent, and pretty girl, and doctors and nurses obviously 'made over her'. She was specific about being a doctor; 'the doctors told the nurses what to do,' (which is an indication of her personality at the time). She has had a distinguished career in nephrology being chief of her division at UConn Medical School in Farmington. CT.
Shortly after becoming settled in our Plainfield apartmnent Jack Cassidy asked me to fly up to Boston with him to see about a Type 517 oscilloscope at MIT. Jack did not have the experience to deal with any problems in it. While walking down the hall in Building 40 (where the major work on Radar had been done during the War) I ran into Stirling Oldberg with whom I had served on the USS Massachusetts in the Pacific; he was head of the Radio Maintenance crew, while I was head of Radar Maintenance, and we became good friends.
Whatever the problem was in the 517, I was able to fix it. As Christmas was approaching, we were waiting the arrival of my pay check to do some shopping. Finally, on Christmas Eve day, I took our last cash, bought round-trip train tickets on the Jersey Central RR to
The Jersey City Ferry Terminal, and went to the office on Rector St to get my check. It was not there. Our return trip was pretty gloomy, as we faced the possibility of no presents under the tree. However, when we arrived back in Plainfield, there was a Special Delivery letter waiting for us. What does one do on Christmas Eve, with a thousand dollar check in hand, and the banks closed? Fortunately, we took it to a local grocery store and, amazingly, he cashed it (I think he may have done business with Ed Bauder when Ed and his family were living in New Jersey! We were able to at least have a few things, even with our tree and its homemade ornaments.
In January, Jack Cassidy decided to move the office from downtown NYC to the village of Bronxville, north of New York about twenty miles. By this time, we had bought a used 1949 Ford two-door sedan, and each Monday I drove back and forth to Bronxville. The rest of the week was spent visiting customers and potential customers in Manhattan, northern New Jersey, and northeastern Pennsylvania. My 'customer' list was impressive
The famed Bell Telephone Laboratories at; -Murray Hill, NJ;
-Whippany, Morristown, where they developed anti-missile technology;
-Deal near the Jersey Shore (where the 'background noise' evidence of the Big Bang -was discovered);
-another in NYC; -etc.;
-the Army's Evans Signal Labs was at Asbury Park, NJ;
-the Navy's centrifuge at Johnsville, PA, for preparing astronauts for space travel;
-the Army's Piccatinny Arsenal (where Dr. Knowlton's daughter was married to the director;
-Reaction Motors at Piccatinny, which manufacured rocket engines;
-Columbia University, where I had the pleasure of meeting Jacob Millman, who wrote the electronics text I used at Reed;
-the Brooklyn Navy Yard;
- CBS Labs
- RCA's and CBS's Color TV labs in NYC;
-RCA's Princeton Research Center;
-the Forrestal Research Center at Princeton, where they worked (and are still working) on fusion power;
-New York University (where they had a lab for measuring the IQ's of children for the Hunter College special school for gifted children (we had Nancy tested here);
-plus many small companies and organizations.
NYU was where our impression of Nancy was confirmed. However, a child had to be a resident of NYC to go to the Hunter College Elementary School, and we lived in New Jersey. We actually thought seriously of moving into New York, but the expense and upset to the family would have been too much. Because of Nancy’s performance at NYU, Margie took her to the principal of the Emerson School nearby in Plainfield and, after evaluating her, he admitted her to the first grade starting in January. She was just five.
In the Spring, Bill Webber wrote me, asking me to go to the Engineering Library in NYC to do a background check on the Isbister patent, on which Sperry was presenting us to take a license. I was unable to find anything of help, and Tek eventually had to pay Sperry $2.00 on any instrument which contained a signal delay line.
This was a time of great and rapid expansion for Tek, and in the late Spring we began to open a number of field offices from the Midwest to the East, and to experience an influx of field engineers to man them. Byron Broms came to Syracuse, Francis Frost to Baltimore and then Philadelphia, George Edens to replace Byron in Syracuse then to a new office in Chicago, Chuck Gibson to Cleveland, etc. Nearly all of them came to New York to train in field office procedures, and we became good friends with many of them. Ther was much visiting back and forth with the Frost’s at holiday’s and during the summers.
During our Winter in Plainfield, Bruce and Betty Clark came through on their way to northern Maine, where Bruce would be stationed at Limestone AFB to service Gilfillan’s GLS (Guided Landing System for bringing in B52 bombers in fog) We had met Bruce and Betty in Logan, UT, and had known them in San Francisco during the war; they have been among our best friends since.
Back in Bronxville, Jack invited me to have lunch with him on Mondays at a nearby restaurant and, as he liked a martini or two with his lunch, he urged me to also. At that time, I didn’t drink and this made him very unhappy, to say the least. Margie had a fit and at least once, slept on the sofa in protest. During the summer the Cassidy’s invited us to their home in old Greenwich, CT and Margie experienced the pressure Jack could put on one to have a drink. She relented and said she understood about the martini at lunch.
They later invited us to their summer cabin at Wolfeboro on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, which we enjoyed immensely. Starting in January, 1953, Jack and I traveled to Boston, where Tek wanted to open an office for our New England area. We came home on weekends, by train or plane.
Our first task in Boston was to find a space at a reasonable rate and in a convenient location to both the Boston metropolitan area as well as the other New England states. As Jack had lived here for several years, he had a pretty good idea that the Newtons, a cluster of several towns located on the West side of Boston itself, would be a good location. We found a likely space in the town of Newtonville, just off Commonwealth Avenue and Newtonville St., overlooking the municipal parking lot. We located an apartment later in Newton Corner, a few miles toward Boston.
The negotiations were torturous; the property was owned by some kind of Trust, and we had to deal with a Mr. Tillinghast, who was the Trustee. It had ample front office space, with room for two desks, a sizable rear room, for work space and storage, and a restroom. The husband of Jean XXXX of our Baltimore Office, located in Towson, Maryland, worked for a stainless steel fabrication firm, and we had them make window boxes for the three ample window sills that fronted on the street and parking lot.
Our next task was to find a secretary. We contacted a personnel firm, who sent us, among others, Judith Pease, who had just returned from a European vacation. She was pretty and bright, in her late twenties, and had good secretarial skills, and we hired her. She went first to our Bronxville office for a couple of weeks to learn the ropes from Maggie Johnson, our regional secretary, and started in the office on February first.
Judith and Margie became fast friends, which continued after we returned to Portland. She was married just before we left Boston, and her later-born daughter Kathy came to the University of Puget Sound and later moved to Yakima, WA, where she married and had a family. Judith visited Kathy at least once, and the friendship between her and Margie continued until her untimely death in Clinton, CT a few years ago. Later, Kathy sent Margie all of the letters Margie had written her after we moved back to Oregon.
Judith's mother was a teacher at the Smith College elementary school in Northhampton, MA, and I stopped and had dinner with her at least twice when I was in the vicinity. She was a nice lady.
My next task was to find suitable housing for Margie and Nancy. In Newton Corner (another Newton), I found a nice two story apartment (subject to Margie's approval), overlooking the Charles River, and right across from the Perkins Institution. The four-track main line be tween Boston and Albany ran right out our back door, across Charles- bank Road. Underwood Grade School for Nancy was conveniently located about a quarter mile away. Perkins was a school for the blind in Water- town, MA., where Helen Keller attended school. Margie later volunteered to read to two boys resident there.
Toward the end of our arranging for the move to Boston, I was waiting for the train to come to a stop one night as it was coming into Penn Station in New York, when I realized that I could hardly bear the thought of fighting my way to the street, fighting my way to a taxi, fighting my way to the bus station, and fighting my way up the escalator to a bus. I realized that I hated New York and, literally, for decades after that, I became physically ill the first night whenever I had to go there.
When all arrangements were final, we moved north. As a family we went first to Shelton Hotel in Boston, and from there went out to Newton Corner to look over the apartment. Margie approved, as I thought she would, and we made arrangements to move in. The rental agent told Margie, as she was looking at it, that it was owned by 'nice Christian people'. Margie responded rather enthusiastically, and I poked her in to silence, telling her later that, "What he means is that they are not Jews." Boston was one of the most overtly anti-Jewish places I had ever experienced.
One of our first tasks as a family was to find a good pediatrician for Nancy, as she had experienced some distress with her asthma from the very damp, cold winters on the eastern seaboard. We were fortunate to find a Dr. Skornik, who proved to be a really caring and helpful doctor.
Nancy entered Underwood School, and was assigned to Miss Alice Corson, a marvelous teacher, who took a distinct interest in her. She continued her interest in Nancy's progress for the rest of her life, as she kept in touch by mail for more than twenty-five years. Even after she retired, when I was in Boston on business in the early seventies after I had left Tek, we had dinner together. A humorous aspect of her under standing of our being from the West was when we had to return to Portland because of Nancy's health, her parting words were, "It's a shame that you have to move clear out there." She lived long enough to hear of Nancy graduating from Medical School.
Another humorous experience was a meeting I had with the Chief Engineer of the largest radio and TV station in New England. After we had completed our business one day, and talked a little, he leaned across the desk and asked me very seriously, "Are you still having trouble with the Indians out there?" This was in 1954!
Oddly, a few years later, there was some Indian trouble in South Dakota which made national news for several weeks.
My clients in New England were mostly concentrated in the Boston-Cam bridge area, and along Route 128, a circumferential highway around Boston that has become famous for its concentration of high tech industry. About once a year, in the spring after the snow had melted from the highways in northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, I would make a tour of the colleges and universities located in these states; there was little industry at that time in these areas. I did have Judith go through my Directory of Members of the IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers) and sort them by geographical location and who they worked for. Several concentrations appeared that I did not know about, and that proved productive.
Another task I undertook was to collect information on what type of scope my customers would like to see, and what features they were interested in, and forward that to the engineering department, which helped them to determine what to include in a new line of scopes they were planning (the 530 and 540 Series instruments). One day, shortly after we were settled in our new office, I saw a car with Oregon license plates pull into the snowy parking lot just across the way. I ran out, waving my arms and met Wayne and Jean Tate from Forest Grove. They were there for a year on a teaching assignment.
Later in the summer, when her father came East for a visit, they had us to a barbecue. Her father was the owner of Broderson's Furniture Store in Forest Grove. We maintained an acquaintance with them, even after we all returned to Oregon, until they moved to Eugene, where they now live (2009).
One of my customers was the Engineering Department at the University at Storrs, CT. This is the University for which Nancy is now Chief of Nephrology at the Medical Center in Farmington, Ct. The town of Storrs is named for the ancestral family of John Storrs, a well-known Portland architect.
One of my first experiences at MIT labs was walking into the lab of Dr. Harold Edgerton, the inventor of stroboscopic photography. One of our 513 scopes was sitting on a Scopemobile, with a brass plate affixed which said, 'Gift of Crawford Greenewalt'. I recognized the name as being that of the CEO of DuPont Corporation, and I asked, "What's this?" He volunteered that he had helped Greenewalt take high speed photos of hummingbirds, with which he was fascinated and, in apprecia tion, he gave this instrument. Later, Greenewalt published a coffee- table sized volume of his photos.
Years later, long after I had returned to Oregon, we received an order from a Mrs. Crawford Greenewalt for one of our small scopes and, since no one knew who she was, they brought the order to me as Security Officer. We were having constant trouble with the Soviet Union trying to buy our products through front organizations here and abroad. I told them she was obviously simply trying to buy her husband a Christmas present!
Several times we would notify the Bureau of Foreign Commerce of a suspicious purchase and, some days or weeks later, we would read in the newspapers of an arrest after boxes had been loaded aboard foreign airlines for shipment to some European city.
One time, our Erik Ferner, our Swedish distributor, came back to work from a weekend to find that their new building overlooking the Baltic Sea had been broken into, and all of the Tek and Hewlett Packard instruments had been stolen and taken across the Sea to a Soviet Port.I do remember seeing a photograph of the Soviet Tokomak fusion generator, with a 517 instrument mounted atop of a Scopemobile (what an insult to U.S. security) prominently displayed in the foreground.
New England, although a large area geographically was, industrially, a surprisingly small area. For example, I could leave Newton Corner at 5 AM and drive to Pittsfield, MA on the other side of the state, where GE had a plant, and return at 6 PM, after having stopped at several small firms on the way home. Another time, a TV station in Portland, ME was having trouble with their 524 scope, and I drove up late one evening in the snow so that I could repair the instrument during the early morning hours when they were off the air.
Nearly every place of any importance to Tek was within an easy day's drive from our office. In addition to MIT Labs, Raytheon (with whose SG, SL, and SN radars on board our ship I was familiar) was a large customer, as was EGG (Edger ton Germeshausen and Greer; the Edgerton of MIT) manufacturers of the cameras that took pictures of atom-bomb explosions, the Navy Under water-sound Lab at New London, CT, and other medium sized firms and laboratories.
Dr. Marcus O'Day, at Northeastern University, had taught physics at Reed during the time Howard was there, and had fond memories of him. An observation I made while on the East (and I don't think it is confined to any particular region) was the difference between the behavior of workers in government agencies, and those in private organizations, especially businesses. Government employees tended to saunter from place to place, while those in businesses walked briskly. During my nearly three years in the East, I met only one government employee, Dick Chase, a purchasing agent for Lincoln Laboratory in Lincoln, MA, who acted as though his work was important and pressing.
The late winter of 1954, we (Margie, Nancy and I) traveled to NYC for the National Electronics Conference and Convention. The only hotel Maggie Johnson could find for us was the Biltmore, a very 'tony' place that was fairly expensive. One evening we were out with Frances Frost and some others in a Greenwich Village restaurant when Nancy coughed, and immediately began to cry. We took her back to the Hotel and, after she continued to fuss, called for the hotel doctor to come and examine her. He said he thought she had collapsed a lung and called in a specialist who confirmed the diagnosis. They took her to French Hospital in midtown Manhattan which, not having a pediatric ward, reguired one of us to stay with her at all times. I stayed at night, since I had to be at the Convention during the day, when Margie stayed. They performed a 'bronchiectomy', an operation that required vacuuming from her lung a quantity of hardened mucous which she had sucked in when she coughed. It had to be done without anesthetic, and was painful, but she recovered and has no lasting effects. She was convinced that they did the operation in the dark so she wouldn’t know what they were doing! This was one of the most serious facts that indicated we should not stay another year.
Both Springs we were there, after the snow was off the ground, I made trips through all of the New England states visiting the colleges and universities from Williams College in Williamstown, MA. in the west, to University of Vermont in Burlington, in the north, to Williams Military Academy in Vermont and Dartmouth in Hanover NH., to University of Maine at Orono, ME., and back home. Margie and Nancy went with me. Most of the other colleges were within a one-day round trip.
Driving to customers in the Fall was glorious, with the riotous colors on the trees.
One of the reasons I was pleased to go to Boston was that Pietro Belluschi, an eminent Portland architect had just been appointed Dean of Architecture at MIT. I admired his architecture greatly and used to observe various of his houses in Portland. I visited him twice at HIT.
The last time, when we knew we were coming back to Portland, I asked him if he was designing any homes, as we were planning on building shortlv after we returned. He declined, but when we did design and build on Charming Way, it was in the style of his architecture, which was well illustrated in a book about his Northwest architecture which I bought at the Harvard Coop, written by a former draftswoman in his Portland office.
Unfortunately, Nancy's asthma worsened, and Dr. Skornik advised us that if she had been reasonably clear of it in Portland, we should return, as he didn't think he could get her through another winter.
In the Spring I wrote Dal and told him that I couldn't take the chance of another winter, and asked to return. I don't think he was very happy about this, but he assented, and we drove to Portland the last week in August of 1954.
It is no exaggeration to say that I was not impressed with the Field Engineer they sent to replace me. He may have been a good service technician (they would not have sent someone unskilled in that department),but he left something to be desired in the 'social graces' department. New England is nothing if not more sophisticated than the West, and he gave the impression of being just 'off the farm'. In any case, I perceived it to be an insult to me and to my New England customers. (Of course, my. reaction to him could not have been influenced by my 'Reed College' syndrome and my lack of religious tolerance at that time.)
One Sunday, about the middle of July just before we left for Portland, I returned to my Christian faith while Margie worshipped at Park Street Church in Boston. This is the subject of a different story.
On our trip across the country to Oregon, we stopped the first night in Syracuse, NY, with George and Kay Edens and their family. They put us in their bedroom with their newly born son, and I was up all night, as he snuffled and snorted! I think Kay hoped that we would become pregnant (we had been trying) from the experience.
In Chicago, we stayed with with Norm and Faith Gengler, who had lived in our apartment complex in Newton Corner.
In Enderlin, South Dakota, we stayed with Harvey and Elma Kemmer and their family. Harvey and I had been good friends on our ship during the War.
We arrived in rainy Portland in early September.