Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Family Story - Part 2

Marion and her family lived in the Greylock area of North Adams for most of Marion's childhood.  She and her siblings, my uncle Tom and my dad Al, would tell many stories of those growing up years.  Like the boys smoking corn silk, "hiding" behind the mill to avoid getting caught, while their fathers watched from the windows above them.  Or Marion, just a young girl, having to care for her parents and brothers during a flu epidemic and how when she headed out to get bread from a neighbor sank knee deep in mud at the foot of the back stairs, with only her screaming bringing the neighbors to check.  I remember a short tale told each time we drove past a vacant lot at the foot of the Mohawk Trail, entering North Adams.  "There used to be a house there," my Dad would say.  "There was a big mudslide that came down the mountain and destroyed it." (Obviously never rebuilt!).  As a youngster, my uncle Tom built a glider.  Full sized!  The neighborhood boys dragged it up part of Mount Greylock and "launched" him off a cliff.  It flew.  Uncle Tom flew!  His dad heard word of it and took an axe to the glider!  Tom would become a professional pilot in adulthood. 
Marion in her late teens

While living in Greylock and working at the mill, there was occasion, some mill business of some sort, to travel to New Bedford and meet with other mill workers.  That's when my father's family met my mother's family and became lifelong friends.
The Birch/Jennings kids at Mausert's Pond, l-r: Marion, Hugh J., Tom, Norman J., and Al (my mother was not yet born)

Marion, Tom, and Al grew up and into the start of WWII.  Tom entered the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Arizona for part of the war.  Al joined the Navy and spent the majority of the war in the Pacific.  After a short stint when Marion and her parents lived in Stamford CT, the three moved west to San Diego (Marie, Tom's future wife accompanied them) to be closer to Tom and also, they felt, where Al would come ashore.  Sometime near the beginning of the war, Marion met and married Connie, an Army man.  During her time with her parents in San Diego, my cousin Paul was born.  That was Feb. 8th 1945.

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