333 Snowdale Drive

 

Our new home for a while is at 333 Snowdale Drive, Syracuse. This is actually in an area known as Seneca Knolls and the Seneca river is nearby. In 1962, State Fair Blvd. was the access road to Syracuse and Crucible Steel was about 10 miles away. The house is a small one story ranch house with 3 bedrooms, living/dining room and one bath. I would guess around 900 Sq. Ft. I looked for it recently on Zillow and found a similar model asking $75,000 and estimated rental $1000/month. I think we paid no more than $125 back then.

When we got it, there was no garage, but did have a car port attached to the right side of the house. I looked the address up on Google, and to my amazement, it is still there. The car port is gone, and there is a garage at the end of the drive, and some owner after us had put in a fireplace at the end of the house on the right and installed a small bay window in the front in the living room area. There was no cellar in the house and heating was a gas furnace located in a little closet in the center of the house. It was probably the cheapest model in the development but even the two-story next to it is built flush with the ground. Adequate for our purpose and we did not intend to live there long. In 1962 there was a little strip mall on St. Fair Blvd. which was handy. There was a clause in the rental agreement that if I were transferred, I could leave with no penalty. Good thing, as I did not plan on staying any longer than possible.

The next thing was to move our belongs from the storage facility to our house. On those days there were no metal storage units as there are today. We stored our belongs in which was an enclosed space in a warehouse in Syracuse. Our storage area had little more than chicken wire defining it, and a door with a clasp where you would put a padlock. of course, no help from the Air Force in defraying the cost of this, nor the cost of moving in and out.

We moved into Snowdale Drive as soon as we could. Fortunately, it was a nice day and the movers were efficient and did not break anything. Unfortunately, as we sorted through our belongs we found that at least two items were stolen. One was a Zither that Marge owned. She did not play it as I recall, and I think it was some sort of heirloom. Also a pair of black shoes of mine were gone. They were, in fact, the shoes I had bought to wear when we got married. They were probably in a suitcase with other clothes, so someone must have opened the padlock and picked around for something to steal. By the time we realized the losses, it was too late to try any redress, and of course, we had no proof either, though who would have been so hard up to steal a pair of used shoes? Our trust had been violated and we were both distressed about that.

We still had the 1955 Plymouth and one day I was washing it and had to step on the door sill so I could wash the top. When I did this,I felt the car give way a little and decided it had rusted away underneath. This was common in Syracuse as they used a lot of salt as a snow removal tool, and it raised hell with cars. It would turn snow into slush even at zero degree temperature and if you parked on a street with this slush, passing cars would spray your car with it. When the sun came out and the water evaporated, you were left with a layer of salt crystals on your car. Even a little stone chip on the paint was the site for the growth of cancerous rust.

So we had to get another car but our finances were a bit strained at that point. We ended up buying a 1962 Ford Galaxy that did have some miles on it. The 63 models had come out so obviously recently traded in. The car was basic transportation, a 6 cylinder 2 door, standard transmission vehicle. When we were discussing price, I asked the salesman what we would get on a trade-in. His response was that if we kept the Plymouth he would knock off $50 on the Ford. Deal!.

Marge had a license but had never driven a standard shift car. Fortunately, the streets in our development had little traffic so we would practice driving the Ford near our home. She was at the wheel and I next to her. This was frustrating for both of us, I still remember it. She would start the car, depress the clutch and put it into first car. Then I would tell her “Slowly let the clutch out and smoothly give it some more gas.” Then she would stall the car, or it would move forward bucking wildly. To which I would reply “CAN’T YOU FEEL IT, YOU HAVE TO FEEL IT WITH YOUR FOOT!!!” Then, of course, this would anger her and elicit a response like” GOD DAMN IT, DON’T YELL, I’M DOING THE BEST AS I CAN AND YOUR YELLING DOESN’T HELP!.”

This was a trial for both of us, but she did catch on pretty quickly and became a very competent driver with both cars. Actually,having two cars turned out to be a good thing as Marge still had a course or two at the University to finish the requirements for her degree. She could drive to school in the Plymouth and I could drive the Ford to work. Moving ahead in time a bit, I had accepted a new job starting in April 1963. I put an ad in the local paper to sell the Plymouth and quickly got a response from a man who lived in our development. It turned out he had to fly out-of-town frequently and wanted a clunker to drive to the airport and leave it rather than his good car. I sold it for $100, so it suited both our needs.

So much for cars, now for the rest of my time at Crucible Steel. I only planned on staying at Crucible for 2 years until Marge graduated. However, life went otherwise so I ended up staying there until 1963 when Marge had finished her course work. I never really liked the job so did not have a lot of motivation. There were other larger mills in the parent company and ours was called the “Forth Reich” in them. The reason for this was that the head of our mill was a German, and the plant was what was called in the military a chicken___t outfit. For example, anyone under the classification of a senior engineer was required to clock in and out like a mill worker. Be two minutes late and you heard about it. Work .5 hours to complete a project and you never heard even a word of thanks. You may have heard of the definition “A bureaucrat is someone who never signs what he writes or writes what he signs.” Nothing written went out of the office signed by anyone but the manager. You get the picture, not an inspiring place to work.

Becoming a parent was new to me, so Marge had to show me the ropes, as it were. We worked that out so we could both get a reasonable amount of sleep and still be attentive to the needs of Ingrid. There were no disposable diapers in those days but there were diaper washing companies that would come around once a week, pick up the dirty diapers and deliver same amount of clean ones. Archaic in a way, but at least the landfills were not loaded up with soiled diapers. I do not remember what we did concerning care for Ingrid when Marge had classes. Maybe she had been able to make a sharing arrangement for baby sitting with a neighbor but I just don’t recall how we worked that out, but obviously there was some arrangement.

Marge finished her course work the fall semester of Syracuse University. They did not have mid year graduation ceremonies so she missed out on that. That was too bad, but we eventually made up for that, but that is another story. Then I started in earnest looking for a new job. I had different interviews, none in Syracuse, and think I used vacation time for them. On one or two occasions I had to be at the mill on the night shift and was able to arrange interviews during the day. I may even have called in sick once or twice. My last interview was in Binghamton with the GAF chemical company. In those days we had both Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday celebrated in February, since Presidents day was years in the future. My interview was on Washington’s birthday. Seems odd but the manager who was interviewing me was willing to do this and I did not have to take any time off.

Marge and I drove to Hancock to stay with her Grandmother and Hancock is not that far from Binghamton. We stayed overnight and I got an early start to Binghamton which is not that far away. I had a good interview, liked what I saw and heard and Marge had cousins in Endicott which is very close to Binghamton. I received a satisfactory job offer and accepted it. In a way Marge, even though an Army “brat” had moved a lot she did not really like the disruption caused by moving and losing old friends and having to make new ones. I understood that, but we had never planned on staying in Syracuse anyway and at least she had family connections near Binghamton.

So, the decision was a joint one, we did discuss it and the move was an improvement. That settled, I went into our section manager’s office and gave my notice. He was not gracious about it at all and said something like ” I could just let you go right now” and I thought I was doing them a favor by staying long enough to finish up what I was working on. Maybe that was just to intimidate me and I responded “Fine with me, I could just get started at my new job earlier.” Needless to say, I did not get a going away party. I went down to Binghamton one week-end in March to look at houses and signed up for a rental of half a duplex, this time a right and left duplex, not up and down. We had the one on the right as you faced the house.

So, on April 1, we moved to Binghamton and started that phase of our life. Ingrid’s birthday was in March and we moved from Syracuse after many years to begin a new phase in our lives. Good place to stop writing for now.

 

 

 

 

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About R. F.

I am a Professional Engineer who spent my working life in the electric utility industry. images vary from time to time
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