Vestal 1965-1966


We lived in Vestal from the summer of 63 until the fall of 69.  Quite a few things happened then and I’ll do my best to remember them in sequence. in 1965 we were still members of the First Pres. church in Binghamton.  We continued our membership their mostly out of inertia, I think.  Religion as such to me was more of a cultural phenomena than a spiritual one.  You were born to a Protestant parent, you went to a Protestant church, born Catholic, you went to a Catholic church. Things were much different 80 years ago.  After I finished high school, I didn’t darken the steps of any church until we had Ingrid baptised, which was what Marge wanted.  The Binghamton church had social events where we at least made acquaintances, though perhaps not quite close friends.  I believe Marge went to church as she grew up that way, and maybe even more important, she could sing in the choir, and occasionally do a solo.   The Binghamton church had a paid quartet, as well as a choir and I don’t think she did anything musical there.  Vestal had a mission Presbyterian church, South Hills Presbyterian as I recall.  It was a small new church in an area being developed for residential usage. We went there now and then and perhaps by Christmas we transferred our membership.

The pastor  Walt, newly ordained and I think this was his first church.  He and his wife seemed like decent enough people, though Walt seemed not as deeply involved with his ministry as some other pastors I have known.  Like maybe, perhaps, this was not the occupation for him, but he was trying to make the best of it.  Maybe not, but that is the way I remember him.  The congregation was people very similar to ourselves.  That is, WASP, young couples, most of them college educated, engineers, college professors, businessmen, etc.  We both felt quite at home there.  I don’t think Marge joined the choir, but for the first time in my life I became actively involved with the church.  I team taught Sunday School with a very nice woman to a group of elementary students.  You may think this a bit odd, but I have believed, and still do that Western civilization would be quite different if it not for the growth of Christianity.  So, a worthwhile subject to study.  After about maybe a year, I the church asked me to join the lay leadership, which is named the Session in the Presbyterian system.  I became involved with the details of the worship service planning, interviewing organists, finding relief ministers when Walt was on Vacation, etc.  Toward the end of our life there, I took over the Treasurer’s job.  I really enjoyed the trust and responsibilities given me, though as I said, my feeling was that if Walt was not a fish out of water, he was pretty close to the shoreline.

1966 started with a lot of overtime work for me.  The plant had landed a big contract which meant a lot of overtime for the manufacturing engineering group. Being exempt we did not get time and a half, just straight time, typically 2 hours a day extra and often a half day on Saturday.  So, this meant that I was gone from home most of the week, I was getting tired and had to catch up on house chores when I could.  One day when I was in Binghamton, I happened to pass the Cadillac dealership.  They had a 1962 Coupe De Ville in the showroom.  It looked beautiful.  I went inside talked to a sales rep and if one can fall in love with a car, I did.

Us and our Cadillac

Us and our Cadillac

The car was immaculate with very low mileage considering it was 4 years old. Typical little old woman car who never drove in bad weather.  I told them that I liked it, would buy it but wanted to test drive it to my home to see if it was OK with my wife.  They let me do that, I came back and bought it.  I figured, if I had to work all the time, at least I deserved a nice car to drive to work.  Every time I see a period movie with a similar car in it, I dearly wish I had been able to hang on to it.

In the fall of 66 we went to my parent’s home in Dannemora, NY  where my Dad took the photo above , and left Ingrid with them while Marge and I took a trip up into Quebec.  While I was in college, I was once offered a summer job at an aluminum factory in Chicoutimi, Quebec which is about 400 miles north of Dannemora.  The interview was good and almost over when I learned that the Canadian universities quit the spring semester in April and Syracuse quit in May. So no job.  I always wanted to at least take a look at the place and I asked Marge if she would like to take a vacation in Canada to do this.  We had been to Montreal a few times and enjoyed that.  So, we decided to go to Montreal, stay a night, then to Quebec city, stay a night, and then to Chicoutimi which is on the Saguenay river in Quebec.  Montreal was a treat.  The hotel we stayed in had a subterranean entrance to a very large underground mall. We had a delicious lobster dinner there and did some window shopping after we left. I have never seen another underground mall exactly like that.  But then I didn’t live in a cold weather city.

To back up a bit, during 1966 Marge became insistent about wanting another baby.  I was a bit dubious about this myself but did what I could to help. Sure.  Anyway, the vacation trip to Quebec was very pleasant, scenery excellent and the hotels were very enjoyable.  So, we enjoyed ourselves and Louise was born 9 months later (July 5, 1967).  I don’t think that qualifies her for dual citizenship but I am positive that trip is when Marge became pregnant.  So, Louise would come along about the time Ingrid started kindergarten.

The Ansco film plant included a section that possessed an IBM computer.  It was a second generation model 1620 and they sent out a local company newsletter that announced they were having an open house to illustrate how computers could aid in plant operations.  I got the OK to go over to it and this turned became a life changer of sorts.  The senior engineer there gave a talk about the machine and gave some simple demonstrations such as playing tic-tac-toe, drawing pictures, etc.  The department manager was a person that I knew from the church in Binghamton, Calvin Besore.  A very smart and quick person.  He had degrees in both photo science and mathematics.  We got to talking a bit about what they did and I filled him in on how I was coming along on my MS degree.  By that time the now SUNY Binghamton had expanded their offerings and I had opted for a program called Management Science.  The course content  was  application of quantitative methods applied to economics and business with a few behavioral courses thrown in.  50 years before BIG DATA.  The result that Cal asked if I would like to come back for a more personalized visit.  Naturally I said yes went over in a week or so, and the result was that Cal asked if I would like to come over to work with him.  I said “sure but I really should finish up on a warehouse layout project I was working on.”  So he finished the paperwork with the personnel dept.   and I was soon on board as a Senior Statistician with a salary increase as well. I finished my warehouse project in a month and then went to work for Cal and stayed there until 1969. It turned out that I now would be working about 2 miles from where we first lived in Binghamton. Well worth it though.  More details to come on that. Stay tuned.













About R. F.

I am a retired Professional Engineer who spent my working life in the electric utility industry. I am now a volunteer instructor at the University Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
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6 Responses to Vestal 1965-1966


    • Bob says:

      Thanks for your comments. Our paths must have passed, at least temporally as we lived in Bingo from 63-65 and vestal from 65-69. Where did you work?

      • I graduated from North Senior High School in 1975—I think next class went into the Middle school rather than Junior High. My senior year I worked at NORMAN’S SUPERMARKET WAREHOUSE (The Little Store that Saves You More!) summer of ’79 through Spring of 1980…after four years at SUNY College at Cortland. Came back from Massachusetts to start school Fall of 1980-83…sub teaching in tjhe Binghamton, Endwell, Endicott-Johnson City, Vestal,…I missed a few I know—5 public systems plus the Catholic schools at least twice! Found my way to the Catskills and then to Massachusetts. Except for burying my Mom and visiting, then buring, my Dad…I’ve not been back.

      • Bob says:

        Thanks for the history. I think I am about 20 years older than you but still have family, particularly my late wife’s, and friends in NY. I remember that many markets sold spiedi meat, if I spelled it right, and you could buy some to BBQ your own spiedi sandwiches. Never saw that elsewhere. Marge once wanted to make a pecan pie and went to a market somewhere local to pecans for the pie. The clerk did not understand what she wanted until finally he said something like “You mean pick-ens, which is as close as I can get it.

  2. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  3. ingridmg2014 says:

    Ah, yes. I have many fond memories of the house in Vestal. I do think that to this day I could still draw a pretty accurate picture of the layout if I had to. That fence was not there then, of course, and the street not so wide, nor was the shrubbery so overwhelming. I remember the lush, fragrant lilac bush in the back yard (I wonder if it still stands?). I remember falling asleep on the living room floor in front of the fireplace after playing with the cats for a while. And I remember Mom lovingly teaching me the Lord’s Prayer before I would go to sleep, the soft summer twilight outside my window.

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