It is hard to remember how I felt in the early years of my marriage, but my mother wanted us to live with her, which we did. We all felt that she should not live alone. Brother Ryan was there, but he was more of a problem than an asset. We lived with Mother until we decided to move to Ansonia where Ben was working. I was pregnant with Sandy at the time, but as I recall we did not tell anyone.
We lived on Clover Street in Ansonia in a second-floor, five-room flat. We had a great time. The one thing I remember most was our evenings of poker. Ben's friend, Charlie Smith, would come over, we would divide up the penny bank and when the game was over all the pennies went back into the bank. We also had made root beer which we put in beer bottles someone had given us. One of the neighbors told my Aunt Jill that we stayed up all night drinking and gambling. When we were married, Ben was working forty hours a week, but shortly after we were married he worked four days every other week. The depression had caught up with Samuel's. He was a machinist apprentice at the time. To earn extra money he painted blinds for a neighbor and worked a little for Mr. Paterson, who ran a grocery store, and was the man who introduced us. As I say, it is hard to remember so long ago, but for one reason or another we moved back to Bridgeport in September to live with my mother. Sandy is our first child. She was the first grandchild for both our parents. She was a nice healthy baby.
Then in the Spring of one year we decided to move again to Ansonia. The commuting was not easy for Ben. Roads and cars were not like the roads and cars of today. We moved to 27 Wakelee Avenue where we lived for three years. Julie was born in February and Dorothy was born August, while we lived there. Ben walked to work, we went to the Methodist Church and had a lively social life with the friends Ben had grown up with in Ansonia. I remember one night we expected company, so I decided to have strawberry shortcake. Before it was time to serve the shortcake some more friends dropped in to see us. When I was preparing the shortcake I found that I did not have enough strawberries, so I fixed one dish for myself with just the shortcake and whipped cream, no strawberries. Someone helped me carry the dessert into the dining room. Imagine my surprise when I found strawberries in my portion. Whoever received the one without strawberries never let on and I never did know who was shortchanged that night. Shortly after we moved my mother sold her house and moved in with us. When Dorothy was born, she found a room with friends near us, for we needed her bedroom for Dorothy.
We had three bedrooms at the time. Sandy and Julie shared a room, but there just wasn't room for a baby. Wakelee Avenue was the main drag through town. Route 8 was built later and bypassed Wakelee Avenue, but at that time it was the truck route from Bridgeport to Waterbury. The trucks would shake the house and each day we would straighten the pictures on the walls. One day Sandy ran out into the street and barely missed being hit by a truck. We decided to move. While we were living in Ansonia. Ben bought a piece of property in Center Bamstead, New Hampshire from a fellow who had come down from New Hampshire to work in Samuel's. Ben and his brother, Ken, went to look at the property. The only reason I remember was that was the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, which sent the United States into war. After the war was over, we took the three kids and our tent and went up and camped on our property.
Speaking of camping, we took a trip later when Susan was six months old to see our friends, Beth and Ed Clark, in Maine. When we got as far as Massachusetts, something went wrong with the car. We were held up about a half a day. I can remember Julie asking "how many more days before we get there?" During the war we had blackout drills. When the sirens sounded we had to put out all lights and if you were on the street, in a car or on foot, you had to take shelter. When I was in Bridgeport Hospital with Dorothy, the air raid sirens sounded. At that time Remington Arms, which was a big ammunition manufacturer, was very close to the hospital. I don't think I have ever been as frightened as I was when the sirens sounded. I didn't know where my baby was and no one was sure if it was a practice or the real thing. Fortunately it was a practice. We had blackout shades which we put on the windows so that we could have a little light at the time of an air raid drill. There were air raid wardens who patrolled the streets during the air raid drill and they made sure that all lights were out.
Right from the beginning of our marriage, Ben could fix or make almost anything. Sandy, when she was about three or four years old, just knew that Daddy could fix anything and everything. One day she found his screw driver, brought it to him with her broken balloon and asked him to fix it!