Saturday, September 01, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - September 1978

After a few months of silence, there is finally a new entry int he #40yearsagotoday project.

This artwork was presumably sent to my Uncle George and Aunt Wilma but I can't be sure. It is at least dated, September 1978, in what appears to be my mother's handwriting.


[2018-09-05 UPDATE] Thanks to some additional information from my mother and cousin, I've learned the art was actually sent to my Grandma Dorothy. They both recognized the handwriting as hers, not my mother's.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - June 20, 1978

On June 20, 1978, my father wrote a letter to Art Struempler, detailing his plans to apply for teaching positions at local colleges and universities. Without going into too much personal detail, there were a few things that I enjoyed reading about.

First, was the brief history my father gave about what happened to him after his time at Chadron State College. To summarize, he worked at Pt. Mugu in California, served in the Army during the Vietnam War, then returned to Pt. Mugu. He also describes some of the college courses he took as well as his work at Patuxent (Pax) River in Maryland, where he was working when he wrote the letter. Most interesting was all of the early computers and networks he was involved with.

Second, is of course the short paragraph where he talks about my mother and myself.




"Well I hoped this will help you Art and if you have xxx [strike-through] any questions please write or call. Gayle is doing OK andso [sic] is Neil. Really like to watch him grow. I am really getting to dislike xxx [strike-through] people who are mean to children. Seems like there is a lot of that around here. But any way he is doing fine after we got into the house. He can run and play outside without the fear of someone xx [strike-through] coming down the street in a car. We were getting ready to xx [strike-through] quit Gov't work and move to the midwest before xx [strike-through] this job came thru. We still will like to live in the midwest somewhere. But first we must see the East part of the country."

Finally, when he closes the letter, he says "Guess it is time to quit, my typing and spelling are going to pot." And it was. There were several strike-throughs and spelling errors leading up to that last sentence.

Attached to the letter was a recommendation form for one of the jobs he was applying for.

What is missing from the letter is more information about Art Struempler. He was a man I only remember meeting once. During that meeting I remember he had a lapidary (rock polishing) hobby and also collected meteorites. Turns out he would find a giant one a few years after getting this letter. When I visited, Art's wife, Jo, was also there but I can't remember much about her. I do recall how much my father revered Art and this letter further proves that. Now that I'm much more familiar with history, I wish I had asked him more questions about his service aboard B-17s during WWII.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - May 15, 1978

This is a BIG post so hang on! The first part is a card from my mother to Aunt Wilma. The second part is the deed on the new Flintlock Court home in Southern Maryland. I guess it was a very busy day 40 years ago!

My mother sent a card to my Aunt Wilma on May 15, 1978. This is where the move to Southern Maryland has finally occurred and things begin to take a turn for the worse. As I've stated before, this is where my family's history will become redacted to a certain degree. With that in mind, I've included a transcription of the letter below (even though my mother's handwriting is easy to read).







May 15, 1978

Hi-

We're fine. Living in an empty, but beautiful house. Furniture comes Wed. So does phone. Today they're supposed to install range & dishwasher. I've waited all day for the electrician - but he's still working on the house behind us.

We still have *so* much to do. But the grass is starting to come up. Gary's been cleaning windows. I've been cleaning all the cupboards & paneling. The whole basement is paneled - I've only just started. I need to line all the shelves with paper yet - but can't go to K-Mart to get it till the electrician comes & goes. It's 10 miles into town for groceries, McDonald's, drugstore, etc. - so I have to plan everything for 1 trip. There's gas & bread & milk about 2 1/2 mi. away for emergencies.

It's so quiet here - no streetlights, even. But the peace is nice 0 a real change. Neil is fine. Has been sleeping *well* from the nite we got here. It's as if he knows we're home. He has a bit of a cold - but nothing that bothers him a whole lot yet.

I went to a TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) convention in Baltimore Sat. & it was great. I drove 3 other women & we got lost twice, but we were always safe & sound - even tho it poured all day. It's rained the past 4 days now & looks like it will again. I wish it would dry up some 'cuz Wed all those guys will be

--> to the back

[page 2]

[portion of card removed]

address & phone though.

Take care.

We love & miss you.

Love, Gayle, Gary & Neil

[pre-printed portion of card]

Hope Mother's Day
is nice for you
'Cause you're an Aunt
who's so nice, too!

[hand-written portion on same page]

Love, Neil & Gary & Gayle, too!

It's funny - Gary thought *I'd* be real homesick. I'm not & *he* *is* !!

[written in different color ink]

Sorry so late - Cards got lost when movers came. Dug 'em out today.


The second part of the day was the deed that recorded the sale of our new house on Flintlock Court in Hollywood, Maryland. It's not too exciting but still interesting to see. I had thought about redacting it like the closing documents but there wasn't much detail on the deed and it's a matter of public record. Plus it's 40 years old!





Saturday, May 12, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - May 12, 1978

On May 12, 1978, my parents closed on their house in Maryland. Located in the Scotch Point neighborhood of St. Mary's County, the house is located at the end of a cul-de-sac on Flintlock Court in Hollywood, Maryland. That's right, I used to live in Hollywood (I was destined to be a star!).

As with previous records I have found from my father's collection, there is a plethora of paper. So even though some of the documents may be dated before or after May 12, 1978, I'm using that date as the central point for this particular event (the purchase of the Hollywood house). As an example, the Deed is dated May 12th, but doesn't get "received" by the St. Mary's County Clerk until May 15th. Plus all the insurance statements, mortgage bills, and various other papers all have a ton of names and dates that are just too much to share and would overwhelm the story. Speaking of which, let's get back to it.




While their previous house in Oxnard, CA was purchased for about $20,000, this house was much more expensive. Nearly four times as expensive. And the interest rate on that mortgage? Nine point three percent (9.3%). And while the cost of the new home is an interesting tidbit, I think the details on the Settlement Statement are more interesting. The property was described as:

Route 1, Box 105-5
Flintlock Court
Hollywood, Maryland 20636
Lot 5, Block E, Scotch
Point S/D, 6th Election
District of St. Mary's Co., Md.

An election district was actually listed as part of the property's location. Weird. Not so weird, but still neat, is the line item under Title Charges for "Photostat copies and telephone calls." Yep, they were "photostats" back then, not just "copies." The Hollywood house was purchased directly from the development company, Garner (or Garners) Development Company.



The house itself was a split-foyer style on about an acre of land. It had three bedrooms and two bathrooms with roughly 2,600 square feet. There appears to be a primitive homeowner's association in the form of the Scotch Point Civic Association. Dues may have been $20 per year and they did maintain a pier off of Millstone Lane that was only to be used by those Association members that paid their dues.

While prior to them moving in, the list of things to fix looked relatively small. A few screens were missing, some light fixtures needed covers, and a few appliances still needed to be purchased. And while we're talking about purchases, there's a lot of receipts. I won't list them all but here's a reasonably complete list of the stores they came from:


  • Hollywood House TV & Stereo - Route 235, Hollywood, Maryland 20636
  • Radio Shack (A Division of Tandy Corporation) - St. Mary's Square Shopping Center, Great Mills Rd., Lexington Park, Maryland, 20653
  • Bill Raley's Service Center - 226 Great Mills Road, Lexington Park, Maryland, 20653
  • Maryland Tobacco Growers Association - P. O. Box 48, Cheltenham, MD. 20623
  • Best Products
  • Mammoth Mart
  • Peebles - Lexington Park MD.
  • MSI - Hughesville, MD
  • American Hardware - of Waldorf, Md.
  • Fischer's
  • K Mart
  • Ben Franklin Store - Leonardtown, MD.
  • Hechinger
  • Sears
Not to spoil the story's ending, but the time we spend in this house will be short. As a family, we were still in Oxnard, California in January 1978. By May 1978, we were in Hollywood, Maryland. By 1979, the Hollywood house was listed for sale. By 1980, my father and I would move to King George, Virginia while my mother would stay in southern Maryland.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - May 10, 1978

A preview of things to come. Big changes for the family 40 years ago!