Glenn Miller - Pennsylvania 6-5000

My New City

There is more rattling around in my head, but I think, dear reader, this is enough. I hope you have the flavor of my Naperville Days. Here I will only fast forward to describe what subsequently happened to the players, my family.

My father didn’t reopen the shop after the quarry house was built. Instead he took a job as president of a division of the Moser Lumber Company with the task of building new homes in Naperville. This was at the beginning of the transformation of Naperville from a sleepy farming community to a big city. But, unsurprisingly to me, he got the idea that the way to build houses was to prefabricate them, however he couldn’t sell the boss, Harold Moser, on the idea. So after a while he quit and raised some capital to start a new business to make prefab houses. He leased some space in a huge old war plant in Batavia Illinois for the purpose. Of course he did make them, but the venture was not financially successful. Unfortunately, the houses needed to be sold!

In somewhat of a funk I think, he and my mother then went on a long, exploratory trip to Texas and then to southern California. This area seemed to appeal to them and he and my mother settled in Hemet California where after a time he proceeded to construct a unique retirement facility occupying a complete city block. The quarry house was sold. Following this venture he moved again, this time to northern California in Alameda, near San Francisco, not far from two of his sisters. There, eventually, he designed a 45 foot steel powerboat on which he and my mother could retire on in San Francisco bay. He leased space in an abandoned lumberyard and over a couple years built it, practically by himself. I think my mother was not thrilled with this rather drastic turn of events. But in those matronly days one followed one’s husband. She made the best of it and went to navigation school when she was 70 years old. 

Each of my parents died when they were 78 years old.

After graduating from North Central College in Naperville my brother, John, got interested in mathematics and went to the University of Missouri for graduate study. Eventually he moved to California and started playing around with computers which then were very new. Software development turned out, in the main, to be his profession. But he ran smack dab into the nineteen sixty’s hippie culture and moved to Eugene Oregon. And, just to show genetics at work, I will tell you that he built a beautiful geodesic dome in the middle of a forest within which he clandestinely grew pot. After several other transformations he is now relocating back to Oregon to be near his several children and grandchildren. He’s retired too and likes to do water painting, photography, and play bridge—at the tournament level—along with other pursuits.

As I wrote earlier, I moved to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in 1960. There I was involved in engineering and in developing computer software. I live there still, though now I do considerable traveling in the winter to get away from snow and ice.

I have elided from this short tale marriages, children, divorces, problems and solutions; I feel they are incidental to the main story I wanted to tell, though of course they were not incidental to the people involved. But the overwhelming thought I am left with after writing this memoir is how unexpectedly convoluted the lives of the four of us became in fact, compared with what I supposed they would be during my Naperville days, and how little control anyone of us was able, or perhaps willing, to exercise over it.

The same, possibly, is true of Naperville itself, which grew quite extraordinarily, and not necessarily in the fashion that it’s then inhabitants would have imagined or desired. Some have moved farther west, attempting to maintain the small-town or farming culture they grew up within. None of this is necessarily bad, as it makes life interesting, but it can certainly be disorienting.

Yet, one goes with the flow.