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
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
Yet, one goes with the flow.