Last week, Tiffany, my neighbor,
told me that I should record my "memoirs" for my children and
that she also wanted a copy. I really don't think there is too
much to write, but I will attempt to put my life down on paper.
Believing that we all are a product of our heredity and
environment I shall attempt to tell you a bit about my parents
and grandparents. We pick up ideas and ideals from our parents
and are affected by the times in which we live. For instance, we
who have lived through a depression are much more conscious of
money than our children, who never wondered if there would be
money for food next week. My father, Timothy J. Smith, was born
January 19, 1899 in Derby, Connecticut. I believe he was born at
49 Academy Hill. He was the second of three children born to
Harold and Gladys Smith. My Aunt Jill was approximately two
years older than he and Uncle Roland was about twelve years
younger. My father and Aunt Jill had a hard childhood. After
Uncle Roland was born Grandma apparently suffered from
depression. At that time depression was not analyzed as such and
they thought she was crazy so she spent some time in the
Middletown State Hospital. Aunt Jill took care of the baby and
my Dad went to work.
He was truly a self-educated man, for he became Chief Draftsman
for Herman Randy Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Incidentally, they invented the pull socket. My Uncle Roland,
Dad's brother, told me that he had never seen my dad angry.
Neither had I. He died May 5, 1935 at the age of 48. My mother
on the other hand grew up in a more prosperous home. She was
born in Ansonia, Connecticut on November 16, 1886. She was the
second child. After my mother was born my grandmother had twin
boys. One baby, John, died at birth. My mother attended the Yale
School of Music and gave a concert at Battell Chapel January 29,
1909, and also one at Woolsey Hall in New Haven. I did not know
until I was grown and married that she went into nursing school.
She had a nervous breakdown and her parents went to the school
and had to bring her home. Shortly after that she and her
parents had an extensive vacation trip through Europe and
northern Africa. She and my father were married in Ansonia in
the First Baptist Church April 5, 1916. She died on Mothers Day
in 1985. She was 98 years old.
My grandfather was the third child of his parents. He was born
October 7, 1860. His mother and father and the two older
children, Mary and Jim, along with one of the couple's mother
came from England in a sailboat. The story goes that after they
were at sea for a few days there was a bad storm and the boat
was blown back to England. The mother got off the boat and
stayed in England. The trip, as I understand, took three months.
My great-grandfather bought the land on Academy Hill and more or
less made a living off it. He had all sorts of trees, etc. I
believe my grandfather was born in that house, but I am not
sure. My grandfather did not take care of the trees, etc. so
there was not much to harvest after awhile. He died November 17,
1936, at 76 years of age.
Grandma was one of six children who
lived across the street from Aunt Jill. Nancy was Walter's
daughter. Dad and Walter were first cousins, so I guess Nancy
and I are second cousins. I know very little of Grandma's early
life. However, I do know that when she was 76 she painted her
kitchen ceiling. I remember my mother telling me that Grandma
Tiffany had a breast removed, evidently for a growth. Either
there was no hospital or she didn't have the money. At any rate,
the operation was performed on the kitchen table. She died in
July 1946. She was 80 years old. That was the year Susan was
born. I received $100.00 from her estate. That was the only
money we ever inherited. We used it to pay the doctor for Susan.
I never knew my Grandmother, for she died August 23, 1914,
before my mother was married. She had diabetes. She was 54 years
old at the time of her death. She was one of a number of
children. I believe she was a telephone operator in New Haven,
Connecticut, one of the first in the country. She was born March
15, 1860. I was named for her. She married my grandfather
December 29, 1881. I didn't know my Grandfather very well for I
did not see him too often. He remarried a much younger woman and
my mother did not accept the marriage very graciously. He served
as a City Alderman in Ansonia and was also at one time the City
Auditor. My father-in-law said Grandfather was a fine man. He
was born March 26, 1860, and died February 26, 1927. He was 66
years old when he died.