We had old friends who lived on the Canadian border in New York State (Heuvelton) and we had interesting trips on several occasions, including Ottawa one time when we visited them and other areas across the border………We went to the New York World’s Fair in 1939 three times—once with a General Electric-sponsored weekend tour; another with Thelma and Wes; and still another with friends…….We went to Washington, DC once with my sister and her husband [Gladys and Donald Southerland]and a second time with our friends of longstanding, the Grovers…….For a number of years prior to the time when we moved from Pittsfield, we spent a month in Florida with my cousin, Edna, in Miami, and one year we decided to take a weekend tour to Havana, Cuba. This was our first experience with plane travel and the trip was exciting, however short…….While Wes and Thelma were stationed outside of Boston, we saw parts of the city plus Salem and the north shore and later on Cape Cod, saw more of the southern shore, including Plymouth……….When they went to Germany, we flew over for a two-month visit. While there we went on a trip to southern Germany, Italy (which included Venice, Florence, and Rome), and a return through Switzerland, and back through Baden-Baden to their quarters in Ramstein. We enjoyed our stay so much.
When they returned from overseas in 1958, Roy had had a stroke but he recovered sufficiently so that we still drove up to Montgomery, Alabama, where they were next assigned, to visit them a couple of times. Small seizures prevented us from the longer trip to Washington, DC after they moved there, so we went by train or plane. By the time they moved to San Antonio, our traveling days were over due to his health, and he finally died in 1968. I spent two months with them here after his funeral and since this was the year of HEMIS-FAIR, I was able to see that, get a bit rested, and prepare for a life alone. While here, toward the end of the visit, I received word that my house had been broken into and I left immediately, preparing myself for the worst. Obviously just ignorant vandals since they turned the house upside down, overlooking anything of real value and were satisfied with camera equipment and a bedside clock.
In July of 1970, Thelma and Wes went to Spain, and early in the next year I visited them for three months. We traveled around the City of Madrid where they lived and took further trips beyond. We also went up to Wiesbaden, primarily for Thelma to obtain her first hearing aid, and this was my first introduction to Laura, my first great-grandchild! A most happy occasion! Then Thelma and Wes were transferred to Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1972, and I flew over again, this time for the Christmas holidays. They came back to San Antonio in 1973. I sold my home in Florida, moved here on August 1, 1973, after my five years alone in Florida and of course have remained here since.
Now, thanks to David [Baker] and Susan [Baker Tarpley], I have four beautiful great-grandchildren; Laura [Baker], Treva [Tarpley], Beth [Tarpley], and Andy [Tarpley]. I feel so very fortunate to be able to see them more frequently here than I would have, had I still been in Florida.
I’ve had a full life during my 87 years as of this writing. There have been sorrows and joys—which none of us escape, each in his own way—but overall, I feel fortunate to have lived during this span of years. I do believe that no other generation will see such a dramatic change in lifestyle: from stereoscope slides to wide-screen movies; from a crystal radio set to modern television; from adding machines to computers; and last, but by no means least, from a horse and buggy to a man on the moon. Whether we are actually better off or happier is questionable, but I’m not at all sure I would want to go back to the “good old days”.
Merry Christmas, 1982
Note from Tina: I have to sincerely thank Sue Tarpley for all of the pictures and information that she has painstakingly sent to me. THIS is truly what I had in mind when I started this site - to do something to preserve Stephentown's past, and that of the residents of the town. Sue has sent pictures of many eras in her family's life, and with them and the words of her grandmother, Bessie, this page tells the story of her family, albeit mere snapshots, but it shows us the richness of her family's life and experiences. I hope I have been able to do her family justice.
Additional Lapp family photos