1964 Pennant Fever

January 10

It has been a tough start to the year for the Kavanagh’s. Betty has lost her baby. It was early in the pregnancy but it is her third miscarriage in five years. She is nearly inconsolable but for the immediate day-to-day tasks of running her house with eight children, husband and elderly father-in-law across the street. Jack tries to help as he can but Betty just focuses on the children and the meals and the cleaning and she will find her way through it. She is such a natural mother this hurts her deeply partly due to her thoughts that perhaps she will not have anymore children after Little Jack. Eight is enough sure but Jack and Betty love kids and love family. She wanted this one more baby.

Jack Kavanagh Jr. 1963.

February 9

The Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Kavanagh girls are watching with Mom and Dad who don’t see what the fuss is about. The girls love it and the Beatles become a smash hit and take over the music charts. Jack and Betty are dubious. It sounds like a lot of racket to Jack but he assumes it’s harmless. The girls will hear it from Sister Mary Agnes, Aunt Anna, though. The next time they visit her at the Visitation Convent, she tells them that Ed Sullivan had to restrain the young Fab Four from gyrating and shaking themselves even more on the television. She instructs the girls to stay away from this group and this rock ‘n’ roll they play.

February 24

The Shop finishes some repairs on one of their beer stills at Seagrams. The Kavanagh beer still was installed three years ago and needs some stabilizing brass braces and replacement nose couplings. Some of the fabrication is done at the Shop but most is onsite at Joseph E. Seagrams on Kresson Street.  Werner Funke, Charlie Owens and a helper take care of this job.

The Shop’s job book entry. Joseph E. Seagrams job. February 24, 1964.

March 7

Jack and Betty have decided to buy season tickets to the Baltimore Orioles this year. They can’t afford a full season or tickets for all the kids but they purchase a half season plan for six tickets. That will be forty games and most of the time Jack will take the five oldest girls and Betty will stay home with JoAnn, Ann and Jack Jr. They get a deal that includes some kid friendly promotions and events. Jack is very excited and can’t wait for the start of the season.

Ann and Jack Kavanagh Jr. 1963.

March 13

Jack Ruby is convicted in Dallas of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. Like a lot of Americans, Jack believes there has to be more to it. Ruby couldn’t have been on his own. How did he get into the police station and so close to Oswald?  Why did he do it? Ruby is not very forthcoming but the jury decides he and he alone is guilty. Jack will wait and see what the so-called Warren Commission has to say on the matter.

March 17

The Joseph Kavanagh Company finishes another job for Seagrams. A brass angle is annealed and rolled into a ring. Some tinned rivets are required to stiffen the ring. Angle is a challenge to roll because you have three dimensions to keep straight and the tendency of metal angle is for one of the legs to move. Both must be kept under steady pressure during rolling to hold that 90 degree angle as close as possible. It’s a slow process but the angle turns out fine and the ring is very round.

April 9

A mash tank coil needs replacing at Majestic Distillery and they call Jack. The coils are made from 2 5/8” OD thin copper tubes. The coiling is a slow process in the roller but it’s something they do regularly. The work is still coming in strong and they are working Saturday half-days which makes the crew very happy for the extra hours. The fabrication and installation of this coil is a rush and Jack is able to charge accordingly.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. April 9, 1964.

April 17

It’s Friday and the Baltimore Orioles are hosting the New York Yankees for Opening Day. Jack has season tickets but not for the first game this year. He has work and the kids have school so this year their first tickets are for tomorrow night. Jack has the game on the radio at the Shop and listens while he works. He invited Eddie down from the upstairs office to follow the game with him but his father prefers to stay up in the quiet office, reviewing jobs and smoking a cigar. The Birds walk off with a win in extra innings, the score 4-3 over the Yankees. Oriole Russ Snyder singles in Willie Kirkland with one out and the bases loaded in the 11th. 35,000 fans at Memorial Stadium and one at 201 S. Central Avenue go wild.

May 24

The Kavanagh’s attend a Sunday double header today against the Minnesota Twins.  It’s a sunny summer day with just a bit of breeze and perfect for baseball. The Orioles seem to enjoy it as they take both games winning 2-0 and 7-6. The second game is another walk off victory and the ninth inning rally is started by a Jerry Adair home run. Jack couldn’t have scripted it better for his daughters. It’s a fun but long day for the Kavanagh’s and they head home with the Birds in first place.

Jerry Adair. Orioles Infielder. 1964.

June 15

Another job is completed for Majestic Distillery. A copper bottling tank was built from copper sheet and installed. Majestic is as reliable as it gets for the Joseph Kavanagh Company. They have maintenance and repair work for the Shop nearly every month of the year.

June 17

Eddie misses a few days at the Shop. He calls Jack at the office and says he’s not feeling well on the first day and lets him know he won’t be in. This goes on for three days,  then Eddie calls his doctor. He gets out of breath quickly and is feeling very weak. Jack is worried for his father who seems to be suddenly aging faster and faster. Eddie is not one to avoid the doctor but this time he is a little hesitant. This worries Jack more because it means his father is worried.

June 19

Eddie has been diagnosed with emphysema and will need to stop coming into the Shop. He wants to try a few days a week but his doctor and Jack say no. Eddie is 68 years old and his health demands he stop working. He accepts it, but grudgingly. The doctor has told them Eddie can be treated and he should be fine but no working and no smoking is advised. Jack is relieved. He knows his father worked at the Shop his whole life and it’s tough to step away. If you do the same thing every day for every week and every month and every year, it becomes who you are on a certain level. It’s time though and Eddie accepts it. He will stay at 434 N. Lakewood Avenue and Betty will take care of him during the day. She brings his breakfast and lunch over to him and during each of those trips, she makes the bed, does his laundry, sweeps, cleans and empties out all of the ashtrays. Eddie comes over for dinner every night and afterward one of the older girls spends a few hours at his house keeping him company.

June 23

The small radio in the kitchen has the Orioles game on and they are hosting the Yankees again. The radio plays and Jack keeps listening though he is in and out of the kitchen. They are down 7-2 going into the 7th inning. It looks like this one will be a loss. But in the bottom of the 7th, the Birds start to rally and as Betty is finishing the nightly cleaning of her kitchen, preparing for tomorrow’s breakfast for ten and making her final cup of tea, Jack starts lingering more. The Orioles are mounting a comeback and he and the four oldest girls are hovering in front of the back door and the stove. This leaves little room for Betty and she tries shooing them out of her kitchen but they are glued to the radio listening as Chuck Thompson gives the call and the Orioles come back to win. They score seven in the bottom of the 8th and finish with a 9-8 victory. There is considerable whooping and hollering in the small kitchen and Betty finally manages to get them all out into the living room. She can make that quiet cup of tea she has every night.

June 26

Jack’s brother Ed calls the Shop to talk about Eddie. He knows his father can no longer work and he asks Jack if he needs any help. Jack tells him things are okay but he could use a hand. Ed tells Jack he has joined AA and is no longer drinking. The job at Sparrows Point is not working out for him as well as he anticipated. Jack offers him a job. As long as he stays sober, he can work at the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Ed accepts and agrees to start on Monday. Jack lets him know he has to listen to him and if he does that, they won’t have any problems. Ed assures him he will and he thanks Jack.

July 3

The Kavanagh’s spend a Friday night at Memorial Stadium watching the Birds. The Orioles are looking good so far this season. They have been in first place for almost a month straight and Baltimore is getting very excited about this team. Jack takes his five oldest girls while Betty stays home with the three youngest. It’s Jack, Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane and Jackie sitting on the third base side cheering on the Birds. They have the annual Fourth of July crab feast tomorrow,  then fireworks at the park; a night at the ball game is a great way to begin the weekend. Wally Bunker is starting for the Orioles and he is dealing tonight. He retires the first twelve Kansas City Athletics batters while the Birds build a 2-0 lead on a run-scoring error and a home run by Brooks Robinson. The girls scream and cheer for Brooks and the rest of the team and they win 4-0. Bunker goes the distance throwing a complete game one hitter with just one walk. Jack is sure to tell his girls that Wally Bunker made the difference tonight. You pitch like that and you make it look easy. The Kavanagh’s have a great night and head home from 33rd street to Lakewood and Jefferson.

July 7

After reading a joking comment in the newspaper from Orioles outfielder Jackie Brandt that he was the President of the Jerry Adair fan club, the Kavanagh girls want to join. They send letters to Brandt and decide to organize their own group including some friends from school. Betty gets involved and agrees to make “jerseys” for them all. They are really sweaters but each with the number and name of a player on their back. Betty Ann’s jersey was John Orsino, Nancy’s Jackie Brandt, Mary’s Brooks Robinson and Jane’s was Luis Aparicio. They will wear them to every game.

Jack Brandt’s autograph to Mary Kavanagh from her Oriole scrapbook. 1964.

July 16

A tinned copper strainer is made for Montebello Liquors. Copper sheet is cut into the shape of the strainer, holes are drilled and the tin mixture is heated. Once boiling, the tin is spread carefully over the surface of the strainer. After cooling, reaming out the holes again and cleaning up any excess tin, the strainer is finished. These are custom duplicates made to match original parts of stills. All stills are different in shape, size and diameter. Jack’s brother has been back for about two weeks and so far so good. Ed is a talented coppersmith and his skills are still there. He does work slowly compared to some of the other members of the crew but his work is good and reliable. Jack and Ed work well together and the latter has no issues listening to the former. Their father, Eddie, is surprised to hear Ed has come back to work and advises Jack to be careful with him and the drinking. Jack tells his father he is unconcerned because Ed Jr. is sober now and if there is a problem, he’ll take care of it.

The Shop’s job book entry. Montebello Liquors job. July 16, 1964.

July 21

National Brewery calls the Shop for a repair and  an installation of a set of copper coils. This is very much a custom job, which is why they have called the Joseph Kavanagh Company. The old coils were damaged during an error in operation of the brewing system. The old tubes needs to be removed, new ones made to match what’s left of the original and they must be installed. This is a big order from National who normally only buys small parts. They buy regularly but not an order of this size.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. July 21, 1964.

July 23

The Kavanagh’s are at the ballpark watching the Orioles play the Cleveland Indians on a Thursday night. The girls are in their jerseys and cheering hard for the Birds who dropped out of first place last night. They bounce back tonight and win going away 7-1 moving back to the top of the standings. After the game, Jack usually lets the girls linger for autographs on the parking lot and players have started to  notice them with their homemade jerseys; most of the Orioles sign autographs when they can. Tonight Jerry Adair stops by with Jackie Brandt and the girls tell them they are the Jerry Adair Fan Club. Brandt remembers the letters and they sign autographs and chat with the girls for a few minutes. Adair is much shyer than Brandt but is amazed at meeting his fan club. Adair and Brandt and other Orioles begin stopping and talking to the “Jerry Adair Fan Club” after every game. Jack and the Kavanagh girls get to know them throughout the season. The girls are a little awestruck at these players being so nice to them and though he might not admit it, Jack is too.

Autographs of Boog Powell and John Orsino from Mary Kavanagh’s Orioles scrapbook. 1964.

August 3

The Gulf of Tonkin incident occurs in South Vietnam. American Navy vessels are attacked by North Vietnamese forces and the violence escalates. In the coming months, Congress will pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which will give President Johnson sweeping powers to increase American military involvement in Vietnam.

August 10

A new album has been released in Baltimore celebrating the Orioles and this incredible season they are having. They are still in first and playing well. Jack buys each of his girls a copy and they begin to play the songs constantly. The album is called Pennant Fever and features songs by the Roy Ross Singers and it’s all about the team, their fans and baseball in general. The album is popular and only adds to the enthusiasm sweeping the Birds’ fans. The Orioles were welcomed with open arms and the fans have supported them since the franchise moved from St. Louis but there seems to be a new excitement in the City for the Birds. They are playing well and doing more than competing. They are winning. It’s getting late in the season and if they can keep winning, the World Series looms.

Back side of Pennant Fever Album. 1964.

August 19

F & M Schaefer brewing needs some custom “Y” nose couplings. Another company, McArdle and Walsh are working on a repair at Schaefer’s and they realize they need special couplings. The brewery calls the Shop and they are fitted and finished as quick as possible with another rush charge added. The workers are all busy on these parts, some copper tubes for a fountain and a set of U-Bends for Harvey Stambaugh & Sons. Jack, his brother and the workers spend the morning coffee break talking baseball. Jack gets the ball rolling when he steps into the Shop and says, “How about ‘dem Birds?” The fellows all chime in enthusiastically. People are really getting excited about this team.

The Shop’s job book entry. McArdle and Walsh job. August 18, 1964.

August 26

A busy hot day at the Shop is spent heating and hammering metal. The usual mix of brewery and distillery repairs and a large brass railing are the focus today. In the Shop’s corner office, Jack’s secretary, Julie begins recording jobs. Jack decides that though his father is not doing this anymore, the recording of jobs for future reference is a valuable thing. It helps in quoting similar jobs and it helps in analyzing costs of jobs and worker efficiency. He asks Julie to start typing up jobs from the Shop cards and adding any notes Jack makes related to them.

September 13

It’s the Baltimore Colts first game and Jack is there with Bumpsy and Shirley Crew,  his brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They lose 34-24 to the Minnesota Vikings but then the Colts get hot and win eleven in a row. Memorial Stadium is packed week in and week out with some of the loudest and most raucous crowds in the NFL. Baltimore’s fans are rewarded early this year when their football team clinches the Western Conference Championship with three games left in the season.

September 15

The Shop finishes some U-Bends for Riggs Distler who are making some repairs at A. Smith Bowman’s Distillery in DC. Distler knows the Kavanagh’s are familiar with the distilling system at Bowman’s so they call Jack and explain what they need. The U-bends are bent in the Pines Bender by Jack in a few hours. They are staying busy and still working Saturday half-days and Jack will keep that up as long as the work is there.

The Shop’s job book entry. Riggs Distler job. September 15, 1964.

September 18

After a couple of losses to the Minnesota Twins combined with victories by the Yankees, the Orioles drop out of first place. The fans are disappointed but are sure the team can fight back and end up on top. The Pennant Fever still is strong in Baltimore and with the Kavanagh’s. The girls play the Pennant Fever album over and over every day. Jack loves the Birds and loves his girls being fans but he tires of walking by the girls’ bedroom and hearing “Hey Doc! I got Pennant Fever. I’m having a blast!” The fever never fades but the Orioles fall short this season.

Oriole handout with rosters and statistic for Orioles vs. Angels game on September 18, 1964.

September 28

The Warren Commission’s report is published. Their determination is Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of President Kennedy and Jack Ruby acted alone in his murder of Oswald. Jack is skeptical and it seems so unlikely to him and many other Americans. Congress is also investigating the Kennedy assassination and Jack hopes they will find an answer that may be more thorough and believable.

October 15

The New York Yankees lose the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. The Kavanagh’s watch the Series but it’s a little rueful this year as the Birds were so close. The Orioles win 97 games but only make it to 3rd place two games behind the Yanks who won 99 and one behind Chicago who won 98. Baltimore was in first place through most of the season but were passed in the end. Jack and his family are disappointed but hope this bodes well for the Birds in the future. Some solace for Orioles’ fans comes when Brooks Robinson is awarded the Most Valuable Player of the American league Award. He bats .317 with 28 home runs and drives in 118 runs. Brooks is already the most popular Oriole and the fans are happy to see him get some acclaim and notice from the league.

1965 Orioles Program Guide Page commemorating Brooks Robinson’s 1964 MVP Award. Page from Mary Kavangh’s Orioles scrapbook.

November 3

Ed Kavanagh Jr. is hurt today at the Shop. While grinding a stainless steel pipe, a piece breaks off and lands in his eye. He is sent off to the clinic for eye wash and to check his vision. Everything seems fine but a Worker’s Compensation Claim must be filled out as is the case with any Shop injuries. Later that night, incumbent Democrat Lyndon Johnson defeats Republican Barry Goldwater to retain the presidency. The Kavanagh’s vote for Johnson, they are long time Democrats and Johnson was JFK’s Vice-President and that’s enough for the them.

Workers’ Compensation Claim for Ed Kavanagh Jr. November 3, 1964.

November 24

The building on the corner of Pratt and Central has been busy all year and they have worked most Saturdays but a small drop in work and the approaching winter causes Jack to cut Saturdays for now. Today, the crew are spread over several small jobs, most of them being brewery parts. Some custom hose-connectors are made for National Brewery and some “Y” unions are fabricated for McArdle and Walsh.

December 6

The girls are gathered around the television to watch a new Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. It is a stop action movie made with puppets of the characters and the girls love it. There are several Christmas songs including the theme and Burl Ives singing “Silver and Gold.” Jack and Betty are going through their mass shopping as they do every year. With eight children, the shopping starts early and money has to be stretched. Their first seven children were girls and a litany of dolls were purchased over the years but a few balls and bats and games of course. The Kavanagh’s love baseball. With now two year old Jack in the house, there are trucks and cars to be bought and this year the little guy wants his own doll. The toy company, Hasbro has released an action figure which is basically a doll for boys called GI Joe. Jack and Betty search and find a GI for Jack.

Jack Kavanagh Jr. 1964.

December 10

A bottle filler is repaired at John Brown Distillery. A bottle filler is a device that does exactly as it says. There are nozzles and hoses connected to the brewing system and as bottles move along a conveyor, they are filled then capped. The couplings and hoses need replacing and the whole unit needs cleaning but this is standard stuff for a coppersmith and Ed handles most of the work on this one.

The Shop’s job book entry. John Brown Distillery job. December 10, 1964.

December 20

It’s the last Sunday night before Christmas and the girls are finally asleep. Jack and Betty have an hour before they go to bed to speak to each other without kids around. Betty has given Jack the best news he could hear. She is pregnant. They are both nervous as Betty is getting older and has miscarried in the past but this baby is farther along and they feel confident everything will be all right.

“We will have nine by next summer, Jack.” Betty beams at her husband.

Jack is grinning from ear to ear, “Yes, hon. Nine like my grandfather and his brothers and sisters. There were nine of them. Enough for a baseball team.” Jack chuckles and Betty giggles along.

“I know this baby will be fine, Jack. This will be our last and I will do everything the doctor says.” Betty places her hand on her belly.

Jack wraps his arms around her, “Of course, Betty. I know that. She or he will be great and there’s always room for one more.”

“In this house?” Betty replies, “There always is. What else would we do?” Betty smiles as Jack places his hand over hers on her stomach.

“You make me so happy, Betty. You know that right.” Jack plants a kiss on her cheek. “You’re my girl and everybody knows it.”

Betty turns a little pink and says, “Mmhmm. Everybody knows it.” They shut off the lights and head up to bed gearing up for the coming holiday week.

Kav, Ann xmas
Ann Kavanagh. Christmas 1964.

December 24

The Shop’s Christmas Party is today and Jack and Betty have a special reason to be thankful this Christmas. With baby #9 on the way, they have that excitement and anxiousness that comes with each new child. They hope and pray for this baby who should be born in June. The guests, mostly family and employees eat sandwiches and drink beer or tea. They move about on the squeaky old wooden floor greeting each other with handshakes and “Merry Christmases.” It has been a good year on Central Avenue overall. It is different without Eddie in the old place but it was time and with Ed Jr. back, it’s a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Jack can finally do what he wants and feels confident in his abilities. He’s glad to have his brother back and is happy with the way Ed has handled working for him. Ed had problems getting along with Eddie and taking orders from his father but seems to have no issues with Jack. Ed is the older brother but never had any interest in owning or running the Shop so it does make sense that he is content just to be a smith. Among the work and holiday talk, there is chatting about the Colts who will play the Cleveland Browns for the NFL Championship on the 27th.  Baltimore will be disappointed again by a sports team as the Colts will lose to the Browns this time. The party breaks up in a couple of hours and after two workers are driven home or to the bus stop with a turkey and a bonus in hand, Jack and his family are driving along Patterson Park on Baltimore Street. The younger girls are ooing and ahhing at the houses decorated with lights, garland and wreathes. Christmas is upon them and it is the central day of most children’s year. They look forward to Santa’s arrival and opening presents and having a big meal tomorrow. Jack looks forward to the day as well but mostly he wonders if that red suit still fits.



Lyndon Johnson is the President of the United States. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed by Congress. Three Civil Rights Workers are murdered in Mississippi by the Ku Klux Klan. The 24th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified banning poll taxes in Federal Elections. Martin Luther King wins the Nobel Peace Prize. The first Ford Mustang is produced. The Good Friday earthquake strikes Alaska and is the largest earthquake in American history. “Hello Dolly” and “Fiddler on the Roof” open on Broadway. The films “Mary Poppins,” “My Fair Lady” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” are released. Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is published. Michelle Obama, Tracy Chapman, Laura Linney, Lenny Kravitz and Eddie Vedder are born. Harpo Marx, Herbert Hoover and Sam Cooke die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

Pennant Fever. 1964.

To read prior years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents

1963 Silence

January 2

The Joseph Kavanagh Company begins its 98th year having been started by Joseph Michael Kavanagh in 1866 along with a partner George Smith. Soon, it was Old Uncle Joe’s place all  alone then it passed to his nephews. The last of the nephews was Joseph Anthony Kavanagh and his sons, Leo and Eddie,  who inherited the Shop upon his death. In 1963 it is owned by Eddie Kavanagh and his son Jack and Mary Kavanagh, Leo’s widow, and her daughter Mary Donnelly. Each parent and child pair own 50% and upon the parent’s death, the child will receive their percentage.The Shop is run by Jack Kavanagh though his father is in the office most days,  but usually out of the way attending to recording records and notations on jobs. Mary Kavanagh and her daughter do not work at the Shop but they receive rent money each week for their part of the building. Jack is aided greatly in the office by his secretary Julie,  and he has a crew of eight men. The year starts fair with some work on the books and the phone is ringing.

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The Joseph Kavanagh Company’s founder. Joseph Michael Kavanagh. 1890s.

January 18

The Shop’s crew are busy fighting off the cold with torches and labor. A few brewery fittings are made, copper tubes are annealed for a fountain and some aluminum pipe rings are fabricated for Whiting-Turner, a local contractor who is a new customer. The rings are 10 ft. 7 1/2” in diameter and must be made in several pieces,  then welded together. The ring is laid out on the floor, the pipes rolled, then fitted together for welding. It’s a nice job and Jack hopes to get more work in the future from this Whiting-Turner outfit.

The Shop’s job book entry. January 19, 1963. Whiting-Turner job.

February 20

A set of steel u-bends are made today for Harvey Stambaugh & Sons. Their truck drives through downtown from Woodall Street and delivers the tubes and after completion, the Shop’s truck delivers them. These are done in a day as Stambaugh is one of their best and most regular customers. Harvey Sr., and sons, Harvey and Ken, have learned that if they need it fast, they need only ask Jack and he will make it happen. The job itself is straight forward steel tube bending. The Leonhard bender is perfect for these tubes and they are knocked out quickly.

The Shop’s job book entry. February 20, 1963. Harvey A. Stambaugh & Sons job.

March 7

They have nearly made it through the cold weather and have stayed busy to Jack’s delight. His father keeps coming in but is less and less involved in any day-to-day activities. Eddie makes notes in records if he thinks a price is too low or has some complaint about a worker’s performance. Jack lets him do what he wants as long as it keeps Eddie busy and happy or at least as happy as he gets. An order is received for an aluminum pipe to be annealed, filled and rolled to 90 degrees, an elbow. The customer is Trailmobile which is a division of the Pullman Co. That’s another new customer and they keep finding more and more of those. The word is spreading about their enhanced pipe and tube bending capabilities and it seems to be paying off.

The Shop’s job book entry. March 7, 1963. Transmobile job.

March 21

A typical Thursday afternoon has Jack coming through the back door a little before 5:00 pm, Betty working on dinner and the girls scattered throughout the house, helping Mom, doing homework or watching TV. Dinner is nearly ready and Jack’s father Eddie should be arriving soon. Since his wife passed, Eddie has most of his meals at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Tonight like every night he crosses the street and comes to dinner. Betty cooks for ten,  plus a baby and is busy in the kitchen with help from the older girls while the younger girls are setting the table. Their grandfather Eddie comes through the door and hands his hat and coat to whichever girl is closest to him. Today it is Nancy. He makes his way wordlessly through the front parlor and into the living room finally walking to the dining room and sitting at the head of the table, the seat Jack used to occupy. The house becomes as silent as a library as the girls take their seats and Betty fills the table with roasted chicken, potatoes, green beans, bread and tea. She pours a cup for Eddie who glances at her as he butters a slice of bread. She returns to feeding baby Jack Jr. and there are a few softly uttered thank you’s and please’s as the food is passed around the table. A dinner that before was loud and full of talk of the day is quiet now. Since Mimi died, Eddie is much quieter and stays within his own thoughts. He was never particularly chatty but now he carries a silence with him that seems to steal the Kavanagh girls’ voices. His presence and self-imposed silence spreads to all of them as they pass each other platters, fill plates, eat and sip their tea. Jack has given up trying to engage his father over the supper table. Eddie’s replies are brief and usually mono-syllabic. After he finishes his cup of tea, he takes his hat and coat back and returns across the street to his home with nothing more than a general goodbye to the room. Once the table is cleared, one of the older girls, Betty Ann or Nancy, will go across the street and keep Eddie company for an hour or so. Jack thinks his father needs this kind of company, hoping it will keep up his spirits. They play records like Mitch Miller or watch the TV.  The girls can sometimes get a smile out of Eddie before they kiss him good night and come back home.

Eddie Kavanagh. 434 N. Lakewood Avenue. Early 1960s.

April 8

For the last few weeks, the crew have been working on multiple repairs at Majestic Distillery. Mostly small things, but they all add up to good steady billing for the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Today a bigger part of the repairs is finished. A replacement line of tinned copper tube is installed at Majestic. It runs across their yard and connects two of the buildings used in the distilling system. Eddie spent about a half hour out in the Shop yesterday observing the tube being tinned. He was thinking back to when he did such things. He offered no advice this time, not a word,  but he watched carefully and seemed intent on taking it all in. The installation is complete and Majestic is a happy customer.

The Shop’s job book entry. April 8, 1963. Majestic Distillery job.

April 10

It’s the Orioles home opener on this Wednesday. Jack is listening on the radio at the Shop and the Orioles do not disappoint. They are down 2-0 going into the bottom of the ninth and rally back to score three and win. A home run by Jackie Brandt leads off the inning for the Birds and after tying the game on a bases loaded walk to left fielder Boog Powell, Jerry Adair drives a deep fly ball to center to score the winning run. The crowd goes wild and Jack is clapping his hands and rubbing them together in celebration.

Jack Brandt. Baltimore Orioles Centerfielder. Early 1960s. Picture from Mary Kavanagh Brandenburg’s Orioles scrapbook.

May 16

The strong start to the year continues with the crew busy on a backlog of small jobs this week. One is for the Slaysman Co. They need some small copper tubes bent into U’s and some elbows must be brazed on each end. This is a combination of their newer tube bending work and the old coppersmith stuff they have done for years. It’s a quick one and in a few hours, Slaysman picks up and takes them back to their shop.

The Shop’s job book entry. May 16, 1963. Slaysman Co. job.

May 31

It is the last day of the school year for the Kavanagh girls. Their mother Betty decides to reward the girls on their first day of summer so she sends Jane across the street to Coby’s Store for some penny candy. Coby’s is located on the corner directly across Lakewood Avenue from the Kavanagh’s home. The store is in a walk down basement of the house and in such a small space, they seem to have everything. The Krahling’s, Coby and Dutch, own the place and it has been there for at least ten years. The Kavanagh kids are in and out of that store almost daily for beans, bread or whatever might be needed. The Krahling’s are staples of the neighborhood and everybody shops there. For most, they are a short walk to whatever you want on any given day. The store closes every evening, but just a tap on the window brings Coby to open up when the unexpected need arises for the quart of milk or baby aspirin.

Jack Kavanagh Jr. 1962.

June 19

The Joseph Kavanagh Company is suddenly busier and they are working Saturday half-days now to keep up with the pace. This week a nice order is finished for another distillery customer, the Joseph E. Seagrams Company. They need some replacement copper troughs and the Shop fabricates them. Sheet is cut, then annealed to allow for bending the sides. They are soldered shut all around and the long troughs are ready. The sheet is thicker than normal and each one is heavy. The job takes a good amount of copper which is fine with Jack. The heavier the copper, the more they can charge for it and the more they can charge to work it.

The Shop’s job book entry. June 19, 1963. Joseph E. Seagrams Co. job.

July 4

Independence Day is spent at home on Lakewood Avenue. Betty steams a bushel of crabs in their small kitchen and the house smells of summer with the scent of black pepper, Old Bay and sunshine wafting through the open windows. The girls play hopscotch on the Jefferson Street side of the house while Betty sets Little Jack down for a nap. One of the benefits of living on a corner is you do get a long piece of sidewalk to play on. Later in the morning, Jack comes out with a whiffle ball and bat and the game is on. Jack pitches to his daughters and they all get some at bats and time in the field or sidewalk as it were. This is as good as it gets for Jack, playing baseball with his kids. The deadening dunk of plastic bat hitting plastic ball is heard as neighbors pass by and wish them “a happy 4th.” The game pauses as neighbors approach, some on the way to parties or home and some crossing Lakewood Avenue to see if Coby’s is open this morning. They are indeed open for a few hours on Independence Day to accommodate last minute burger bun needs and such. In the afternoon, Eddie crosses the street and joins them for crabs. Jack puts the Orioles game on the radio and that fills the silence that comes along with his father. He and Eddie talk a little about the game here and there as the crabs are cracked open and consumed. Eating crabs does take some time and work and the sound of the game on the radio is background music. The Orioles are in tune today. They are off to a hot start and in first place. The Yankees are visiting Baltimore and the Birds win 3-1. The Yanks strike first when Mickey Mantle drives a home run into the right field bleachers but Boog Powell answers with a 2- run shot of his own. An insurance run is added later when Shortstop Luis Aparicio triples and Second baseman Jerry Adair drops a perfect squeeze bunt bringing Aparicio home. Steve Barber and Dick Hall take care of the rest holding the Yankees to that one lone run. Jack and the girls cheer loudly when the final out is recorded and the silence is broken. A very fleeting flicker of a smile flashes over Eddie’s face but he becomes impassive immediately and returns to the duty of pulling crab meat from shell. After the game as Jack talks about the win, Eddie offers a couple of short nods and brief comments as he eats his fill. When finished he washes his hands and departs quickly, lighting a cigar on his way out. The remnants of the crab feast are cleaned up. The newspapers that they were eaten upon are folded carefully to drop as few shells as possible. The curled papers are slipped into a trash bag and taken outside and put into a can. It’s best not to keep crab shells in your house for very long. The Kavanagh’s head to Patterson Park. Jack and Betty make the brief trek with daughters, Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane, Jackie, JoAnn, Ann and baby Jack in a carriage. They walk down Lakewood Avenue for five blocks until they reach the park. It is the best place to view the fireworks downtown and much of the neighborhood is gathered on blankets, some with picnic baskets. The booms and flashes of color brighten the night sky and the younger girls love it though Jack Jr. is none too thrilled with the explosions. The older girls have seen it before but they still enjoy it and love being in the park on a warm summer’s evening. As soon as the fireworks are finished, they are off home. Jack has work the next day and the baby needs to get to sleep.

Jack Kavanagh Jr. 1962.

July 19

A new brewery customer has come to Kavanagh’s for fittings. F & M Schaefer Brewing joins Gunther’s, Hamm’s and National Breweries in ordering its replacement parts from the Shop. The Kavanagh’s have a lot of these in stock whether they be fittings, couplings or some other connectors. They need to be modified slightly for each customer’s needs but that does not take long. Jack has a brief chat with Eddie about this new brewery customer and his father seems interested but not overly so. Jack focuses on the Shop but he wonders if his father will ever come out of this deep sadness he seems buried in.

The Shop’s job book entry. July 19, 1963. F & M Schaefer Brewing Co. job.

August 1

Jack is sitting at his desk after his father leaves in the afternoon. Eddie works usually 9 AM to 2 PM,  then drives home. He hands his son a stack of recorded jobs each day. Jack glances through them, then puts them with all of their job records. Today one strikes his eye. It’s Eddie’s assessment and recording of an A. Smith Bowman Distilling job. The Shop fabricated and installed a bottling tank there and Eddie was none too thrilled with Charlie Owens’ performance on the project. Jack shakes his head as he reads Eddie’s criticism. Jack knows Charlie or “Chollie” as everyone calls him is a top notch smith and a good worker. Jack sighs and realizes he may never understand his father and this incessant need for criticism which has been part of Eddie’s personality for as long as Jack has known him. He files the record but knows to disregard it when referring to Charlie Owens’ work.

The Shop’s book entry. August 1, 1963. Eddie’s comments on A. Smith Bowman job.

August 9

The infant son of the President and the First Lady has died. He was named Patrick Bouvier and was born prematurely two days ago. The baby had some respiratory problems and he only lived for thirty-nine hours. America grieves along with the First Family and this includes the Kavanagh’s. Betty is heartbroken for Jackie. Betty has miscarried twice and she knows what Jackie Kennedy is going through. Jack and Betty Kavanagh and their family pray for Jack and Jackie Kennedy not because they are President and First Lady but because they are parents who have lost a child.

September 3

It’s the beginning of September and time for the Kavanagh girls to get back to school. Nancy joins Betty Ann at Catholic High on Edison Highway. They take the 22 bus to school while Jack drives Mary, Jane, Jackie and JoAnn to St. Elizabeth’s. The girls, like most kids,  dread that return to school but soon enough the Kavanagh household is back in the swing of it. Homework, school projects and fundraising drives are brought home by each of the six girls who are at school. Ann and Jack Jr. are home with their mother Betty and the house seems strangely quiet even with a toddler and baby.

Kav, Ann 447 front
Ann Kavanagh in front of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1963.

September 15

60,000 fans fill Memorial Stadium for the Colts’ first game of the season Jack and his brother-in-law, Bumpsy and Bumpsy’s wife Shirley are in that crowd, The fans are as crazed as ever but the Colts drop this one 37-28 to the New York Giants. Jack and his in-laws have a great day at the football game and the loss doesn’t bother them. Their team does okay this year, finishing 8–6 but they again miss the postseason.

September 24

Another order is completed for Majestic Distillery today, several open-topped copper cans that are 10 inches in diameter and 9 inches high. It’s very standard stuff for a coppersmith. Sheet is rolled into circles and a bottom is soldered on to each. Mr. Funke who is one of their most experienced smiths takes care of this one in about two days of labor. The rest of the fellows focus on two brass railings that are being curved and fabricated. The Shop has stayed busy this year and they continue working Saturdays to stay ahead of the work.

The Shop’s job book entry. September 24, 1963. Majestic Distillery job.

October 6

The Los Angeles Dodgers sweep the Yankees to win the World Series Championship. The Dodgers’ pitching is absolutely dominant. Sandy Koufax sets the tone by striking out the first five Yankees he faces in game one and totaling 15 K’s in the game. After winning game four as well, Koufax is named the MVP of the Series. LA’s pitchers are so effective, New York only scores four runs in the Series and never leads in any of the games. Jack watches the last two games on Saturday and Sunday with his father. It is not quite like old times because Eddie is still morose and not very talkative. They do chat a bit during the games and are both duly impressed by the brilliant pitching of the Dodgers. The Orioles have a fairly good season finishing with 86 wins against 76 losses. It is only good enough for 4th place and once again, Jack dreams of his home town Birds some day making it to the World Series. He managed to take his kids to a dozen games this year. They mostly go on the weekend but the occasional weeknight match up is fine too. Jack and Betty have talked about getting season tickets, perhaps a half of a season so they could take the kids to more games. With so many children, it will be tough but they will do it when they can.

October 9

It’s a cool Fall day and that is comfortable weather to work in as the Shop’s crew attends to some brewery parts and more repairs for both Majestic and Seagrams. They also have a small order for the Maryland Cup Co. One piece must be bent on the Pines Bender and Jack does it himself instead of interrupting one of the boys. Jack still enjoys getting his hands dirty and doing the real work of the Shop. He likes dealing with customers, quoting and pursuing jobs but there is something special about working metal with his hands. It feels natural to him.

The Shop’s job book entry. October 9, 1963. Maryland Cup Co. job.

November 22

On this Friday, President John Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas Texas at about 1:30 pm EST. Jack is in the Shop’s office when he gets a call from Betty. She is crying and tells him that the president has been shot and it’s bad. Jack can’t believe it. This is a man he admires highly and supports completely. Betty is watching it on the television and Jack tells her he’ll put on the radio. He flicks the switch and listens as the news of the shooting in Dallas is passed along. Kennedy has been rushed to the hospital but has been gravely wounded in the head and neck. Across all of America, people are hearing the news from the media. In schools, teachers are informing students and then putting on the TV or radio if they have one. Tearful tales of the shooting are spreading everywhere. The Kavanagh girls learn of it at school like most children. At St. Elizabeth’s and at Catholic High, nuns are passing the word and there is a stunned moment for all involved. Soon the kids are let out of school early and make their way home. Jack and Betty’s daughters reach the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson to find their mother ironing, giving sheets a work out with steam and force just like she might do on any other day. This time she is crying all the while. The girls feel the palpable grief from their mother and Betty is like every adult American at this moment. They share a sudden deep sadness as the president is dead. Jack has his crew finish a few things then sends them on their way. He drives home knowing this man, this leader who he felt such a connection with is gone. They both were Navy Veterans and Irish Catholic Democrats who went by Jack. When Jack Kavanagh reaches his home, he walks into a quiet room with Walter Cronkite on the TV somberly speaking of this sudden and violent end to John F. Kennedy’s life. Jack hugs his wife and they gather before the television and watch, listen and cry.

November 23

Most of America spends the day watching the TV coverage of the situation in Dallas. A man has been apprehended and charged with the murder of JFK. His name is Lee Harvey Oswald and as much detail as can be found is passed to the viewers. He worked at the Texas Book Depository where the shots came from according to the police. The Kavanagh’s watch and mourn along with the rest of the country. Meals are eaten quickly and silently at the dining room table,  then everyone returns to the television. The President’s body has been returned to DC to lie in state. Vice-President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as the President yesterday on the plane that brought JFK’s body home. The tears have stopped now but the stunned silence still fills Lakewood Avenue and houses all over the nation.

November 24

After Mass at St. Elizabeth’s, Jack and Betty are again sitting in front of the television and watch as prisoner Oswald is being moved from police headquarters to county jail. As he is escorted down a corridor, a sudden shot rings out. Oswald has been shot on live TV. Jack and Betty stare in horror and disbelief as a mass of men converge on Oswald and the shooter. It is chaos and millions around the country are watching. After some order is restored and the shooter is questioned, the country learns he is a Chicago club owner named Jack Ruby. Oswald is rushed to the hospital and dies shortly thereafter. Jack and Betty discuss these events in hushed voices and can’t make any sense of it. Like most of the country, they spend the rest of the day staring at the television, the only sound the voice of the broadcaster with details about Oswald or Ruby and then the family watches as President Kennedy’s casket is taken by horse drawn carriage from the White House to the Capitol with a single riderless horse following. The president’s funeral will be tomorrow.

November 25

President Kennedy is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Schools are closed and businesses too, including the Shop. Americans watch and say goodbye to this young president who was taken so violently and so abruptly from them. The Kavanagh’s view the funeral solemnly and share the Kennedy family’s and the nation’s grief. Grief is silent. When spoken, grief is a whisper. For a few days, Americans whisper to each other because this feels like a death in the family. This young president represented hope and the arrival of a new generation to power. The country expected something special from him and feels cheated that he was not afforded the time to deliver it. They pray and weep for the man they hoped he would be and the man he was. His voice has been silenced and America’s with it.

President John F. Kennedy. Phone courtesy of Getty Images.

November 29

President Lyndon Johnson orders an investigation into the Kennedy assassination to be led by Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States. Part of their focus is to be the murder of Oswald and any connection with Ruby.

December 24

The Shop’s Christmas party is held today on a very cold Tuesday. The temperature barely gets above freezing which contributes to the party continuing to get shorter and smaller. A few customers stop by in the afternoon but the party is mostly for employees and family. There is food and drink but no singing this year. The weight of what happened still hangs over most folks. The party does have good cheer and hopes of a good holiday for all. Afterward, Jack drives a couple of employees home and he starts thinking of not holding this party. His family is so big and he has only so much time with them. The employees might prefer to be home with their families anyway. He will consider it. When he returns to Central Avenue and collects his family, the station wagon is filled with the singing of carols and the voices of his children. He relishes the sound and grins. The girls have a chorus of “Jingle Bells” going in the back seat and Jack glances over at Betty holding Jack Jr. who has turned one. She smiles back and touches her belly for she is pregnant again and Jack and Betty are hopeful for baby #9. The car pulls next to 447 N. Lakewood Avenue and they unload, visions of Santa and Christmas fill the kids’ minds while Jack thinks of the piano in the front parlor and playing a few Christmas tunes so the Kavanagh girls will sing.



After Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson is the President of the United States. LBJ assures Vietnam we will continue to support them financially and militarily. The Zip Code, the touch-tone phone and the lava lamp are invented. The films “the Great Escape” and ‘the Birds” are released. Betty Friedhan’s “The Feminine Mystique” is published. Martin Luther King delivers his famous “I have a dream speech.” Medgar Evers is assassinated. Michael Jordan, Johnny Depp, Whitney Houston, Natalie Merchant and Len Bias are born. Rogers Hornsby, Robert Frost and W. E. B. Du Bois die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

President John F. Kennedy. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

To read prior posts, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents

1962 Colt Kavanagh

January 15

The Shop starts the year well. It’s not busy like June but it’s a strong beginning workwise. They have a mix of bending jobs and a couple of distillery repairs. They sell some brewery fittings too and today the crew work on a copper liner for a boiler. Eddie has retired but still shows up at 201 S. Central anyway. He tells Jack he is bored and if he comes in he can record and note the jobs they are doing now. That will help for future quotes and it will give him something to do. He comes in just about every day for five hours or so and Jack is fine with it, but would prefer his father enjoy his retirement in other ways; still, Jack knows that Eddie has little to keep him occupied. Jack’s mother died the year before last and Eddie is lonely and is very accustomed to working. Eddie spends his time in the upstairs office and reviews past jobs and sketches. He records and organizes their drawings and makes notations as to the time taken to do the job and the cost of the materials and supplies needed. Sometimes he just sits and reads the newspaper too. The Shop is a comfort to him. It has been located at the corner of Pratt and Central for fifty years now and Eddie worked in that building the entire time.

B N M J Scouting
The Kavanagh Girls in their girl scout uniforms. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane, Early 1960s.

January 22

It’s a cold day but torches do help and today some steel tubes are annealed and bent for Maryland Cup Co. They have become a regular tube bending customer with orders coming in at least once a month. Charlie Owens drives the Shop’s truck to Owings Mills, picks up the tubes and they are to be bent to 10 degrees on a 48” Radius. It takes a few passes through the rolling machine for each tube and then they are closely checked for both degree and radius of bend. After examining them, a few small tweaks are made and they are finished.

The Shop’s job book entry. Maryland Cup Company job. January 22, 1962.

February 14

A tank is re-tinned for Montebello Liquors. The tank is a big one, over 1400 gallons and the job takes about a week for three men. This work must be done on site so the workers climb into the tank and move around inside of it tinning any spots that need it. They go over the tank carefully to get the entire surfaced re-covered. The boiling tin is brushed over the tank’s walls as evenly and smoothly as possible. It’s a fair bit of work and makes for a very nice Valentine’s Day job.

The Shop’s job book entry. Montebello Liquors job. February 14, 1962.

February 27

Betty tells Jack she is pregnant with baby number eight. Jack is as excited as he could be. Their house is full already but he and Betty love kids. Betty lost a baby last year early in the pregnancy. She was hit hard by it as she was several years ago with her first miscarriage. She is happy again and can’t wait for #8. Jack and Betty seem to be natural parents. A house with seven little girls can not be easy to handle but their daughters are all happy, growing, going to school and don’t seem to be missing anything in their lives except… maybe a brother.

Ann Kavanagh. 1962.

March 7

It’s Ash Wednesday in Baltimore and it is snowing. Several members of the crew shovel a path but it’s not much more than four inches. In western MD, there is nearly a foot but the real damage is done in Ocean City where high tides reach nine and a half feet over its norm and the town is overwhelmed with water. Seventy-five homes and businesses are destroyed and a great deal of the beach is washed away. A total of forty-three people die in the storm along the East Coast. Baltimore gets off easy and the damage to OC is dealt with quickly. The town works hard through the winter to be ready for the summer season. Some residents sell out and this spurs some investment as the properties are bought up and a slew of hotels begin taking the place of residential homes. Jack will read about his favorite beach town in the paper tomorrow but today he is happy that the snow is just a small inconvenience to the Shop and the work goes on.

March 20

The Shop’s year continues strong with more customers calling about bending pipes for mechanical and structural uses. There are requests for heavier pipes and these take a lot of time. If the pipe or tube is too big for the Leonard Pneumatic Bender, they must be bent in the roller and the heavier the material, the more passes it takes through the machine which adds up to more hours. Jack is giving some thought to purchasing a hydraulic mandrel bender. This pulls big pipe around a die using hydraulic pistons. It would amp up their power and if they have the right tools, it can speed up their hours a great deal. Jack makes a call about a machine he has heard of made by a company called Pines Bending.

April 3

Jack has ordered the new hydraulic bender from Pines and it will arrive in the next two weeks. Today, several small tubes are bent by Jack for Sinai Hospital. It’s a repair to their equipment and the maintenance department calls Jack about it and an order is placed. Jack knew from the beginning he would have to bend these himself and priced it accordingly. His father is in the upstairs office like most days. Eddie smokes a cigar, he is trying to quit cigarettes at the advice of his doctor, reads the paper and makes notes on finished jobs. He records most of them and includes a comment or two with some.

The Shop’s job book entry. Sinai Hospital job. April 3, 1962.

April 14

The Orioles’ Opening Day is on a Saturday this year and the Kavanagh’s are there. It’s Jack’s first chance to go to the first game of the baseball season and he takes advantage of it. It’s a chilly spring day and that keeps some fans away but Jack, Betty and all seven girls drive to Memorial Stadium and watch the Birds beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0. Gus Triandos and Brooks Robinson homer for two of the runs, the third scoring on a sacrifice fly by Shortstop Jerry Adair. Robinson adds a double as well and is becoming a fan favorite. Pitching is the difference in this one though with Chuck Estrada and Dick Hall combining on a two hit shutout of the Red Sox. Estrada gets the win and Hall the save. Jack is smiling as he drives all his girls home in the Plymouth Station Wagon. He turns right onto Madison Street from Edison Highway and they are close to home. This was a real enjoyable win and Jack will be smiling all night over it.

Mom & Betty May Queen
Betty Ann Kavanagh dressed as the May Queen with her mother, Betty. In front of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. My 1962.
BettyAnn & Nanny
Betty Ann dressed as the May Queen with her grandmother, Bernardine Crew (Nanny). In front of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. May 1962.

May 4

The Kavanagh’s have been active parishioners at St. Elizabeth’s of Hungary Catholic Church for generations. They attend mass weekly and are supportive and involved in the church’s activities. Today is a special day as Betty Ann is the May Queen of the May Procession at St. Elizabeth’s. The Church has an annual procession and mass to celebrate the Virgin Mary. It starts in the Church and then proceeds through Patterson Park. A parade of students, faculty and church members walk as they sing with a group of girls representing Mary and her court and younger boys as pages. It’s a spring tradition that goes back a long time. Each year an 8th grade girl is chosen to represent Mary and this year, it is Betty Ann. The words, “Oh Mary we crown thee with blossoms today. Queen of the Angels. Queen of the May” are sung as they honor the mother of Christ. Betty Ann wears the crown of flowers then places them on the statue of Mary when the Procession is finished. Many neighbors comes out each year and line up along the parade route both in front of St. Elizabeth’s Church and the park. It’s a celebrated event in the neighborhood and with Betty Ann chosen as the May Queen, it’s a very special one for the Kavanagh’s this year.

St. Elizabeth’s May Procession with Betty Ann as the May Queen marching along Baltimore Street in front of the Church. May 1962.
St. Elizabeth’s May Process. Betty Ann Kavanagh as May Queen. May 1962.
Untitled-73 copy
St. Elizabeth’s May Procession as it finishes in front of he Church. Corner of Lakewood and Baltimore. May 1962.

May 21

Two copper tops for a still are fabricated for Majestic Distillery. It’s more of their traditional coppersmith/distilling work and Jack is happy to have it. Eddie is more interested in this job then most of the work they receive now. It’s handled primarily by Funke and Owens, their most seasoned smiths. Eddie spends almost an hour in the Shop observing and watching the men work. He gives some pointers and tips which they don’t really need but Eddie seems to enjoy doing it. Soon enough, he is walking up the stairs to his small office to record and smoke.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. May 21, 1962.

June 9

The Kavanagh’s attend another Orioles game on a Saturday afternoon. The Birds are hosting the New York Yankees and Jack, a pregnant Betty and their seven daughters are in the crowd of nearly 30,000. It’s a warm eighty degree afternoon and perfect for baseball. New York gets the best of Baltimore winning 7-3 but Jack has a great time with his kids and wife at the game. He loves taking them out to Memorial Stadium and enjoys talking about each play and the players with the girls. They pepper him with questions throughout and he loves it. Jack decides to bring them out to more games and maybe they can find a way to buy season tickets. He will talk to Betty about it.

June 18

A professor from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine-Department of Microbiology calls the Shop and Jack thinks the man may have the wrong number. He does not. He is seeking someone to make some rectangular copper tanks for their research. After a brief chat, Jack realizes this is something they can do and he gives the man a price. The professor doesn’t hesitate but places an order. To make the tanks, copper sheet is cut then straight lines are annealed to allow the sides to be bent. They are pulled up 90 degrees to make a rectangular box: essentially a tank. Next, the seams are soldered shut very tight so they can seal,  and the inside is tinned.  When the tanks are completed, Jack makes note of this one in his head. Johns Hopkins is a big famous school and doing some work for them is something to remember. He also hopes it leads to more.

The Shop’s job book entry. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine job. June 18, 1962.

July 16

National Brewery orders some replacement nose couplings from the Joseph Kavanagh Company. The Shop has these in stock and if custom adjustments need to be made, they can take care of that too. Despite losing some brewery work to the pipe fitters union, they continue to receive orders for parts regularly from Gunther’s, Hamm and National. As long as the Shop continues to sell these from stock, Jack makes sure to keep making them during any idle time.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. July 16, 1962.

August 3

Jack rolls three brass pipes for a new customer, Southern Plate and Glass Co. The bends are relatively easy but the key is to keep the brass in as good a condition as possible to minimize any clean up or re-polishing. With Funke’s help, the pieces are rolled and turn out very well. A quick clean is all it takes and the customer can pick up. Jack still enjoys spending a few hours in the Shop each day. It’s complicated with calls, even with his secretary, Julie’s help. He has to move from office to Shop 10-20 times a day but having a couple of hours uninterrupted working metal is a treat. It’s what he was trained for and has done for over twenty years. Still, he has to work as quickly as possible to check his calls and do the necessary paperwork for each day. Jack quotes and preps jobs for his men. He has to stay ahead of them as well as do his own Shop jobs. His days are busy but Julie is a great help and the men who work for him are skilled hard-workers. His father can give him advice when needed but Eddie prefers a smaller role now. He loves being at the Shop but knows its Jack’s place to run now and that’s what Eddie wants.

The Shop’s job book entry. Southern Plate & Glass Co. job. August 6, 1962.

August 5

Jack and Betty are watching the 6:00 pm news on this Sunday and hear actress Marilyn Monroe has died of an overdose of barbiturates. Both are shocked at this news as Miss Monroe was so young and was a big star. They are saddened at this tragedy and pray for her and her family. They discuss it and can’t believe that she had this problem with these pills. They don’t understand it but Hollywood is a place where even the successful seem to have so much pressure. They talk about her death for a few minutes until their girls join them in the living room then they hush up about it. Their daughters gather with them for their usual Sunday night TV viewing of “Father Knows Best,” Walt Disney and Jack’s favorite show, “Car 54, Where Are You?”

Jack baby pic with football
Jack Kavanagh. Jr. September 1962.

September 3

It’s the first Monday in September which means it’s Labor Day in the US and a federal holiday. The Shop is closed and that’s good because Betty Kavanagh is in the hospital and the baby is coming. Jack is home with his daughters waiting for news from his wife. Betty’s dear friend Katherine, the young woman who helps with the girls, will come over later this evening for a few hours and Jack can head to the hospital. For now, Jack waits patiently for the phone to ring after feeding the girls their dinner. Finally at 7:00 pm Betty calls and Jack grabs the phone in a flash.

“Betty? Is that you?” Jack hollers into the phone.

“Yes, it’s me. Everything is fine. The baby is here. He’s beautiful.” she answers as she smiles in the delivery room of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Jack breathes a sigh of relief. “I’m so happy, Betty. I’m glad you’re both okay. I bet she’s beautiful.”

“Jack? Didn’t you hear me?  He’s a boy. We have a son.” she exclaims into the phone.

Her husband pauses for just a moment, “Oh Betty, don’t kid around. You know I love my girls. What’s important is you are both okay. I love her. You know that.”

“Jack, I’m not kidding. It’s a boy. He’s a boy.” she replies quizzically.

“I love all my girls, Betty. What are you talking about? I love this one too. Of course.” Jack says, wondering what Betty is talking about.

Betty shakes her head, “Oh gracious Jack. What’s wrong with you?” she thrust the phone into  the doctor’s hand. “Here you tell him. He doesn’t believe me”

Suddenly a male voice, the doctor’s voice comes through the receiver in Jack’s hand. “Mr. Kavanagh? Mr. Kavanagh, you have a son. It’s a boy, Mr. Kavanagh. It’s a boy.”

Jack stares stunned at the phone. A son. He loves his girls. They are all Daddy’s little girls and he wouldn’t want it any other way but a son. He has a boy. It hits him quick and visions of all those things he did as a boy rush through his head. All those memories flood to mind and thoughts of the years working with his father too. “Thank you, Doctor. Thank you.” he grins into the phone,”Put Betty back on.”

“Oh Betty, a boy. A boy. I love you.” Jack gushes to his wife.

“Yes, I told you that.” she smiles back to Jack through the telephone. “What will we name him?”

“Name him? Well, I was thinking if we had a boy, well, how about Colt? Colt Kavanagh for the Colts. It’s a good name Betty and it sounds perfect.” Jack says.

“Colt? COLT? You are thinking Colt Kavanagh?” Betty glares and stares in disbelief.

Jack quickly answers her, “Yes, Betty. It’s a good name. It sounds so Baltimore. Colt Kavanagh. Listen to it. Colt Kavanagh. It has a nice ring to it.”

“Ring to it? Colt? What are you thinking?” she takes a breath then replies with a strong certainty in her voice, “No Jack. I don’t think it will be Colt. We’ll name him after his father, Jack.”

“Jack? I like Colt, hon. I like the sound of it.” Jack says,  a bit less sure of himself.

Betty chuckles softly, “No, Jack. He will be John Joseph Kavanagh and we’ll call him Jack Jr. That’s what sounds right and that has a nice ring to it.”

“Jack Jr.?” Jack’s grin widens with a strange sense of pride and he quickly relents, “Okay, Betty. That does sound right. He’s Jack Junior.”

Jack baby pic1
Jack Kavanagh Jr. 1962.

September 16

It’s the first Colts game of the season and Jack is going to the game. His friend Urb can’t make it so this year his brother-in-law Bumpsy(Howard) and his wife Shirley come along. The Colts face the LA Rams and win a close one 30-27 before 54,000 crazy fans. Bumpsy and Shirley have a great time with Jack and they make plans to go to another game later in the Fall. The Colts have a fair season finishing 7-7 but that’s not even close to making the postseason. They settle for fourth place.

September 19

The new Pines Bender is put to its first test today as some 2” Pipes need to be bent on a 5” radius for the Steel Tower and Erection Co. This would be impossible without the new hydraulic bender. They take their time balancing all the tools and getting the set up right. The first bend shows how easily the machine pulls the pipe and Jack is even more impressed with this machine. The pipes are bent and the job goes faster than expected. Jack is confident in this machine, knowing that time, experience with it and more tools will make it even more valuable to them.

The Shop’s job book entry. Steel Tower & Erection Co. job. September 19, 1962.

October 16

The New York Yankees defeat the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. The series goes the duration at seven games with New York prevailing for its twentieth championship. The final game is a nail-biter and the Yanks win 1-0. The only run scores from third on a double play hit into by Yankee Tony Kubyek. The Giants threaten in the bottom of the ninth but with men on second and third, Willie Mccovey hits a scorching line drive that is caught by second baseman Bobby Richards to end the game and the Series. Just like every year, the Kavanagh’s follow the World Series closely. Jack watched the second and third games with Eddie at his house. Spending Saturday and Sunday afternoon with him discussing the games as they watch and comparing them to others they have seen. Both father and son hope for a day when the Orioles will be playing later into October and vying for a championship. This season is a disappointing one for the Birds. They drop to seventh place in the American League with a record of 77- 85. A new influx of young players showed some talent but the results are not there in the win column.

October 22

President Kennedy makes an address to the nation informing them that the Soviet Union has placed nuclear missiles in Cuba. That’s just a few miles away from Florida and he announces the US has sent its ships to blockade the island nation to keep anymore weapons from being placed there. The world takes a step closer to war. Not just war but cataclysmic nuclear war. Jack is stunned. He trusts Kennedy and admires the man but he fears any escalation of this standoff between the world’s two super powers. Jack fought in a war and the true horrors of it had a permanent effect on him. He is proud of his service but he saw war personally. He visited Iwo Jima, Midway and most of his time on the USS Strickland was in the Pacific. That war was bad enough for him but a nuclear one could end it all. He prays along with most Americans that the President will find some solution and keep this fragile peace the world has.

October 28

After several weeks of neither side blinking, the Soviets pull their missiles out of Cuba. Americans breathe a sigh of relief including the Kavanagh’s. Jack is proud of his President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy who is lauded for standing up to the Russians and forcing them to back down. The reality which most Americans do not know is that Kennedy has agreed to pull American nuclear missiles out of Turkey to placate the Soviets and thus the deal is struck.

November 13

5- 3” O.D. steel tubes are finished today for Universal Machine Co. These are thin wall and needed to be filled with rosin. Yesterday, the rosin was melted into its bubbling mass then poured carefully into the plugged tubes. Today the rosin is hard and the tubes are rolled through the machine and they hold up well due to the solid rosin supporting the walls of the tube. When completed, they are hung up and the rosin is melted back out. A messy job but something they do fairly regularly when it’s needed.

The Shop’s job book entry. Universal Machine job. November 13, 1962.

December 20

Harvey Stambaugh has an order in the Shop for a tube to be bent into an offset. It’s something for their own use and does not have to be perfect. A simple hand sketch is sent over by Harvey and the tube is bent and returned to him as quickly as possible. Stambaugh is a good customer and fast becoming one of the Shop’s regulars. Harvey and company generally send two or more orders each month to the Kavanagh’s.

The Shop’s job book entry. Harvey A. Stambaugh & Sons job. December 19, 1962.

December 24

The Shop’s Christmas Eve Party is today. After a Monday morning of work, the place is quickly converted into a hall complete with Christmas tree. It has been a good year all around for the Kavanagh’s. The Shop’s year started better than usual and kept going through all of 1962. Jack and Betty welcomed their first son and pragmatically, Jack finally has an heir to the Shop. The girls could own as Jack’s cousin Mary and her mother do but it would be inconceivable in the 1960s for women to work in the Shop. Those were the times. The assumption is that Jack Jr. or Little Jack will certainly work there. He will be the next generation as the tradition has been since 1866. They also purchased a new machine that has sped up jobs and brought in new work. Jack Sr. knows that the key is tools and he has John Benser, the Shop’s machinist, making all he can for the Pines Bender. It’s appropriate that Jack Jr. be born the same year as the Pines is bought because Jack will become the master of that machine. He learns the mechanics of bending with these machines very well and knows its capabilities and limitation better than anyone but the manufacturer. Perhaps more than them. The Christmas party is loud and a couple of songs are sung but it breaks up before evening is upon them. It is just a few hours with friends, employees and customers eating, drinking and celebrating but it’s an annual tradition and they enjoy it. After Jack drives a couple of workers home, he takes his family back to Lakewood Avenue for the holiday. His wife, his seven girls and his son, Jack who was very nearly called Colt Kavanagh.



John F. Kennedy is the President of the United States. The US Navy Seals are founded. John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth. The Space Needle in Seattle is completed. The first Wal-mart, Target and Kmart stores open. “The Beverly Hillbillies” premiers on TV. The films “Dr No” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” are released. Spider-man makes his first appearance in Marvel comics. Jodie Foster, Jon Bon Jovi, Bo Jackson, Pam Shriver, and Andre Braugher are born. Ernie Kovacs, William Faulkner and E. E. Cummings die.


There are 50 states in the Union.

Jack baby pic with football2
Jack Kavanagh Jr. September 1962.

To read prior years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents






1961 Eddie Retires

January 5

36 year old Jack Kavanagh takes calls in the small office of the Joseph Kavanagh Company and spends part of the day working in the Shop. His father Eddie is still despondent over his wife’s death and he shows up every day at work but is distracted and defers to Jack to take calls. He helps Jack quote prices and does the schedule for each week but is not quite up to talking to customers. He was married to Annie for forty-two years and his grief is deep. Jack does what he can for his father, working more hours and spending what time he can with him at his father’s home at 434 N. Lakewood Avenue. Jack and his family live across the street so he is close and is able to check on him every night. The Shop has a typical start to the year with most of their customers slow but the occasional boiler job or heating coil does roll into the place. They continue to receive more pipe and tube bending jobs. Steiner-Fulton Co. orders some 1 1/2” Aluminum pipes to be annealed and bent for a railing. The customer has the rails in stock and sends them to 201 S. Central so the Shop has no material costs. It’s just a labor job. Jack and two other fellows get the pieces annealed and bent in a few hours.

The Shop’s job book entry. Steiner-Fulton Co. job. January 5, 1961.

January 20

John F. Kennedy is sworn in as President of the United States and Jack listens on the radio. He’s a great admirer of Kennedy and is excited that this young Irish Catholic man has taken the highest office in the nation. Jack is a loyal Democrat having served in the Maryland House of Delegates and run for City Council in the 1950s. He has high hopes for JFK and believes he will do great things for America.

JoAnn and Ann Kavanagh. 1961.

February 21

Jack suggests to his father that they hire a secretary to help in the office as the crew work busily on a cold winter day. Several workers are with Charlie Owens at Montebello Liquors. They are installing two bottling tanks the Shop has re-tinned. February has been busier than usual with some emergency work, one for a boiler and this one for Montebello. Eddie thinks a secretary is unnecessary but Jack needs the help answering the phone and taking messages. Some help with the books would be welcome too. Eddie knows both of these things are true and the only other option is for him to be more involved with both so he agrees. Jack is surprised his father is convinced so quickly. He makes some calls in search of someone with a clerical background to help him.

The Shop’s job book entry. Montebello Liquors job. February 21, 1961.

March 6

The Shop hires a young woman named Julie as a full time secretary. She comes highly recommended by a friend of Jack’s and will answer the phone and take care of the office when Jack is out in the Shop. Eddie prefers to quote only the brewery and distillery jobs that come in and record the time and material on past jobs. He’s always been a stickler for records and both he and his son use them for bids. Jack suggests his father work in Eddie’s father Joe’s old office upstairs. Joe would make calls and review old jobs while he was up there. Eddie surprisingly likes the ideas and he starts spending most of his day in the upstairs office of the Shop. It is used primarily to store records and drawings. Eddie begins typing them into job books and noting the cost and time necessary to do each job. He thinks these will make a good reference for future quotes and jobs.

March 20

The younger Harvey Stambaugh calls Jack and tells him he’s got some tubes he needs made into U-bends. U-bends are used in heat exchangers and are as described, tubes with a “u” or 180 degree bend in the middle of them. Harvey needs them in a day and he wants to bring them over tomorrow. Jack says they can take care of it, but Harvey needs a price first. He tells Jack he always needs a price before preceding. One of Stambaugh’s estimators, Mr. Newkirk calls with the specifics. Jack quotes him a number and first thing the next morning, Stambaugh’s truck is carrying the tubes from Woodall Street through downtown and to Central Avenue. They jump on this tube job quickly and they are ready for pick up by early in the afternoon. Stambaugh has become a regular customer in the last few years besides Jack really likes Harvey. He’s about 20 years Jack’s senior but his youthful looks make the age difference seem much smaller. Harvey is a jovial and gregarious character and Jack usually gets a laugh from his phone calls.

The Shop’s job book entry. Harvey A. Stambaugh & Sons job. March 21, 1961.

April 11

The Orioles home opener is today and they face off against the new expansion Los Angeles Angels. The Birds get beat by this upstart club 7-2. The game is on the radio in the Shop and the office as Kavanagh’s and crew follow closely. The fans are disappointed but it’s only one game. Last years’ second place finished has increased their hopes for this season. Confidence in the Birds is high this year in Baltimore and that definitely includes the Kavanagh’s.

The Kavanagh girls in their girl scout uniforms. Nancy, Mary, Betty Ann(left to right) Late 1950s.

April 19

Jack reads the newspaper story about the Bay of Pigs. An attempted counter-revolution in Cuba that ends in disaster after two days of fighting. Jack shakes his head at this story. It’s a terrible waste of life and worse yet, a complete failure. The Fidel Castro regime in Cuba had nationalized American industries there last year and now they are firmly entrenched and they have even more reason to oppose US interests and influence in the region.

May 5

Alan Sheppard becomes the first American in space today. Americans watch and listen as the first of the Mercury astronauts is successfully launched into orbit. This first brief flight into space is only a stepping stone to far greater things.

Betty Nancy Mary Scouting
Kavanagh girls in their girl scout uniforms. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary(left to right). 1960.

May 25

President Kennedy announces plans to land an American on the moon by the end of the decade. Jack can’t believe it. It was amazing to send a man into space but to land on the moon seems far-fetched. Jack is a big supporter of JFK and if Kennedy says we should do it, Jack is sure we will. It still seems like the stuff of his childhood matinee films and dreams but a trip to the moon will be a reality soon enough.

June 1

The work at the Shop has stayed steady as the summer starts. Today a job for Majestic Distillery is finished. A dump strainer is fabricated per Eddie’s quote. Julie received the call and Jack told her to speak to his father. These are the sort of quotes Eddie still enjoys doing. Julie is helpful to both father and son. She keeps thing going along well when Jack is in the Shop and she keeps an eye on Eddie upstairs and gets anything he needs. Eddie still gets a bit of a charge out of a quote that becomes a job but otherwise he focuses on those old jobs. Typing them up and notating whether the Shop made money or not and how that occurred. They will prove useful over the years but part of Eddie’s interest is nostalgic. It’s as if he is reviewing the years of work at the Shop, going over it all in his mind.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. June 1, 1961.

June 12

Eddie tells Jack he will retire at the end of the year. He will keep recording old jobs but thinks he’ll be finished by December. He tells his son it is his time and he has all of Eddie’s confidence. Eddie feels very old suddenly and he can’t do it anymore. He has worked at the Shop for over fifty years and is sixty-six years old.

“It’s a good thing, Pop. You did your part. You have worked here longer than anyone ever has even the first Joe. You earned a good comfortable retirement.” Jack tells his father.

Eddie pauses at his desk, “I guess. I mean I don’t know what I’ll do, Jack, but there is no point in my working here anymore. I’ll finish recording these old jobs. I think it’s important to have them as a reference point for quoting. After that, I’m gone. I’m tired too. I really am.”

“I know you are. I do and you really have given all you can to the place. Plus, you have set me up to succeed, Pop. I’ll be fine and the Shop too. I’ll take care of everything. You can relax finally. Take it easy at home. Listen and watch ball games. You can finally spend all day playing the piano if you want.” Jack says to encourage his father.

Eddie holds his hands out in front of him with a small frown on his face, “I can play some but I can’t play all day. Not like I used to. My hands aren’t as good, Jack. They get sore and tired but, yes, I’ll play.” his frown turning to a small smile. “Any night you come over, we can play together too. That’s always fun, Jack. It will be okay. I’ll find other stuff to keep me busy too.”

Jack’s brow furrows a bit at the thought his father can’t play as well anymore and the sight of his aged hands then he answers resolutely, “Sounds good to me. I love playing and we can do that. You can do whatever you want. Like I said, you earned it.”

“Maybe but what’s for sure is, you don’t need me anymore.” his eyes rise and scan the small office, “the Shop doesn’t need me anymore. It’s time I got out of the way and got out of here. It’s your time, Jack”

“You’re not in the way, Pop. You’re not but I am ready for this. I am” Jack assures his father.

“I know it, kid. I know it.” Eddie smiles broader then heads up the steps to the second floor office. Jack sits in silence as Julie records the hours from the prior day sitting at her desk across the room. She was not listening in to their conversation but certainly heard it. She is working out well. Julie helps Jack with payroll, the books and answering the phone. Jack is sure he’s ready but he worries about Eddie. Despite their chat, he knows it will be tough for Eddie to not work and if he’s limited on the piano now, that will hurt. They both love the piano and Jack can’t imagine not being able to play. His biggest worry is that Eddie will be lonely and restless without the Shop. If you work somewhere for over fifty years, it is all you know. Factor in, it is your company and it’s that much harder to walk away. Jack is concerned for Eddie but hopes he can adjust.

July 9

Jack, Betty and their girls attend an Orioles afternoon game on this Sunday. The family sees a great game as the Orioles defeat the Kansas City Athletics, 8-0. Pitcher Steve Barber throws a four hit shut out while the offense put up three runs in the first two innings, leading throughout the ball game. There are no home runs hit but both Jackie Brandt and Whitey Herzog triple while Brooks Robinson, Jerry Adair and Jim Gentile all hit doubles. The team is off to its best start ever and the excitement and hopes for a successful season continue. The Kavanagh girls have a blast as they eat fried chicken and drink iced tea made by Betty. They rarely buy food at the game. With so many children, it’s just too expensive but they always bring food from home. The kids love going to Memorial Stadium as their father does. Betty is becoming a big fan too. The Kavanagh’s go to at least a couple of games every month as this connection and allegiance to the Birds grows.

JoAnn Kavanagh pictured with the Plymouth Station Wagon. Jefferson Street. Early 1960s.

July 14

Another order for Majestic Distillery is completed. This is also from Eddie’s quotation. A set of boiler plates are drilled and cut to size. This is their old school distillery work and they knock the plates out fairly quickly. The diameter of each plate is most critical. They must fit snugly into a tank that is pressurized. It must be sealed very tightly but it’s not an issue for Kavanagh’s and crew. The plates are fabricated and installed at Majestic in quick order.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. July 14, 1961.

August 22

Eddie and Jack stand in the Shop surrounded by the crew at 9 am. The usual morning break is full of chat bout the Orioles. They are in hot pursuit of the Yankees and have won five in a row. The breaks are usually times to talk and relax for a few minute but they are rarely this loud and boisterous. The team is on a roll. After a few minutes, Eddie is quick to get the boys back at it. That’s Jack’s job these days but old habits die hard. A set of 2 1/2” pipes are bent for Washington Aluminum Co. The roller is used and the radius is achieved easily. The pipes match very close to each other and this job will be wrapped up by the end of the day. As father and son eat their lunch, they discuss the two Yankee sluggers who are chasing Babe Ruth’s single season home run record of 60. Eddie was a huge fan of the Babe’s during his playing years. Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris are both making a run at this record that seemed unbreakable. The American League season has been increased from 154 games to 162 and those extra eight games will help their cause. In addition, the AL added two expansion teams this year. Teams that are certain to perform poorly and this may add to the M & M boys’ home run totals too.

“Both Mantle and Maris got a shot at Ruth’s record, Pop.” Jack says as he balls up his napkin and tosses it in the trash.

Eddie snorts, “Neither of these guys can compare to Ruth. I don’t see them hitting 60 homers, Jack. 60? Come on. They have 8 more games to do it with and they still won’t make it.”

“Maris has 49 already, Eddie. He’s close and Mantle is right behind him. Mantle is the better hitter in my opinion. He’s just been injured a lot but he can knock the heck out of the ball. I think they both got a legitimate shot.” Jack replies in a matter of fact way.

“Even at 49, he’s got 11 home runs to get. Late in the season with games counting so much, he’ll face the toughest pitchers. They will pitch around him. It’s not gonna happen, kid.” Eddie answers with the same assurance in his voice as he places a match to the end of his cigarette.

Jack waves off the cloud of smoke, “You just don’t know, Eddie. These guys can hit and they CAN’T pitch around Maris because of Mantle. I think that’s helped him some already. I’m not saying the Babe’s record will be broken. I’m saying it’s possible.”

“No matter what. These two can’t compare to Ruth. Ruth was a slugger. The greatest slugger of all time. Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris. They are good hitters and players, Jack but they ain’t the Babe.” Eddie answers emphatically punctuating his statement by breathing out a large puff of smoke.

Jack leans back away from it, “I hope you’re right for the Orioles sake. We’re playing great but still nine games back. If either or both get close to 60 or pass it, the Birds are in trouble”

“No matter how many homers those two get, the Birds are already in trouble. We’re playing as good as we can but the Yanks look unstoppable this year, kid.” Eddie flicks his ash as his son nods.

“Yeah Eddie, it sure looks like its New York’s year…. Again.” Jack stands up from his desk quickly, “I better get out there and get them started.” he heads out the Shop door and checks on the crew.

The Shop’s job book entry. Washington Aluminum Co. job. August 22, 1961.

September 17

Jack and his buddy Urb Rosemary drive out to Memorial Stadium to watch the first Colts game of the season. Baltimore defeats the LA Rams 27-24 and the two friends join in with the wild crowd of fans. The Colts are cheered on loudly and enthusiastically on every play. The team will have a pretty good year finishing 8-6 in their division. Unfortunately, that’s only good enough for a tie of third place and they miss the postseason for the second straight year.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. September 25, 1961.

October 1

Roger Maris hits his 61st home run today on the last day of the season breaking Ruth’s record. Mickey Mantle falls short partly due to a hip injury at the end of the season  but still hits an impressive 54 home runs. Roger Maris’ 61 in ‘61 is an astonishing accomplishment. Eddie and Jack can’t believe it though Eddie still says he’s no Ruth. If they thought Ruth’s 60 would never be broken, they feel even more so about Maris’ 61. The Orioles are in the race for the pennant all season and win 95 games but that’s still not enough. They finish in third behind the Tigers with 103 wins and the Yankees who take the American League pennant with a whopping 109 victories.

Mary and Jane Kavanagh. Living room of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Early 1960s.

October 9

The New York Yankees win four out of five to take the World Series over the Cincinnati Reds. The Yanks feature AL MVP Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle and the rest of their vaunted office. The Reds are led by NL MVP Frank Robinson and Wally Post. New York dominates the Series on both sides of the game. Their pitching was anchored by Whitey Ford who wins the MVP of the Series. Ford wins two games and throws fourteen innings of shutout ball. This combined with his past World Series starts breaks Babe Ruth’s record for scoreless innings in the Series. That’s two of Ruth’s records that fall this year. New York also out played the Reds on offense scoring 27 runs to Cincinnati’s 13. It’s a lopsided championship and ends with New York winning its 19th World Series in 39 years. The Kavanagh’s are big fans and watch the series closely. They are pulling for the Reds but there is no stopping the Yanks this year.

October 28

Universal Machine Company is installing some equipment at the Maryland Cup company. Both are customers of the Shop and they need a quick bent tube fabricated. A 3”OD thin wall steel tube needs to be filled and rolled. Jack and two helpers, Schaech and Lipscomb tackle this job. His helpers have filled the tube the day prior and now Jack rolls it to the necessary radius and degree. Shaech and Lipscomb melt it out under Jack’s supervision and after some adjustments and some cleaning, it is ready to be delivered.

The Shop’s job book entry. Universal Machine Co. job. October 28, 1961.

November 1

The Shop on Central Avenue finishes a nice order for Structure Components today. Thirty-two aluminum pipes are annealed and bent. The tolerance is tight on these but the finished pieces are spot on the dimensions. It’s a nice bit of work that helps to make a good end to the year. The precision is something you can always charge more for but you have to be able to hold that tolerance consistently throughout the entire piece. All of these turn out very well and the customer is very happy.

the Shop’s job book entry. Structure Components Co. job. November 1, 1961. Page 1.
The Shop’s job book entry. Structure Components Co. job. November 1, 1961. Page 2.

November 25

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Eddie, Jack, Betty and their girls visit Aunt Anna(Sister Mary Agnes) at the Visitation Convent on Roland Park Avenue. She is very happy to spend some time with her family. They catch up on her teaching duties and discuss the holidays. She loves hearing from the girls about what they want for Christmas. Eddie tells his sister Anna he is retiring from the Shop. She is surprised but seems pleased. She tells her brother it’s a good idea. He needs to rest and enjoy some time away from the Shop. It’s a very pleasant visit and afterward they pile into the station wagon and drive back to Lakewood Avenue.

Mary Kavanagh next to Jack’s Plymouth Station Wagon. Early 1960s.

December 23

On this Saturday, the Shop’s Christmas Party is held and it is a quieter affair this year and a little shorter. After a morning of work, the place is cleaned and decorated including a tree. Jack runs out in the morning to get one then picks his family up for the party. Eddie comes along and he shakes hands with the employees and a few customers who stop by. This is the end for him and his friends and business associates wish him well. There is food and drink and the guest mingle and chat together. A few Christmas songs are sung but not like in the past when the old building would be filled with music. Jack drives a few members of his crew home afterward then returns quickly to the Shop because Jack and Betty are spending all day tomorrow celebrating with Betty’s family. Her mother Bernardine or Nanny as the girls call her has moved in with her son Bumpsey and his wife Shirley. They live on Bucknell Road and are hosting their first big holiday party. The girls are thrilled at the thought of Christmas Eve with Nanny. Everyone has a great time at Bucknell Road and when they get home, Jack walks across the street to see how Eddie is. He is okay and promises to spend as much of Christmas Day with the family as he can. The next day is festive on Lakewood Avenue as the girls find presents under the tree and enjoy a turkey feast with all the trimmings including parsnips, a Kavanagh staple. Eddie is there and he loves seeing the girls so excited but he wearies quickly. After a couple of hours, he walks home to take a nap. Jack checks on him later and he is fine but still seems a little lost. Without Annie and without the Shop, Eddie finds very little to do with his time. He misses the Shop but he can’t work there anymore. He’s too old and has done his part. He has worked there since he was a teenager and it really was all he knew. He settles into a life of playing a little piano, watching TV, smoking cigars and chewing Doublemint gum. The gum is his favorite and there is a pack on every flat surface in his house along with an ashtray. The Doublemint reminds him of Annie. She worked at a candy store where he first tried it and then asked her on a date the same day. He loves this gum and, in fact, 434 N. Lakewood always smelled of cigars and Doublemint Gum even after his death years later.



John F. Kennedy is the President of the United States. He sends 14,000 military advisers to Vietnam then 400 troops with helicopters. The Vietnam War has begun. Construction of the Berlin Wall begins. Bomb shelters become popular.  The Freedom Riders begin their rides in the South. The Peace Corps is founded. The 23rd Amendment is ratified granting citizens of Washington D.C. the right to vote in national elections. The electric toothbrush and the disposable diaper are invented. The films “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “West Side Story” and “The Hustler” are released. Eddie Murphy, Barack Obama, Melissa Etheridge, Wynton Marsalis and Henry Rollins are born. Ernest Hemingway dies.


There are 50 states in the Union.

7 girls
All seven of the Kavanagh girls. Front row is Betty Ann, Mary, Jane, Nancy. Back row is JoAnn, Ann, Jackie. 1961.

To read prior years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents



1960 Ann M. Kavanagh

January 22

The Shop has work to start the year, not a lot but about what they are accustomed to in January. Today in the Shop, some fittings are made for Hamm Brewing and a heating coil is fabricated. A copper coil is replicated from an old sample by John Benser. The tube is annealed and bent to match the old piece. The customer is a new one, Paul H. Werres Co. Eddie and Jack field calls in the small corner office, give quotes and expedite jobs. Jack is also at work in the Shop most of the time. He moves between the office and Shop frequently. He will be running a crew on a job and also prepping quotes and making calls. Eddie is still involved in the Shop periodically as needed but he spends most of the day at his desk. Eddie has adjusted quickly to his older son not working here. Ed Jr. quit last year after some accusations of drinking a couple of beers on the job at Gunther’s. His father is strict about the rules of no drinking and no matter the amount, it was a problem to him. They quarreled and many years of quarreling came to a head and that was that. It feels a little  strange for Eddie Kavanagh to have only one son working for him but he and Jack get on very well. More to the point, they work well together. Eddie trusts Jack and he sees his son learning and being comfortable running a crew. Soon it will be Jack’s time and Eddie may be able to step away and spend more time with his wife, Annie.

The Shop’s job book entry. Theo Hamm Brewing Co. January 22, 1960.

February 18

The cold winter continues and the work stays steady for the Kavanagh’s. They are working on several brass plugs and couplings for the Theo Hamm Brewing Co. Eddie and Jack were concerned they would be missing the beer work after the decision by the union last year. The pipe fitters will be handling all beer line work from now on which will hurt the Shop; the Kavanagh’s just don’t know how much yet. They still have many stock fittings and make custom ones and they continue receiving those orders. Gunther’s and National Breweries and now Hamm are regular customers for replacement and spare parts.

March 22

Spring has brought talk of baseball to the corner of Pratt and Central as well as an uptick in work. The fellows are busy on some fittings for Gunther’s and another boiler repair for Codd Fab. Winter is over but people still need heat. Copper liners and brass fittings are made for the boiler and Kavanagh’s and crew speculate on the Orioles. Will they be better this year? They have mired along just below a .500 record for the last few years and some improvement is expected. Hopes are high but that is usually true in spring.

April 19

It is Opening Day in Baltimore and the citizens are excited with 32,000 fans filling Memorial Stadium. The Kavanagh’s and crew are just as excited and the game is on the radio in the office and another in the Shop proper. Charlie Owens brought in a radio and asked permission to listen to the ballgame. Eddie is a little concerned that the radio could distract the crew but Jack convinces him it’s the Opening Day and worth it. For Jack’s part, he’s happy to be able to hear the game outside of the office. He moves between both throughout the day and follows the Birds on both radios. They face the Washington Senators today and win 3-2. Third baseman Brooks Robinson crushes a two-run home run deep into the left field stands for the first two scores while Gene Woodling doubles in Jackie Brandt with the winning run. Jack and Eddie talk about the game cheerily as they lock the large metal doors of the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Jack tells his father he has a feeling about this Robinson. He’s good at third and though it has taken him a couple years to prove it, he can hit too. Jack thinks he might stick at third for the Orioles for a few years. Eddie hopes so.

April 28

More brewery parts are being made but a job for the Coast Guard is the focus at the Shop today. Eddie and Jack both work on this order. Copper-nickle tubes are bent for an exhaust pipe on a UT boat. The tubes are annealed, then filled with rosin, bent in the rolling machine, melted out and hammered smooth. It’s a lot of steps but the Kavanagh’s knock it out pretty quick. Charlie Owens handles the annealing on this one. To anneal copper-nickle is tricky but not particularly difficult. You can’t anneal the nickle. It’s far too dense and hard. A torch won’t get hot enough but the copper in the tube will anneal. A careful eye can get it right and Owens is an experienced coppersmith now. Jack and Eddie with a helper, Pat, roll the tubes to 45 degrees with the proper radius and tangent the Coast Guard needs. After hammering smooth any small dents, the tubes are cleaned up and ready to go.

The Shop’s job book entry. Theo Hamm Brewing Co. job. May 3, 1960.

May 6

It’s a welcome Friday for Jack after a long week. He has to work in the morning tomorrow but should be home by lunch. He looks forward to a relaxing weekend. He sits and nurses a beer while watching television as Betty gets their six girls to sleep. The girls are tired from the school week but are not anxious to get to sleep. After a bit of convincing, Betty gets them all in bed for the night. She has some wonderful news for Jack. She has tried all evening to get a chance to tell him about it but with a houseful of daughters, there just wasn’t a chance. A few minutes after 10 pm, she has no choice but to interrupt “the Twilight Zone” which Jack is watching intently. It’s an episode called “A Stop in Willoughby” in which the main character dreams of going back to a simpler time and a simpler place, In this program, that place is called Willoughby. She gets her husband’s attention during a commercial and quickly informs him she is pregnant. It takes a moment to sink in, then Jack wraps his arms around her and he is very excited. Jack and Betty love kids and family. Any addition to their already large clan is welcomed with love and anticipation.  They smile to each other because baby # 7 is on its way.

May 12

The Kavanagh’s make some heater tubes for Harvey A. Stambaugh & Sons. Stambaugh is a boiler repair company and a fabricator. The company is run by Harvey Stambaugh and his two sons, Harvey Jr. and Ken, just like the name infers. They have ordered some copper tubes for a heat exchanger. An exchanger does what its name says, it moves heat from one area to another. The tubes are straight in this case. They are merely cut and 2” on each end are annealed to allow for expansion. The tubes will be slid into a brass or steel plate on each side of the exchanger. To seal the unit, the tubes are expanded tight into the plate or header. It’s an easy job for the Shop. They keep the tube in stock. Cutting and annealing is quick for them.

Jack and his first 6 girls. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane, Jackie, JoAnn(Left to right). 1960.

June 29

It’s a hot summer day and not a good one to be filling tubes with rosin but that’s what’s going on at the Shop. The Sweetheart Paper Co. has ordered some 4” O.D. tubes to be bent. They need offsets which are pieces with two bends. The rosin pot is filled with small blocks of the yellow-orange tree gum. A torch is put on the pot and it melts fairly quickly. The tubes are stood up and wired securely to a beam. Large ladles or scoops are dipped into the pot and used to fill buckets of the now black tarry bubbling liquid. The buckets are poured into the tubes and it hardens overnight. A long hot messy process but it will keep the thin tubes from collapsing or wrinkling while being bent. After bending, they are hung up by chains and blasted with torches to melt the rosin back out. The boys catch it in over-sized buckets for re-use. It’s a job where the bending is the easiest part.

Collection of dies for the Leionard “Air” Bender accumulated over 60 years. Photo taken September of 2019.

July 15

Jack, Charlie Owens and another fellow are working on a steel coil. Jack welcomes three hours straight in the Shop to bend this one. The phone and the paper work is part of the job but some days, Jack wants to be doing the work. It’s tough but not in the same way that dealing with customers and vendors can be. They bend some 3/4” steel pipe in the Leonard “Air” bender purchased last year. It’s a coil with 180 degree and 90 degree bends in a serpentine style. It will be used for a refrigeration system in a wholesale fish market, Waterford Ltd.

The Shop’s job book entry. Waterford Ltd. Job. July 15, 1960.

August 13

Jack and Betty take their girls to a Saturday afternoon Orioles game at Memorial Stadium. The eight Kavanagh’s pile into the Plymouth Station Wagon and head to Thirty-third Street. On the way, the girls are excited about the game and the upcoming school year. They chatter and the young voices fill the car as Jack moves through traffic.

“Quiet down girls. Your father’s driving.” Betty looks over her left shoulder at her brood.

“When are we going to get there?” Mary inquires.

“We’re getting closer Mary. We’ve been to enough baseball games to know.” Nancy answers her.

“We will be there soon. Your sister’s right, Mary. You girls quiet down.” Betty chides them again as Betty Ann and Jane discuss school and Jackie and JoAnn bicker about looking out the window.

Mary replies to Nancy, “I know we are close but I want to know how long it will take.”

“There’s traffic. Look around you. We’ll get there.” Betty Ann turns to Mary then returns to the conversation with Jane.

Their mother speaks up, “Yes, there is some traffic. Your Dad will get us there. Be patient.”

The three conversations rise in volume as Jack tries to focus on driving. “I want summer to last longer.” Jane says to Betty Ann. “School comes back too soon.”

“You’ll get used to it.” Betty Ann answers, her voice getting louder to be heard over JoAnn and Jackie’s teasing each other.

Jack feels his head begin to spin in the Plymouth as the girls keep speaking, all of them at once it seems. “So when ARE we going to get there?” An unidentified voice says.

“That’s it! This is the last ballgame we’re going to EVER!” Jack snaps over his shoulder to the back of the vehicle. “This is it.” He continues driving as a hush falls over the car. The girls are shocked into silence. The remainder of the ride is quiet and when they reach their seats, the girls notice their father seems fine now. They watch a fun game, cheering on the Birds to victory. The Orioles take it in the bottom of the ninth, coming back to win. Jack enjoys the game and despite what he said, this is not the last time they go to a ballgame.

August 24

A large job is completed today for Majestic Distillery. The Shop continues to receive its whiskey related work this year but it’s usually small repairs and parts. This one is fabricating and installing a two hundred foot copper line at Majestic. The project takes a couple of weeks for several workers with the bulk of the time is spent on site. The tubes must be tinned first then the line is installed at the distillery. It stretches from the Regauging Room across their yard, through the roof and into a Bottling Room. Eddie likes this job. It’s their old work and one they can make money on too.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. August 24, 1960.

September 18

The Baltimore Colts play their first game of the season and defeat the Washington Redskins 20-0. They are the two time NFL Champions and the crowd seems to get louder each year maybe even each game. Jack and his buddy Urb Rosemary are there in the mass of fans. They have attended the first football game for three years in a row. It’s been good luck so far but not this year. The Colts start off well going 6-2 but lose their last four games and do not repeat as champs. The Baltimore Orioles lose a double header to the New York Yankees on this very same day. This completes four losses in a row to NY and pushes the Birds into second place. The Orioles were fighting for first since August with the Yankees and White Sox but these four games secure the Yanks’ pennant. The fans were happy for the excitement of a pennant race for the first time. Jack’s faith in Robinson was well-placed. He leads the club in batting average, doubles and triples. Several other youngsters, Jim Gentile and Ron Hansen, impress as well. They give Oriole fans hope for the future.

October 13

The Pittsburgh Pirates defeat the New York Yankees in seven games to win the World Series. It is a strange series with all three of New York’s victories being routs while the Pirates wins were all close ones. In game seven in the final inning,  Bill Mazeroski hits a walk off home run to take the game 10-9 and the championship. The Kavanagh’s are listening on Central Avenue. Both Eddie and Jack pull for Pittsburgh this year. Eddie’s allegiance to the Yanks has been waning with the arrival of the Orioles After this season when the Birds got close only to be beaten by NY for the pennant, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Father and son listen on the radio to NBC broadcaster Chuck Thompson calling the winning homer by Mazeroski and they celebrate, clapping their hands then rubbing them together quickly. It’s a habit that Eddie has had for years and Jack has picked it up. Thompson flubs the call a bit, messing up the score and the pitcher’s name but it was understandable in the excitement of Mazeroski’s blast. This is the first time a World Series is decided by a walk off home run.

The Shop’s job book entry. Maryland Cup Company job. October 19, 1960.

October 19

Another rosin job is finished today at 201 S. Central Avenue. 3 1/2” Pipes must be filled and rolled to 90 degrees on a 48” Rad. Jack’s rolling machine has more than payed for itself and is used several days a week at the least. Most of the crew including Jack have some time on this one as the customer, Maryland Cup Company, is in a hurry. Any hurry or rush job is priced at a premium so extra hours are required but Eddie does not mind as long as the money is there.

3 1/2″ Pipe 90 degree bend made at the Shop. September 2019.

November 8

Democrat John F. Kennedy defeats Vice-President Richard Nixon to win the presidency of the United States of America. Kennedy at 43 becomes the youngest president ever, and the first Roman Catholic. The Kavanagh’s vote for him as the loyal Democrats they are. Jack, particularly, feels an admiration for JFK and is excited to cast his vote. Perhaps it is because of their shared Irish heritage or their shared Roman Catholic faith. It could be because they are both called Jack and served in the Navy but whatever it was, Jack likes the man. He is anxious to see what Jack Kennedy can do in office.

November 14

Another week starts on this Monday with the Kavanagh’s and crew fairly busy. The year has turned out  better than last so far. Several reducers are made today for the Lloyd Mitchell Company. Mitchell is doing this job for Carlin’s Brewery and can’t make the reducers. This is the type of work they thought they would miss from the breweries. The Lloyd Mitchell Co. has a large chunk of work at Carlin’s but they can’t fabricate the eccentric reducers so they call Eddie. He takes the order knowing that two years ago, Carlin’s would have come directly to the Shop for this. Eddie discusses it with Jack and they decide to charge as much as they possibly can for this job. If they are fine with Mitchell being in the middle on this job, they must be fine with paying more.

The Shop’s job book entry. Lloyd Mitchell Company job. November 14, 1960.

November 17

In the afternoon on this Thursday, Eddie gets a call at the Shop. His wife, Annie has had a heart attack. She has been rushed to the hospital and Eddie rushes out to meet the ambulance there. Jack lets the boys go a little early and heads over as well. When they see her, she is very weak but says she is fine. Jack’s brother Ed shows up too and her sons and husband breathe an uneasy sigh of relief as they huddle at her bedside. They worry but the doctor informs them, Annie can go home tomorrow.

Mimi alone
Annie Hartmann Kavanagh. Called Mimi by her grandchildren. 1950s.

November 18

Annie Kavanagh comes home from the hospital and decide to lay in bed to “rest her eyes” as she would often say, for a bit. Katherine, Betty’s friend who helps with the children, has stopped across the street to check on her. At lunch time, Betty comes over and Katherine tries to wake Annie or “Mimi” as her granddaughters call her. Suddenly Katherine realizes Mimi is not sleeping. She has passed away in her bed. The family is crushed and Eddie is lost without her. Her sons are hit hard as well. She was close to both of them and this has happened so quickly. Eddie is forlorn and seems at a loss as to what to do. He asks Jack to move back home with him and Jack spends the next several nights at 434 N. Lakewood supporting his father in his grief.

Anne Hartmann Kavanagh 1910
Anna Hartman, Circa 1910.

November 22

Anna “Mimi” Hartmann Kavanagh is laid to rest at New Cathedral Cemetery. The funeral is held at St. Elizabeth’s Church where she was an active parishioner. The small girls are shocked. They have lost someone they loved for the first time which is difficult for a child to grasp. Betty is the rock at this point. She stays strong for her husband and takes care of the kids, keeping them busy and answering their questions. All while being nearly nine months pregnant. As for Eddie, he misses his wife. She was his whole life outside of the Shop and he grieves deeply for her. Jack will stay with him for a couple more days but will inform his father, he really must be home. It has been stressful for Betty and she is nearly due. She needs his help with the baby so close.

Anna Hartmann. Late 1890s.

December 7

Betty gives birth to another daughter. They name her Ann to honor Jack’s mother but Jack is out of town. He is in Detroit working on a brewery repair. The Shop still gets a few out of town jobs once in a while and the timing is bad for Jack on this one. He is anxious to see his new baby but sends her a postcard to welcome her to the family and one to Betty thanking her for another “wonderful doll.” He finishes the job as fast as he can and returns to Baltimore in a couple of days. Ann is Betty and Jack’s seventh daughter and her sisters are anxious to meet her. The family is very happy and naming her for Mimi is something they all love. Jack is particularly soothed by the name as he was very close to his mother. He was and always will be her baby. Newborn Ann will join her older sisters at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue and the house gets fuller but never quite feels crowded. Ann will be the first daughter to work at the Shop and in time she will be the first female president of the Joseph Kavanagh Company.

Kav, Ann baby2
Ann M. Kavanagh. Born December 7, 1960.
Postcard from Jack Kavanagh to his wife, Betty, when daughter #7, Ann, is born. Sent from Detroit. December 1960.
Cover of postcard from Jack Kavanagh to his wife, Betty, when daughter # 7, Ann, is born. Detroit. December 1960.
The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job (Detroit). December 13, 1960.

December 22

As the holiday approaches, the Kavanagh’s are a mix of moods. They mourn still for Mimi but are excited for Baby Ann. Eddie is still despondent and more withdrawn than usual even at the Shop. Jack does his best to make it work. They have a job for the State of Maryland today. A finned heater is being repaired for the Department of Employment Security. The fins are aluminum and they cover the copper tubes in the heater and insulate them. They are there to keep the heat in the copper tubes so it can be conserved and projected where needed. The fins are pulled away in sections and a little soap reveals the leaks. Some soldering and filling is done by Funke and the heater is fixed. Government work is good to have as Eddie has said before, “they probably won’t go out of business.”

The Shop’s job book entry. State of Maryland Department of Employment Security job. December 22, 1960.

December 23

The Shop’s Christmas Eve Party is held on this Friday. They are closed tomorrow giving everyone a longer holiday weekend. The holidays are here and the year nearly finished but it’s a somber quiet party. Eddie leaves early after receiving condolences from customers and employees alike. Jack is grieving his Mom too but is happy with the new baby as is Betty. They feel so blessed to have seven children. To be given the gift of such a family is what they have always wanted. The guests eat and drink and wish each other “Merry Christmas.” The party is a short one and after dropping several workers off, Jack is back to take his girls home. Jack, Betty and seven girls including the baby fill the station wagon and head down Pratt Street to celebrate the holiday. Christmas Day is spent at the Hartmann’s, Anna’s family. The girls and their parents love celebrating the Yule with the Hartmann’s who are welcoming and it’s always a wonderful day. When they go there tomorrow it will still be Christmas though a lot of thought will be with Annie. She was a wonderful mother. Jack will miss her so much. She cared for him and loved him. She sent him a letter every day when he was in the Navy. She was as happy and as excited as he when he married and had a family. Each girl was a treasure and gift to her. Jack was her youngest and she never stopped mothering him. It will be hard going forward for Eddie. Outside of work, she was the focus of all he did and she took care of all he needed. Not just cooking, cleaning, shopping and all of those things but guidance. She guided him through every day life and all the things he never had to think about. With his cantankerous and sometimes contrary attitudes, she loved him. Mimi was sixty-four years old.



Dwight Eisenhower finishes his second term as the President. The Soviet Union shoots down an American U2 spy plane. The US sends its first troops to Vietnam,  3500 of them. “The Flintstones” and “Rawhide” premier on television. Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” is released. Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” is published. The photocopier, aluminum cans and the Etch-A-Sketch are invented. David Simon, Sean Penn, Branford Marsalis, Melissa Leo and Cal Ripken Jr. are born. Eddie Cochran and Clark Gable die.


There are 50 states in the Union.

Kav, Ann baby
Ann M. Kavanagh. Early 1961.

To read past years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents


1959 The Two Eds

January 5

It’s a very cold start to the year and another slow start for the Shop but Eddie has grown accustomed to it. They keep busy making stock parts and attending to a few small jobs. They lost a helper who moved over the holidays and Eddie is a little relieved. One less man to keep paying and they can always find a helper through the Sheet Metal Workers Union.

February 4

As Jack reads the morning paper before driving the girls to school and himself to work, he notices a story about three musicians being killed. The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens all die in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa. He doesn’t know any of them and reads that they are rock and roll performers which is not his style at all. Still, he thinks it’s a terrible tragedy, especially when he sees how young they were. In a minute, he is hustling out the door with his girls to get on the road. He waves goodbye to his girls at the corner of Lakewood and Baltimore when they make their way into St. Elizabeth’s School. He turns right and arrives at work in less than ten minutes. Several orders for brewery fittings and parts are filled and the Shop has received another order from the Sweetheart Paper Company in Chicago. They require several 3 5/8” O.D. steel tubes to be bent. In the past, they have filled these with sand to bend them, but they are trying something different. It takes a great deal of time to pound the sand in to make it fit tightly inside the tube and keep it round during bending. A friend of Eddie’s has recommended they use rosin. Rosin is a tree gum and it can be melted, poured into a tube,  and it will solidify and support the tube. It’s the same stuff that pitchers use to dry their hands. It’s messy and takes heat to melt the rosin back out. It does work and the tubes turn out very round and look good. Despite the heat and the mess, using the rosin is far better than the sand and cheaper. Eddie believes this is how they should do it from now on and Jack agrees.

The Shop’s job book entry. Sweetheart Paper Co. job. February 4, 1959.

February 10

Ed Jr. and his helper are at Gunther’s brewery for a repair on one of the beer vats. The job seems to go well and both men are back at the Shop in a few hours, just before quitting time. Eddie gets a call and is informed the work was done quite satisfactorily and an off hand comical remark about the boys sharing a couple of beers afterward sets Eddie off. He does not condone drinking on the job. He isn’t happy and questions his son,  and Ed Jr. admits he did have a taste of the beer. He doesn’t see the harm because it was nearly quitting time but his father is angry and he doesn’t understand how Ed could forget the rules. It’s simple. We work for breweries and distillers and we have a drink but we never mix  the two. Ed is flippant and dismissive to his father and stalks out of the Shop at the end of the day. It gets very tense between the two of them over the next few days.

February 28

Jack and Betty take the Kavanagh girls to see “Sleeping Beauty,” Disney’s latest animated film. Jack has purchased a Plymouth Station wagon and it is at last easier to squeeze the growing kids into a vehicle. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary, Jane and Jackie climb in the car with their parents and head to the movies while JoAnn, still just 1 ½ years old, stays with Mimi and Eddie. They return two hours later and all the girls are chattering to Mimi about the movie.

B N M J J& J 1

March 4

The volume of work at the Shop continues a little slow but the crew are busy. Several fellows are cleaning up the place, especially the area where they melt the rosin. The rest are making some stock parts and a coil for the Chesapeake Instrument Corp. Three-eighth inch O.D. copper tube is bent into a serpentine coil. These coils are bent 180 degree back and forth several times to create the shape needed. It is not a hard job but it does take multiple bends and that is a little complicated to keep straight. Jack and Charlie Owens handle the coil.

The Shop’s job book entry. Chesapeake Instrument Corp. job. March 4, 1959.

March 10

National Brewery needs a few fittings installed and a coupling changed and Eddie dispatches Funke and a helper. He tells Ed he prefers to send him,  but he can’t trust him now because of the experience at Gunther’s. His son grows angry quickly. They argue in the office with Jack out in the Shop. Jack had a strong feeling this was serious as his father closed the door and he could see the red in their faces. Ed proclaims he is tired of his father’s admonitions and feels Eddie is too demanding. He expects the impossible. His father believes Ed thinks he shouldn’t have to follow the rules and his work is slow and not up to standards. Ed Jr. quits. He tells his father he can’t work for him anymore and walks out. Ed heads through the office door then right out the front door of 201 S. Central Avenue. Jack gives it a few moments,  then walks into the office and his father informs him that Ed is gone. He seems almost relieved to Jack, as if his father is tired of the frequent sparring between himself and Jr. In the evening, Ed Jr. calls his brother and speaks to him about it.  Ed Jr. is promised a job at Sparrows Point from a friend and he will be fine. He is too tired of Eddie’s hard ass ways he tells Jack. He says his father is his father and he can deal with it. He just can’t work with him anymore. Jack wishes Ed well and accepts the change.

April 1

The fellows on the corner of Pratt and Central  are throwing some heat around early on this chilly spring morning. A job for Universal Machine Co. calls for some annealing and that takes the chill out of the air. Five 1 1/2” Type K Copper tubes are to be bent so each must be heated first to soften them. Jack and Owens take care of this one while Funke and a helper are cutting some tubes to prepare for a fountain job.

The Shop’s job book entry. Universal Machine Co. job. April 1, 1959.

April 11

Jack and Eddie are attending a Sheet Metal Workers Union meeting and Jack speaks to the group. Over the last two years, the union has been sending some of the copper pipe work in the breweries to the Pipe Fitters Union. It’s a show of brotherhood and the union supporting its rank and file. The problem is this work was formerly given to the Coppersmiths Union which has been absorbed by the Sheet Metal Workers. Now, they want to guarantee all the pipe work be passed to the Pipe Fitters. There are a lot more pipe fitters than coppersmiths in the union and the resolution passes. Jack made an impassioned plea not just on the Shop’s part but the other small coppersmith companies out there but the union’s decision stands. Eddie and Jack are angry. This will have a lasting impact on their business. Eddie did a great deal to start this union and it stings him that they would take work from the Shop.  Eddie has always been a strong union man and his efforts helped establish and expand the Coppersmiths Union before it joined with the SMW. He won’t let himself blame his union brothers but it is a bitter pill to swallow. The Shop is fortunate they have begun to expand into pipe and tube bending. They can still bid replacement fittings and couplings for the breweries but both father and son wonder if eventually that will be taken from them as well.

April 14

It’s a windy opening day for the Orioles in Baltimore. As always, this first game draws a big crowd and the Kavanagh’s are listening on the radio at the Shop.  The Birds face the Yankees and get hammered 13-3. New York scores nine in the 3rd inning and this one is over early. Fans are disappointed but it’s only one game. Eddie and Jack discuss the game as they lock the Shop up but there isn’t a whole lot of good things to talk about from this opener.

Jack Kavanagh and his championship duck pin bowling team. 1950s.

May 16

Jack and Betty take all the girls to an Orioles Saturday afternoon game. The girls cheer and root as hard as they can and the Birds respond by beating the Detroit Tigers 6-1. Kuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm pitches a complete game victory to move to 5-0 and he lowers his ERA to 1.49. Wilhelm is the Orioles’  best starter this year and he usually gives his team a chance to win. The other player having a big day was center fielder, Willie Tasby. He hits a triple with the bases loaded for the big knock of the game and he also throws out two men on the base paths, one at home and one at third. The girls have a great day at the ballpark and Jack certainly enjoys the win.

B N M J J J 2
The Kavanagh girls. Back row left to right is Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary. Front row left to right is Jane, Jackie, JoAnn. 1959.

June 11

The summer has brought some more work to the Shop including another pipe rolling job. This one is from Washington Aluminum Co. They need some 2” Aluminum pipes 20 ft. long curved to a 13 ft. 8” Rad. The first thing that needs to be done is a template must be made to that radius. Jack and a helper put a long stick together from wood. They tie a pencil to one end and a metal pin to the other, making sure they are 13 ft. 8” apart. One man holds the pin point tight while Jack on the other end draws an arc on a spare piece of wood. The wood is cut on a band saw along the line creating a template that can be matched. The pipes are rolled to this template with special attention given to making them match each other, and the pieces roll fine. While Jack takes care of this one, Eddie gets a call from Majestic Distillery about a repair to a mash cooler The caller gives some details of what repairs and adjustments need to be made and Eddie prepares a quotation for them.

The Shop’s job book entry. Washington Aluminum Co. job. June 11, 1959.
Eddie Kavanagh’s notes from a conversation with Bill Zepp of Majestic Distillery about a potential mash cooler job. June 11, 1959.

July 4

The Kavanagh’s celebrate Independence day on this sunny Saturday. It’s a beautiful mid 80 degree day with a slight breeze. It’s perfect for a crab feast in the backyard of 434 N. Lakewood Avenue. Mimi, assisted by Betty steams a bushel of fresh crabs purchased by Jack in the morning. The house is filled with the aroma of crab, black pepper, rock salt and Old Bay Seasoning. The family sits around two card tables that serve as picnic tables today and eat their fill. Jack shows his girls the proper way to eat steamed crabs. He’s pulls the back off a crab and then pulls off the claws. Most of the pulled claws have a nice bite of crab meat. He offers one to each of his daughters and they love the sweet crab meat. He then shows them how to pull the bodies in half and apart and then it’s just picking meat out of each half. The girls pay close attention and have their own go at cracking the crabs open. Mimi and Betty enjoy watching the girls learning and eating while Eddie fiddles with the radio trying to get the ballgame to come through in the yard. After a few minutes, he’s got it and they listen to the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 11-5. It’s an exciting game for the Birds and their fans including four home runs, two by first baseman Walt Dropo. As the evening comes on, Betty and the girls walk to Patterson Park to see the fireworks while Eddie and Jack pick some crabs for crab cakes tomorrow.

“That was a helluva ballgame.” Eddie says, his teeth clenched around a cigar. He pulls a chunk of meat from a crab and tosses it into the bowl between them.

Jack nods, “Dropo had a good day. He’s a good hitter and he’s got some pop.” Jack hits a claw with a mallet and pulls crab meat from it. “I’m still not happy about losing this brewery work. The beer lines are some of the bigger jobs to come out of there. It’s not fair. It would be different if we did a bad job but we handle it every time. You know better than me, Pop.” Jack is certain this move by the union has to bother his father. Eddie was part of building this union from nearly the beginning. He served as General Secretary for years.

Eddie sits back in his chair and takes a long puff from his cigar. “Jack, the Shop will be all right. The union had to do what they thought was right for the members. I guess.” He pauses and his son can see it clearly does bother him. “I was still surprised but it’s a good thing we got that roller. That stuff will help us to keep jobs coming in.”

“I know but I am still going to keep talking to the union and the breweries when I can. We did a lot of work there and the steam fitters won’t be able to do their repairs like we did. Eventually, yeah but right now we’re the best for those jobs. I don’t understand it but that’s all we can do. And yes, the Shop’s got work. There is a demand out there for bending and rolling for mechanical parts, signs, all kinds of stuff. The more we use that machine. The more we’ll learn about it, get more jobs and make more money.” Jack says,  tossing a couple of clumps of meat into the bowl.

“Yeah, son, we can keep petitioning the union about it and as long as Gunther’s and National are ordering our parts, we’ll be talking to them. It never hurts to bring it up.” He takes another puff and pulls the back off another crab.

The room is silent for a moment or two til Jack says quietly, “Crabs are heavy. A lot of meat in them.”

“Oh yeah. Real heavy and they were good too.” Eddie answers. Both stay focused on the crabs and pick in silence for several minutes when Betty and the girls burst into the house. Mimi rushes in to welcome them back and the room is filled with multiple descriptions of the sights and sounds of the fireworks.

Mimi with a car
Anna “Mimi” Kavanagh. Lakewood Avenue. 1950s.

August 13

A. Smith Bowman has sent in a repair order to the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Several boiler plates need to be replaced and repaired. The plates need to be cut to the proper diameter then they are drilled. It’s very typical distillery repair work and the kind of things that Eddie wants in the Shop. This is what they have done for years but times are changing. Eddie has accepted that Jack is right and they need to be more diverse. Still, the distillery work is what reminds him of the old days and the old work.

The Shop’s job book entry. A. Smith Bowman Distillery job. August 13, 1959.

September 7

The Kavanagh girls return to St. Elizabeth’s School on the corner of Lakewood and Baltimore with another sister starting kindergarten. Jackie is five & starts her schooling at St. E’s while her sisters all move up a grade. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary and Jane are in 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd grade respectively.

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The Kavanagh Girls. Betty Ann, Mary, Jane, Jackie and JoAnn. 1959.

September 27

Baltimore celebrates the Colts first game at home after winning the NFL Championship last year. Jack and Urb Rosemary are there to welcome them home and watch them beat the Detroit Lions 21-9. The fans are very loud throughout this game. After last year’s championship, the fans are even more fanatical about the Colts and they want to give them a clear home field advantage. The City’s other team, the Orioles are supported strongly too but they suffer through another tough year. The Birds finish in sixth place, twenty games back.

October 8

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series, taking four out of six games. This is the Dodgers first pennant since moving to LA and Chicago’s first since the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919. The White Sox clinched the pennant with three games to play while the Dodgers ended in a tie with the Milwaukee Braves. This called for a three game playoff between those  two clubs. LA won the first two games and thus the pennant. This World Series shatters attendance records with all three games in LA drawing over 92,000 fans. The Dodgers play in the LA Coliseum and the fans pack in to see the Series. Larry Sherry is named MVP of the World Series. He finishes all four of the Dodgers’ wins in relief, earning two wins and two saves. The Kavanagh’s follow this one and Jack and Eddie watch Sunday’s game 3 together. They are amazed by the huge crowd. It’s like nothing they have ever seen before. Jack pulls for the Dodgers to win and he gets his wish while his father just hopes for a good entertaining series which Eddie gets too.

October 29

The Kavanagh’s and crew have stayed busier since the summer and Eddie is happier. Today some parts  are made for the Paul Jones Distillery and 2- 2” extra heavy steel pipes are bent for Maryland Baking Co. The wall thickness of these pipes is 3/8” and that takes a lot of power. The rolling machine can handle it but the pipes must be passed through a few extra times to bring them down to the desired radius. The heavier or tougher the piece, the more passes through the machine it requires.

The Shop’s job book entry. Maryland Baking Co. job. October 29, 1959.
The Shop’s job book entry. Wolfe and Mann Manufacturing job. November 11, 1959.

November 11

The approaching end to the year seems to have brought a glut of work into the Shop. They suddenly have a two week backlog of brewery and distillery parts to fabricate while they continue to receive more bending and rolling work. A new customer, Wolfe & Mann Manufacturing Co. needs some 2 1/2” Aluminum pipes bent on a fairly tight radius. They anneal the aluminum carefully and then bend them in the Climax hand bender. Even annealed aluminum that is this size takes several men to pull around. Jack approaches his father with another idea for a machine purchase. He wants them to buy a pneumatic Leonard Bender. It is powered with air and will make most of their bending jobs easier and quicker. There will be a lot less laborious pulling and straining to move the arm of the machine. This machine can put a stop to all of that. Eddie has learned his lesson and trusts his son. Jack makes a call and buys an “air bender.”

Leonard “Air” Bender purchased in 1959. Picture is from September 2019. Machine’s pneumatic system no longer worker but it can still be used manually.
The Shop’s job book entry. Harvey A. Stambaugh job. December 29, 1959.

December 24

Jack, Funke and a helper are working through the morning while others are cleaning up around them in anticipation of the Shop’s Christmas Eve Party. Jack and his crew are working on a job for Harvey A. Stambaugh. They need some 3” Sch. 10 Stainless Steel Pipes rolled and Sch. 10 means they are very thin. The pipes must be filled with rosin to maintain the roundness. Jack and Funke rush through the morning to get the pieces filled. They keep the rosin melted, bubbling in a cauldron. They fill them as quick as the rosin melts. Rosin needs time to cool and harden. With the holiday tomorrow, anything filled today will be very hard the next day and ready to roll. Just before noon they finish and clean up before the party. There is no time to get a tree this year but they are ready before guests arrive.  A few customers come by and celebrate but it is mostly family and employees. Ed Jr. and his wife and daughter are not there. He seems to be getting along better with his father now that they aren’t working together but he doesn’t make an appearance at 201 S. Central Avenue. The guests eat ham and turkey sandwiches made by Mimi and they have cold beer and tea. A couple toasts of rye are made both to the holiday and the nearly completed year. Both Eddie and Jack are worried about the loss of brewery work. They have a large stock of fittings and parts and they will sell them while they can. They are both concerned they may lose the fittings sales to the breweries too and wonder if they should continue making them for stock. They will have to wait and see. One final toast is made for the Colts in hopes of another NFL championship this Sunday. Their wish will be granted as Baltimore beats the Giants in a rematch of last year. This time it is played at Memorial Stadium and the Colts win a much easier contest 31-16. When the party has broken up, Jack drives a couple fellows home or to the bus stop then returns to the Shop to pick up Betty and the girls. His mind does drift to his brother. They have worked together for almost twenty years and the Shop is the biggest thing they have in common. He knows his brother and father have rarely seen eye to eye. They are too alike. Hard-headed and set in their ideas and Jack will stay out of of it. He turns the station wagon left onto Lakewood as the girls break into “Jingle Bells” behind him and Jack thinks of Christmas. He will be Santa tonight, the suit is ready and he loves every bit of being St. Nick. The chorus behind him comes to an end as he pulls onto the Jefferson Street side of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue and parks. Betty and he prod the kids into the house and everybody prepares for Santa’s arrival.

Mimi xmas 434 lakewood
Anna “Mimi” Kavanagh. Christmas on Lakewood Avenue. Late 1950s.



Dwight D. Eisenhower is the President of the United States. The first Daytona 500 is held. Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” album is released. Rod Sterling’s “The Twilight Zone” premiers on television. Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” opens on Broadway. The film “Ben-Hur” is released. Magic Johnson, Weird Al Jankovic, Florence Griffith Joyner, Linda Blair and John McEnroe are born. Cecille B. Demille, Lou Costello and Billie Holiday die.

With the admission of Alaska  on January 3rd and Hawaii on August 21st, there are now 50 states in the Union.

Mimi & Eddie xmas 434 lakewood
Eddie and Mimi Kavanagh. Lakewood Avenue. Christmas Late 1950s.

To read previous years, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents

1958 The Greatest Game Ever Played

January 20

The Shop’s year has started slow just as it did last year.  A few brewery parts are made, some for orders and some for stock. Jack is working on a quotation for Paul Jones Distillery on his own today. His father will stay out of it and see what Jack’s estimate is. Eddie knows he has to trust his son at some point and this will serve as a test to see what Jack has learned.

Quotation for Paul Jones Distillery. January 20, 1958.

January 30

Jack reads in the morning paper that Roy Campanella was in a very serious car accident. He is paralyzed and his career is over. Jack is stunned. It’s a tragedy for this man and his family but also a blow to baseball. He was the best Jack ever saw(Jack maintained that belief through his life) and could have done so much in the game. The Dodgers have just moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles this year and now this shock to the team.  Along with sadness, Jack feels a disappointment for this man who he watched play ball as a boy, when they were both boys about the same age. Jack expected to be watching Roy Campanella play for years, breaking records along the way. He admired his play and the man himself. After discussing it with his father who is equally shocked, Jack must get to work.  He is making a copper water box for the Shop. They are still in need of work and Eddie is convinced this is the time to increase their stock of parts and to make things they need around the place. The water box will be used to cool hot pipes and tubes and to clean them as well. Jack anneals straight lines on copper sheet then folds the sections 90 degrees to make each side of the box. The seams are then soldered closed and the piece is finished. It is very typical coppersmith work and Jack has no problem with it.

The Shop’s job book entry. Job for the Shop itself. January 30, 1958.

February 18

The work is coming in in dribs and drabs but at least the jobs are coming. Majestic Distillery has ordered an aluminum paddle to be fabricated. Aluminum pipe and sheet is hammered, bent and welded together to make the paddle. Majestic wants to use aluminum for sanitary purposes and also for its light weight. Aluminum is a challenge to work with and very difficult to anneal. It takes close attention and awareness of the heat being applied. The aluminum must reach at least 600 degrees and just a bit hotter will melt it. John Benser, the Shop’s machinist, is experienced and he makes the paddle in about a day.

The Shop’s’ job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. February 18, 1958.

March 3

Jack drives his four oldest girls to school on a cool Monday morning.  The girls are sitting quietly in the backseat sleepily watching Lakewood Avenue go by.  Jack’s mind is on the Shop and when he reaches St. Elizabeth’s, he doesn’t stop until he reaches the corner then turns right on to Baltimore Street. He heads west up the hill heading to work. The girls suddenly are more awake and they exchange looks. Nancy holds her finger to her mouth and the girls are as quiet as a mouse. Jack calmly  turns left on to Patterson Park Avenue when suppressed smiles turn to giggles.  Jack hears them and realizes he forgot his girls. He grumbles to himself and quickly goes around the block back to Baltimore Street. The girls are all giggling now as Jack returns down the hill and turns left to take them to school. He wishes his still grinning girls a great day and then makes his way to the Shop.

Baby Nan 4
Nancy Kavanagh. Mid 1950s.

April 3

The Shop receives its first substantial job of the year when A. Smith Bowman Distillery hires them to re-tin a 1900 gallon copper tank. This will take days on site for several men. Bowman is in Sunset Hills, VA so the decision is made to have the men spend two overnights there. Ed Jr. and Mr. Funke are dispatched with two helpers to handle the job.

April 15

A big crowd shows up at Memorial Stadium for the Orioles opening day game against the Washington Senators. At the Shop, Eddie and Jack have the radio on low, but loud enough to hear. The Birds lead throughout this game and win easily. Brooks Robinson triples in Gus Triandos in the second inning, then scores on a sacrifice fly by Ron Hansen. Triandos adds a two-run home run and Robinson goes three for three. Jack updates his brother Ed and the rest of the crew as he is in and out of the Shop most of the day. As Eddie, Jack and Ed Jr. leave the building the game is over and they are in a good mood. Winning that first game is always a good feeling for a fan. For at least a day, you are in first place.

Mary Kavanagh’s First Holy Communion. St. Elizabeth’s Church. May 1958.

May 6

The work is getting better as the weather gets warmer. Another tank repair and re-tinning order is placed.  This one is for Majestic Distillery. A crew of three will spend several days patching and re-soldering seams, then a few days tinning areas that need it. This is the type of job that has been missing this year and Eddie is happy to see another one come along.

June 21

Jack is home on a Saturday afternoon watching the Orioles play the White Sox in Chicago on the Saturday Game of the Week. The Shop’s crew are still just working five days but he and Eddie were in today working on next week’s schedule and sorting through several quotes. Jack has one he couldn’t finish at the office today so he sits with a pad on his lap and a beer in hand watching the game. The girls play and take turns to sit and watch some of the game with him. He loves it and despite that pleasant distraction he finishes his quotes. Jack does better than the Birds who manage only two hits and lose a close one 1-0. The Orioles can’t seem to get it right. They keep hovering about five games under .500. The loss doesn’t bother Jack. It was a good game and to Jack a day watching baseball is always a good day.

BNMJ dresed up
Jack Kavanagh and his six girls. (Left to right)Jackie, Jane, Mary, Nancy, Betty Ann holding baby JoAnn. Jack’s back to camera. 1957.

July 8

The Major League Baseball All-Star game comes to Baltimore. Memorial Stadium welcomes the best of both leagues to square off in their annual exhibition game. The Orioles’ representative is Catcher Gus Triandos. The game is played on a Tuesday afternoon so the Kavanagh’s are working and listening on the radio. Both line-ups are loaded with talent. Besides Triandos, the American League features Nellie Fox and Mickey Mantle. The National League has such stars as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial. It’s a close one but the AL pulls it out winning 4-3.

July 15

Jack and three fellows are out of the Shop on an installation at Gunther’s Brewery.  Gunther’s ordered some insulated skirts for a syrup tank to be made and installed. The fabrication has taken a few days and now the skirts are being soldered into place at the brewery. The skirts are made from copper sheet. It’s a straightforward installation for Jack and his crew. The rest of the boys are working on a brass railing and a few stock parts are being made.

July 25

A company called Swimpool, Inc. in Hagerstown has ordered some hand railings for a pool. The hand rails are being made from galvanized pipe. Each require four bends with a tight radius and they must be bent on the Climax bender. Swimpool has the pipe in stock and sends it in with the request they receive whatever is leftover. The pieces are cut and bent to their specifications and they turn out well. There is some flaking of the galvanize in the bend but a coat of galvanized paint fixes that fast. Swimpool Inc. is happy with the job and Eddie hopes they come back.

The Shop’s job book entry. Swimpool, Inc. job. July 26, 1958.

August 8

Jack is training one of the young workers, Charlie Owens, on the rolling machine. The Sweetheart Paper Co. in Chicago has ordered sixteen pipes to be bent. They are 3 5/8” O.D. with a 1/16” wall so they are very thin. They must be filled with sand before bending. Eddie himself is involved with this job. He cuts some plugs for the pipe from wood. Jack and Charlie are hammering the plugs into one end of each pipe, making sure it is a tight fit. The pipes are stood up and the sand poured in. The sand is then pounded down to eliminate any air pockets. The process is continued until each pipe is stuffed tightly with sand. Then the rolling begins with Owens running the machine and Jack giving guidance. It’s a tough job but Owens gets the hang of it and the pipes look good. Finally, the plugs are pried out with a wedge and the sand knocked out. The job is completed, crated and shipped to Chicago and Eddie takes it as a good sign that they received an order from as far away as Illinois.

September 18

Jack parks on the Jefferson Street side of his house and walks through the back door after a hot day at the Shop. Copper tubes for a fountain were rolled today and Jack did the annealing. A hot day made hotter by a torch. He hugs and kisses Betty and settles into his chair at the dinner table. Betty sets baby JoAnn into a high chair and the other five girls take their seats and begin firing question and comments to their father, asking Jack about his day and telling him about theirs. He looks from one to the other and responds to each in turn, his mood lightening through the meal. As the girls get back to play, Betty raises that mood even more. She is pregnant with baby # 7.

B N M J J J 1
The Kavanagh girls. Jackie, JoAnn, Jane, Mary, Nancy and Betty Ann(Left to right). 1958.

September 28

Jack and his old friend Urb Rosemary are at Memorial Stadium for the Colts first game of the season. Hopes are high for Baltimore’s football team. Last year they were 7-5 and seem to be on the rise. Fans including Jack felt the same about the Orioles but the Birds disappointed this year. Taking a step back, the Orioles lost two more than 1957. Jack and Urb watch a good start to the Colts season as they beat the Lions 28-15. Baltimore fan’s excitement increases as the Colts win their first six games.

September 30

Sweetheart Paper Co. has another set of pipes to be bent in the Shop. These must be annealed and that is a challenge. Steel must stay hot during the bending process. Torches are used to get the tubes cherry red then they are quickly slid into the rolling machine and heat is applied again while they are in the machine. It’s a hot job for all involved and it’s a relief when it’s over but the pieces bend well. They are crated and send to Chicago.

The Shop’s job book entry. Sweetheart Paper Co. job. September 30, 1958.

October 9

The Yankees get some revenge on the Milwaukee Braves who beat them in the last World Series. Milwaukee takes a commanding 3-1 lead in the series but the Yanks win three in a row to take the championship. The Braves strikes out fifty-six times for a dubious World Series record and New York out homers them 10-3 including four by Hank Bauer. Jack watches game three with his father at Eddie’s house. They share a couple of beers and talk as they watch, carefully going over each play. They have watched so many games since Jack was a boy, it’s like old times whenever they do.

October 29

Betty Kavanagh has a miscarriage and loses her baby. She is devastated and Jack does his best to console her and take care of her. He too is hit hard. They are a couple who love children. They have six  girls and they want and love a big family. They were excited for # 7 and Jack does all he can for Betty. She knows they can still have more children. They both mourn the loss of this baby and Betty is such a mother at heart she is sick from grief.

November 3

Late on a Monday afternoon, Betty is still tired and sickly. She lays on the couch in the middle room while Katherine is bringing dinner in from the kitchen.  There is always a pot of hot tea on the dining room table and the youngest JoAnn is toddling around and always curious, she pulls on the table cloth which spills the tea pot.  The tea splashes over her and she is burned. Betty jumps up when she hears the baby and rushes into the room to scoop up JoAnn. Katherine is panicked and both are crying. The other girls start crying as well and at this point Jack comes home from work. He is the calm voice that quickly finds out what happened and he rushes the baby to the hospital. After a salve and bandage are applied, JoAnn is okay but she does carry a scar on her chest from the scalding tea. Betty and Katherine are relieved but still feel terrible about what happened. Jack tells them both that it was an accident and thankfully the baby will be fine. Once back home from the hospital, baby JoAnn resumes toddling about unfazed.

JoAnn Kavanagh. Outside the front of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1958.

November 13

The Shop’s second half of the year has been better than the first. The brewery and distillery work is steady but at a lower volume than last year. They are fortunate there has been a big uptick in the bending and rolling work. Today they finish two such jobs. Both are small but these jobs keep the doors open in a place like the Joseph Kavanagh Company. One is an aluminum pipe being bent to make an offset for the Steiner Fulton Co. It is a replacement part for one of their machines. The type of machine is not revealed to Eddie and he doesn’t care as long as they need the piece. The other is a job for Springfield State Hospital. They require a flat coil for heating with three 180 degree bends in it. The steel pipe is furnished, bent and threaded by the Shop and the hospital’s maintenance crew pick it up. These are two small jobs but they all count.

The Shop’s job book entry. Springfield State Hospital job. November 13, 1958.
The Shop’s job book entry. Steiner Fulton Co. job. November 13, 1958.

November 29

The Kavanagh’s visit Aunt Anna at the Visitation Convent on Roland Park Avenue on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Aunt Anna is a cloistered nun who teaches at the Convent’s school. She is Eddie’s sister and the family sees her as much as they can. At least once a month, they spend some time with her talking about her teaching, the family and the Shop. She loves seeing the children and sometimes they sing little songs for the sisters. The little ones then run and play on the convent grounds while the adults,  their parents and grandparents catch up with Anna.

December 13

A job for Majestic Distillery is finished today. They ordered some copper tasting cups and this is old time coppersmith work like they have done for decades. Sheet copper is annealed then curved around a small circular block to make the cup shape. A bottom is cut out of sheet as well and soldered to the sides. The side seam is closed too and the cup is cleaned up. This is the sort of work the Kavanagh’s hope to have all year but it hasn’t worked out that way. The pipe and tube bending and rolling jobs have helped to fill that gap.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. December 13, 1958.

December 24

The Kavanagh’s, their customers, employees and friends gather at 201 S. Central Avenue on Christmas Eve as they have for almost fifty years. The Shop is filled with holiday spirit as the family and their guests eat, drink and sing to welcome Christmas and salute another year of work completed. They talk of jobs that are finished and those that are set for January. It has been an off year but not bad. The hope is the recession will be a short one and the work will pick up. An old mantra of the Shop’s is to “hope for better times” and they do so. They have faith in this Shop that is over ninety years old and has sustained them through four generations. On Christmas Eve, they are unconcerned and the party is fun and festive.  A great deal of the conversation is about the upcoming NFL Championship game with our Colts facing the New York Giants this Sunday. The Colts won the Western Conference title and the Giants the East. Both teams have identical 9-3 records.  All are excited to watch on television and confident that Baltimore will be victorious.

December 28

Most of Baltimore is home on this last Sunday of the year to watch the big game. The NFL Championship is being decided today between the hometown Colts and the New York Giants. The game is being played in Yankee Stadium so the Giants have a bit of a home field advantage. Jack Kavanagh has his TV tuned to NBC and is set to watch and cheer the whole game. He has a couple of ice cold beers ready to drink and sits down to enjoy. The beginning of the game is sloppy with both teams committing turnovers and failing to take advantage of opportunities to score. Finally, the Giants kick a field goal to get on the board. In the second quarter, Quarterback Johny Unitas and the Colts put some plays together and answer the Giants field goal with a touchdown. By halftime, they have added another and lead 14-3. Folks all through Baltimore are excited and hopeful. In the second half, New York begins its comeback. They score a touchdown in the third quarter and another in the fourth. Suddenly things are quieter in those loud Baltimore homes including 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Jack shakes his head and yells at the television a few time to the puzzled bemusement of his wife and daughters. The Colts are down 17-14 with just a couple minutes left in the game when they receive a punt on their own 14 yard line. Johny Unitas invents something called the “two minute drill” and leads his team down field. A pass to Lenny Moore starts the Colts driving as the clock ticks away. After an incomplete pass, Unitas hits Raymond Berry with three consecutive throws to reach the Giants 13 yard line. Steve Myrha kicks a field goal with seven seconds left and the game is tied. On the ensuing kickoff, the clock ticks down to zero and the gun sounds ending the game.

“A tie?” Jack says to the living room of his Lakewood Avenue home. His daughters look up at him. They have been watching and playing on the floor but are not quite as fixated as he has been.

Jack looks over to his wife Betty then his oldest daughters, Betty Ann and Nancy, “It can’t end in a tie. Can it? They won’t do that? What’s gonna happen?” Betty shrugs but has no answer and the girls have none either.

Suddenly, the refs speak to the teams who are equally confused as to what happens next. Then the NBC announcers are declaring that an overtime will be played. The rules are quickly passed from the NFL officials to the TV announcers to the fans. They will continue to play but the next team to score shall win. A coin toss will determine who gets the ball first.

“A coin toss? That isn’t fair. This is crazy.” Jack says to the room in general but looks over at his daughters.

Daughter Nancy offers, “Maybe the Colts will call heads and will win, Dad.”

“I hope so,” Jack answers as he stares at the television. Just then the coin is tossed and the Giants win. They will get the ball.

“Oh hell.” Jack says under his breath now glaring at the TV. He turns to the right and asks his wife, “Can you get me another beer, hon.”

Betty hops up happy to have a reason to leave the room which is getting tenser and tenser. “Here you go, my darling,” handing Jack a National. Jack is distracted for a second and smiles up at her as he takes the beer. A moment later, his attention is back on the football game.

The Giants receive the Colts kick at the beginning of overtime but are unable to do much on offense. After three plays, they are forced to punt and the Kavanagh girls hear a noticeable sigh of relief from their father. Once again, Johny Unitas begins leading his team toward the Giants end zone. A combination of Alan Ameche’s runs and Unitas passing to Berry and the Colts get closer and closer.

“Go Go Go!” Jack shouts as Ameche breaks loose from the line and charges 22 yards down field to be tackled at the Giants twenty yard line. The room is strangely silent but for Jack’s occasional cheers, and the girls are watching him more then the game now.

Unitas drops back to pass and hits Raymond Berry on the eight yard line and Jack screams, claps his hands and rubs them together very quickly. This is one of Jack’s habits when something good happens or something funny is said, he claps and rubs his hands together. He leans forward in his chair and the television goes black.

“What? What? What is this? NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Jack jumps to his feet and grabs his shirt with both hands below the collar and rips his shirt open. A shower of buttons fly through the air as little girls scatter and Betty charges in from the kitchen.

“Jack? What is it? What’s going on?” Betty quickly asks.

“The damn tv. It, it stopped.” He charges the television like a man possessed and slaps the side of it. “Damn it! What is this? The stupid thing,” he slaps it again.

“Don’t talk like that, Jack. Not with the girls here. What’s the big deal? Did they win?” Betty says as she watches her husband’s uncharacteristic panicked behavior.

“I don’t know if they won, hon.” Jack replies with angst in his voice. “What’s going on?!!”

Suddenly the transmission comes back on and the Colts are setting up on the eight yard line. Jack is still puzzled but he sits down, “Oh, okay okay. It’s on. It’s fine, Betty.” He’s happy he didn’t miss anything but the game isn’t over.

Two plays later, Unitas hands the ball off to Alan Ameche and he charges through the Giants line for a touchdown. The game is finished and the Baltimore Colts are the National Football League Champions. Jack leaps up from his chair and begins hugging his confused but happy daughters. He kisses his wife and scampers about the room. Finally, he grabs his beer and toasts the TV then takes a long swallow.

Betty rolls her eyes and grins at her husband. “I guess we won.”



Dwight D. Eisenhower is the President of the United States. NASA and the FAA are created. Elvis is drafted into the army. At 14, Bobby Fischer wins the US Chess Championship. The first American satellite is launched. The John Birch Society is founded. The micro chip is invented. The films “Vertigo” and “South Pacific” are released. Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Rickey Henderson and  Neil deGrasse Tyson are born.

There remain 48 states in the Union but Alaska has been granted statehood beginning in January.

“The Greatest Game Ever Played” Alan Ameche scores the winning touchdown. NFL Championship Game. December 28, 1958.

To read prior posts, click on the Table of Contents link below:

Table of Contents