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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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