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