The Shop’s start to the year is good with work on the books and more quoted. They are not busy but definitely steady. Jack Kavanagh Sr. splits time between his small corner office and the Shop proper. His secretary, Julie helps him a great deal handling the billing, payroll and taking messages for him through the day. Today, the old roller and the Leonard Air Bender are both used on a project for the Ken Hammond Co. Several tubes need to be bent and rolled but are fairly simple and despite using both machines, the job is finished in quick order. The rest of Jack’s crew are busy prepping for a repair at National Brewery. A copper line must be repaired and the workers are making some necessary fittings, couplings and three sections of copper sheet to be used as patches. The sheet is annealed and rolled so it can be soldered on site to stop any leaks they find. Jack has a crew of eight including his brother, Ed Jr., working for him and he also has a new machine on the way. It is in town but is on display at an industrial show at the Civic Center. The Shop purchased it from Comeq and part of the deal is to allow them to use it for promotion at the show. Jack agreed after Comequ offered to knock $400.00 off the price. It was well worth it to Jack and they will only have to pay a small shipping fee from the Civic Center to 201 S. Central Avenue. At his home, Jack and wife Betty are nearly as busy with nine kids, most in school and two of his daughters getting married this year.
Several men are working on a set of copper u-bends for Harvey Stambaugh & Sons and the rest are assisting in unloading and placing the R-5 Roundo Angle Rolling Machine. It’s green and very new in this old Shop on Central Avenue. Jack is excited. He is certain he can take on bigger rolling jobs and it will make rolling angles for flanges and stiffeners much easier. Jack makes plans to have John Benser make pipe and tube dies for this new machine. Jack orders some extra steel angles because they will need to practice. The machine comes with a supporting attachment called a guide roller. It is used to keep the angle’s leg straight while rolling and it is something they will have to figure out how to use.
The crew of the Joseph Kavanagh Company are busy with a set of tubes for a Universal Machine job. It’s a set of thin wall 3 5/8” Dia. tubes that need to be filled and rolled. While the men work, the talk of the day is about the Super Bowl. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings for the championship of the NFL. Just like last year, the outcome is very much a surprise. The Vikings were expected to win easily. The discussion of current events and often sports does help the time pass and it’s common at the Shop. The men focus on the job but can still chat and go over the game. The tubes from Universal are filled with rosin in order to maintain the tube’s shape. During the bending process if a tube is thin it has a tendency to buckle or collapse, the rosin supports the tube from the inside and keeps it round. It’s a labor intensive process but it works. The only other solution is a heavier wall tube and most often weight constraints eliminate that possibility. It’s a long job but a welcome one in the winter with several days in a row of heat being thrown from torches in the cold old Shop.
John Benser has been busy making rollers for the new Roundo machine. This rolling machine has a great deal of power and can bend things faster than their old one. The more tools they have, the more they can do in the R-5. Jack is already convinced this is a good investment. Meanwhile Jack’s father has finally agreed to allow nurses into his home. He had a bout of flu and it was difficult getting him to the doctor. He will have a daily nurse check in and Betty will still cook for him and take care of his house; she is Eddie’s primary caregiver. He has emphysema and it seems to be getting worse.
Jack reads the newspaper at his desk and sees that Don Shula has resigned as Head Coach of the Baltimore Colts. He takes a job coaching the Miami Dolphins. The Colts promote Offensive Back Field Coach Don McCafferty to Head Coach. The league has re-aligned as well and the Colts are now in the newly formed AFC East Division. Jack is hopeful they don’t miss Shula too much and the team can still compete.
It’s late on a Sunday evening and Jack has finished watching the news and heads up to bed. Betty is under the covers already but with a yellow pad on her lap. She’s going over the arrangements for Mary’s wedding and the plans to fly the family to Pittsburgh for Nancy’s wedding. Handy and Mary are getting married on August 1 and Jim and Nancy will be married on May 30. Presently, Betty is busy running her crowded household of nine kids and her husband, but now she is also involved in planning a wedding and traveling to another. Handy Brandenburg has been staying with Jack and Betty in their basement. He doesn’t have the money for a place of his own yet and Mary’s parents were happy to have him stay with them. As long as things are on the up and up of course. Jack quickly changes his clothes and gets into bed with his wife.
“So, hon, we are flying to Pittsburgh for a wedding in May and having a wedding here with several hundred people in August. Is that the plan?” Jack inquires of his wife.
Betty removes her glasses for a moment, “Yes, dear. That’s the plan. I am sure it will all go smoothly.” She smiles and leans over to kiss his cheek.
“In this family? Smoothly? Who do you think you’re talking to?” Jack raises an eyebrow.
Betty chuckles softly. “Well, close to smoothly anyway. We have to buy these airline tickets and get rooms at the Hilton in Pittsburgh.” She sighs. “Now, Mary’s is a lot more planning. Handy’s family are coming into town at the end of July so we’ll have to make sure they have their hotel room. YOU have to decide what customers and Shop guys we are inviting, by the way.” She nudges Jack gently.
“I will. I will. It doesn’t have to be too many but I do want it to be a nice party. I’ll figure all that out and get you a list.” Jack pulls the covers up close to fight off the February chill. “I do have one question, Betty.”
She places the yellow pad on the nightstand along with her glasses. “Go ahead. What’s the question?”
“When these two girls are married. Is somebody gonna move out of this house?” Jack turns his eyes to her.
Betty laughs again. “Yes, Jack. I am sure they will move out.” She pauses. “Eventually.”
It’s Jack’s turn to chuckle a bit. “Okay. Fine. I believe you. I always believe you.”
“As you should.” Betty smiles over at him.
“Of course.” Jack’s eyes meet hers. “You’re my girl, Betty, and everybody knows it.”
Jack switches the light off and they get a night’s sleep before the start of a winter’s week.
Two 5” Pipes are rolled for Monumental Supply Company. Monumental sells pipe and other construction supplies and some customers need bent pipes. These two are rolled to 90 degrees on a 5 ft. Radius and are to be used as elbows on a blower pipe for a grain silo. Jack and his crew have bent a few of these large silo blow pipes over the last few years. Slowly but surely, the Kavanagh’s are getting a reputation for their bending capabilities.
While Betty is doing some dishes at her father-in-law’s house, Eddie is in the backyard on a sunny warm spring Tuesday with his grandson Joe. Eddie puffs on his cigar while occasionally tossing a ball to Joe.
“My Dad sure works a lot. I think he likes it. He has fun at the Shop. I wish I could go to work with him.” Joe chases after the bouncing ball.
Eddie chuckles and takes a draw on his stogie. “Your father? Yes, maybe he does like it, but most people don’t have fun at work. I didn’t.” He pulls the cigar from his mouth and gazes up the alley toward Jefferson Street.
“But I will work with my Dad right?” Joe holds the ball in his hand and follows Eddie’s eyes to see what he is looking at.
“Of course. As he worked for me and I for my father and he his uncle before him. That’s how we do it.” He took another puff then blew it out. “Not for a while yet though, Joe, don’t worry.” He grinned a toothy smile for a flash of a moment.
Joe ponders his words for a second. “So you worked for your father gran- I mean Eddie?”
The old man’s eyes narrow for a second then he chooses to ignore the near grandpa slip. “Yes I did.”
“Did you have fun? Did you like it?” The young Joe asked.
Eddie pauses, cigar in hand. He sat still on the backyard steps and remained so for several moments until Joe thought he might have fallen asleep. “No, I didn’t have fun but I liked it.” Joe looks up at his grandfather who seems lost in some faraway thought or memory. Before Joe can reply, his mother calls him into the house. It’s time to head home across the street. Joe bids his grandfather goodbye and Eddie returns to thoughts of his father from many years ago.
It’s a beautiful Spring Friday and it’s opening day in Baltimore. Jack is sneaking out a little early from the Shop, leaving Ed in charge for a couple hours. He’s taking Betty, JoAnn, Ann and the boys to the game. The Birds have started hot, winning their first three on the road in Cleveland. Today they host the Detroit Tigers and keep winning. It takes a little longer but in the bottom of the tenth, Brooks Robinson singles home Frank Robinson to give the Orioles a 3-2 win. Spirits are high in the City and the fans are hoping for a good season and a chance at redemption after last year’s World Series loss.
The new R-5 machine is working out well for the Kavanagh’s. Jack and Mr. Wacker have spent as many hours as possible learning all they can. The Shop has received several orders for angle flanges to roll and each time they use it, Jack and his crew get a little better.
Betty takes her youngest, Joe, to lunch today. She has her Uncle John pick them up in his cab and they drive to Light Street downtown. They are eating at the Playboy Club. Jack is a Key Card member and he and Betty go there occasionally for a nice dinner and to see a good singer or a comedian. They take the kids along once or twice too but Betty particularly enjoys lunching with Joe there. She’s taken him a few times and the bunnies love him. When they come in the door, a few of the girls come right over and say hi. They hug and hold the small boy and ask Betty how everyone is doing. It’s a swanky place at night but a little more low key during the day. It’s still fancy and proper attire is required. The food is good and Betty and her Joe have a nice lunch.
On this Saturday afternoon, The Kavanagh’s are back at Memorial Stadium. Jack fills the car with a cooler and a basket of Betty’s fried chicken. They take the four youngest kids out to the Orioles game. The Birds are playing the Boston Red Sox and win 3-0 behind the outstanding pitching of Jim Palmer. The Orioles are making an early run at the Pennant, jumping into first place in the Eastern Division with a lead of over six games already.
Jack and Betty’s daughter Nancy’s wedding is in Pittsburgh. Jack and the family fly to Pennsylvania to celebrate with Nancy and Jim and the O’Neill’s. Jim comes from a large Irish family just like Nancy and the families get along well. Jim has four sisters and a brother. Betty was a little concerned they were getting married too fast but after meeting Jim’s family, Jack is convinced it’s a good thing and Betty’s worries are assuaged. The ceremony is held at the Chapel at Duquesne University where the couple are studying. Afterward, the reception is at the Hilton Hotel. JoAnn, Ann, Jack and Joe find a great deal of entertainment riding up and down the elevators through the day to the chagrin of staff. The party is fun and Jack and Betty are very proud to see Nancy marry Jim. He’s a good fellow and they like him. He’s welcomed into the Kavanagh clan with open arms.
Jack loves this new Roundo roller and it does indeed keep the angles’ legs straight and very flat as well. Today it is used to roll 6- 3” X 3” X 3/8” thick steel angles into 4 ft. Dia. flanges for Codd Fabricators. Jack will try to spread the word about this new machine’s capabilities to as many of his customers as he can.
The Shop’s crew labor through a hot summer day on the corner of Pratt and Central. Several custom bronze flanges are fabricated for Schaefer Brewery along with a fountain sprayer tube and a set of rings for Universal Machine. The front garage doors are open all day in search of any breeze that might come through. Breaks are taken at the door and lunch is eaten there. That elusive bit of wind can change the day in an instant. The old Shop can be stifling in the heat. It’s so closed in but a bit of air makes the difference.
Mary Kavanagh weds Handy Brandenburg at St. Elizabeth’s of Hungary Church. The Brandenburg’s came into town several days earlier and everyone gets along well and they are all ready to celebrate this union of the two families. Mary’s sisters are bridesmaids while young Joe is the ring bearer. The reception is at the Overlea Hall on Belair Road. It’s a very nice party with several hundred guests including some Shop employees and some of their customers as well. Jack and Betty are so proud as they watch a second daughter marry this year. They like Handy and they are very pleased to have him join the family officially.
The now annual vacation to Ocean City starts today. It will be a long four day weekend at the beach with fishing, crabbing and swimming. The nights will be spent at the penny arcades and eating Thrasher’s Fries and soft ice cream on the boardwalk. One day is spent at Jolly Roger’s Amusement Park. The Kavanagh’s and Betty’s family, the Crew’s squeeze a summer’s worth of fun into this brief trip.
Eddie is in the hospital for a few days. His breathing is getting worse and he has been admitted to Bon Secours Hospital. His breathing is labored and he is feeling very weak. Jack takes his boys up to see Eddie at the hospital in the hopes of lifting his spirits. It works, but only for as long as they are present. The doctors have some bad news. Eddie is diagnosed with stomach cancer. It’s not terminal but combined with the emphysema, things will be tough for him. He returns home as soon as he gets some strength back but he is still very tired. Jack discusses his father with Betty. He is very worried as is she but there is not much that can be done at least until Eddie gets a little stronger.
Jack drives JoAnn, Ann, Little Jack and Joe to school. The youngest Joe is to start in kindergarten at St. Elizabeth’s. He’s so small Jack thinks as he watches him walk toward school hand in hand with his sister Ann. JoAnn is in 8th grade and soon will join sister Jackie in Catholic High. Ann is in 5th grade and Jack Jr. is in second. Jack Sr. can’t believe his littlest is already here in school where all his older siblings have gone, where Jack himself attended forty years ago.
The Kavanagh’s attend a Saturday ballgame at Memorial Stadium. The Orioles have clinched the division title and are prepping for the playoffs. They lose tonight 4-2 to the Indians but the fans don’t care. Manager Weaver rested a few starters and everyone has their eye on the playoffs ahead. The team and its fans have been clamoring for a return to the World Series. That bad taste of last year’s loss still lingers. Baltimore wants redemption and so do the Birds.
It’s the Colts home opener but Jack is not at the game. It’s being held on a Monday night this year as the NFL has reached a deal with ABC Television to present something called Monday Night Football. One game a week will be featured, played and broadcast live to the nation. ABC announcers chosen for these games are Keith Jackson, Don Meredith and Howard Cosell. The Colts host the Super Bowl champion Chiefs and get beat badly, 44-24.
A busy October day is spent on some fittings for Carling’s Brewery, some parts for Seagrams Distillery, a set of angle flanges and on a sailboat mast. The Shop has always received walk-in jobs from individuals, not just companies. This is the case with the mast. A gentleman named D. J. Osias walks in the door and brings his aluminum mast in to Central Avenue. It was bent in a storm and he needs it straightened. Jack explains he can never get it perfectly straight but he can get close. The customer thinks that will be good enough and it is. The mast is straightened and Mr. Osias sails away after paying the bill.
The 2nd American league Championship Series is a repeat of the first with the Orioles sweeping three games from the Minnesota Twins to win the Pennant. It is on to the Series where they will face the Cincinnati Reds, National League Champions.
The Baltimore Orioles win the World Series defeating the Cincinnati Reds in five games and they are led by Brooks Robinson. Brooks bats a lofty .462 in the Series and makes great defensive play after defensive play. Brooks is a long time fan favorite in Baltimore. After this Series, he becomes Mr. Oriole. He has been with the franchise for 15 years. His level of play and his demeanor enamored fans to him long ago. Now he has etched his name in Baltimore baseball lore forever. Nearly every baseball loving youth of the 60s and 70s in Baltimore, makes Brooks their favorite player including young Joe Kavanagh. Jack watches the first two games with Eddie at 434 N. Lakewood. They have made a point of watching any Series games they can and these are both weekend games. They love watching together and going over the details of each play. Despite Eddie’s health concerns, they enjoy the father and son time. Jack takes Betty and the kids to the next three at home. Each day, he leaves his brother in charge of the Shop and heads home just after lunch to get to the ballpark. The last game is a 9-3 drubbing of the Reds. The fans are celebrating early and all the way up until the final out. Then Memorial Stadium turns to pandemonium as the Baltimore Orioles are World Series Champions again.
Eddie Kavanagh Sr. falls in his home on Lakewood Avenue and breaks his hip. He is taken to Bon Secours Hospital and admitted. Jack is very worried for his father. He has been getting weaker and weaker and a broken hip is a bad thing for a senior citizen.
Edward M. Kavanagh dies at Bon Secours Hospital. He had surgery yesterday to repair his hip and passed while in recovery. Jack is upset but knows his father lived a good long life passing at the age of seventy-six. He and Betty set to calling relatives and Eddie’s union and business friends. Eddie worked at the Shop for over 50 years, the longest tenure of any employee. He was also trained by Frank Kavanagh, the last man trained by the original Joseph M. Kavanagh. Eddie brought the Union into the Shop and shepherded them through the Depression and Prohibition. He was a tough man. A man who had trouble expressing his feelings. Those around him were held to a high standard much like he was held to by his father. He loved his family, his wife and his boys. Eddie was very lost after Annie died and became silent and withdrawn. He was proud of the Shop and the work of his family for generations and was a very skilled coppersmith. He is buried on Friday October 30 at New Cathedral Cemetery along with so many Kavanagh’s who have come before him. The funeral is held at his parish church, St. Elizabeth’s of Hungary. Family, friends, business associates and union brothers are on hand. Eddie was a long time member of the Knights of Columbus and there is a color guard representing them. Jack Jr. carries his Knights of Columbus sword up the aisle following Eddie’s coffin. A somber day but a memory of a long full life.
A stainless steel scraper is made at the Shop today for Schaefer Brewery. Ed Jr. does the work on this job. He hammers and shapes a sheet of stainless steel to match a provided sample. After the scraper is finished, Charlie Owens delivers it to the brewery but he forgets to get the delivery ticket signed. He has to return to Schaefer for that and this is noted on the time card. He takes a good bit of ribbing from the crew especially Ed. They don’t like any waste of hours bur Charlie is a veteran worker and it was a mistake. That won’t stop them from kidding him about it for the next month or so.
Several stainless steel boxes are made for National Brewery by Jack’s crew. They are boxes used for catching residue and anything that might find its way into the beer. The boxes have mesh screens inside to facilitate this. The crew are a little distracted with the approaching holidays. It is typical for this time of year. The work gets done but thoughts are on family, presents, parties and time off.
It is Christmas morning at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. The kids parade down the steps not daring to look left into the front room where the tree and gifts are. Stockings are pulled down and emptied with excitement as the big day is finally here. After breakfast, the Kavanagh’s head out the back door, again not passing through the front room, and drive to St. Elizabeth’s. After Christmas Mass, they return for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Dinner is about noon and afterward the group heads into the front parlor with the tree and presents are distributed. It’s been a bittersweet year for the family, the Birds have won it all and the Colts have made the playoffs. They are AFC East champions and will face the Cincinnati Bengals tomorrow in the playoffs. The Colts will win this game 17-0 and advance to the AFC Championship game in January. Jack and Betty gained two son-in-laws this year but Jack lost his father. They were close in the sense that besides being father and son they worked together day in and day out for nearly thirty years. A son working for father then son working with father then son running business and father advising. Eddie could be a tough man with high expectations and he rarely hesitated to speak his mind but he loved his family. He loved his boys. Eddie was a hard-working man who instilled that mentality in his sons. He was difficult as a person at times, resolute in his ideas and strong-willed. Still, he was a great leader and a skilled smith. Eddie was one of the best at distillery work and had a keen knowledge of the workings of these alcohol systems. He had experience with them obviously but he also had understanding and that made him very talented. He could work a torch and a hammer with the best of them. Eddie was responsible for the Shop going Union. He resigned and moved to Philadelphia to force his father Joe’s hand on this. Eddie was a very strong Union man who believed in the working man. He believed despite owning a business, he was still a working man, a tradesman even, and he felt a brotherhood with those workers. He was a devout Catholic and active in the Church. He was a 4th degree in the Knights of Columbus and always supportive of his parish. To the Kavanagh’s he was a son, a brother, a father and grandfather. He loved a good cigar, the sound of a piano, a ball game and the occasional glass of rye. Eddie was also the final connection to the original Joseph M. Kavanagh. He was in fact, the last Kavanagh to have known Old Uncle Joe.
Richard Nixon is the President of the United States. The US invades Cambodia in an effort to end the War in Vietnam. Four students are killed and nine wounded at Kent State when Ohio National Guardsmen fire on demonstrators. The first Earth Day is held. Cigarette ads are banned on television. The first two American women become generals, Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth Hoisington. The voting age is lowered to eighteen. America’s Top Forty premiers on radio hosted by Casey Kasem. The comic strip, Doonesbury begins publication. OSHA becomes law. The EPA is founded. The Beatles break up. The films “MASH,” “Patton” and “Woodstock” are released. Queen Latifah, Tina Fey, Andre Agassi, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Matt Damon are born. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Rube Goldberg die.
There are 50 states in the Union.
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