The Shop starts the year with some jobs on hand including a tinned copper sheet ordered by the NASA Langley Research Center. Jack’s brother Ed cuts a piece of sheet and tins both sides. Jack doesn’t know what the application is but he finds it interesting to do something for NASA. The Shop also has a few other jobs set to come in this week and a new secretary. Helen Glodek takes over her sister’s job as Jack’s secretary. Helen has some experience in the clerical field but she must learn the Shop’s system of handling orders, billing and payroll. She also must learn Jack’s system: how he records quotes, active jobs and purchases. Jack is a patient boss and Helen is a quick study. The most important part of her job is taking messages and information from customers when Jack is in the Shop proper. Jack is in and out of the Shop many times throughout the day and he needs Helen to keep him in touch with his customers. Her sister Julie was someone Jack grew to rely on a great deal and the same will happen with Helen.
Jack tunes in to watch the Super Bowl. The Baltimore Colts were eliminated from the playoffs two weeks ago when they were shut out by the Miami Dolphins 21-0. Jack was disappointed but it’s sports and he is still interested in who wins the championship. This year it is the Dallas Cowboys who beat the Dolphins 24-3.
It’s a bitter cold day on Pratt and Central but the crew are accustomed to the chilly old Shop. The boys are working on parts for a boiler repair and a tinning job for Montebello Liquors. Montebello needs thirty-five feet of tinned copper tube along with several adapters and fittings. A torch has to be used for the tinning and that does warm it up a little. Since the tube is in stock and tinning is something they have done for years, the job is finished in a few hours.
A very tall young man stops into the Shop today to speak to Jack. His name is Stan Edmister and he is a sculptor. He’s been commissioned by the City to make a sculpture that doubles as a school playground. He needs some pipes rolled into circles and a few other pipe bends. Jack has never been involved in anything sculptural but he tells Mr. Edmister that if he can provide the details, the Shop can bend and roll whatever he needs. Jack thinks Stan is a bit of an oddball but he likes him from the start. Stan is respectful and he can weld so Jack gives him a price on the rolling of the pipes. Stan places the order which is mostly rings and 90 degree elbows; there are several irregular curves, but certainly within the Shop’s capabilities. This is the first of many sculptures the Joseph Kavanagh Company will help Stan Edmister with and soon the word will spread to other local artists.
Jack is very excited this year for the Orioles’ Opening Day because it is on a Sunday. He doesn’t have to worry about leaving work or having his brother run things at the Shop. He can get to the ballpark early and enjoy the whole day. He has nothing to worry about until he wakes up and sees the rain. The forecast is for off and on rain all day with the possibility of some heavy storms. Jack and Betty head out with the four youngest kids, JoAnn, Ann, Jack and Joe, to Thirty-Third Street to see the Birds face the New York Yankees. The Orioles lost a tough World Series last year but they were American League Champions. Jack is hoping for another good year, but he grew concerned when Frank Robinson was traded away. Robinson was the Orioles leader in many ways but Jack is still confident. The Birds have such good pitching. Last year they had four starters who won twenty games. Baltimore welcomes its Birds back to town and the Orioles win this game 3-1. The rain comes and it’s a sloppy, messy field for most of the contest. The game is called after seven innings as the rain is pouring down by that point. It’s a wet win but a win is a win. The family heads home to dry out at home on Lakewood Avenue.
The Shop finishes a heat exchanger today for the Baltimore City Housing Authority. For a few years, they have ordered exchangers to repair or replace. Mike Winchester is the fellow in charge of maintenance for the Housing Authority. The Shop has kept a good stock of copper tube for years due to their coppersmith work. Having the tube on hand, makes it much easier to knock these heaters out fast which the Housing Authority usually needs. A down heat exchanger means someone is without heat or hot water and that makes these a rush. Jack must estimate the number of feet of copper to be used and try to maximize what he gets out of each length. He adds in the labor and bids the job. The order is usually placed within an hour by phone. The tubes are pulled from rack and cut into the lengths required. The old unit is cut apart and a new tube sheet is made to match the old one. The tube sheet is circular and will be cut from steel or brass plate. Spacer plates called baffles are made from brass and they must match the same hole pattern as the tube sheet. The holes are drilled and then the sheet is cleaned up. The tubes are annealed and bent to a few different diameters. One by one the tubes are slid into the baffle plates then the tube sheet. Sometimes it’s a snug fit but they must be tight in the end so snug is fine. Once all the tubes are inserted, they are expanded at the tube sheet to seal them as tightly as possible. They must be water tight. The next step is sanding the head smooth, deburring any tubes that need it and making gaskets from neoprene. The Shop keeps sheets of the neoprene on hand and they are cut out with snips. Finally, the date and job number are stamped on the side of the tube sheet for recording and documenting purposes. It’s not exactly old school coppersmith work but it’s good work and it involves copper. That’s something the Kavanagh’s know a lot about.
Jack sits in the small office at 201 S. Central Avenue going over some drawings for a smoke stack. The frame of the stack will be made from rolled angle rings and Jack is confident he’ll get the job. Three of his regular fabricator customers are bidding it and that’s a good sign it will make it to the Shop. The phone rings and Helen answers it. Jack glances over at her and she tells him it is a call from Marenka Stainless Steel Company. They are checking on the status of a job. Helen is working out well. She seems as skilled at the clerical part of her job as Julie was and she is reliable. She shows up every day and has adapted well to Jack’s system. Jack picks up the phone and lets Marenka know the job is being worked on today and will be ready for pick up first thing in the morning.
Little Joe is finishing first grade this spring at St. Elizabeth’s and on this day he receives his First Holy Communion. In the Catholic faith, when one is old enough to receive communion at Mass, it is a first step toward being an active member of the Church. Jack and Betty can hardly believe their ninth child is nearly seven. The years seem to go faster one after the other.
Jack and Betty celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary today though the wedding day is actually May 17. So much has happened since young Jack, newly out of the Navy met recent Seton High School graduate Betty. They met at a Knights of Columbus dance and by all accounts, sparks were flying that night. Those sparks ignited a love that flourished on the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson. They have had nine children and many years of joy and happiness together. A folk mass is held at St. Vincent de Paul’s Church on Front Street. The Kavanagh’s are parishioners at St. Elizabeth’s but occasionally attend St. Vincent’s. Both Jack and Betty like the idea of visiting other churches and experiencing different way to celebrate Mass. They enjoy the folk mass at St. Vincent’s so they celebrate their wedding with song and thankfulness. Their children have promised not to throw them a party but of course, they do anyway. There must be a party in the kids’ eyes. A surprise party is planned at their daughter Mary’s house. She and her husband, Handy, purchased a home on Bucknell Road late last year. Mary invites her parents over under the guise of showing them the new house. Jack and Betty agree to visit a couple of hours after Mass but beforehand, Jack wants a nap. He is tired and could use a brief sleep. He walks the stairs to their bedroom and slams the door shut as he enters. He lays across the bed and is asleep in moments. Unfortunately, when he slammed the door shut, the latch turned and the door is locked. An hour later when Betty comes up to wake him, she turns the handle but can not open it. She shakes her head at her husband as he has somehow managed to lock himself in.
“Jack.” Betty wraps on the door firmly but lightly. “Jack? We have to leave. We are going to Mary’s. Remember?” She listens and clearly can hear the sound of snoring.
“Oh dear.” Betty taps a little harder. “Jack! Jack! You better wake up. We have to go.” She listens again and only hears more snoring. She thinks for a moment and her eyes narrow. “There isn’t a ballgame or something today is there?” There is no response and she is convinced now the sounds of sawing wood are definitely genuine and Jack’s.
“Jack! Wake up!” She raises her voice but without shouting and knocks on the door once again. After another quiet pause, Betty shakes her head and assumes Jack must really be tired. It’s best he rests and she’ll get a ride to Mary’s with daughter Nancy and her husband Jim.
A half hour later, she is walking through the door to 5477 Buckenll Road and is welcomed with a loud shout of “Surprise!” from family and friends. She must quickly explain to the blank faces of everyone that Jack is asleep. There’s no waking him up when he’s really asleep especially through a locked door. A few laughs are had then a wonderful party is held. There is food including a cake and many well wishes for Betty and her sleeping absent husband. Betty’s mother, Bernardine(called Nannie by her grandchildren) is there, escorted by long time close family friend, Bill Hoffman. Bill is Betty’s son Joe’s godfather. Both of Betty’s brothers and their families are at the party as well including her oldest brother Buddy’s newly born grandson, the first of the next generation. Of course, Jack and Betty’s children are there and the Burke’s, Mike and Inez with their daughter Laura Ann. The Burkey’s live a few blocks from the Kavanagh’s and the families have known each other for some time. They are good friends and Mike Burke sometimes helps Jack with projects around the house. The party is fun albeit odd without one of the guests of honor but Betty has a great time. She heads home to find Jack finally awake reading the newspaper in his chair.
Jack hops out of his chair and steps over to kiss her on the cheek. “Where have you been Hon?”
Betty grins and hands him a piece of cake. “Happy Anniversary.”
Jack stands in the front of the Shop staring out the open garage door. He’s going over his schedule in his mind. Jack learned from his father to always be thinking and planning. His thoughts are interrupted by the slam of the Pines Bender. A large set of tubes are being bent in the Pines today. It’s a job for National Wire Products. The order is for 289 pieces and is nearly finished. After each bend, the piece is removed and when the bending arm returns, it slams hard against the machine. Jack has given three fellows time on this one. He likes the idea of each man getting some practice on the machine. It’s good experience for them and it helps Jack know their skill set. This order will be completed today and National Wire has already promised another set next month.
Hurricane Agnes has moved inland and is pummeling the Mid-Atlantic with rain and high winds. The impact is felt along the East Coast but Maryland gets hit very hard. The constant rain causes widespread flooding and that includes the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson. As the storm intensifies, the sewer system is overloaded. As the young Kavanagh kids watch from their front window, the sewer plate in the middle of the intersection is suddenly tossed into the air along with some of the black top surrounding it. A geyser of water has exploded out from it and water is everywhere. Betty takes the children to the basement and she sees water pouring through small holes in the foundation. At odds with what to do, she gives each child a piece of gum to chew. After chewing, she instructs them to use the gum to plug up as many of the holes as possible. Strangely enough, it does slow the rate of the flooding but to little avail. It’s the same throughout Baltimore including the Shop where water rushes under the garage door and machines are raised and put on blocks to try to avoid water damage to them. It will be days and days of rain and flooding with a great deal of damage to the City and State. Agnes is one of the worst June hurricanes in history.
It’s a busy Monday at the Shop with the crew spread over an order of rolled angles for Codd Fabricators, some replacement fittings for Schaefer Brewery and a small heat exchanger repair for the Housing Authority. “Big Mike” Winchester called Jack and told him he had six leaky tubes in this unit and he needs a quick repair. This exchanger is for hot water and so even in the summer, it’s a rush. They drop off the unit and Jerry Purnell takes care of bending and replacing the six bad tubes. It’s been a good start to the summer so far and the crew are back to working half-days on Saturdays.
The Kavanagh boys, Jack Jr. and Joe have a long Friday of baseball. In the afternoon, their neighborhood team the Robin-Blair Sons beat the Pep boys in four on four wiffle ball and the night is spent at Memorial Stadium. The Kavanagh’s are attending a twi-night doubleheader with the Orioles hosting the Chicago White Sox. The Orioles are playing well but not at the level of last year. They are in a close race so far in second place behind the Detroit Tigers. Tonight, the second game isn’t finished until just after 11 pm but the family stays. It’s the summer so Betty is fine with them being out a little late on a Friday plus the Orioles are winning. They take game 1 by a score of 7-4 and shut out the Sox 3-0 in the nightcap. First baseman Boog Powell homers in the first game and a young infielder named Bobby Grich hits one out in the second. Joe, the youngest of the kids at 7, is sleepy as the car pulls into a parking spot on the Jefferson Street side of the house. He doesn’t mind. His Mom let him stay up, he had a night at the ballpark and the Birds took two.
The crew of the Joseph Kavanagh Company are getting a little antsy. They are two weeks away from a week’s vacation and that is on all of their minds. They still hit the jobs hard and do their best. Jack expects nothing less and he usually gets it. He’s fair and reasonable to his men and they respect him. Markley’s Marina has ordered a boat rail for one of their customers. The railing is custom to the boat so they must send Jack the old rail and the Shop will match it. It’s a straightforward job and its difficulty depends entirely on the shape of the boat. This one is a fairly standard curve and it’s rolled in less than two hours.
The family makes its now annual visit to the quiet beach town of Ocean City on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It’s a small city and very sleepy for most of the year but when summer arrives and schools close for the break, Ocean City is where Baltimoreans and Marylanders go for their fun in the sun. The Kavanagh’s are no different and they look forward to it every year. Just like 1971, Jack gives his crew off a week with pay and it is much appreciated. Jack, Betty and the kids have a great week of sun, surf, crabbing, fishing and walking the boards. The boardwalk of O.C. is a wonderland of amusements, arcades, rides and sweet treats for the younger kids. It’s a wonderful week of fun for the family.
The Kavanagh’s and much of the world watch as the Summer Olympics are held in Munich, Germany. What is designed to be a peaceful tournament of sport for the world turns violent as terrorists attack and hold nine members of the Israeli team hostage demanding the release of prisoners. Two athletes who resisted were killed at the start. German authorities try to stop the terrorists but in the end, all the Israeli prisoners are murdered and all but three of the terrorists killed. The world is stunned and the Olympics will never be the same.
Jack and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Bumpsy and Shirley Crew attend the Baltimore Colts home opener at Memorial Stadium. The Colts lose this game 10-3 to the St. Louis Cardinals. The team had a change in ownership in July. Robert Irsay, the owner of the LA Rams, has traded franchises with Carroll Rosenbloom and is now the owner of Baltimore’s team. The club and its fans suffer through a tough year. The players are aging and it shows. They finish with a 5-9 record and miss the playoffs.
The work has slowed a little as winter approaches and Jack has cut out the Saturday hours. This happens nearly every year with the cold weather coming. Today a small pipe job is finished for J. E. Hurley Company. A piece of 4” Pipe is filled and rolled to make a short radius 90 degree elbow. This one has to be shipped to Hurley’s customer and Charlie Owens runs it over to the shipping company in the Shop’s truck.
The Orioles fell short of the playoffs this year finishing second to the Detroit Tigers in the Eastern Division. It’s disappointing but the Birds have been in the World Series three years in a row and all good things come to an end. Jack still thinks it was a mistake trading Frank Robinson but even he is skeptical of Frank making the difference this year. The Tigers lose the ALCS today. They are defeated by the Oakland Athletics who will play the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.
On this Sunday, Jack is watching game 7 of the World Series. It’s been a good match up so far with every game but one decided by a single run. Today’s game is no different and Oakland defeats the Reds 3-2 to take the championship. Jack enjoys the series despite the Orioles not being involved. It’s still baseball as he often says. He loves the game no matter who’s playing or where. When thinking of the Birds, he goes with the old axiom there’s always next year.
President Richard Nixon wins re-election defeating Democrat George McGovern in a landslide. In the build up to the election, the news is filled with stories of the Watergate break in. The Democratic National Committee was burglarized in the Watergate Hotel in DC and the word is out that one of the burglars was a member of the Committee to Re-Elect the President. Despite the accusations flying, Nixon wins easily over McGovern. The president has denied any knowledge of or involvement in the Watergate break in.
Jack rolls some angles in the R-5 for Major Mechanical Contractors. He enjoys the occasional respite of working in the Shop as opposed to his office work. This time it is simply to get the job done. With the holidays on their way, Jack doesn’t want any jobs hanging over past Christmas.
Christmas arrives at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue with the usual mix of family, food and presents for the kids. The tree is lit in the front room and there is garland and bits of cut-up tree over the piano. This was Betty’s idea. She had Jack buy a second tree and he cut it up. Betty then hung branches where she could. The Kavanagh’s have had a busy holiday so far. They visited Betty’s mother, Bernardine last night then attended midnight Mass. Jack and Betty have started the tradition of spending the Sunday before Christmas with Nannie and the rest of Betty’s family. To the kids, it’s like having two Christmases and for a child, that’s a dream come true. After the chaos and revelry that is opening presents for such a big family, Jack plays holiday music and some of his favorites on the piano. His children are gathered around him singing. The family singing around the piano is just as it was for his father’s family and his grandfather’s. Jack catches Betty’s eye and they share a secret smile. They both know how far they have come and how blessed they are to have this family. Jack goes back to playing and takes a fleeting look at his boys next to him, Jack Jr. and Joe. He doesn’t want them to grow up too fast but in his heart of hearts, he can’t wait for them to come to the Shop. It will happen. That’s how it is with the Kavanagh’s. As he did, so shall they. The circle will complete again with father and sons working together.
Richard Nixon is the President of the United States. Nixon visits China and the US begins selling grain to the Soviet Union. President Nixon and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT treaty to limit strategic nuclear arms. The last American ground troops leave Vietnam. Protests against the war in Vietnam reach crowds of 100,000. Digital watches are first sold. HBO broadcasts for the first time. Atari produces and sells the first Pong game. The films “Deliverance,” “The Godfather” and “Pink Flamingos” are released. Shaquille O’Neal, Dwayne Johnson, Eminem, Chipper Jones and Mia Hamm are born. Mahalia Jackson, Walter Winchell, J. Edgar Hoover, Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente die.
There are 50 states in the Union.
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