1969 One Giant Leap

January 2

The Shop starts the year with some work on the books but not much of a backlog. Jack and his crew of eight men work on their usual mix of brewery and distillery parts and bent pipes and tubes to boilers and fabrications jobs. Jack is forty-four and he has been running the Joseph Kavanagh Company for a few years now after his father finally took a full retirement.

January 12

The Colts lose the Super Bowl to the upstart New York Jets. Jack and most of Baltimore are watching and they can’t believe it. The Colts were heavily favored even with star quarterback Johnny Unitas out for most of the year after a preseason injury. Back up Earl Morrall did a great job all year but can’t get much going offensively in the Super Bowl. At halftime, Coach Don Shula replaces Morrall with Unitas in hopes of jump starting the team. It doesn’t work and Baltimore loses to New York 16-7.

Baltimore Colts souvenir sticker. Late 1960s.

January 20

The Shop completes a set of steel tubes for the Maryland Cup Company. The tubes are thin wall and need to be annealed, filled and rolled to maintain their roundness. It’s lots of welcome torch work for a few cold days in January. After the tubes are annealed, rosin must be melted and poured into them and then they sit for a day. The rosin hardens and supports the tube’s shape. After bending, they are melted back out and it’s more fire being used on Central Avenue. The crew are working hard but today they love the heat.

The Shop’s job book entry. Maryland Cup Company job. January 20, 1969.

February 17

Jack is surprised when he reads in the Baltimore Sun that four hundred baseball players are boycotting Spring Training. They are demanding an increase of owners’ contribution to players’ pension funds.  That makes sense to Jack but he still can’t imagine having an issue when your job is playing baseball. He’d give almost anything for that. He quickly realized that he is looking at it from a romanticized view. These men still have families and children. They do have to retire eventually and having something to live on is only natural. He also realizes the owners are certainly making plenty of money. For a moment, he wonder what his father thinks. Eddie has always been a mad baseball fan but also a strong union/labor rights man. When he thinks of his father, he becomes distracted. Jack has been trying to convince Eddie to have a nurse stop in daily to help him and check his health. Eddie has the money to afford it but he thinks with Betty stopping over a couple of times a day, there is no need. She takes good care of him and she cleans and cooks his meals. Jack knows a nurse would be better as his father’s health is not great. He has emphysema but still smokes cigars. Also, Jack wants Betty to have a break. Even with most of the kids at school, her hands are full and three or four trips across the street only make it worse. Eddie will not relent and a nurse is a no go so far. Jack will keep trying to convince him. He looks back at the newspaper and his thoughts return to baseball. He skims the article again. No matter what happens, he hopes it doesn’t impact the season and happily it doesn’t. Nine days later, the changes and improvements are made to the players retirement fund and baseball will go on as usual.

February 19

Today some stainless steel tubes are bent for E. A. Kaestner Company. The crew have some trouble bending these and it takes more time than anticipated. Jack makes a note on the job record that he was busy on several other jobs and was unable to give enough supervision on this one. He was also on the phone a lot today as they have received some repair work for Schaefer Brewery and the details were being worked out. The tubes are finished and a rod needs to be machined by John Benser on one of the lathes in the second floor machine shop. They use this rod to plug drive the tubes and return them to the required shape. Afterward, the tubes are cleaned and they are finally picked up and out of the Shop.

The Shop’s job book entry. E.A. Kaestner Co. job. February 19, 1969.

March 3

Sirhan Sirhan admits to shooting and killing Bobby Kennedy in a Los Angeles, California courtroom.

March 10

James Earl Ray pleads guilty to murdering Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee. In the space of a week, the two men charged with the assassinations of last year admit to their involvement and guilt. There remain questions on both counts as to why and how they were able to do it. There will be no Warren Commission to sort out what happened in these two cases so those questions, concerns and theories linger on despite both assassins admitting their guilt.

March 19

Jack is home sick in bed for a day. He has the flu and takes a very rare day off. He calls the Shop and gives some instructions to Julie, his secretary. She passes them on to his brother Ed who gives the crew their assignments. Jack is always at the Shop so it’s a strange day in the place and stranger still for Jack. After dinner while he is still in bed, Mary and her boyfriend Handy Brandenburg knock on the bedroom door and want to talk to him. Handy informs Jack that he has asked Mary to marry him.

Jack pauses then looks from Handy to Mary. “What did she say?”

“I said yes.” his daughter answers.

“Well, let me explain the Kavanagh marriages to you.” Jack turns to Handy. “You need a new car, $5000 in the bank and a steady job.” The room goes silent and Handy’s mind goes to his old Chrysler which is a point in his favor because Jack is a Chrysler man He just graduated from Ohio State and does have a job but no money. Jack smiles to break the quiet. “Of course if you love each other you can forget those other things.” They laugh and cry and Jack and Betty will gain a son-in-law next year.

.March 28

Jack watches the evening news and hears that former President Eisenhower has died after a long illness. Jack and the family pray for Eisenhower and his family. Despite being a lifelong Democrat, Jack liked Ike. He was a great leader in World War 2 commanding all Allied Forces and in the White House he presided over a simpler time in America.

April 8

On this Tuesday, Jack takes his kids to Memorial Stadium for the Orioles Opening Day. It’s a different baseball season this year. Each league has been divided into two divisions. The Orioles are in the American League Eastern Division now along with the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Indians and Senators. The winners of each division will play each other in a League Championship Series at the end of the season. The champions from the American and National Leagues will then face off in the World Series. Today’s game is a twelve extra inning affair that doesn’t go the Birds’ way and they lose 5-4 to the Boston Red Sox. The Kavanagh’s are undaunted. Jack, his kids and most of Baltimore are expecting big things from their team this year. They had a rough start to last season but new manager Earl Weaver lit a fire under them and they finished strong. A full season under Weaver’s leadership should lead to success.

1969 Baltimore Orioles souvenir pennant.

April 30

The breweries are keeping 201 S. Central Avenue busy. They have had orders from Carling, Schaefer and now National Breweries. An aluminum dipstick is fabricated and engraved today. The dipstick is a measuring stick that must be engraved with gallon marks. The brewery furnishes dimensions for placement of each gallon mark and Charlie Owens and Benser do the job.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. April 30, 1969.

May 9

Today is a special day in the Lakewood Avenue/Patterson Park neighborhood where the Kavanagh’s live. They attend St. Elizabeth’s Church and School at the corner of Lakewood and Baltimore with Patterson Park directly across from the Church. The annual May Procession to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary is held on this day. There is a parade from the church to the park and back. There is much singing and a crown of flowers is placed on the head of the statue of Mary. This year, first grader Jack Kavanagh is a page in the festivities. His parents are so proud. They were very excited when their daughter Betty Ann was chosen as May Queen several years ago and now are equally happy to see Jack Jr. chosen as a page. The pages escort the May Queen and hold her train during the procession. Little Jack looks so cute in his page outfit. Neighbors and parishioners line the street of the parade route. They join in the songs and snap pictures as the kids go by. Betty makes a point of taking some pictures herself this year. It’s a wonderful tradition in the parish and is a way of welcoming Spring.

Jack May Procession1 05-1969
Jack Kavanagh Jr. as a Page in the St. Elizabeth’s May Procession. May 9, 1969.
Jack May Procession3 05-1969
The May Queen and Jack Kavanagh Jr. as her page in the St. Elizabeth’s May Procession. The Church’s Rectory is in the background. May 9, 1969.

May 15

Several 1 1/2” Steel pipes are curved for Jensen Manufacturing Co. The Shop has received several orders from Jensen this year for bent pipes and tubes. Jensen fabricates machines of various types and the equipment occasionally requires some bent parts. In addition, a very large railing that covers several sections of a large garden are rolled from brass tubes and Ed Kavanagh and a helper have started some small repairs at Calvert Distillery.

The Shop’s job book entry. Jensen Manufacturing Co. job. May 15, 1969.

June 7

Jack and the family head to a ball game on this Saturday with the Orioles hosting the Seattle Pilots. The games is a romp as the Birds win 10-0 behind the stellar pitching of right-hander Jim Palmer who throws a complete game shut out. The offense is led by Brooks Robinson who manages three hits including a triple. The Orioles’ cause was aided by two errors by the Pilots. Baltimore puts up four runs in the second inning and never looks back winning easily. This is a fun Saturday night for the Kavanagh’s and the other 13,000 so odd fans in attendance. The Birds are off to a very hot start at 39 wins and only 15 losses. They have established themselves in first place in the AL East and are playing very well.

June 23

Jack has begun bringing the workers in for half-day Saturdays as the summer work has picked up. Some repairs at Majestic Distillery, a railing and a repair to a coil at Schaefer Brewery has the boys working hard on a sunny and breezy Monday. Both of the Kavanagh brothers work on the Schaefer job with Jack supervising the fabrication and Ed leading the installation.

The Shop’s job book entry. Schaefer Brewery job. June 23, 1969.

July 20

On this Sunday night, the Kavanagh’s television along with millions around the country are tuned to watch the first astronauts land on the moon. The night gets later and later but just before 11 pm, two Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step out of the lunar module and take those first steps on the moon. The family watches in amazement and the kids are happy it’s the summer and they are allowed to stay up late and watch. The youngest two, Jack and Joe are in bed but Jack and Betty’s daughters sit with them and view this “Giant Leap for mankind.” Suddenly, the world seems both bigger and smaller at the same time. The world of man now includes visiting our one natural satellite and men walking on its surface. The scope of mankind’s knowledge and his reach grows so much but at the same time, the great expanse that is space shows us how very small this planet is.

August 7

Jack has closed the Shop and given the workers three days off and he and Betty head to Ocean City for a well-earned vacation with their kids. Bumpsy and Shirley, Betty’s brother and sister-in-law along with their young son, Manuel are there too. The family split a house near the inlet together and stay from Thursday until Monday. They fish, they crab, they enjoy sun and fun at the beach and on the boardwalk. Each night, they take a walk along the boards and visit the arcades playing pinball, skeeball and the claw machines. It’s a great break for Jack and a memorable vacation for all.

Joe & Manuel OC2 1969
Joe Kavanagh and cousin Manuel Crew. Ocean City. August 1969.
Joe, Manuel, Aunt Shirely OC 1969
Joe Kavanagh and Aunt Shirley and cousin Manuel Crew. Ocean City. August 1969.

August 15

A massive music festival is held in upstate New York called Woodstock. Many of the biggest stars of today’s music world are present including Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Creedence Clearwater Revival. It changes Rock and Roll.

August 21

A very humid Thursday is made hotter at the Joseph Kavanagh Company as torches must be used for most of the day. The Koppers Co., a local fabrication ship, has ordered some copper loops made from 1” Tube. The torches are used to anneal or soften the copper in order to make it malleable. It’s a very straightforward job but one you would prefer to do in February.

The Shop’s job book entry. Koppers Company job. August 21, 1969.

September 2

The Kavanagh children are heading back to school except for the youngest Joe and Jane. Jane graduated from Catholic High in the spring and has taken a job in the engineering department at C & P Telephone. The three oldest girls are in college, Jackie is in Catholic High and JoAnn, Ann and Little Jack are attending St. Elizabeth’s Elementary School. Betty still checks on her father-in-law Eddie several times a day taking along Joe. Eddie is still refusing to consider hiring any sort of nurse care so she brings him breakfast and lunch, does the cleaning and the laundry and anything else he needs. Even with caring for Eddie, she does find her home much quieter and more peaceful. She takes advantage of it by spending more time with her baby boy, Joe. He is her youngest and for the first time, there is no baby to share time with, it’s her and Joe.

Joe Lakewood Ave. May 1969
Joe(GI) Kavanagh. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. May 1969.

September 11

A coil is repaired for A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Sunset Hills, Virginia. it’s a small coil but is very precise and must be held to a close tolerance. It is bent in the Leonard Bender while a set of steel bars for Codd Fabrication are rolled in the rolling machine. They will be used for stiffeners in a boiler. The machine can pull it but struggles a little and Jack takes note of this but they do get both orders finished without too much trouble.

September 14

The Kavanagh’s drive out to Thirty-Third Street to watch a ballgame. The Orioles are facing the Cleveland Indians on a Sunday afternoon. The Birds have already clinched the newly formed AL Eastern Division with two weeks to play. The fans are very excited as they know a return to the postseason is guaranteed. Today, the Orioles win 7-3 despite starting a decidedly “B” team. Neither Brooks nor Frank Robinson starts and outfielder Don Buford plays third. Manager Earl Weaver is giving his regulars some rest in anticipation of the playoffs. Left-hander Mike Cuellar throws a complete game and wins his twenty-second game of the year. Hopes are high in Baltimore for another World Series title.

1969 American League Championship Program.

September 21

Jack and Bumpsy and Shirley attend the first Baltimore Colts game of the season at Memorial Stadium. When the club lost the Super Bowl in January, it was very deflating. They had played so well all year and it was a shock when the Jets defeated them. Hopes are high again for another good season but it starts off on a sour note as the Colts lose to the LA Rams 27-20. The Colts will have another good season and win 8 games but finish behind these Rams and Baltimore does not make the playoffs.

October 6

The Orioles are going back to the World Series after sweeping the Minnesota Twins with three wins in a row in the very first American League Championship Series. The Birds win the first two at home with the Kavanagh’s in attendance. Game two is a nail biter but Baltimore prevails 1-0. When the series moves to Minneapolis for game three, the Orioles crush the Twins 11-2. Birds’ fans and certainly Jack and his family are very excited and confident they can take the World Series.

Scorecard from 1969 ALCS Program. October 1969.

October 15

The October Moratorium against the War in Vietnam is held as protests and demonstrations occur in cities across the nation. The largest is in Boston with more than 100,000 people attending. Despite Nixon’s plan to turn the war over to the South Vietnamese, many do not believe it or do not believe it will work. They march, rally and demand US troops be withdrawn from Southeast Asia immediately.

1969 November Moratorium2
November Moratorium. Washington D.C. 1969.

October 16

The Orioles are considered a shoo in to win the World Series Championship this year as they face the New York Mets. The Birds are everyone’s pick to win but as happened in the Super Bowl this year, Baltimore loses to New York. The Mets win four out of five and take the series. It’s a shocking disappointing few days. If the Colts were expected to win in football, the Orioles were expected to cruise to baseball’s championship. It doesn’t happen that way because you have to play the games on the field. 1969 becomes a painful sports memory for Baltimore fans. Jack, Betty and five of their children attend games 1 and 2. They alternate which of the kids go so everyone gets a chance to see at least one game. The Birds win the first then lose four in a row. Jack is at work for the deciding game 5 but his son, Joe, fills in for him and sits with Eddie and watches from 434 N. Lakewood Avenue. Eddie feeds Joe sticks of Doublemint gum while he smokes a cigar. Eddie is mostly silent but he does give a few small pointers to his grandson about the game. It’s a tough series and it seems like nothing goes the Orioles way and perhaps it was fated to be as it was with the Jets and the Colts. There is no championship in Baltimore this year.

1969 World Series Program.
New York Mets’ Ron Swoboda signed baseball.

November 3

In response to the October Moratorium on the war, President Nixon speaks on national television appealing to the “Silent Majority” to support his plan in Vietnam. He believes if we can continue to fight, the US can find a way to get out of the war and also preserve South Vietnam. Before 1969, 34,000 Americans had died in Vietnam and another 10,000 since the implementation of the Nixon plan.

November 5

The jobs keep coming in and Jack’s crew are still working six days and that’s unusual for this late in the year. The crew are split between work for Seagrams Distillery and National Brewery. Ed Kavanagh is working on something on his own, a copper candy pan. It’s for the Southern Candy Company and reminds both he and his brother of the old days at the Shop. For years, generations really, their coppersmith work included confectionery kettles and cooking equipment. As far back as the original Joseph M. Kavanagh, the Kavanagh’s have worked for candy and ice cream companies. This is a small pan that needs to be shaped, brazed and tinned. It’s nothing fancy but it’s almost nostalgic for the Kavanagh brothers.

The Shop’s job book entry. Southern Candy Company job. November 5, 1969.

November 10

A few years ago, Jack wanted the Shop to buy its first metal rolling machine and it has more than paid for itself. He decides to buy a new machine, an angle roller. This machine can roll angle iron as well as bars, pipes and tubes depending on what tools you have. Curving angles into circles has always been a challenge with the old roller specifically keeping the angle straight or flat. This new machine has an attachment that serves the purpose of supporting the leg of the angle and keeping it as close as possible to 90 degrees. It’s a very new style of machine and is very new to the US. The machine is a Roundo from Sweden and Jack purchases it from the Continental Machinery and Equipment Co. or Comeq for short. Comeq is Roundo’s American distributor and the company is run by a gentleman named Irv Lazinsky. Jack and he are contemporaries and they hit it off from the start. The machine is called an R-5 as it is is able to roll angle up to 5” x 5” and it will be delivered in two months.

Continental Machincery & Equipment Co. label on owner’s manual for R-5. Purchased late 1969.
Roundo R-5. Picture taken November 2019.

November 15

500,000 protesters march on Washington DC against the War in Vietnam in what is called the November Moratorium. This is the culmination of last month’s nationwide protests. Betty Ann Kavanagh and many of her friends from Catholic University take part along with people from a variety of walks of life. They assemble and demonstrate in the nation’s capital demanding an end to the war and the peaceful return of American soldiers.

Betty 1969 November Moratorium
Betty Ann Kavanagh. Novemver Moratorium Washington D.C. 1969.

November 27

It is Thanksgiving on the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson and the house is full. The older girls are home from college and Eddie is there as well as Handy, Mary’s fiance. Handy seems to fit in well with the Kavanagh’s and Mary with his family. She flew to Columbus, Ohio and met them earlier in the year. Both families are happy for the couple and plans are being made for their wedding. Little Joe who is Mary’s godson will be ring bearer. He and Mary have a special bond and his involvement is important to Mary. Betty is excited to be planning a wedding but today is Thanksgiving which means her usual thirty pound turkey with all the trimmings including parsnips. There is ample food for everyone even a surprise guest. Betty and Jack’s second daughter met a young man from Pittsburgh at college. Jim O’Neill is his name and after hitching a ride with a friend, he shows up unannounced at 447 N. Lakewood.  He comes from a large family as well so the cacophony that is the Kavanagh household doesn’t faze him one bit. The first of the clan he encounters is Joe who is playing with some of his cars. Joe or GI as his older brother calls him looks up at this tall man as Nancy introduces him.

Joe’s eyes rise to meet the man who seems like a giant to him. Joe thinks he might hit his head on the ceiling. “Do you play cars?” The four year old boy asks.

Nancy grins and Mr. O’Neill says, “Yes, I do.”

“Will you play with me?” Joe’s brow furrows.

“Yes, I will.” He says and immediately sits down to play with the littlest Kavanagh on the floor in the front room. Joe is thrilled. His brother is playing a game with their sisters and he is too young for it. To play cars alone is fine but to have someone to share the excitement is much better.

After a round of Matchbox cars with Joe, Nancy introduces her beau to her parents. Jack and Betty are surprised he would come all the way to Baltimore to see Nancy for Thanksgiving but he is a polite young man and they take a liking to him. He has a good sense of humor and enjoys Betty’s turkey feast as does Mary’s young man, Handy. This further endears both of them with Jack and Betty. Not to mention, they are both Irish Catholics which helps. One or two more at the table never mattered to Betty. She had to make an outrageous amount of food anyway. A couple more hungry folks was of no concern to her. She had a way of making this holiday look easy even when feeding twenty or more people.

December 18

The busy year at the Joseph Kavanagh Company is ending on a strong note. A set of fountain sprayer tubes, a copper liner for a boiler and six copper pressure heads are finished today. The pressure heads are standard parts they make for Bethlehem Steel. The Shop has received a few different orders from the mill but these heads are recurring. The Kavanagh’s make these two or three times a year. A set of 4” Pipes are rolled for Codd Fabricators as well. Codd is one of their oldest customers. They are located about five minutes away on Aliceanna Street.

The Shop’s job book entry. Bethlehem Steel job. December 18, 1969.

December 25

It’s Christmas Day and the Kavanagh’s are celebrating in full force. The front room is filled with a tree and many mounds of gifts for all the children. The kids open their stockings then eat a quick breakfast. A few moments later, they are all off to St. Elizabeth’s Church for mass. When they return home, the waiting game begins for the kiddos. The family must all assemble including Jack’s father, Eddie, then they will all eat a leisurely dinner around noon. When it’s done, the group heads into the front room and presents are distributed. It’s what the young ones have waited for all day. It’s a wonderful holiday for the family and they sing carols to add to the celebration. At the end of the day, when the kids are all asleep, Jack and Betty hold each other close and think they made it through another holiday and it was great. They have nine kids to share the love that has grown between them. They can hardly believe that four of their girls are in college already and growing up. What they don’t realize is that by this time next year not one but two of those daughters will be married. Their family and their lives seem destined to continually get bigger and bigger. They love each other on this Christmas night as they did that first time they saw each other over twenty years ago. The couple have so much happiness which has grown from the love that started as a young girl meeting this fresh-out-of-the-Navy fellow. Jack and Betty can hardly believe it some days. Things are going well for the Kavanagh family and the Shop too. Jack’s foray into rolling and bending has been successful and the business is busy and doing well. The only regret for this year was the failure of both local teams to win a championship despite being the odds on favorites to do so. It has been a very good year overall but a rueful one for sports but there’s always next year.



Richard Nixon is the President of the United States. Protests grow against the War in Vietnam. Nixon’s plan called Vietnamization gradually begins transferring American troops back to the US and replacing them with South Vietnamese. By the end of the year, the US is in secret peace negotiations with North Vietnam. The Chicago Eight trial begins. Meetings are held between the US and the Soviet Union to work on the SALT treaty to limit strategic nuclear arms. The Stonewall Riots in NY occur and are the first modern protests in support of gay rights. The Manson Family commits seven murders over two days in California. The first Gap and the first Wendy’s open. The films “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “True Grit,” and “Easy Rider” are released. The first Trans Am is sold. The Brady Bunch, H.R. Pufnstuf and Sesame Street premier on television. Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jennifer Aniston, Peter Dinklage and Ken Griffey Jr. are born. Magic Sam, Jack Kerouac, Judy Garland, Joseph Kennedy Sr. and Rocky Marciano die.


There are 50 states in the Union.

American Flag on the Moon
Moon Landing. July 1969. Ploto courtesy of NASA.

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

Table of Contents







1968 Grief and Rage

January 2

A new year begins at the Joseph Kavanagh Company with the Shop fairly busy. Jack and his crew of eight men bend and roll metal and make replacement parts and do repairs for breweries and distilleries in Maryland and the surrounding area. Jack lives with his wife Betty on Lakewood Avenue with their nine children. Two are home from college for the holidays, Betty Ann who is studying in DC at Catholic University and Nancy who is attending Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. The other five girls are in school, Mary and Jane at Catholic High and Jackie, JoAnn and Ann at St. Elizabeth’s Elementary School. Their mother Betty is at home with the two youngest, sons Jack Jr. and Joe and she also takes care of her father-in-law Eddie who lives across the street. Eddie is 74 years old and has emphysema and needs a lot of help. Betty cleans and cooks for him and one of the girls spends a couple of hours with him every night keeping him company. It’s a busy life and a busy house at the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson.

Joe Jack Ocean city
Joe (GI) and Jack Jr. Kavanagh. Ocean City. 1968.

February 24

The Shop’s crew are spread over three jobs on this chilly winter day. A set of steel tubes are being curved into rings, some boiler parts are made and an order is completed for Bethlehem Steel. The steel mill needed eight copper pressure heads which were made from copper sheet that was purchased from the Brass & Copper Company, one of the Kavanagh’s primary vendors. The pressure heads are similar to those used on distilling equipment and are parts the Kavanagh’s have been making for years. Bethlehem will use the heads to control water tank pressure at the mill.

The Shop’s job book entry. Bethlehem Steel job. February 24, 1968.

February 27

Tonight on the evening news, Walter Cronkite delivers a report on the war in Vietnam and his personal assessment of it. He believes it is a stalemate. Jack Kavanagh is watching at home and is beginning to agree. He is a veteran and a patriotic man. He has watched the news and supported the Vietnam War effort led by President Johnson. There has been much talk of the war going well and body count numbers favoring the US 10 or 12-1 but there seems to be no real progress and no end in sight. When respected newsman Cronkite infers this conflict may be unwinnable, he persuades a few people who are weary of the war and its ongoing casualties. Jack has had discussions with his older daughters whose friends are being drafted about the validity and necessity of this war and their arguments are sound.  Jack sees less and less reason to continue this fight and loss of life.

March 16

Bobby Kennedy enters the Democratic Presidential Race. Kennedy is a strong advocate for civil rights and wishes to continue the legacy of his brother John F. Kennedy. Jack and his family are supporters. He respects Kennedy and hopes he can secure the nomination as the incumbent Johnson may be tough to beat.

March 29

The work has slowed a little as Spring has arrived. This happens sometimes. A busier winter can lead to a quieter spring. Jack has the men working on some stock parts. He has John Benser, his machinist, making a few steel flanges. They use these as sealing headers for a variety of tanks for distilling, brewing and boilers. Jack isn’t worried about the work. It will pick up certainly. This is the time to take advantage of the chance to make stock parts and clean and organize the Shop.

The Shop’s job book entry. Stock steel flanges. March 29, 1968.

March 31

President Johnson announces on national television that he will not seek re-election. Jack hopes this bodes well for Bobby Kennedy’s campaign. He sees the protests and believes this country needs a way to come together and heal. Getting out of the war in Southeast Asia would be a good start and Kennedy plans to do that.

April 4

Dr. Martin Luther King is in Memphis, Tennessee on this Thursday in support of striking black sanitation workers. In the evening, he is standing on a second floor balcony at the Lorraine Motel where he is staying and a rifle shot rings out. Dr. King is struck in the face and goes down. The bullet breaks his cheek and turns down, severing the jugular vein. The renowned clergyman and civil rights leader is rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Memphis where he dies an hour later. A known criminal and white supremacist James Earl Ray is spotted at the scene and his fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. A nationwide search for Ray begins. The news of Dr. King’s assassination quickly spreads over radio and television. Another young leader shot down in the prime of his life. Another young man who brought hope to so many,  and that hope is silenced in a flash. Shock gives way to grief then anger and soon rage.

April 5

Riots break out in major cities including Baltimore and DC. The collective rage and frustration in urban communities erupts in violence. Jack listens to the radio at the Shop and begins to worry about his crew getting home safely. He closes the place for the day in the late morning and sends his men on their way. It’s a Friday anyway and the end of the week. He drives away from the Shop very aware of the rioting and looting going on in parts of the City and he keeps the radio on during the short ride to Lakewood Avenue. In DC, the city is burning as the rioting spreads. Betty Ann Kavanagh shares an off campus apartment with several other students from Catholic University. She tries to no avail to make a phone call to her parents to tell them she is okay. There is only one telephone for all the students and she can not get a long distance line. She has a friend who is a student in the seminary, Handy Brandenburg, call Jack and Betty to assure them she is fine. Betty Ann’s parents do not know Handy Brandenburg but daughters Mary and Jane met him at a St. Patrick’s Day party thrown by their older sister. Mary particularly remembers Handy fondly and Jack and Betty do appreciate him calling them. Betty and her fellow students’ apartment is close enough to see the fires burning. A fraternity is sent to the apartment building to guard the predominantly female student residents.  DC is in chaos with the looting, fires and destruction only getting worse. A molotov cocktail is thrown against their building but it causes no damage. It is a night of not-sleeping and coffee drinking for Betty and her friends.

April 6

As the unrest continues at colleges and in cities across the nation, campuses cancel classes. They will close a few days early for the scheduled Spring break. Nancy and Betty Ann must both come home. Nancy is flying home from Duquesne and Jack is picking up Betty Ann at Catholic University. Betty has a few friends who can’t get home including her roommate Michaeleen O’Neill. The airport is closed and they are more or less stranded. Mom says bring them with you. So Jack in the Plymouth station wagon drives Betty Ann and seven friends from DC to Baltimore. A very large amount of spaghetti is made and Betty gives thought to the sleeping arrangements.  Jack Jr. and Joe will sleep on the first floor with the college boys and all the girls will be upstairs spread over two bedrooms. The bathroom will be complicated but no more than any family party. Jack has thought for sometime he should put in a basement bathroom. He thinks that again.

April 7

When the sun begins to sneak through the blinds of the windows on the Jefferson Street side of the Kavanagh house, Jack Jr. and Joe begin to wake. Betty is up already seeming to have not slept at all,  but that was often the case. She is filling bowls with Cheerios and passing them out to Little Jack, Joe and the young college men. They each get their cereal and milk while Joe prefers his cereal dry and has a cup of orange juice. Joe is allowed to eat and drink sitting on the floor which he normally cannot do. The girls begin working their way down as the television is turned on and Joe puts the channel on Bugs Bunny, one of his personal favorites. The room quickly fills with people, yawning, stretching, eating cereal or toast and watching cartoons. The not quite three year old Joe thinks these grown-ups are all right. They like Cheerios and cartoons just like he does. Later in the morning, one of the young men, Bill Cox, picks up Nancy at the airport and Jack and Betty are relieved. All their kids are home safe and sound along with these few guests. There are eighteen people living at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue now. To get a brief respite from the crowd, Jack walks with his boys, Jack Jr. and Joe to Ellwood Park to show them the National Guard camp. The boys marvel at the soldiers and the tanks looking at it from a boy’s view. It was real life army men camped so close to home,  the seriousness of what was happening escaping the youths. The City is under Marshall Law with a curfew. The Kavanagh’s and their seven guests must stay indoors in the evenings. Much of the night is spent watching cities aflame across the US on TV. After days of protests, riots and violence, there are many calls for peace and calm. The fires begin to die down and the reality has set in for the nation.

Joe OC beach 1968
Joe (GI) Kavanagh. Oceant City. 1968.

April 8

Jack re-opens the Shop at Pratt and Central and they get back to work but not quite work as usual. On Lakewood Avenue, Betty needs to get all these young people out of the house so she takes them onto the sidewalk and teaches them Hopscotch. She has a mob of college kids and her daughters all along the Jefferson Street side of their house flipping heels and playing along. They jump rope out there as well after a disastrous attempt at it inside which prompted Betty to think the floor was going to fall in. It was as if the house needed a break. The place was always full with nine kids but with extended stay guests it is packed. In the evenings between watching the news, they play board games and jacks with the younger kids. The second dining room table and the card/kids table is placed next to the dining room table for each meal. These are reserved for holidays though when all nine kids are home, they do use the kids table. With Eddie eating with them, it is nineteen for dinner and the largest ham that Betty could find barely feeds them all. Eddie is more than dubious of these college kids his son and daughter-in-law have taken in but as he was silent and somber most of the time, it had little noticeable effect on his demeanor. Betty, a mother of nine, knows a lot about stretching a dollar and food but this group is testing her skills. She goes through bags of potatoes every other day and is stocking up green beans frantically. Two boxes of Cheerios and Frosted Flakes are consumed each day along with two gallons of milk. Betty and several of the older daughters make daily trips to the market and emergency trips across the street to Coby’s corner store are common.

April 10

It’s Opening Day for the Orioles on this Wednesday. Baltimore is still reeling from the rioting and chaos of the last few days and baseball seems less important. Still the start of the baseball season brings a small sense of normalcy to the city and the country. Jack takes his girls, Mary, Jane Jackie, JoAnn and Ann to the ballgame. Betty and the boys stay home this year with Betty’s friends who are finally making plans to return to their homes now that the airport is open. Jack and his daughters see a close game. The Birds prevail 3-1 and the crowd loves it. Winning the home opener is always special for fans.  For at least one day, you are in first pace. Baltimore’s favorite player Brooks Robinson hits one out and the lone Oakland run is also scored on a homer. This one is hit by a young outfielder named Reggie Jackson.

Baltimore Orioles souvenir glass. Late 1960s.

April 11

The last of Betty’s friends catch their planes and head to their homes. Things suddenly go back to normal at Lakewood Avenue or some semblance of normal. The house seems strangely empty with just the Kavanagh family of eleven living there. Betty Ann’s friend Handy visits Lakewood Avenue a few times over the rest of the year as he and Betty Ann’s younger sister Mary begin dating.

Mary Kavanagh. Lakewood Avenue. Mid 1960s.

May 17

A group of Roman Catholic protesters who will eventually be called the Catonsville Nine,  enter the Catonsville MD Selective Service office and steal draft cards to protest the Vietnam War. One clerk is restrained while 378 draft cards are removed. They are burned in the parking lot using home made napalm. The Nine recite the Lord’s Prayer while the cards burn and they are arrested immediately when police arrive. Both local and national news cover the story extensively and it is the talk of Maryland. The group included several former and current clergy members and their actions inspire other similar protests across the nation.

June 5

Bobby Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel after winning the California Primary. He is shot three times, twice in the back and once in the head. Several others are wounded as well and a Jordanian national named Serhan Serhan is arrested on site. Kennedy is rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital and as the news spreads, the country prays for him and that certainly includes the Kavanagh’s.

June 6

Bobby Kennedy dies from his wounds and America is filled with grief again as another leader is struck down. After Dr. King’s death and now Kennedy’s, the nation begins to wonder where will it all end. The Kavanagh family is stunned as they were fast becoming strong supporters of Kennedy. Jack had been a great admirer of his older brother and Bobby was looked on in a similar light. Once again, the Kavanagh’s and most Americans gather around their television and watch as they mourn. Two murders of prominent young men who advocated for civil rights and for peace shock this country and a mix of deep sadness, anger and fear spread across the US. The days that follow bring doubt and uncertainty about the country’s future to Americans from coast to coast. As happened several months ago and in 1963, America buries a young leader and prays this never happens again and that the country can come together and heal.

Bobby Kennedy. Phot courtesy of Getty Images.

June 8

James Earl Ray is arrested in London at Heathrow Airport. He will be returned to the US to stand trial.

June 24

The summer has been busy at the Shop and they are working six days a week including half-days on Saturday. Jack’s crew has a mix of tubes to bend and a few repairs and parts to make for Schaefer Brewery. Today a custom brass bracket is made for a syrup line on the kettle floor of the brewery. This is only one part in a mix of items they have been contracted to make over the next two months for Schaefer. The brewers are good customers and Jack makes sure to keep ahead of the repairs they need and keep them happy.

The Shop’s job book entry. Schaefer Brewery job. June 24, 1968.

July 11

The Orioles have decided to make a change at manager. With the team scuffling a bit and hovering around a .500 record, Hank Bauer is fired and replaced by his first base coach, Earl Weaver. Weaver is a career minor league ballplayer but has had some success as a manager in the farm system. He wins his first game as Orioles manager. 2-0. Dave McNally pitches a complete game shutout and makes it easy for Weaver who with this victory begins an extended period of success as leader of the Baltimore Orioles.

Earl Weaver 1968
Manager Earl Weaver. 1968.

July 23

A long job is finished today for the Jewett Corporation. They need some thin wall 2 1/4” dia. Aluminum Tubes bent to 90 degrees on a 36” Rad. They also require some short couplings for these tubes. Jewett furnishes all the material so it is a labor only job. The tubes must be annealed then filled with rosin before rolling. Afterward, they must be hung up with chains and the rosin is slowly melted out with torches.  It’s a long dirty job and a hot one especially in July but they make money on it and it’s the sort of tube bending work they specialize in.

The Shop’s job book entry. Jewett Corporation job. July 23, 1968.

July 26

The Shop completes a coil for Allied Chemical Co. Allied produces industrial chemicals but some distilling is required. The coil is made from 1 1/2” Schedule 10 Stainless Steel Pipes. As far as pipe sizes go, Schedule 40 is standard and lower schedules are thinner so extra care must be taken when bending it. The pipes don’t require filling but still must be rolled very slowly to maintain the roundness. Jack makes a layout for the coil for the crew to match. The coil is of the serpentine variety with several 180 degree bends in each piece. The pipes are bent on the Pines Bender and they turn out great. Joe Flaxcomb does the bending and they fit perfectly on Jack’s layout.

The Shop’s job book entry. Allied Chemical Corporation job. July 26, 1968.

August 5

Jack has decided to close for two days and give the crew off with pay for a summer vacation. His father thinks it is crazy but Jack reminds him that Eddie himself was the first one to take a paid vacation at the Shop. Jack wants the same for himself and can’t close the Shop and leave his men hanging. He would rather pay them and let them have a long summer weekend. Jack and Betty have made plans to spend these days at the beach in Ocean City. The decision to close even for a few days makes Jack and his workers very busy before this break. Today two coils are finished for Tower Mechanical company. Jack does the bulk of the work on this one. He is doing all he can to get as much finished as possible so he doesn’t worry too much while he’s at the beach.

The Shop’sjob book entry. The Shop’s job book entry. August 5, 1968.
Dad Jack Ocean City July 1968
Jack Kavanagh Sr. in Ocean City. 1968.

August 8

On this Thursday, Jack and Betty pack the station wagon with luggage, coolers, food and the youngest seven of their nine kids;  daughters Betty Ann and Nancy are preparing to return to college. They leave at 5 AM and head East driving across the Bay Bridge to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. A couple of hours later they are unpacking and moving in to the Beachcomber. It’s a small house they have rented with two floors, a kitchen and bath. It’s very basic but perfect for the Kavanagh’s and the kids love it. They are close to the beach and spend part of each day in the sand and water. There will be fishing and crabbing and the boardwalk with amusements and arcades to visit. They will stay for four days and it is the longest vacation they have ever had. Jack has visited OC since he was a boy and his love of the town has spread to his wife and now his children. They leave Monday morning and Jack will stop at the Shop when they get to Baltimore. The crew will be back at work after a long weekend and Jack will check over what’s going on before taking his wife and kids home. The family has so much fun that he and Betty decide to do this every year. They will find a way to do it. The sounds of the surf, the smell of the sea and the feel of sand becomes a major part of what summer is all about to the family.

Kav, Joe & Mom 1968 OC
Joe (GI) Kavanagh and his mother Betty. Ocean City. 1968.

August 22

The Democratic National Convention is held in Chicago and it becomes a mess quickly. Anti-War demonstrators protest outside and clash with police. Mayhem breaks out with arrests and injuries. Jack is a Democrat and is keenly interested in the choice they make but is also shocked at the events  going on outside the convention. The party nominates Hubert Humphrey as their presidential candidate.

September 15

Jack and his in-laws Bumpsy and Shirley Crew attend the Baltimore Colts opening game. The Colts face the San Francisco 49ers and win 27-10. It’s a great start to what will be another great season for the club though they will have to do it without star quarterback Johnny Unitas who was injured in preseason. Backup quarterback Earl Morrall will lead the team to an amazing 13-1 record for the regular season.

September 16

A perforated copper basket is made by Jack today at the Shop on Central Avenue. He handles this job himself as the rest of the crew are busy with more brewery parts for Schaefer and a large railing is being fabricated from brass tube. This basket is definitely old school coppersmith work. It reminds Jack of his days of working for his father when the vast bulk of their work was items like this made from copper. Usually they were for the many distilleries they had as customers in those days. They still do that work but some of the customers are out of business or have moved west. They still have Majestic, Calvert, Bowman and a couple other distilleries as customers. On this job, the Charles T. King Company is making a few structural repairs to Calvert’s building and they need this basket to finish the project.

The Shop’s job book entry. Charles T. King Co. job. September 16, 1968.

September 24

Jack and Betty watch a new magazine type news program on Sunday night. It’s called 60 Minutes and is aired on CBS. A group of stories of contemporary relevant events are presented along with interviews with the associated persons. They enjoy the show and become regular viewers as do much of America.

October 1

Majestic Distillery has an order at 201 S. Central for two stainless steel filters. The filters are cut from 3” Dia. Tube and fabricated for the bottling house at the distillery. They are cut nine inches long and mesh sheet and bar is welded inside to complete the filters. The Shop still has work but the cool weather has brought a down tick in the volume so Jack has returned them to a five day schedule.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. October 1, 1968.

October 9

The Catonsville Nine are convicted of destroying government property. The trial is in Baltimore and there are large crowds protesting outside the courthouse on Calvert Street. It is a big story on the local news and the judge and prosecutor do their best to focus on the specific charges and avoid the underlying position of protesting the Vietnam War. They are sentenced to a combined total of about 18 years in prison.

October 10

The Detroit Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games to win the World Series. The Tigers are runaway winners in the American League though the Orioles did play better under Manager Weaver, the Birds were a distant second. The Tigers are led by ace pitcher Denny McLain who wins 31 games becoming the first man to eclipse 30 victories in a season since 1934. He will also be the last to do so. The Cardinals’ top player is also a pitcher, Bob Gibson who sets a modern E. R. A. record of 1.12 this season. Both of these hurlers will go on to win both the MVP and the Cy Young Award for their respective leagues. St. Louis stakes themselves to a 3-1 lead in the series but Detroit storms back and wins the next three to secure the championship. Jack and his father Eddie watch games 3 and 4 together on Saturday and Sunday. It has always been their tradition to watch a couple of World Series games at Eddie’s house. They enjoy this match up and it’s an exciting one from start to finish. While they are watching the games, Jack brings up the decision of Major League Baseball to split each league into divisions starting next year.

“Pop? What do you think about the leagues splitting into two divisions next year. There will be a round of playoff before the Series from now on.” Jack inquires of his father.

“I don’t like it, Jack. It waters down the season to me. They play 162 games now. That should be more than enough to decide who’s best.” Eddie answers as his gaze remains fixed on the television.

Jack nods his head. “I can see that but with the leagues expanding again and getting bigger, it gets tougher and tougher to get that top spot. There will be twelve teams in each league next year. I’m not sure this playoff thing is a good idea but it will add more baseball to be watched.”

Eddie sits back and puffs on his cigar. “True. That will be fun to watch but what if the fourth or fifth best team wins one division and then the Word Series. You want a team that bad to win the championship? It seems a little crazy to me.”

“Yeah, but that probably won’t happen too often. We’ve seen years where due to injuries and even bad luck the best teams don’t make it to the Series. I bet most years it will be the best that make it to the playoffs. They still have to win their division.”

Eddie shrugs and flicks his ash into the ashtray on the table next to him. “You might be right. I still think it’s a bad idea but it will add more games to watch.” He looks over at his son. “We’ll have to watch some of these playoff games on TV each year.”

“We will, Pop. For sure. It’ll be fun.” He smiles briefly then adds, “I wish you would stop smoking Pop. It’s not good for you and it only makes it tougher for you to breathe.”

“It’s a cigar. It’s way better than a cigarette. I’ll be alright besides I enjoy a cigar still, Jack. I can’t help what I like.” Eddie answers, his attention back on the game.

“Okay okay.” Jack answers quietly. “Think about cutting down anyway. It’s what the doctor wants.”

“I know. I know.” Eddie points his stogie at Jack as he speaks. “I’ll try.” The room goes silent and they return to watching the television,  hanging on every pitch and hit.

November 5

Republican and former Vice-President Richard Nixon defeats Democrat Hubert Humphrey and Independent Party candidate George C. Wallace to win the presidency. The Kavanagh’s voted for Humphrey because they were life long Democrats and Jack is still an active member of the party. He served in the House of Delegates in the 50s and was supported and aided by his party. Still, he hopes that President Nixon can find a way to unite the country.

December 16

Another order is completed for Schaefer Brewery today as a dozen bronze sleeves are made for them. Much of this job is done by John Benser. He takes some smooth cuts on the lathe and converts the 2” bearing bronze into the sleeves they need. The bronze must be machined precisely to ensure a very tight sealing fit for these pieces. The rest of the crew are focused on a large fountain sprayer tube. The copper tube is annealed and rolled into a circle. This time the customer will drill the holes so it is merely a rolling job but still precision is important and maintaining the roundness of the tube is also critical.

The Shop’s job book entry. Schaefer Brewery job. December 16, 1968.

December 22

The Colts host the Western Conference Championship game at Memorial Stadium. They play against the Minnesota Vikings and win 24-14. The crowd and Baltimore in general is mad crazy for the team. Even led by back up Earl Morrall, they continue to win and will take the NFL Championship next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, routing them 34-0. The Baltimore Colts will represent the NFL in the Super Bowl in January when they face the New York Jets, champions of the AFL who are led by a young quarterback named Joe Namath.

Dad Jack Xmas 447 N Lakewood
Santa Claus(Jack Kavanagh Sr.) in the front room of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Late 1960s.

December 25

The kids wake bright and early on Christmas Day at Lakewood Avenue. Wiping sleep from their eyes, they head down the stairs and are not allowed to look to the left over the banister and into the front room. That is where the Christmas Tree is and the gifts are. They sneak a quick peak then look right and see stockings are stuffed and there are eleven spread over and down the staircase. He made it. Santa Claus came. The kids are allowed to pull their stockings down and quickly examine the contents. There are small toys, super balls and candy. It’s a small teaser of the presents to come but a very exciting time for the little ones. Once everyone is dressed and ready, the family heads out the back door and Jack drives them all to St. Elizabeth’s Church for Christmas mass. The Church is always decorated for the holiday with several large trees and wreaths and garland adorning the walls. After the service, they return home and eat a quick breakfast then the three youngest, Ann, Jack and Joe sit with their father and watch “The March of the Wooden Soldiers,” a holiday classic starring Laurel and Hardy. Once the last of the guests arrive, Betty’s Aunt Elsie and Uncle Frank and Eddie of course, the dinner is served. A thirty pound turkey is made and eaten along with gravy, potatoes, stuffing and vegetables including the Kavanagh staple, parsnips. Finally, the kids are on the verge of bursting and all head into the front room and it is time for presents. The room is dominated by a large Christmas Tree but it is surrounded by piles and mounds of wrapped presents of every size and shape. There are gifts everywhere. Under the tree, behind the tree and on every flat surface available including much of the floor. As they are handed out, wrappers are torn and shredded, ribbons are tossed about and the mad glee of a child’s Christmas fills the room. It is a chaos of a much different variety than the chaos that has hit Baltimore and the country this year. It’s a joyful elation not the anger and frustration fueled chaos that dominated 1968. Two great men have been murdered, two young men in whom many had placed their faith and hope for the future. Their ideas were of peace and justice. Their deaths represented the end of those ideas to many. Americans grieved and cried then screamed and fought, desperate to find some justice for them and for their ideas. The nation is torn in pieces with the job of bringing it all together falling to the new president. It is a tall order. For this day though, Jack and Betty watch their kids celebrate the holiday and watch their eyes widen when they find some treasure they wanted. From their two college girls all the way down to little Joe, each child has a good Christmas. They seem to get exactly what they wanted even if that’s not exactly what happened. Jack and Betty sit together and watch for a few minutes taking it all in. Then, Betty hops up. She has another turkey in the oven. A smaller one that they use for turkey sandwiches. Everyone needs leftovers during the holidays but there are so many Kavanagh’s, they need to make extra food or there will be no leftovers. For the Kavanagh’s and America, a tough year ends next week and a new one will begin full of concern for the nation and uncertainty.


Lyndon Johnson is the President of the United Sates but will gave way to Richard Nixon who wins the General Election. The Vietnam Way gets worse and worse with more and more protests against it and no end in sight. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 is passed. 911 service begins. Madison Square Garden opens. The Intel Corporation is founded. Hair premiers on Broadway. The films “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Planet of the Apes” and “Oliver!” are released and singer Marvin Gaye’s “Heard it through the Grape Vine” becomes a smash hit. Will Smith, Tony Hawk, Gary Coleman, Ricki Lake and Mary Lou Retton are born. Helen Keller, Upton Sinclair and John Steinbeck die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

Martin Luther King
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King. Photo courtesy of Gettty Images.

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

Table of Contents


1967 The Last Christmas Party

January 3

Jack Kavanagh is driving home from work and going over his day in his mind. The Shop is busy to start the year which isn’t always the case. The winter is often a slow time for a metalsmith shop. Jack runs the Joseph Kavanagh Company; he’s the fourth generation to work there. He is married to Betty and they have nine children, ranging from eighteen years to eighteen months. Jack has a crew of eight men including his brother Ed Jr. who works for him. Ed has no ownership stake. The business never interested him and he had trouble getting along with his father Eddie Sr. Jack and Ed’s father lives across the street from both on Lakewood Avenue, the house they both grew up in. The two brothers each have houses on the corners of the 400 block of Lakewood, Jack at Lakewood and Jefferson and Ed at Lakewood and Orleans St. Eddie is retired and his wife has passed almost seven years ago. His health is not good. He suffers with emphysema but manages well enough. Betty takes care of him, making several trips across the street every day and Eddie has dinner with her, Jack and the children every night. As Jack turns onto Baltimore Street and drives along the edge of Patterson Park, he hears the news on the radio that Jack Ruby has died. Ruby had been diagnosed with cancer several weeks ago and his prognosis was not good. He passed away at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, the same hospital where both President Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald died. Jack shakes his head as he listens. He has this gnawing feeling that we may never know exactly what happened on that November Day. The Warren Commission’s conclusion that both Oswald and Ruby acted alone never really held water for Jack. He had doubts like a great many Americans. Jack admired Kennedy and felt this connection to him. What a sad tragic death his was and to never know the truth is an injustice. Jack parks on the Jefferson Street side of his home and climbs the marble steps into the house. He’ll talk to Betty about it after the kids are asleep.

January 9

Along with a mix of brewery fittings being made today, a job for Bethlehem Steel is completed at the Shop. The mill needs four copper funnels to be fabricated. These will be used in a smaller facility of Beth Steel’s on Key Highway. Making copper funnels is standard stuff for the Kavanagh’s. Jack is very happy with the start to this year. Everyone is being kept busy and they have jobs and money coming in regularly.

The Shop’s job book entry. Bethlehem Steel job. January 9, 1967.

January 15

Super Bowl One is played between the NFL Champion Green Bay Packers and the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs with the Packers winning easily 35-10. Jack watches and roots for the Packers. Before Baltimore had a team and the Colts joined the NFL, Jack was always a Packers fan. This game isn’t close and Green Bay takes Super Bowl I easily.

February 10

An emergency rush job is brought to the Joseph Kavanagh Company by E. J. Codd Fabricators & Boiler Works. A municipal building has a bad boiler and it must be fixed ASAP. Codd is located close to Pratt & Central, on Aliceanna Street. They deliver some steel bars and angles to be used as stiffeners for the tank. In addition, a copper liner is needed for the boiler and that will be made from thin sheet. Jack gets the crew on this right away. Several boys are led by his brother Ed in annealing and curving the sheet. Jack takes the rest of the fellows and gets to cutting the steel and rolling the stiffeners. It’s two days worth of work and they get it finished in six hours. The heat of the torches warms up 201 S. Central and the hard work and heightened pace doesn’t hurt either. Codd is a good customer who the Shop has worked with for decades. They are good pay and great to deal with and Jack always does his best to get their work done as quickly and accurately as possible. He wants them coming back anytime they need something.

As Codd’s truck pulls away, Jack and Ed stand at the garage door and lower it. “That was a son of a gun to finish in less than a day.” Jack says to his brother.

“Yeah it was. Hard to believe we got that one out of here the same day it came in. It was a good day to have a torch in hand.” Ed chuckles and Jack grins back at him, “but getting those sheets right for the liner that quick was a toughie. We needed Old Uncle Joe on this one.” Both have heard tales told by their father since they were boys of the skills of the original Joseph Michael Kavanagh.

Jack’s smile broadens, “Oh yeah, he probably could have had it done in FOUR hours.” Jack laughs, “According to Eddie anyway.”

Ed nods, “Yeah Pop always said Uncle Joe was the best. They all learned from him but no one, including Eddie,” Ed winks at his brother, “was nearly as good as him.”

“That’s what we were told.” Jack replies shaking his head. “But Pop was good for sure. I guess our old uncle was just about the best.” Ed listens and nods in agreement. “Well, put those leftover pieces of sheet back on the rack Ed, before we get out of here today. It’s almost time but we might as well clean up the mess of this job.”

“You got it Jack. Me and Wortman will put them back up.” Ed answers and finds his helper to get back to work.

March 20

Spring is nearly here and the Kavanagh’s and crew are looking forward to the baseball season. The Orioles are the defending World Series Champions and everyone can’t wait to see that banner raised at Memorial Stadium. The work has stayed strong and in addition to a railing and some distillery parts being made today, a set of stainless steel flat bars are rolled for E. A. Kaestner on Orleans Street. Kaestner makes sanitary equipment for the food service industry. The bars need to be rolled to a 72” Radius the Hardway. The Hardway refers to which surface of the bars you are rolling across. If it’s the bigger face of the bar, that is the Hardway. Rolling across the smaller face of the bar is the Easyway. After Charlie Owens makes a template, Jack and a helper curve these bars right up.

The Shop’s job book entry. E. A. Kaestner Co. job. March 20, 1967.

April 10

Jack is having a very busy day on the corner of Pratt and Central. A fountain and more distillery work dominates the Shop but they also have a small tinning job for Bossalina Machine Co. Jack is mostly busy today because he is leaving early tomorrow to attend opening day with his girls. Anytime Jack has to be out of the Shop for an extended period of time, a great deal of planning and preparation goes into it. His secretary Julie is very helpful and will handle any phone calls and take messages. The Shop is trickier as they do not have a foreman. Jack is essentially the foreman and boss combined. His brother, Ed is there but he’s never been one to like telling people what to do or being in charge. He’s a topnotch coppersmith and prefers to focus on that. Jack will have to plan out the few hours he will be gone tomorrow. He’ll prepare several extra job cards in case the crew gets more finished than anticipated. It’s a frantic day for Jack but he is determined to get to that game tomorrow.

The Shop’s job book entry. Bossalina Machine Co. job. April 10, 1967.

April 11

Orioles Opening Day is on a Tuesday and the Kavanagh’s are there. Jack leaves work early and picks up the girls and they head to Memorial Stadium. The pennant from last year’s World Series championship is raised before nearly 40,000 strong. The Birds start off hot In the bottom of the first. They score four runs before the first out. Curt Blefary is hit by a pitch. He’s doubled home by Luis Aparicio who is singled in by Frank Robinson. Brooks caps it off by knocking one out and the Orioles are up 4-0. They win 6-3 and it’s a great way to celebrate last year’s success and start off this one well.

Joe (GI) Kavanagh. April 1967.

May 4

Last year, the Joseph Kavanagh Company saw a significant uptick in their brewery work and it has continued thus far. A steady stream of fittings, couplings and other parts have been made this year for National, Gunther’s and Schaefer Breweries. It’s Carling Brewing’s turn today. They have ordered several bronze elbows all with associated fittings to go along with them. Brass work is something the Kavanagh’s have done for many years. Even Old Uncle Joe did brass work despite copper being his focus and primary product. This job is finished and the parts are delivered to Carling as quickly as possible.

The Shop’s job book entry. Carling Brewing Co. May 4, 1967.

May 26

Jack and Betty are proud parents of the graduate, Nancy Kavanagh who finishes her years at Catholic High. She plans to go to college and decides to attend Duquesne University in Pennsylvania. This is tough for her Mom and Dad for her to not only move onto campus but to another state but they trust her and she has worked hard to get this opportunity. In August, she will head to Duquesne.

Nancy TCHS grad 1967 BettyAnn, Dad
Nancy Kavanagh’s graduation from Catholic High. Pictured with her father, Jack and her sister, Betty. May 1967.

May 29

An emergency repair at Schaefer Brewery is handled today by  Jack’s crew. A line is leaking and they need this fixed immediately. A call is made to Jack and he quickly gets together a plan of what needs to be done and sends off Charlie Owens and his helper, Wortman to solder the holes closed and fix the leak. Charlie is their most reliable employee and a skilled coppersmith. Jack trusts him a great deal and he occasionally helps around Jack’s house besides working for him at the Shop.

The Shop’s job book entry. F & M Schaefer Brewing Co. job. May 29, 1967.

June 19

The Kavanagh’s spend a Monday evening at Memorial Stadium watching a doubleheader between the Orioles and the Minnesota Twins. Jack takes his youngest five girls to this one leaving his young boys home as it’s two games and may go late. The two older girls, Betty Ann and Nancy are still fans but both are college girls now and have other things they are interested in besides baseball. The Twins win the first game, 4-0, and the Birds take the second winning 9-5. The Orioles stake themselves to a 6-0 lead by the fourth inning and never look back. Jack and his daughters have a great night cheering on those Birds but he decides to leave in the eighth inning. Ann is still only six and he wants to get her home plus he has work tomorrow so it’s best to sneak out a little early. The Orioles have struggled a little this season after their fabulous championship year of 1966. They are still just under a .500 record due to injuries and some bad playing. Jack hopes they can pick it up the rest of the way.

Ticket Stub for Doubleheader at Memorial Stadium. Twins vs. Orioles. June 19, 1967.
Joe 1967 yard
Joe (GI) Kavanagh. Backyard of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. June 1967.

June 30

The summer has brought an increase in work and that’s enough to get Jack to bring the boys in on Saturdays for a half-day. The crew welcomes it because it means a little more money each week. Today, another rush repair is needed at Schaefer Brewery. This time several holes need to be cut in a wall to allow the brewery to move a beer line. This is not something the Shop would normally tackle but they have been working at Schaefer’s a lot over the last month or so and when the request is made, Jack takes the job. He has Charlie Owens and a helper ride over there and cut two holes in the cellar of the brewery. Jack knows if you keep doing work fast for a customer and you are willing to try to fix any problems they have, they will grow to rely on you and count on you. This is always a good thing in business.

Jack Jr. and Joe (GI) Kavanagh in backyard of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. June 1967.
Jack Jr. and Joe (GI) Kavanagh. Backyard of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. June 1967.

July 7

Several serpentine coils are bent today for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. They are made from 1 1/4” Copper tubes. The tubes are annealed and bent to 180 degrees. There are several bends in each piece and they turn back and forth to create the coil that is needed. These are for heating the BG&E building so in July, no rush is necessary. These are a standard maintenance item that the gas company wants dealt with before the cold comes back in a few months.

The Shop’s job book entry. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. July 7, 1967.

July 11

The Shop at 201 S. Central is a hot and busy place on this Tuesday. A set of pipes is rolled for  for J. E. Hurley and several 3/4” Pipes are bent for Western Electric. The pipe and tube bending work does seem to keep augmenting their traditional coppersmith jobs. Jack knew all along that there were many applications for bending but even he is surprised with some of the calls they get. Hurley has been a customer for a few years but Western Electric is a new one. They are a big company and Jack is particularly happy to do some work for them. It might be a one time thing but you never know. They might turn into a regular customer with returning work throughout the year.

The Shop’s job book entry. Western Electric Co. job. July 11, 1967.

August 4

A hot summer day is a busy one for the Kavanagh’s and crew. Jack and his brother are working on a set of copper spray tubes for a fountain while the rest of the crew bend some rings for the Slaysman Company and make some bronze fittings again for Schaefer Brewery. Heat is thrown around to anneal the copper sprayer tubes and that just adds to the discomfort of an August day on Central Avenue. They are accustomed to it but it is still hot no matter how used to it you are.

The Shop’s job book entry. Schaefer’s Brewing Co. job. August 4, 1967.

September 11

It’s a warm autumn Monday and after a hard day’s work, Jack sits in his chair watching TV with the kids and Betty. They watch “the Andy Griffith Show” then “Family Affair” from 9-10. Jack is a big Andy Griffith fan while the girls especially the younger three, Jackie, JoAnn and Ann are fans of “Family Affair.” They love Buffy’s doll Mrs. Beasley. When Betty gets the girls to sleep, she and Jack decide to watch a new program at 10 pm. “The Carol Burnett Show” is a comedy/variety program and this is its premier episode. Jim Nabors is the guest for this week and there are show tunes sung and a few comical skits. Jack laughs throughout loving Burnett and Harvey Korman’s humor on display. Both he and Betty love the music too and this show becomes one of their favorites very quickly.

Jack & Betty dressed up Lakewood Ave
Jack and Betty Kavanagh. Dressed up for a rare night out. Mid 1960s.

September 17

The first Colts game of the season is played today at Memorial Stadium and Jack and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Bumpsy and Shirley Crew are there. The crowd is wild and loud as they always are. They see a close one but Baltimore pulls it out, beating the Atlanta Falcons 38-31. Later in the evening, the Kavanagh’s are watching the Ed Sullivan Show and a new rock and roll band called the Doors are performing. Jack pays little attention to it but his teenage daughters are watching the band. The lead singer named Jim Morrison says the word “higher” in their song, “Light My Fire”, and the show’s producers had explicitly asked him  to change that word. He said he would but live he sings it out loud and proud. The Doors are banned from appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show henceforth.

Jack Jr. with Aunt Shirley Crew behind and his mother Betty Kavanagh behind on far right. Bucknell Road. 1967.

October 12

The St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series in seven games. Red Sox outfielder, Carl Yaztrzemski is Boston’s top player after winning the Triple Crown. Just as Frank Robinson did last year, Yaz led the American League in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. Orlando Cepeda who will win the National League MVP is the leader of the Cardinals this year. Jack watches games three and four with his father at 434 N. Lakewood Avenue as they have for years. Jack takes advantage of the weekend World Series games to watch with Eddie. It’s a back and forth series but St. Louis prevails after very strong pitching from Bob Gibson who wins the MVP of the Series. It was a tough year for the Orioles who dropped deep into the standings after winning only 76 games. They had some injuries, no doubt, but mostly they took a step down and did not play very well. Jack was disappointed but after winning it all last year, he can’t complain. There’s always next year.

Joe (GI) Kavanagh. Bumpsy and Shirley Crew’s backyard on Bucknell Road. October 1967.

November 15

The Shop’s work has slacked off a bit and they are back to just five days a week. It’s traditional to do more Saturday work in the summer when the jobs are more plentiful. On this     Wednesday, the crew are busy with a railing, some copper U-bends for Harvey A. Stambaugh & Sons and a set of 3/4” steel pipe coils for Stieff Silverware Company. Jack and three others handle the Stieff job with Jack doing the rolling and the bending of some sharp bends on the end of each coil. The bends at the end will be for the inlet and the outlet of each coil.

The Shop’s job book entry. Stieff Silverware Co. November 15, 1967.

November 29

Robert McNamara resigns as LBJ’s Secretary of Defense. He had recommended freezing troop levels in Vietnam but was rebuffed by President Johnson.

December 1

A job for Culp Welding is completed today. It’s a set of 30” Dia. Rings made from Aluminum Pipes. Aluminum is unpredictable and it can be a challenge to get each ring to match but Jack rolls these himself and he knows they will be fine. He has the most experience on the rolling machine and Jack’s tolerance is always tighter than the customer needs. The rings turn out well. They are crated and delivered to Culp.

The Shop’s job book entry. Culp Welding Company job. December 1, 1967.

December 14

Jack and most of Baltimore are watching the Colts take on the Los Angeles Rams on the road in the final game of the season. Baltimore leads the division and are undefeated with 11 wins and two ties. They are one victory up on the Rams and if LA is victorious today, they slip into a tie with the Colts. The Rams have the tie breaker and they do win 34-10. Despite tying for the lead in the standings, Baltimore’s football team does not make the postseason. Jack can’t believe it. They don’t make the playoffs and only lost one game but it was the most important game of the season.

December 23

The Shop’s Christmas Party is held on a Saturday the day before Christmas Eve. The crew will have a long weekend having both Monday and Tuesday off. Jack will close the Shop Tuesday to give everyone an extra day of holiday. The workers are thrilled and appreciative. His men do like and respect Jack. He’s fair and treats his employees well. For the last several years, Charlie Owens or Mr. Chollie as the girls called him takes up a collection from the crew and brings a few dollars to Betty to purchase a Christmas present for Jack. He is always surprised and thanks them. It is given to him during the party but he would prefer if they spent their money on their families. Jack belongs to the Sheet Metal Workers Union. When he was in the House of Delegates, he was a strong supporter of the working man and his management style is similar. He believes in his crew and treats them as well as he can. The party is brief but festive and as the boys leave with bonuses and turkeys in tow, everyone is wished “Merry Christmas.” Jack drives a couple of his employees home. Both have had a little too much beer or rye whiskey but they are not downright sloshed. He drops the first off downtown where his sister lives and the other is driven to a bus stop. He lives over near Wilkens Avenue and this saves him one bus ride on his route home. Jack waves goodbye as the fellow sits on the bench with his arm wrapped around the turkey. Jack finally can drive home and spend the evening with his kids and he’ll still have all day Christmas Eve with them too.

December 24

At 8 am the phone rings on Lakewood Avenue and Jack answers it. It’s a call from an employee’s wife asking about the Christmas turkey. This is the employee who was dropped off at the bus stop last night. Her husband didn’t bring it home with him and his wife is frantic for a turkey on Christmas Eve. Jack is befuddled. He had it on the bus stop. She says he never brought a turkey in the house. She checked the freezer, the fridge and all over the house. It’s not there. Jack assures her the Shop did not cut out turkeys this year and her husband got one. Jack can’t help that it didn’t make it home. She isn’t exactly satisfied but she wishes him a merry Christmas and hangs up. Jack shakes his head and he decides then and there to cease these Christmas parties. The men probably want to be with their families anyway. Jack certainly does. He can’t get the thought of this out of his mind and keeps visualizing a bus pulling up to a stop with a turkey sitting on a bench in the middle of the night. He can’t help but wonder. Did the bus stop?



Lyndon Johnson is the President of the United States. American troops in Vietnam rise to nearly 500,000 and protests against the War spread from one college campus to another then to major cities in the US. The 25th Amendment is ratified. The Six-Day War is fought in the Middle East. Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African-American Justice of the Supreme Court. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is formed. Jimi Hendrix’s album, “Are You Experienced?” is released. The Big Mac is invented. The movie “Jungle Book” is released in theaters. The Outsiders and the first issue of Rolling Stone Magazine are published. Elvis gets married. Curt Kobain, Julia Roberts, Toni Braxton, Michael Johnson and Harry Connick Jr. are born. Robert Oppenheimer, John Coltrane, Carl Sandberg, Woody Guthrie and Otis Redding die.


There are 50 states in the Union.

Santa AKA Jack Kavanagh Sr. visits 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Late 1960s.\

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

Table of Contents



1966 The First World Series

January 11

The Shop has started busy this year. The winter is usually a slow time at the corner of Pratt and Central. The level of “slow” is often a barometer for how the year will go. This January a significant bit of repairs are needed by F & M Schaefer Brewing Co. Three beer vats or kettles need a few fixes, some replacement fittings and a general cleaning. It’s a job that keeps the whole crew busy for several days which is a welcome event in the winter. Jack is quoting and taking calls with the assistance of his secretary Julie. He still spends part of most days on jobs in the Shop, moving back and forth from Shop to office all day, expediting and checking on orders. His wife Betty is even busier as she nurtures a household of nine children ages seventeen years to seven months. She also takes care of Jack’s father Eddie who is retired and is now seventy-one. Eddie lives across the street and Betty brings her three youngest along when she cleans and makes lunch for him. Every night he crosses Lakewood Avenue and comes to dinner, then later in the evening, Jack or one of the older girls spends a couple of hours keeping him company in his home. It’s a busy life but with such a large family and a business it is inevitable. Jack and Betty make it work and everyone seems content and everyone chips in. The older girls help not only with Eddie but also with the younger children too.

The Shop’s job book entry. F & M Schaefer Brewing Co. January 11, 1966.

February 20

According to an article in the News American, history is being made this year at Catholic High School. For the first time in its history, a girl is in each grade at the school from the same family. Betty Ann, Nancy, Mary and Jane Kavanagh are Senior, Junior, Sophomore and Freshman respectively. The family is listed and mentioned in the article and though the girls are non-plussed at it, their mother Betty is thrilled. She clips it from the paper and saves it. Jack notices the misspelled Kavanagh in the headline. He likes the article but can’t help but focus on the added “u,” a very common error that he sees every day from customers.

February 23

More beer work keeps the Joseph Kavanagh Company busy. Today a job is finished at National Brewery. Several stainless steel beer lines had to be moved and the Shop got the call. Though the Kavanagh’s started as coppersmiths, they have been working other metals for years, brass, steel, stainless steel and others. Their familiarity with the brewing system at National gets them the job and it is handled quickly by the crew.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. February 23, 1966.

March 14

Another order is completed for F & M Schaefer. They required a custom 6” connector and it was made in the Shop. Ed Kavanagh and Joe Flaxcomb did the bulk of the fabrication with John Benser handling the final machining. Jack is busy with several phone calls to Majestic Distillery. He is quoting some repairs to the mash cooler and to an old beer line. The brewers have given the Kavanagh’s a good start to 1966 so far.

April 9

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Shop. What started as a partnership between Joseph Michael Kavanagh and George Smith has changed, grown and contracted over the years and it has been an all Kavanagh operation since 1877 when Old Uncle Joe bought out his partner. The Shop has made it to 100 years old but this date is lost to history and the family do not know it. They know 1866 and they know there was a bookkeeper/partner and his name was George Smith. The dates of the Beginning and when Old Uncle Joe bought him out are long forgotten. The passage of time buries certain facts and information. Only through digging and researching will these things be re-discovered and only after another fifty years of work.

1966 Baltimore Orioles season ticket brochure.

April 15

It’s tax day in America and Opening Day in Baltimore. The Birds won the first two on the road against Boston but are bested at home in this one by the Yankees, 3-2. New Oriole Frank Robinson homers in a losing effort. Jack listens on the radio at work and knows it’s just one game but hates losing to New York. He is still confident in this team. He is sticking to what he said when the Orioles traded for Frank Robinson. The Birds will win the pennant. Jack is sure of it. After this loss, the Orioles get hot and win the next two against the Yanks and eight more after that.

Newpaper clipping from Mary Kavanagh’s Oriole scrapbook. Brooks Robinson, Hank Bauer, Frank Robinson. 1966.

April 18

The McArdle and Walsh Co. have ordered some fittings from the Shop. The fittings are taken from our stock and adjusted a bit and some custom work is done to finish them up. McArdle and Walsh are working on a repair at Gunther’s Brewery and though they have the work, they need the Kavanagh’s for the fittings. This is a standard practice. Occasionally, outside contractors will be working inside a brewery or distillery on structural parts of the building when the changes require some work on the brewing system. Fittings, connectors and parts are then purchased from Kavanagh and then the contractor gets back to work.

The Shop’s job book entry. McArdle and Walsh job. April 18, 1966.

May 25

Betty graduates from Catholic High School and Jack and Betty are as proud as they can be. Betty Ann plans to attend Catholic University and live on campus. Her parents are a little cautious but have confidence in her and they agree. Jack and Betty watch their firstborn receive her diploma and they can’t believe where the time has gone. They also know they will be doing this eight more times.

BettyAnn grad TCHS 1966
Betty Kavanagh. Graduation from Catholic High. May 1966.

June 13

The Orioles make a trade today,  parting ways with Jerry Adair who is the Kavanagh girls’ favorite player. He is dealt to the Chicago White Sox for relief pitcher Eddie Fisher. The members of the Jerry Adair Fan Club are upset and disappointed. He was always very kind to the girls and seemed genuinely surprised by their admiration. The girls will get over it and as they drive to the game tonight, their father tells them it might be best for the team. Fisher is a good bullpen guy and in a pennant race you want all the help you can get.

Ticket Stub to Baltimore Orioles game. June 13, 1966.

June 17

It’s a Friday night and it is Joe’s or GI’s, as Little Jack likes to call him, first birthday and a small party is thrown for the baby. He toddles around after his brother Jack and sister Ann most of the day. Whatever they are playing he tries to get into it too. He loves the party and enjoys the cake particularly. It is chocolate and Joe begins a lifelong love affair with chocolate cake. Jack Sr. has the ballgame on the radio. The Birds are on the road in Boston and Jack spends a few minutes instructing his youngest child on the particulars of the game. He promises to teach him how to bunt as he has done for all his offspring. There are few things more important in Jack’s eyes than the ability to drop down a good bunt when necessary. The Orioles win and in typical Fenway fashion, all runs are scored on home runs.  Both are hit by the Robinson’s, a two-run shot by Frank in the third and a three-run shot by Brooks in the fifth.

Framed picture of the cover to Sports Illustrated featuring Brooks and Frank Robinson. June 1966.

July 2

It’s a sweltering summer Saturday with the temperature reaching 99 degrees and the Kavanagh’s are at the ballpark for a doubleheader. A rain out and a quirk in the schedule have forced back to back doubleheaders against the Minnesota Twins. The Birds took both games Friday night and do the same today. The team is in first place and playing great. The girls cheer for their hometown Orioles and between the two games they are recognized from their Jerry Adair Fan Club days by Boog Powell. Powell broke a bat during batting practice between the two games and retrieves the broken one and hands it to Betty Ann Kavanagh. She is thrilled and Jack quickly takes a look. He’s just as happy when he sees it’s a real Louisville Slugger Boog Powell model bat with a very obvious crack in it.

Boog Powell baseball bat (broken) given to Betty Kavanagh between games of a doubleheader. 1966.

July 7

The Summer is hot and busy on Central Avenue. Some parts are being made for Seagrams Distilling and Carling’s Brewery and a small job is finished for a cleaning service, Classic Cleaning. They need a brass basket to lift the clothes in and out of the hot washer. It must be made from perforated sheet so holes are drilled first then the brass is annealed and bent into a basket shape. It is brass work but also the sort of thing they have done for generations.

August 1

The talk of the Shop is baseball as the Orioles roll along in first place and have extended their lead in the standings to a robust thirteen games. The crew led by Jack discuss yesterday’s game which the Birds won 4-0 in Minnesota during today’s afternoon break. The team seems like it can do no wrong. It’s been a hot August day and the men are glad it’s nearly over. A railing was rolled today while some rings are being made for Universal Metal Products and a stainless strainer was finished today for Majestic Distillery.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. August 1, 1966.

August 26

Betty Ann begins college at Catholic University in DC. She moves on campus with the help of her father and there is one less person living at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Nancy, Mary and Jane will continue at Catholic High and Jackie and JoAnn will be joined by Ann at St. Elizabeth’s Elementary School. This will leave Betty alone with just her two boys during the day. The three of them make several trips over to Eddie’s house through the day to take care of him and his house.

Jack & Joe June 1967 Lakewood Ave
Jack and Joe (GI) Kavanagh. Jefferson Street side of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Summer 1966.

September 8

The Kavanagh girls are gathered around the television in anticipation of a new show premiering tonight. A science fiction program called Star Trek. The living room is silent as the words, “Space. The final frontier” are spoken and the show starts. It is about a group of people on a ship traveling through space and having weekly adventures. The kids love it, one and all, from Nancy to Baby Joe.  Jack is not as interested but he watches too and it reminds him a little of the serial programs he watched on Saturday mornings at the movies when he was a boy, cowboy movies.

September 12

The brewers continue to bring work into 201 S. Central Avenue. Today it is National Brewery who needs a beer line repaired. It is made from 3” Copper tube so some patching and soldering will be required. It’s a little tricky so Jack and Charlie Owens attend to this one. They drive over to National and take care of it in a half of a day.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. September 12. 1966.

September 22

The Orioles game is on the radio in the Shop’s small corner office. As Jack works on a quote for Seagrams he is listening intently. If the Birds win, they clinch the American League Pennant. The Orioles are in Kansas City playing the A’s in an afternoon game. The Orioles are leading 2-1 in the fifth inning when three straight doubles by Russ Snyder, Frank and Brooks Robinson stretch that advantage to 4-1. Jack is on pins and needles as he closes the Shop and rushes to his car to flip on the radio. By the time he is home and listening on the kitchen radio, the Orioles are up 6-1 and the rest is about the young right-handed pitcher, Jim Palmer who goes the distance for the win. The Baltimore Orioles have won the league championship and are going to the World Series for the first time. The Kavanagh’s are ecstatic and Baltimore goes crazy. The biggest difference for the club this year was Frank Robinson. Expectations were high when he joined an already competitive team but Robinson was better than advertised. He will win the Triple Crown in the American League, leading all hitters in batting average, home runs and runs batted in and is awarded the MVP of the AL after the season.

Baltimore Orioles team picture inside of the 1966 World Series Souvenir Program.

September 25

This Sunday is the Colts’ first home game having split two on the road to start the season. They face the San Francisco Forty-Niners and win 36-14. Jack is there with his brother-in-law & his wife, Bumpsy & Shirley Crew. It has become their tradition to go to the first game of the year and maybe one more together. Baltimore sports fans are very loyal and very vocal in their support of their teams. Both the Colts and Orioles play at Memorial Stadium on Thirty-third Street and the only difference is the volume of noise at the games which goes up exponentially for football.

October 5

The World Series begins today in Los Angeles as the heavily favored Dodgers host the Orioles. The Shop closes at 4 pm which is game time today. Jack usually leaves around 4:30 after he catches up on some paperwork and makes a phone call or two. Today he lets the boys go a few minutes early and is trying to get out of there to watch the game on television. He finally is shutting the door at 4 pm and he heads down Pratt Street,  putting the game on the radio. It’s the top of the first inning. There’s one out and Russ Snyder draws a walk as Jack reaches Patterson Park Avenue. Frank Robinson steps to the plate and drives one out of the park as Jack turns left. He’s driving and whooping and pumping his fist as he reaches the light at the corner of Patterson Park Avenue and Baltimore Street. Before the light can change from red to green, Brooks Robinson has followed up Frank and hit one out as well. Jack is screaming in his car and sees a gentleman opposite him doing the same in his vehicle. They nod and grin as Jack turns right and this fellow moves forward. A few minutes later, Jack is seated in front of the TV watching with his girls and the Birds take game 1 in LA, 5-2. It is a loud living room as the final out is recorded.

Newspaper clipping from Mary Kavanagh’s Oriole scxrapbook. Brooks Robinson being welcomed back to dugout after first inning home run in game 1 of 1966 World Series.

October 6

Jack is home watching game two. Today he didn’t miss much on the ride home as the game starts off as a serious pitchers’ duel. Dodgers’ ace Sandy Koufax is facing young Jim Palmer of the Orioles and into the fifth inning they are matching each other pitch for pitch. In the fifth, defense becomes a problem for Los Angeles, Inexplicably, Center Fielder Willie Davis commits three errors in the inning which is a World Series record and the Birds put up three runs. Palmer slips into cruise control and dominates the rest of the game. Baltimore wins 6-0 and Palmer becomes the youngest player at nine days shy of 21 years old to ever throw a complete game shut out in the World Series. Suddenly, the Orioles are in the driver’s seat and heading home. The baseball world is set on its ear because very few gave Baltimore much of a chance against the Dodgers. Now up two games to none and with the next three games at home, the Orioles have more than a chance.

Scorecard from 1966 World Series Souvenir Program.

October 8

It’s a Saturday and the Kavanagh’s are at the ballpark along with 50,000 other Baltimoreans welcoming the Birds home. The family are squeezed into the first row of Memorial Stadium along the third base line as the game begins. Today’s pitchers are Wally Bunker for the Orioles and Claude Osteen for the Dodgers. This one is another nail biter as both hurlers put up zeroes in the first half of the game. In the bottom of the fifth inning, young Center Fielder Paul Blair gets hold of one and belts it out of the park. The fans go insane because the Birds have the lead. Bunker who had not thrown a shut out all year in the regular season does just that today and Baltimore wins it, 1-0. Jack drives the kids home and they are a raucous crowd. He is as excited as they are and there is much cheering and chanting in the car in hopes of one more win.

Paul Blair. Photo and bio in 1966 World Series Souvenir Program.
Jack Kavanagh Jr.’s ticket to game 4 of the 1966 World Series.

October 9

On this Sunday, Baltimore packs the Memorial Stadium in quest of their first ever World Series title. It is another battle of good pitching with Dave McNally and Don Drysdale facing off. A scoreless game goes into the bottom of the fourth when Frank Robinson, triple crown and MVP winner, steps to the plate. He blasts a mighty shot into the left field bleachers and the crowd goes wild. The Orioles are leading 1-0. The game progresses with no one else scoring. The game remains 1-0 going into the top of the ninth. Jack and his family sit anxiously in a stadium that is quiet as a church. The Dodgers get two men on with one out and are threatening but McNally retires the next two hitters on fly balls. When the final out is caught by Paul Blair in center field, the Orioles have won the World Series. Pandemonium breaks out in the ball park. The crowd goes insane and pours onto the field. Jack gathers his kids and they cheer, hug and cry together in celebration. Jack smiles to see his girls and even Little Jack and Joe hollering for the Birds. Suddenly, he thinks of his father and his father’s father. This would have meant everything to Joe who was a mad fan of baseball and Baltimore. He was a fan of the old NL Orioles but they played before the Series existed. The mass of fans continue to chant and cry for the Birds when Jack begins ushering the kids out of their seats and they head to the parking lot. The kids are singing, cheering and whooping it up on the way home but Jack is strangely quiet. He’s running through all the years of talking baseball he did with his grandfather and the many semi-pro and Negro League games he attended with is father. When they reach Lakewood Avenue, he gets the kids inside and the celebration continues for the family but Jack slips back outside and crosses the street. He opens his father’s door and sees him seated in front of the television.

He approaches him, “They did it, Pop! We won the World Series!”

“I saw it all, Jack. Wow! They sure did. What pitching! I can hardly believe it.” He holds a cigar in one hand and in the other a photograph.  He shows it to Jack. It is a picture of Eddie’s father, Joe.

Jack takes it from him, “I was thinking of him, Pop. He would have been crazy thrilled about this. He’d be dancing!”

Eddie’s pale face forms a small grin, “Yeah, he might be, Jack. He would think it’s reason enough for a dance.” Eddie chuckled then puffed on his cigar as Jack examined the photo.

“He would be happy. I know it. A World Series for Baltimore and the Orioles. He would be really happy, Pop.” Jack replied, his gaze fixed on the image of his grandfather.

“Happy huh? I guess he would have been. I always wondered what that would have been like.” Eddie finishes as Jack hands him the picture. Eddie slides it into a drawer of the table next to him.

“I know the feeling.” Jack says,  then encourages Eddie to get ready so they can walk over to dinner together.

Crazy Joe 1926
Joseph A. Kavanagh. Thirty-third Street. Circa 1930.

October 10

Baltimore awakens from a World Series victory hangover. A wild party in the streets was held last night with fans toasting the team and drinking cocktails in the street while chanting and singing, “Birds! Birds! Birds!” Despite the wild party the night before, it’s a blissful morning because the Baltimore Orioles are champions. Jack himself stayed up a little late and had a few beers and a couple of glasses of rye with his father Eddie. Still, Jack wakes up on time and drives to work with a very big grin on his face. He knows no matter what,  today will be a good day.

Back cover of 1966 World Series Souvenir Program. Familiar sponsor. National Brewery.

October 21

While the City and the Kavanagh’s are still in celebration of the Orioles World Series victory, there is a big announcement in the world of football today. The rival leagues, the AFL and NFL will merge and they will hold a championship bowl game between the two winners of each league. The game will be played in January and will be called the Super Bowl. Jack is not too surprised. The AFL has made great strides in matching with the older NFL and now he looks forward to this Super Bowl. The two best of the two leagues? It should be a good game and he’s hopeful the Colts might represent the NFL but they fall a little short this year. They will finish with a 9-5 record, three games behind the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Western Conference. The Packers will go on to win the NFL Championship and go to that first Super Bowl in January.

November 23

A replacement coil is made and installed at Joseph Seagrams Distilling by the Joseph Kavanagh Company today. It is a complicated fix with many trips to and from the distillery. Jack makes a point of recording the trips and details as closely as possible, in case there is a problem and also to document this job as well as possible. He knows they have been receiving regular repairs for Seagrams and this information could simplify another repair order or even solve a future problem for another customer. He has Julie record his notes in great detail this time including some hours on Thanksgiving for Jack’s brother Ed.

The Shop’s job book entry. Joseph E. Seagrams Distilling Co. November 23 1966. Page 1.
The Shop’s job book entry. Joseph E. Seagrams Distilling Co. November 23, 1966. Page 2.

November 30

An old copper jacketed kettle is brought into the Shop for repairs. This could have been something they made 25-30 years ago but it looks even older. The customer, Chemical Service of Baltimore uses it to distill alcohol but only for industrial chemical purposes The kettle has worked fine and in lieu of buying a new one, they ask the Shop to fix it up. Funke handles this one in less than two days with the majority of the work being re-soldering of seams.

The Shop’s job book entry. Chemical Services of Baltimore Co. job. November 30, 1966.

December 24

The annual Joseph Kavanagh Company Christmas Eve Party is held today. Jack and Betty have decided to not bring the children to the Shop today. It has become more of a party for the crew and Jack is fine with that. It simplifies things for him,  and Betty and the kids stay home preparing for Santa. He gets a platter from Weiss Deli on corn beef row and two cases of National beer and one bottle of rye. The gents eat and toast the year and the Orioles of course. Jack is quick to make the first toast to the Birds. The Kavanagh’s have rooted for the Orioles for four generations, all the way back to Jack’s grandfather Joe who was a big fan of the original National League Orioles and up to Jack’s kids who are a fans of the present team. The old NL Orioles went to the league’s championship series, called the Temple Cup, each of the four years it was held, winning two. This was in the mid 1890s and pre-dated the World Series. Even after the MLB Orioles were folded, the City and the family were fans of the International League Orioles, a minor league team. When the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954, the family were very excited and became fans on day one. All those years of loyalty and support of the black and orange are well worth it. Jack can’t help thinking of his grandfather and his grandfather’s brothers and how they would feel about this team and this season. Jack’s very glad he could share it with his father and more importantly with his kids. The Christmas party breaks up after about two hours of revelry. Each man is given his pay and a turkey to take home. Jack drives two fellows over to West Baltimore. One he takes home, the other he drops on a bus stop as his ride is a little longer. He makes the ride back along Pratt Street through downtown and toward Patterson Park. His mind is on the holiday and his kids. He and Betty get just as excited as the children at the prospect of Christmas Day. When ht gets home they must get ready for mass at St. Elizabeth’s then the kids will be off to bed and Jack will do his impression of jolly old St. Nick.

Joe Xmas 1966 Lakewood
Joe Kavanagh. Front room of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Christmas 1966.
The Kavanagh Christmas Tree. Front room of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. December 1966.



Lyndon Johnson is the President of the United States. The number of American soldiers in Vietnam increases to 385,000 by the end of the year.  6,000 Americans die in the conflict this year with an additional 30,000 wounded. Protests against the Vietnam War spread through out the country particularly on college campuses. The National Organization for Women is founded. Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas opens. Ken Kesey holds the first “Acid Test” at the Fillmore in San Francisco.  Jacqueline Susann’s “Valley of the Dolls” is published. The films “Thunderball” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” are released. Batman premiers on ABC-TV and the Grinch Steals Christmas. Janet Jackson, Mike Tyson, Halle Berry, Greg Maddux and John Cusack are born. Buster Keaton, Lenny Bruce and Walt Disney die.



There are 50 states in the Union.

Front Cover of 1966 World Series Souvenir Program.

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

Table of Contents


1965 The Return of Joseph Michael Kavanagh

January 4

The year starts fairly well for the Joseph Kavanagh Company. The Shop is busy but not swamped and Jack and Betty are expecting their ninth child this summer. Betty still spends part of her day across the street at 434 N. Lakewood Avenue taking care of her father-in-law, Eddie. She cooks his meals, makes his bed and cleans his house every day. She does all this while tending to her two youngest children who are not old enough for school yet, making sure the older six girls are doing their homework and getting off to school each day and cooking for her family of ten plus Eddie. In the evening, Eddie walks over for dinner and later one of the older girls spends a couple of hours with him, watching TV or listening to music. The girls take turns and are there to keep him company.

January 25

The Shop’s crew of eight are spread over three different jobs, a boiler repair for E. J. Codd, a set of pipes for a railing for a City resident and some stainless steel filters for Majestic Distillery. The boiler job requires some copper sheets be annealed and rolled into a copper liner and there a few brass fittings and vales to go with it. The railing is made from 1 1/2” steel pipe that must be curved to an 8 ft. radius in the rolling machine and kept as flat as possible. The flatness is maintained by a helper who supports the long ends of the pipe that are extending out of the machine. As the pipe passes through the roller, the helper must keep it as even as possible and periodically switch ends. The stainless steel filters are made from perforated sheet that is cut to the proper diameter then machined to Majestic’s specifications: a busy January day for the Kavanagh’s and crew.

The Shop’s job book entry. Majestic Distillery job. January 25, 1965.

February 1

It’s a bitter cold Monday on Central Avenue and a heating coil is being made,  but it’s not for the Shop though the workers would appreciate it. The heating coil is for the J. E. Hurley Company. Hurley is another local boiler company and this coil is part of their repair on a large municipal building’s boiler. 2” Copper Tube is coiled to two different sizes and the two are connected with brass tees. Jack handles the brazing on this job and ruins one of the tees. He got the brass too hot and it melted a little. Not in the sense that ice melts and becomes liquid but rather in the sense that one spot on the tee is too soft now and can not be trusted as a union between the two sections of tube. Brazing is an exacting job and mistakes do happen. Jack makes a note of it on the job card to clarify the extra cost. He’s not happy about it but mistakes happen and at least he managed a few minutes with a torch to warm him up.

The Shop’s job book entry. J.E. Hurley Co. job. February 1, 1965.

March 25

The winter is dragging on and the work with it They have jobs to do but not enough to work more than five days. It’s fine with Jack and his crew to have weekends off,  but eventually they need those Saturday half-days. It helps Jack to keep jobs moving in and out, it helps with billing, plus the crew like the overtime. Today they still have some idle time and Jack has the Shop’s machinist, John Benser and a helper, Joe Flaxcomb make some steel flanges for stock. These are used in a variety of their jobs. The flanges are cut,  then machined to size in a lathe. They are used in heat exchangers, boilers and sometimes even on large distilling and brewing vessels. These are a good things to keep in stock.

April 13

This Tuesday is opening day in Baltimore and the Orioles welcome the Chicago White Sox to Memorial Stadium. Nearly 40,000 fans pack the ballpark, but are disappointed as the Birds lose 5-3. Jack Kavanagh is listening on the radio in the small Shop office and he cheers and groans as he works. He takes the loss in stride;  to Jack,  a day with baseball,  even with a loss is better than a day without baseball. We’ll get them tomorrow he thinks.

Baltimore Orioles Team Picture from a ballgame program. 1965.

May 7

The spring has brought an uptick in work and the Shop returns to working Saturdays. Today an emergency repair is finished for F & M Schaefer Brewing. The steam coil for their hot water heater in the Brew Room has a leak and a new one must be fabricated and installed. Both Kavanagh brothers work on this one as Ed and Charlie Owens do most of the work but to help finish, Jack jumps on it for five hours.

The Shop’s job book entry. F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co. May 7, 1965.

June 7

A job for Goodwill Industries is finished today. It’s another coil but this one is rectangular. Several 90 degree bends must be made in each piece and there are accompanying brass fittings to make. The Shop is staying busy enough that Jack has to spend at least three hours in the Shop most days. His secretary Julie fields calls for him and takes messages. He returns them all and quotes jobs and expedites, fitting in the Shop time. He is anxious about Betty and the baby. She is almost due and he can’t wait to be a father for the ninth time.

Joseph Michael Kavanagh’s Baby bracelet. June 17, 1965.

June 17

Jack is a lot less focused this morning at work because Betty has gone into labor. Her Uncle John who is a cabby has taken her to St. Joseph’s Hospital. The baby could come any minute. Jack is distracted as he speaks to a representative of National brewery on the phone. They are checking on an order for some fittings. He hangs up the receiver and heads into the Shop.  Jack needs to take a look at the pieces. The nuts are not quite snug enough so he decides to hit them with the torch. With a little heat, they will expand ever so slightly and that should tighten things up. Jack grabs a striker and taps the tip of the torch to light it. A glance at the clock tells Jack it’s a few minutes past ten; Betty is in the delivery room and she gives birth to an 8 lb. 12 oz. baby boy. Both mother and son seem fine and Betty calls Jack at the Shop to give him the good news. June 17, 1965 is eighty years to the day of the arrival of the first pieces of the Statue of Liberty in America and the Shop’s founder worked on its assembly. This baby is named Joseph Michael Kavanagh after that founder. When he’s brought home to Lakewood Avenue, the baby is passed around among his seven sisters and finally to his older brother Jack Jr. Little Jack asks if he is really his brother and his parents assure him he is and his name is Joe. Jack thinks for a moment,  then asks if we can call him GI Joe. Mom, Dad and sisters all break into laughter and tell him yes, we can absolutely call him GI. The nickname sticks and he is GI for years or sometimes simply, G. In the evening while the baby is snoozing in his crib, Jack has the radio on listening as the Orioles beat the Yankees 2-1 in 16 innings. A long game,  but Jack listens and watches over this baby who wakes up in time for the final out. He has good timing,  Jack thinks.

The Shop’s job book entry. National Brewery job. June 17, 1965.
Notice of Joseph Michael Kavanagh’s birth. June 17, 1965.

June 18

Jack brings baby Joe over to his father’s house to meet him. Eddie won’t hold the baby. That’s not his style but he’s glad to meet the wee tyke. He’s surprised when Jack tells him they have named him Joseph Michael.

“Joseph Michael Kavanagh? That’s what you are naming him?” Eddie raises an eyebrow as he puffs on his cigar.

“Yes, Pop. We’re naming him after your father Joe, my friend Mike Berkey and, of course, the original Joe. Three men honored in one name.” Jack clarifies for him,  as he was anticipating questions about the name.

Eddie takes a long draw and blows it out, filling the room with acrid cigar smoke. “Joseph Michael huh? You sure you want to do that, Jack?”

Jack’s mouth curves into a small smile. “It’s the name I want for him and Betty likes it,  too. I wanted to honor my grandfather and yes, the first Joe,  too. It’s a name. That’s all. It’s not a big deal.”

“Yes, true ,but you surprise me is all. Why don’t you just call him Michael?” Eddie flicks the ash from his cigar into the ashtray on the table next to him.

“I told you. We wanted to honor your father, Pop. I really wanted a Joe. We could have just called him Joseph Anthony after your father.” Jack’s grin widens as he speaks.

“Same name as my father?” Eddie’s eyes roll a bit in his head and he quickly re-considers. “Joseph Michael is a good name. Yeah, Jack. That’s just fine.”

“I’m sure he’ll be happy with it, Pop. Besides, he looks like a Joe.” Jack answers as he looks down at his small son.

“Well, at least you have someone to give the watch to now.” Eddie shrugs and leaning forward places his hand on the infant’s head gently.

“That I do. I guess Betty will give it to him on his wedding day.” Jack replies and his grin fades for a second as he thinks of his mother doing the same for him.

Eddie sits back holding his cigar in his right hand. “Yes, that will be good. Like Annie did for you. That’s a good idea. She would love it.” He places the cigar between his lips and the room grows silent. Several minutes later, Jack and baby Joe are heading out the door and back across the street to their home.

Johanna Kavanagh’s father, James Long’s pocket watch. Passed to Eddie her second son then passed by her daughter-in-law, Annie, to Jack her second son.
Joe & Jack Lakewood Ave
Joe and Jack Kavanagh. 1965.

June 20

Joseph Michael is baptized at St. Elizabeth’s Church on the corner of Lakewood and Baltimore. His godparents are Bill Hoffman, a friend of Betty’s family, and Joe’s sister Mary. After so many children, the Kavanagh’s have begun using their own daughters for godparents. The baby is welcomed into the Church and after mass, everyone walks the four blocks home for lunch. The house is even fuller than usual with cousins and friends from the neighborhood. They eat sandwiches and Betty’s potato salad. People wander through the small row home to chat and perhaps find a chair. The ballgame is on the radio and the Orioles are hosting the Washington Senators. Baby Joe is passed from one person to the next as they eat fresh cantaloupe and watermelon and listen to the Birds build a 5-2 lead. Folks begin to leave as it gets past 2 pm. Everyone had a good time but the baby is tired and Betty puts him down for a nap. He keeps waking up to whoops and shouts from Jack and the girls downstairs. The Orioles explode for eight runs in the 8th inning and blow the game open winning 13-2. Betty is happy for the team but wishes they would all shush while Joe is trying to sleep. Jack is sure Little Joe wants to hear the highlights.

Copy of Joseph Michael Kavanagh’s Baptismal Certificate. June 20, 1965.

July 4

Independence Day falls on a Sunday this year and the Kavanagh’s celebrate as they always do. A crab feast is held on the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson. A bushel of crabs is steamed and is served with corn, potato salad and a few other side dishes. Eddie joins Jack and Betty and the kids for this Maryland tradition. Eddie remains his quiet brooding self but he does love crabs. The ballgame is on the radio and the Birds lose a close one, 4-2 to the Cleveland Indians. The room is full of the sound of mallets cracking crabs as the Kavanagh’s devour the crustaceans. Jack wants to give baby Joe his first taste of crab but Betty will have none of that. He’s not ready she chides Jack. Next year, she assures him. You can give him all you want.

Baltimore Orioles Souvenir pin. Mid 1960s.

August 9

A job is completed today for Bethlehem Steel mill. The mill needed some copper pressurized dished heads.  These are similar to the heads or tops for stills or even brewing vats. They will be used for maintaining water pressure at the mill. Copper sheet is cut into circles then annealed and curved very slightly to create the “dish” top. A few fittings and connectors must be machined and fabricated as well. The last part is crating and shipping and Jack’s brother Ed takes care of that.

The Shop’s job book entry. Bethlehem Steel job. August 9, 1965.

August 25

It’s an unseasonably comfortable eighty degree August day in Baltimore. The crew enjoy it as they work on some brewery parts for Schaefer Brewing, a set of copper U-bends for Stambaugh and a repair for Joseph E. Seagrams Distilling Company. A small copper reflux bottle must be made for the old Paul Jones Distillery on Kresson. Street. Seagrams owns it now and a few repairs and changes are needed. All three jobs are completed and Jack brings out another set of job cards for the boys. Tomorrow they will work on a brass bar foot rail and some replacement copper tubes for Gunther’s will be tinned. The beat goes on at the Joseph Kavanagh Company.

The Shop’s job book entry. Joseph E. Seagrams Co. job. August 25, 1965.

September 7

The summer is over and the Kavanagh girls return to school. The four oldest girls are in Catholic High with Betty Ann a Senior, Nancy a Junior, Mary a Sophmore and Jane a first year Freshman. Jackie and JoAnn are still at St. Elizabeth’s Elementary School and Ann, Jack Jr. and Baby Joe are at home with Betty. The older girls take the 22 bus to school while Jack drives Jackie and JoAnn to St. E’s every morning. Betty tends to her three youngest including a three month old baby and yet finds time to take Eddie his lunch and tidy up his home. When she crosses the street to Eddie’s house, the kids go with her. Every day is a busy day for Betty but she manages to get it all done and make it look easy. Somehow, dinner is nearly ready just as Jack comes through the back door every day. No matter what time he gets home.

Kav, Ann
Ann Kavanagh. 1965.
Jack - All Dressed Up - Lakewood
Jack Kavanagh. Early 1966.

September 19

It’s the first game of the season for the Baltimore Colts and they defeat the Minnesota Vikings 35- 16 with Jack, Bumpsy and Shirley Crew in the crowd. Bumpsy is Jack’s wife’s little brother and Shirley is his wife. They attend a couple of games a year together and are big fans. After the win, Jack drives home and his mind is on the game but also the Shop. He has a few jobs going on; a brass railing, a set of copper tubes for a fountain to be rolled and his brother is repairing a pump for Montebello Liquors. All are in process right now and he’s hoping at least two will be finished tomorrow. He’s fairly certain Ed’s job will be and if it’s close, he’ll help with the final soldering. He and his brother work well together. After thinking tomorrow through, he feels better as he drives down Orleans Street and makes the turn onto Lakewood Avenue. Part of his job is to always be thinking of the Shop, its work and how best to schedule it. It’s not like a 9-5 occupation. Owning and running a place like the Shop is a way of life and the hours are open ended. You must always be thinking, anticipating and planning. Hoping for the best and planning for the worst is an axiom that certainly applies to owning such a business. When he reaches his home, he climbs out of his Plymouth Station Wagon and up the marble steps into 447 N. Lakewood hungry and curious what’s for dinner.

The Shop’s job book entry. Montebello Liquors job. September 20 ,1965.

October 14

The Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the Minnesota Twins in this year’s World Series. The series goes seven games and Sandy Koufax is the star. He wins three games including two shut outs and is awarded  the MVP of the Series. It’s a back and forth matchup between the Dodgers and Twins with the home team winning every game until the visiting Los Angeles takes game 7 in Metropolitan Stadium 2-0. Games 3 and 4 were on Saturday and Sunday and Jack he watched both games in their entirety with Eddie. They talked over the strategy and the players as they have for years. Eddie has been a baseball fan since he was a kid and played himself but his enthusiasm for it has waned since his wife’s death,  as it has for all other things. Still, it’s a pleasant weekend for father and son and they do enjoy the Series. They wish it was their hometown Orioles who had another good year but once again have to be satisfied with third place despite winning 94 games. The Twins won the pennant going away with 102 wins.

Brooks 1965
Brooks Robinson 1965. Courtesy of Getty Images.

November 20

Three headers are made for Federal Aviation today. These headers are plates similar to what they often make for brewers and distillers to seal their tanks. These are a little out of the ordinary as two are made from cupro-nickel and one is made of monel. Cupro-nickel is a challenge to work with as the nickel is very hard. The Shop gets the job because they are coppersmiths and have experience with this material and the monel is a hard alloy of stainless steel. Monel is tough but also something the Joseph Kavanagh Company has worked with before. The plate is cut, the holes are drilled and all the pressurizing valves, fittings and couplings are made and attached.

The Shop’s job book entry. Federal Aviation job. November 20, 1965.

December 9

After dinner on a Thursday evening, Jack sits in his chair watching the Channel 13 news when he hears an announcement that the Orioles have made a trade as the program goes to commercial. The Birds have just finished dealing Jackie Brandt away which his girls are upset about. They are big fans of Brandt and it seems another exchange of players has been completed. Jack assumes the team has picked up a spare outfielder or something like that. He is holding the baby while Betty cleans up after dinner. Ann and Jack are playing on the floor in front of the television while the older girls are upstairs in the two bedrooms they share. When the news comes back from commercial, he sees a picture of Cincinnati Reds outfielder on the TV and he bolts right up. He hops to his feet, baby Joe in hand, and charges the television to turn the volume up. The sports reporter says the Birds have sent Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun (who was just acquired from the Phillies in the Jackie Brandt trade) and Dick Simpson to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for the former Rookie of the year, NL MVP and perennial All Star outfield Frank Robinson. Jack is flabbergasted.

He looks down to baby Joe in his hands, “We got Frank Robinson.” Baby Joe coos but offers no sign he understands the significance of this. Jack then tells Little Jack and Ann.

“Who’s that?” asks Ann.

“Who is it Dad?” inquires Little Jack.

Jack’s excitement is getting the better of him and he answers, “Frank Robinson is one of the best in the game!” Finally, he realized the kids are not familiar with Robinson’s numbers but he must tell someone.

“BETTY! BETTY!” he calls out and Betty rushes in from the kitchen “What is it Jack?”

“We got Frank Robinson, hon. FRANK ROBINSON!” Jack exclaims a wild gleam in his eye.

“What, we got who? What are you talking about?” Betty asks puzzled.

Jack takes a quick breath, “The Orioles! The Orioles traded for Frank Robinson!”

Betty suppresses an eye roll, “Oh, baseball. Well, I guess that’s good. Is he Brooks’ brother?”

“Huh, Brooks ?  No no. He’s no relation but he’s a helluva ball player, Betty. He’s a great player. He can really hit!” Jack swings his free arm while holding Joe in the other.

“That’s good, Jack. That’s great.” she smiles and shakes her head as she returns to the kitchen.

“Imagine Frank batting behind Powell? Boog will hit 30 homers. You can bank on it.” Jack says to the retreating figure of his wife.

“Yeah, yes, real good,” Jack says to himself then thinks of his older girls. He walks to the bottom of the steps and calls up to them, “Girls! GIRLS! The Orioles got Frank Robinson. You hear me!” There are a few muffled replies as Jack thinks of his father and grabs the telephone to call him. He informs Eddie who is excited but not like Jack is. Jack knows that Frank Robinson is a big big bat to add to the Orioles lineup. He thinks he could make the difference for his Orioles.

Later that night after Jack has calmed down but is still radiating a broad inexplicable grin, the whole family gathers around the television to watch a new Christmas special. A cartoon based on the Peanuts comic strip called “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” All seven girls along with three year old Jack Jr. and their parents, Betty holding baby Joe, spread out over the living room furniture and floor to watch. They all enjoy it and love the singing at the end which seems to catch the baby’s interest particularly as his mother rocks him slowly in the old Boston Rocker. When the program is over, the older girls head to their bedroom or the basement, the rest stay to watch “My Three Sons” after taking any better seats that have become available. Betty hands Baby Joe to his father and heads to the kitchen and makes seven lunches, one for her husband and six for her daughters.

Jack grins at his little boy and holds him up then chuckles and says a few silly nonsensical works like “Boozie Gitzie” to make Joe laugh. Jack Jr. and Ann are gathered around their father’s chair to play with him and the baby. He teases and tickles each of them in turn. The other girls are focused on the adventures of the Douglass family on TV. Jack then whispers in Joe’s ear, “Frank Robinson. I can’t believe it. Maybe we’ll win it all this time.”

Joe and Jack Kavanagh. 1966.

December 24

This Friday is the Shop’s Christmas Party. It is the annual end of the year/holiday bash for the family, customers and employees. This year not one customer comes by though as it is Friday and most are anxious to get back to their own homes. There is ample food and drink for all and a few Christmas Carols are sung. The baby is passed around a bit so everyone can get a chance to hold Joe. The guests discuss the holiday and the year that is finishing and also football. The Colts are playing the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in a playoff game. They finished in a tie for tops of the NFL Western Conference and they must play one more game to decide who goes to the championship game. Unfortunately, the Colts will lose and end their season on a sour note. The party only lasts a couple of hours compared to the old days when it would last well into the night. After Jack drives two slightly inebriated workers home,  he and the family head to their house anticipating a special holiday weekend. Jack and Betty are very happy with their brood of nine in the small row house in Highlandtown. They find a way to make all the children happy and let them all have a special Christmas. Jack and Betty have had their last child. They are the parents of nine as were Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh, Jack’s great-grandparents who lived three generations and eighty years ago. Patrick was the original Joseph Michael’s brother. Jack and Betty have seven girls and two boys now. The inverse of Patrick and Katherine who had seven boys and two girls. This baby is the second son of the second son of the second son of the second son of Patrick & Katherine Kavanagh. This last baby, number nine, is me.

Joseph Michael Kavanagh. 1965.



Lyndon Johnson is the President of the United States. Martin Luther King leads a civil rights march in Alabama to support voting rights for African-Americans.  Malcolm X is assassinated in New York City. The US increases the number of troops in Vietnam to 125,000. The mini-skirt is invented. The films, “The Sound of Music,” “Goldfinger” and “Doctor Zhivago” are released. The play “The Odd Couple” premiers on Broadway starring Walter Matthau and Art Carney. Frank Herbert’s “Dune” is published. The Beatles release the album and the film “Help!” Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Rock, Viola Davis and Brook Shields are born. Stan Laurel, Nat King Cole and T. S. Eliot die.


There are 50 states in the Union.

Joe in the corner Lakewood ave
Joseph M. Kavanagh. In the corner of the front room of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Being taught to walk. 1965.

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

Table of Contents





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.

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