1979 The Last Joe

January 21

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 35-31 in the Super Bowl. The game is on at 447 N. Lakewood with Jack watching. He pulls for the Steelers for his son-in-law’s sake. Jim O’Neill is from Pittsburgh and a die hard fan. Jack can’t deny if they lose, he might issue a little good-natured ribbing but he prefers to be able to congratulate Jim with a victory which he does.

Dad Jack Jan. 1979 - Lakewood Ave.
Jack Kavanagh Sr. Living Room. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. January 1979.

January 27

The two Jack Kavanagh’s attend a Washington Capitals game on a chilly Friday night. Big Jack promises his son that as soon as he gets his license and his father is convinced he can handle it, Little Jack can start doing the driving. Jack Jr. can’t wait. He’s taking drivers ed and should have his license in a couple of months. They see a very good game with the Caps beating the Chicago Black Hawks 4-1

Jack - 1979 The Goalie - Lakewood
Jack Kavanagh Jr. Living Room. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1979.

January 30

The work at the Shop has been steady to start the year and Big Jack is content. The weather has been cold but the work consistent. Today a short heat exchanger is made for General Plumbing Supply. The copper tubes are annealed and bent then the unit is assembled in quick order.

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The Shop’s job book entry. General Plumbing Supply Company job. January 30, 1979.

February 19

The heavy snow that began last night is a full blown blizzard now. School is canceled for the week and the City will be at a stand still for two or three days. The Kavanagh brothers are thrilled as they have never seen a snowfall like this one. It’s the kind of storm that happens once in a childhood. Nineteen inches in total will fall at Lakewood Avenue. Neighbors have to rally together to help out.  Those who have plenty help those who do not.  The working together and supporting each other reminds them neighbors are friends not just folks who live near you. Jack will close the Shop Monday and Tuesday and worry about finding his way to Central Avenue and digging out on Wednesday. Jack and Joe Kavanagh are out and about early Monday evening with Joe’s best friend, Ray French, trekking through Ellwood Park as the snow blows and piles around them. They are astonished at the mounds and snow dunes all over the park. The three boys find themselves on the baseball diamond and play a few at bats of mock baseball complete with sliding through the snow into home plate. They are quickly soaked and cold but at the ages of 13-16, cold is of little concern.

They walk home down the hill on Jefferson Street silently. The wind has picked up and the only talking would be shouting. As they pass Kenwood Avenue, the walk levels off and they move quicker when they spot a snowball battle at the intersection of Belnord Avenue. One boy seems to be pinned down behind a car while four others are pelting away with snowballs. Jack, Joe and Ray are feeling the cold now and are ready for home so they are intent on avoiding the snow skirmish. Jack Jr. looks into the wind and snow and recognizes the lone combatant. “It’s Muldowney!” Jack cries into the cold air. John Muldowney, a friend from school and the neighborhood is usually referred to by his last name as there are three Johns in the area. All three boys charge because this is different. It wasn’t some random fellow with the odds against him. Under a volley of snowballs, the three slide behind the car with John.  Arming themselves quickly with the snow piling at their feet, the four stand and begin a rapid snow fire counterattack. The other boys suddenly face even odds with John Muldowney and Jack Kavanagh clearly taller and older than their biggest. They waver a bit and John and Jack lead a full frontal assault with extra ammo stuffed in coat pockets. The four aggressors retreat north along Belnord Avenue under a hail of snow spheres flying through the air.

The four victors whoop and slap five in jubilation. It’s dark and snowy so the celebration is brief. After a hasty thank you and goodbye, John races east up Jefferson while the Kavanagh’s and Ray French finish the short walk to Lakewood. Ray crosses the street to his house and Jack and Joe head through the door to their home. Betty orders them to change all their clothes. She can’t imagine how they are soaked to the bone. The boys change quickly still smiling from the win. Snowball fights are usually draws. That’s how it is as a kid. It’s a battle or a fight certainly but it’s just fun. This one though, during the biggest blizzard in years, this one they win.

John Muldowny & dog
John Muldowney on right with Les Metcalf and dog Duke. Late 1970s.

March 1

The snow still lingers in white hills piled around the City but things are back to normal. A few days of clean up threw Big Jack’s crew behind but they are catching up. On this Thursday, some boiler parts and an angle stiffener are rolled for Codd Fabricators while another heater is made for General Plumbing Supply. Jack Sr. will be glad to see the snow go and looks forward to the arrival of spring warmth and work.

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The Shop’s job book entry. General Plumbing Supply Co. job. March 1, 1979.

April 6

A Friday afternoon is spent at Memorial Stadium for the Orioles opening game. Baltimore and the Chicago White Sox are matched up with the Kavanagh’s sitting on the third base side cheering on their Birds. Ace pitcher Jim Palmer throws a solid complete game victory with the score 5-3. The Kavanagh’s are hopeful this year Baltimore can finish on top.

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Baltimore Orioles Opening Day ticket. April 6, 1979.
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1979 Baltimore Orioles.. World Series Program. 1979.
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Ken Singleton. American League Championship Program. 1979.

April 19

The Shop is humming along now the warm weather is here. The crew make a set of u bends for Egan Boiler while a brass railing is rolled and a rare order of still bonnets is received from A. Smith Bowman. The bonnets are small caps for a distillery pot and the Shop has a stack in stock. They had made these for years and now if an order is placed, they are shipped out immediately. The level of distillery and brewery work is down to nearly nothing but a fair few parts are kept around for just such an order.

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Ths Shop’s job book entry. Egan Boiler & Contracting job. Apirl 19, 1979.

May 25

Joe Kavanagh’s confirmation is tonight and will be followed next week by his graduation from St. Elizabeth’s Elementary School. Confirmation is the sacrament which transitions a Catholic child to an adult in the Church. Mary’s husband Handy is Joe’s sponsor, a mentor or guide. Joe looks up to Handy and his brother-in-law has always been especially supportive of Joe. The boy is chosen to read one of the scriptures during the service and after he returns to his seat, Handy leans close and whispers in his ear, “You made it and you done good.” A smile crosses the boys face as he feels this is a step toward growing up. Handy’s words will ring in Joe’s ears for the rest of the night and his life whenever any achievement or success is felt. Simple words that carry a heavy meaning and affirmation for Joe. His graduation marks the end of almost 50 years of a Kavanagh being enrolled in the old school at Lakewood and Baltimore Street. Jack Sr. went there as a boy and so have all nine of his children. That has to be some kind of record.

Joe confirmation 1979 Lakewood
Joe Kavanagh. Confirmation. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. May 1979.
Joe and Ray French confirmation 1979 Lakewood
Ray Fernch and Joe Kavanagh. St. Elizabeth’s Confirmation. Jefferson Street side of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. May 1979.
Joe & April Lakewood Ave 1979
Joe Kavanagh and April Ballard. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1979.

June 19

Little Jack is back at the Shop for the summer. He’s learning every day and Big Jack is very proud and duly impressed with his boy’s burgeoning skills. Little Jack bends some boiler tubes in the Pines Bender today for Tydings, Lynch & Lorenz, another local fabrication shop. With drivers license in hand, Jack Jr. drives himself and his father back and forth from Central Avenue each day.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Tydings, Lynch & Lorenz job. June 19, 1979.

June 22

Joe Kavanagh and Ray French are at a Friday night Orioles game. Baltimore is playing well with six victories in a row. Joe turned fourteen a few days ago and his parents have deemed him old enough to take the bus to Memorial Stadium on nights the Kavanagh’s do not have tickets. The two best friends sit in the upper deck behind home plate and watch a close game. The Birds are trailing the Detroit Tigers in the bottom of the ninth and the game seems lost. Joe and Ray decide to try to beat the rush to the exit and maybe catch the bus ahead of the crowd. They stand in the aisle with one out and watch as Ken Singleton belts a homer to bring the Orioles within one. Eddie Murray follows with a single and the winning run steps to the plate. The boys take their seats as the fans start getting excited. Gary Roenicke pops out to the infield and the boys stand up again and take a few steps toward the ramp, still planning a quick escape. A dull rumble runs through the stadium as Doug DeCinces steps to the plate. “Something Magic happens,” as the song goes and DeCinces crushes one deep to left field. It soars out into the night and is gone, the Orioles win 6-5. Pandemonium breaks out as fans go insane with joy and in that moment, Oriole Magic is invented. Fans jump, scream and hug complete strangers. The boys slap hands and cheer then make their hasty getaway in the midst of the celebration. It is an incredible win but what’s more it starts something with this team. Suddenly, no opponent’s lead is safe and, in fact, another comeback win is completed tomorrow when Eddie Murray hits a walk off home run. Something happens with the City too. A sudden strength of faith in the club appears where you can’t count them out no matter the score. This day Oriole Magic becomes something real. Something palpable. The fans and the Orioles feel it and the team gets on a roll stretching their win streak to nine games. Joe gets home after walking back form the bus stop and his father is waiting to greet him. He listened on the radio and wants all the details of how it went. They drink iced tea, Joe tells him all about it and they share a sweet moment of a very sweet victory.

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Baltimore Orioles Ticket. Orioles Magic starts. June 22, 1979.
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Page rfrom World Series Progragm 1979.
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Eddie Murray Commemorative Placqu.

June 30

A special celebration is held today at the St. Elizabeth’s School for Special Education on Argonne Drive. Sister Mary Agnes celebrates her Golden Jubilee as a nun in the Visitation Order. Jack and Betty make the arrangements and fly her in from Minneapolis. The family honors here fifty years of service to the Church and on the next day, they drive her to Ocean City for a day trip visit before she returns to Minnesota.

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Card commemorating Sister Mary Agnes’ (Anna Kavanagh) Golden Jubilee. St. Elizabeth’s School for Special Education. Argonne Drive, Baltimore. June 1979/
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Aunt Anna Kavanagh ( Sister Mary Agnes) Ocean City, Md. June 1979.

July 7

The Kavanagh’s are spending a weekend in their Ocean City home at Royal Palm Court. Jack and Betty drive down with Ann, Jack and Joe but only Jack and the older two children will return. Betty and Joe are spending an extended vacation at the beach. They will stay there through the second week of August and Jack and the rest will come down each weekend. That second week of August will be a solid week of vacation for all of them. Mother and son walk the boards each night, read and make puzzles during the day. Betty loves some alone time with her youngest. She knows he will be working next summer and once he’s working, this time is gone. Joe loves the fact that he is older now and he can take small trips of his own during the day, exploring the beach town like he never has before. Each weekend, the rest of the family arrive and they fish and partake of the various OC amusements. Then each Sunday they return and Betty and Joe continue their quiet pastoral enjoyment of the small resort.

Ann 1978
Ann Kavanagh. 1978.
Jack Lakewood Ave. January 1979
Jack Kavanagh Jr. Bedroom. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1979.

July 12

The summer has brought heat and work to the old Shop. Ten 6” Angles are rolled for Danzer Metal while a small tube coil is curved for Russell William Ltd. Little Jack is bending a set of u bends for J.E. Hurley. Big Jack is on the phone most of the day coordinating deliveries of material and pick ups of completed parts. Jack Sr. likes these days. Keep him on the phone or in the Shop, as long as it leads to work, he’s all for it.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Russell William Limited. July 12, 1979.

July 19

A rush order of copper u bends is received from Harvey Stambaugh. The tubes need to be knocked out quick because a municipal building is without hot water so several fellows jump on the job with Jack Jr. doing the annealing. He’s nearly mastered the skill of softening metal with heat. He can do copper and brass with ease and his father and the crew trust him to do so with no supervision necessary. His last test is annealing aluminum, the most challenging metal. This takes more heat and a very careful eye to avoid melting the piece. He’s practicing and progressing under his father’s watchful eyes.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Harvey Stambaugh job. July 19, 1979.

August 1

As the crew counts down to their oncoming vacation, a set of stainless steel tubes are bent for Harvey Stambaugh. Stainless steel requires no annealing and the men are happy. A torch in Baltimore’s summer heat and humidity is unpleasant to say the least. The crew handle their assignments well but most of them are looking forward to the end of the week and the start of a holiday.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Havey Stambaugh job. August 1, 1979.

August 3

Right after work on this Friday, Big and Little Jack and Ann drive down to Ocean City to join Betty and Joe. The usual week of family time with carnival fun and food commences. The kids are old enough now to take care of themselves. They visit with their older sister JoAnn who works at the amusement pier and knows all the best places in the beach town. Jack and Betty enjoy their time alone and continue to dream their dream of living here full time some day. The week goes by in a flash and before they know it, the Kavanagh’s are packing and heading home. This will be Joe’s last long visit to OC with work starting for him next year. His thoughts are not on work but school. In September, he will begin at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel High School.

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JoeJ(GI) Kavanagh. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1978.

September 4

Jack and Joe catch a very early bus to Mt. Carmel in Essex. It’s a big adjustment for Joe as the ride is about forty minutes each way. The days start early and end late. Joe feels very out of place in this new school but his brother being there helps a great deal. Not to mention, being friendly with a Senior is good for any Freshman. Jack Jr. has already begun petitioning his father to drive to school. In addition to the old station wagon Big Jack takes to work each day, the Kavanagh’s own a Chrysler Cordoba. Jack and Betty use the Cordoba on weekends for day trips, church and errands. Little Jack is doing his best to convince his father to allow him to drive that car to Carmel.

Mt. Carmel Group Shot with Joe 1979
Joe Kavanagh on far left. Mt. Carmel High School. 1979. Photo courtesy of Pat Shanahan Sr.
Mt. Carmel Mrs. Stevens' Class, Joe & BWilliam Burham
Joe Kavanagh in French Class. Will Burnham in foreground and teacher is Mrs. Stevens. Mt. Carmel High School. 1979. Photo couresty of Pat Shanahn Sr.

September 30

The Baltimore Colts are hosting the Buffalo Bills in a football game and the two Jacks are there. They both love the Colts deeply and keep waiting for a return to the glory days of old. It won’t be this year as the fans must suffer through another disappointing season. The team finishes in last with a record of 5-11.

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Baltimore Colts Ticket. Setpember 30, 1979.

October 3

The American League Championship Series starts today with the Orioles playing the California Angels at Memorial Stadium. The game begins at 8:30 pm and it runs late with the teams stuck in a tie going into the ninth inning. Betty insists they go home as the boys have school tomorrow. Jack Sr. knows not to argue with Betty when she is determined and the family grudgingly leaves their seats and drives home. The game is on the radio and it goes into extra innings. The Kavanagh’s walk through the door, flip on the TV and see pinch hitter John Lowenstein blast a 3 run homer to win in the bottom of the 10th inning. It’s Oriole Magic again.

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Game 1 Ticket. 1979 American League Championship Series.
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1979 American League Championship Program.
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Page from World Series Program. 1979.
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1979 California Angels. American League Championship Program. 1979.

October 6

The Kavanagh’s are watching game 4 of the ALCS from home. The series has moved to California and the Birds need one win to go to the World Series. There is little doubt in this one with Baltimore leading the whole way, winning 8-0. Manager Earl Weaver’s formula for winning proves true, good pitching and the three run home run. Scott McGregor contributes the pitching by throwing a shut out and outfielder Pat Kelly adds the three run dinger.

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Manager Earl Weaver. American League Championship Series Program. 1979.

October 17

It’s game 7 of the World Series in Baltimore. The Birds had a 3-1 lead in the Series but lost the last two, one in Pittsburgh and one here. This game is a winner take all for the championship. Snow falls early in the evening and the field conditions are rough. Left field has a large gash of mud in the green outfield. The Kavanagh’s are there pulling with all they have to see Baltimore’s Birds win. It’s not to be. The Pirates led by Willie Stargell are too much for them and win 4-1. The family and the rest of the fans sit almost transfixed as their hopes of celebrating tonight are gone. When the last Oriole out is recorded, much of Baltimore’s faithful suddenly get the same idea. The fans charge onto the field as the Pirates players are jumping up and down in victory. It wasn’t planned but both Kavanagh brothers and Ray French find themselves on the field. Third base is grabbed by one fan and carted off within seconds. People are gathered around home plate trying to dig it up. The boys not knowing what else to do stuff dirt from the infield into their pants pockets. It’s a chaotic scene as disappointed fans mill around excited to at least be on the diamond. In the midst of the insanity, Jack Sr. appears and ushers the boys to him with an understanding but scathing look. They make their way through the crowd and back over the barriers into their seats. Betty glares as they walk up the aisle, out of the park and drive home in near absolute silence. They had their dance on the field but not one of victory.

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Game 7 Ticket. 1979 World Series.
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1979 World Series Program.
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1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. World Series Program. 1979.
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Willie Stargell. World Series Program. 1979.

November 4

Jack Kavanagh Sr. is watching the news and is shocked to hear of the events in Iran. After a revolution, Iranian protesters take 63 American hostages at the US Embassy in Tehran. Americans around the country feel the same way and they will begin checking for daily news updates as the hostage situation plays out over the next year with little progress.

November 8

The sting of the World Series loss is still felt but the approaching holidays should hopefully push it out of everyone’s mind. On Central Avenue, another job is bent for Baltimore Tube Bending. This order is some 2” OD Aluminum tubes bent in the Pines. With his son at school, Big Jack anneals these himself. He has a habit of singing as he anneals. It helps him focus and also keeps a good rhythm with the movement of of the torch along the tube. Jack’s song of choice is Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” and his voice is audible but muffled in the blowing of the propane torch. Jack Sr. times it just right as the last “I love you!” is uttered right before he blows out the flame.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Balltimore Tube Bending job. November 8, 1979.

November 30

The year’s end gets closer and it has been a good one. The heat exchanger work and their fabricator customers keep the Shop busy.  Big Jack is pleased with his oldest boy’s work and can’t wait to get him back to 201 S. Central Avenue. Next year, he’ll be joined by his little brother and Big Jack looks forward to having them both there. As a father, he missed so much of their younger years due to the Shop. Working together will be a pleasure for him. Splendor in Brass, a brass bed and furniture maker, has an order for some tubes being bent today. The pieces will be used as part of a few brass headboards.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Splendor in Brass job. November 30, 1979.

December 8.    (The writer takes his place at the Shop)

My mother is waking me from a deep slumber. She’s talking to me. I can see that through half-closed eyes and shaking me. It’s Saturday? In a moment it comes to me, last night my father told me he needs some help at the Shop today. I’m going to work. I was surprised not only did I want to sleep but there was no warning. I knew it was coming but I assumed next summer. I convince my mom I’m awake by putting my feet on the floor and she scuttles off down the stairs to make breakfast. I get myself dressed and ready and plop down in my usual chair trying to catch a few more winks of sleep the whole time. A plate with three chocolate chip cookies is in front of me. I am not much of a breakfast person but I sleep and chew through two of them while my father reads the paper and my older brother Jack devours an inordinate amount of cornflakes floating in milk. In ten minutes, we are out the door and in the car driving to 201 S. Central Avenue. Jack is at the wheel and he and my father are in conversation about the Colts. It’s been a rough year again for the team. I’m closing my eyes and relishing the heat coming on in the car as we bump along. I convince myself I am asleep and get some rest until we pull up in front of the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Jack and Dad unlock the padlocks and swing the big green metal door wide and in we go. Jack puts on the lights and Dad checks for phone messages in his office. I wander around a bit. I’ve been here many times. We would often stop on the way home from Ocean City. Dad always seemed to want to check on the place. If we were downtown for any reason at all, we drove by the Shop,  and as young boys, Jack and I played in the office every once in a while as Dad did paperwork. The door of the office swings open and out comes my father and he calls us to the small room behind the office on the Pratt Street side of the building. Jack flicks the power switch on the old roller that has been in the Shop for decades. This machine has an old manual crank to control the tightness of the curve and is particularly useful if the bend needs subtle adjustments. We are rolling a foot rail for a local bar that is being renovated. The contractor has furnished a wooden template and the curve is a little irregular. This machine will work well for those small changes in the radius. My father tells me my only jobs are to keep my side of the tube flat, keep my eyes open and if something goes wrong, get out of the way. Jack slides a 12 ft. long piece of brass tube into the machine and Dad begins passing it through a couple times until the contour is close enough by his eye to check. He backs off the rollers and we lift the tube out and check it against the template. It needs to come in more my father mutters with Jack agreeing. That means nothing to me as I stand freezing in the cold Shop. What he meant was the radius had to be tighter at some spots. Dad makes some marks with soapstone on the tube and we put it back in the machine. This process is repeated four or five times for three sections of brass rail. Each time Jack listens intently to our father and defers to his decision while I continue to be cold and bored. My father occasionally tells me to hold my end up higher or lower but otherwise I do very little. I wonder why I am there though later I think my father believed it was time and wanted me to have a little taste of what the Shop was like. Just after 11 AM, the bar rail is finished: three sections which the contractor will combine and they all look good on the templates. Jack shuts off the lights, my father locks up the office and soon the big green doors are closed and padlocked. We drive home and Dad and Jack’s chat about the Colts seems to pick up where it left off while I sit in the backseat watching houses go by. When we step through the door to 447 N. Lakewood, Jack races upstairs and my Dad puts a hand on my shoulder to keep me from following him.

“What did you think?” He fixes his gaze upon me.

Not knowing what to say I answer, “It was okay. It was cold though.”

Dad grins wide and reaches into his pocket. “Well it is December. You know.” He hands me a ten dollar bill. “You did alright when you were awake.” He walks toward the kitchen with a twinkle in his eye to greet my Mom. I stand there holding probably the first ten dollar bill that was all my own. As a boy who still measured currency in candy bars and comics, I felt like a rich man. That was that. My career at the Joseph Kavanagh Company begins quietly and with very little fuss at all.

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The Joseph Kavanagh Company. Corner of Pratt and Central. Circa 1970.

December 19

Four 1 1/2” aluminum pipes are annealed and bent for Mr. Rogers at Baltimore Tube Bending as the  holiday gets closer. The workers are hard at it but restless. All are very anxious for Christmas as Jack has decided to close the Shop on the 25th and not re-open until the 2nd of January. Another full week of vacation for his men with pay. Big Jack wants the time off and in order to get that, he must do the same for his crew. Fair is fair, thinks Jack.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Baltimore Tube Bending job. December 19, 1979.

December 25

On Christmas morning, I wake to the sound of conversation downstairs. My brother is still snoozing loudly in the next bed. It’s Christmas and I hop out of bed faster than any other day. When I was a small boy, Jack and I would be up at the crack of dawn. As it is, we sleep until 9 and instead of a mad rush along the stairs, I walk quietly down them. I avoid glancing into the front room as instructed but at fourteen, the amazing mystery that is Christmas is a little muted. I know there are presents in the front room but the piles will be smaller though each item most likely will be more expensive than in the past. As I reach the bottom of the steps, I see Mary and Handy are already here and in discussion about the holiday with Mom and Dad. I pull down my stocking and find baseball cards, candy and a few other small goodies inside. Merry Christmas is wished around the room and soon Ann and Jack are up and about and the Kavanagh’s begin assembling on the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson. The O’Neill’s and the Ballard’s are there. JoAnn comes in from Ocean City and Jane and Jackie drive over from their apartments. The full clan is here including the three grandchildren. A big holiday turkey feast is served and consumed, presents are exchanged and then the home is filled with songs,  both Christmas and old standards. It’s always a festive home this time of year and always full of music, laughter and good cheer. Newly received games are opened and played. Eggnog, beer and whiskey are shared by the adults and sweets, treats and in particular Mary Brandenberg’s chocolate chip cookies are enjoyed by all. It’s a long crowded holiday just like Jack and Betty love. Christmas is a big affair at the Kavanagh’s, loud and boisterous throughout the day and into the evening. When the last of the siblings are gone and it’s just my parents and Ann, Jack and I, things settle down. The night grows quiet and sleep begins calling us. Christmas is over and the year nearly too. I head to bed with thoughts of sleeping in late and having the week off of school. As I turn to climb the stairs, I take one last look right and see the lights, the tree and the piano, vestiges of the holiday. I glance left and see my mother sitting on the arm of my father’s chair. They are hand in hand smiling at one another in silence. Another Kavanagh Christmas is a success and somehow, my parents made it look easy.

Jack & Jane Lakewood Ave. Jan. 1979
Jane and Jack Jr. Kavanagh. Living room. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1979.
Lakewood Ave stairway
Stairway at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue.

 

 

Jimmy Carter is the President of the United States. The Three Mile Island accident occurs when the nuclear reactor has a partial meltdown. The space station Skylab crashes back to Earth. The US and China establish full diplomatic relations. Seven die during a riot at a Who concert in Cincinnati. Pope John Paul II visits the US. The Happy Meal, the Walkman and the snowboard are invented. The first version of Trivial Pursuit is sold. ESPN is launched. “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,”    “Alien” and “Apocalypse Now” are released. Chris Pratt, Pink, Kate Hudson, Drew Brees and Chris Daughtry are born. John Wayne, Nelson Rockefeller, Thurman Munson, Jack Soo, and Richard Rodgers die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

Joe school pic 1979
Joe Kavanagh. Mt. Carmel High School. 1979.

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

Table of Contents

 

1978 Big Jack

April and Dad Lakewood Ave
Jack Kavanagh Sr. and granddaughter April Kavanagh Ballard. Late 1977.

January 7

On the first Saturday of the year and Jack and Jack Jr. are at the Shop rolling some pipe rings. Just the two of them working,  and Senior is grateful for the time alone with his son. Jack Jr. is the fifth generation and his father is ready to teach him the skills he will need. It’s a chilly winter day but his son is keen to learn. Even more than most boys, Jack loves to impress his father and he does so often. Jack Sr. has been running the Joseph Kavanagh Company for over twenty years. His father was still involved until the early 60s but Jack took care of the day to day and made all the pertinent decisions. His father’s role was more advisory. Jack’s crew is led by his brother Ed who hires the men and keeps track of the progress of jobs. Ed doesn’t own any of the business but came to work for Jack after his father’s retirement. The two Ed’s did not work well together but the brothers do. Ed is Jack’s eyes and ears in the Shop and he also helps with quoting and phone calls. Jack spends more time on the phone, reading drawings or working specific jobs if something challenging or out of the ordinary comes along. Or in the case of today, a set of pipe rings need to be rolled fast. He likes working with his boy and the time goes by quick. The two Jack’s talk sports and father tells son the ins and outs of the job they are doing. When Jack Jr. came to work at the Shop he became Little Jack despite the fact that he was slightly taller than his father already. For pragmatic reasons, the workers needed some way to specify one Jack from the other so they became Big Jack and Little Jack. They work until noon and talk the whole time.

Jack Kav school pic 1978
Jack Kavanagh Jr. Our Lady of Mount Carmel School picture. 1978.

MEANWHILE on Lakewood Avenue, Joe Kavanagh is eating cereal while watching the Super Friends with nieces Maura and Katie O’Neill. Wonder Woman and Batman and Robin are taking on an evil genius in the opening segment. Joe and Maura sit on the floor, their eyes glued to the TV as Cheerios are consumed. Maura is a big Wonder Woman fan even at two and Joe is a fan of super-heroes so he’s loved the Super Friends since its inception. He collects comics and has some of the “Super Friends” issues. Baby Katie is watching as well from a high chair while her mother Nancy feeds her. Nancy and husband Jim and their two girls have moved back to Lakewood Avenue temporarily as they re-locate to Baltimore. Jim has taken a job at Social Security and they are looking at houses. The corner of Lakewood Avenue is crowded again but Jack and Betty’s home and life always have room for family.

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Joe(GI) Kavanagh and Maura O’Neill. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1978.
Maura Joe treadmill Lakewood
Joe(GI) Kavanagh and Maura O’Neill. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1978.

January 15

The Super Bowl is today and the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Denver Broncos 27-10. Daughter Mary and her husband Handy visit to watch the game. Handy is a big football fan as is Jim O’Neill. The three men have a beer or two and take in the game with Jack’s sons. All are rooting for a Dallas loss that doesn’t happen. For Jack’s part, he is hoping and anxious for the Colts to get back to the championship game themselves.

January 24

The heat of torches warm the Shop at Pratt and Central. A large heater with over one hundred tubes  for Major Welding is finished today. The torches are used to anneal the copper tubes to bend them into U- bends. The U’s allows the passage of warm water in and out of the exchanger. The tubes are assembled in a cluster and inserted into a brass or steel header. They are expanded to a tight seal and these units are used to heat boilers, hot water heaters steam cleaners and some cooking apparatus. Boiler companies need them. Construction businesses and municipal agencies use them. The Shop has customers that do the assembly and installation and some who prefer to order a completed unit. Jack is happy either way. Those who order the tubes simplify the job for him making it primarily bending which is their forte and those who want the heater finished and ready to install will pay more. Either works. Heat exchanger work is a very big part of the Shop’s regular and reliable sales. There’s a connection to the old coppersmith days because of the tube as well. Jack keeps a strong stock of copper with most of it on the second floor on racks. He keeps many 20 ft. sticks of several diameter tubes and has longer sections of 3/4” tubes which is the most commonly used. More than anything, the heaters help to keep him steady while much of the country still struggles to escape the recession. Inflation and particularly high gas prices continue to dog the nation.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Major Welding job. January 24, 1978.

February 6

One foot of snow buries Baltimore on this Monday and the kids are thrilled to have a couple days off of school. Jack closes the Shop for one day then meets the crew at the Shop on Tuesday and they set to digging the place out. Shoveling can be a dreary heavy task but when a group are working together it goes faster. They talk as they shovel,  each man discussing how the snow has affected their street and their families.

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The Joseph Kavanagh Company. Corner of Pratt and Central. Circa 1970.

February 17

Jack Sr. and Jr. attend a Washington Capitals game on a Friday night. The Canadians thump the Caps pretty bad 8-2 but the two Jack’s have a good time. Junior’s enthusiasm for hockey and this team are starting to make his father a fan too.

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Washington Capitals Ticket Stub. February 17, 1978.

February 27

Several rectangular tubes are filled and rolled for Middlestadt Machine.  Again, the use of blow torches is welcomed in the cold Shop. Jack is pleased with the start to the year. The winter lulls have not arrived and his crew has stayed busy through a cold winter so far.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Middlesatday Manchine Company job. February 27, 1978.

March 14

One of Jack’s regular customers has ordered twenty 4” Pipe returns. Returns are another way of saying U-bends or 180 deg. Bends. These are made from 4” pipe and will be rolled in the R-5. The customer is John Rogers at Baltimore Tubes Bending. Jack has known Rogers for years and whenever he runs into something too big for his equipment he sends it to Jack.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Baltimore Tube Bending job. March 14, 1978.

March 22

Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock has three large vessels being repaired and each needs heat exchanger replacements before they set to sea. Maryland Drycock can repair the heaters but they need the tubes bent and Jack Kavanagh gets a call. It’s a substantial bit of work and a great start to the spring. The tubes are cupro-nickel or copper nickel as opposed to 100 % copper. Curpo-nickel tubes are  a mix of annealed copper and nickel depending on the ratio they are very bendable. This eliminates the annealing phase for Jack’s men so it is a job that focuses on accurate and quick bending of large quantities of tube. One man cuts while another bends then one man trim cuts and another deburs the ends smooth. Teamwork and keeping a good pace make the difference in this type of production job.

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The Shop’s job bok entry. Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock job. March 22, 1978.

April 1

The O’Neill’s move into their own home on Birch Drive in Woodlawn. The old house needed a big clean up and the family all helped out. The two Jack’s,  Ann and Joe worked with Jim and Nancy to get the place all ready for the move. Lakewood Avenue suddenly seems quiet again to Betty and Jack.

April 14

The Baltimore Orioles have had an atrocious start to the year losing their first five games on the road. They come home on this Friday for their home opener facing the Milwaukee Brewers. Jack, Betty, Ann and the boys are there and are rewarded with a win, Dennis Martinez gets the victory with reliever Don Stanhouse registering a save. Jack and the family hope the Birds can build on this for the rest of the season.

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1978 Baltimore Orioles Opening Day ticket stub.
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Baltimore Orioles souvenir helmet. Late 1970s.

May 27

Jack Senior and Junior are at the Shop on a Saturday hard at work along with the crew. Little Jack will soon be returning for the summer and working full time. His father puts him on the books now and brings him in today because he needs the help. Another heater is being started and a set of angles are being rolled for Codd Fabricators.  Little Jack has a few more days of school,  then this is the summer his father will begin to teach him how to use a torch and how to anneal. How to work copper and other metals, very much like his father taught him.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Egan Marine Contractors job. May 31, 1978.

June 4

Ann Kavanagh graduates from Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School. Jack and Betty are very proud as they watch their seventh daughter receive her diploma. Only the two boys remain at school with Joe soon joining Jack at Carmel next year. Ann will soon take a job working for a lawyer downtown but will continue to live at home for now.

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Ann Kavanagh. Graduation picture. 1978.
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Ann Kavanagh. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. View looking east on Jefferson Street. 1978.

June 6

On a warm Monday, Jack Jr. begins his second summer at the Shop and is working on two heat exchangers. One is for the Housing Authority of Baltimore and the other for Towson State College. Little Jack helps to assemble the units sliding the tubes into brass baffle plates and then into a steel header. The tubes must be square and held straight before they are expanded to seal. Jack Sr. can see his son fits in well with the workers and seems more comfortable already this year. It will be tougher for him adjusting to working every day but it’s necessary and it’s time. His father is sure of that. His son has a natural aptitude for mechanical things and that will only make it easier for him. The day passes quickly with half the fellows on the heater and another few on more pipe returns for Baltimore Tube.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Housing Authority of Baltimore job. June 6, 1978.
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The Shop’s job book entry. Towson State College job. June 7, 1978.

July 4

The Independence Day holiday is celebrated on Lakewood Avenue with the traditional crab feast and cook out,  but before it starts, the Kavanagh boys have a baseball game. Their team, the Robin-Blair Sons are taking on a group of boys merged from two neighborhood teams at Patterson Park. Both teams are excited as they have managed to gather enough boys to have nine a side, a rarity in Highlandtown. The Robin-Blair Sons are trailing by three heading into the ninth inning but rally back. They score two and with two more on, Joe Kavanagh belts a long drive to center field. It appears to clear the large tree that by ground rules indicated a home run. The tying run scores and Joe cruises to second when the ball is thrown into the infield. What occurs next is a few moments of chaos while the opposing team protests claiming the ball did not actually pass over the tree. Little Jack and Junior Delaney, captains of the two squads, are nose to nose in protest. Joe tries to appeal to Jack to let it play out with the winning run on second base but Jack will have none of it. Joe is joined at second base by John Muldowney who was playing left field at the time. John had been at St. E’s a year ahead of Joe and they played ball together often over many summers. The argument escalates to absurdity when both teams decide to forfeit, neither wanting the other to do so. Joe and John share a laugh but Jack is not amused. The game breaks up and all the boys head home. Jack and Joe trudge home to 447. N. Lakewood Avenue, Jack still fuming with this game forever remembered as the double forfeit.

That Old Gang of Mine
The Robin-Blair Sons. Standing- Ray French, Greg Heaps, Jimmy Stakias, Jack Kavanagh Jr. Crouched George Stakias(holding little brother Hadiaraki), Stayaul Stakias, Joe Kavanagh. Late 1970s.
John Muldowney in St. E's uniform
John Muldowney in St. Elizabeth’s school uniform. Mid 1970s.

July 8

The Kavanagh’s are heading to Ocean City for the weekend but this time Betty and their youngest Joe will be staying. Jack and Betty have decided Ann and Little Jack are old enough to take care of themselves or Ann is old enough to take care of Little Jack,  and Betty can have an extended vacation at the beach with Joe. Jack, Ann and Little Jack will return to Baltimore the next day,  then back to OC each weekend. Jack doesn’t mind the drive and he wants Betty to have this time to enjoy their summer home. Betty and Joe get a serious taste of beach town life. It’s hectic and crowded on the weekends, both the town and the house,  but it’s very quiet and serene during the week. They take daily treks to the boardwalk and Joe plays in the arcades. They read poolside or play board games. Joe misses his friends from the neighborhood but he has a lot of fun and freedom. Being the only child in the home means some solitude besides time with his Mom.

Apirl Royal Palms Summer of 1978
Joe(GI) Kavanagh and April Ballard. Royal Palm Court. Ocean City. Summer of 1978.
Betty and April Royal Palm in OC
Eetty Ann and April Ballard. Royal Palm Court Ocean City. Summer of 1978.

July 14

The summer has been busy with Jack and the crew of the Joseph Kavanagh Company working every Saturday morning. His son is working with him and learning fast. Jack has taught his son the basics of annealing, starting with the first thing to learn; how to light the torch properly. Safety and consistency are stressed by Big Jack. A torch is nothing to be played with but you can’t be afraid of it. You must learn to balance ease with wariness before you can hone your skills. Jack is a fast learner and a dutiful worker. Today he’s helping Jerry Purnell roll an angle for Codd Fab. Codd is five minutes away and it’s common for them to order one, two or three pieces and bring them right up to 201 S. Central. Jack treats their work with a priority due to their reliability as a customer and the many years the two companies have worked together. Right after work, the two Jack’s pick up Ann and drive to Ocean City to join Betty and Joe who had a visit from daughter Betty Ann and baby April this week.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Codd Fabricators job. July 14, 1978.
Ann Jack Lakewood
Ann and Jack Kavanagh Jr. Jefferson Street side of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1978.

August 5

It’s Jack’s week of vacation at the beach. He, Ann and Jack drive to OC early Saturday morning. Jack closes the Shop and the crew get a week’s pay and a well-deserved break. They arrive just before noon at Royal Palm Court. 1231 St. Louis Avenue is the address of their place and Betty and Joe are waiting for them. The kids are getting older but still have a great week hitting the boards, riding bikes and swimming in Royal Palm’s pool. The Kavanagh’s still fish and crab, eating what they catch but they don’t spend days on the beach anymore. Ann, Jack Jr. and Joe would rather hit the arcades and rides especially with their older sister JoAnn who lives in OC. JoAnn works on the Pier, a set of amusements and assorted carnival rides placed on a pier jutting out from the boardwalk. It extends several hundred feet over the beach and into the surf with the last section reserved for fishing the ocean. JoAnn has worked here for three years and knows everybody it seems. Free or discounted rides and games are to be had when JoAnn is around and the younger three take advantage of it. Jack and Betty appreciate the kids spending time with JoAnn. It gives them some rare time alone. As much as their children love the fun of Ocean City, Jack and Betty love the peace. They dream of one day living here full time in their retirement.

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Ann Kavanagh. Royal Palm Court. Ocean City. 1978.
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Maura O’Neill and Jane Kavanagh. Maura’s third birthday party at Birch Drive. Woodlawn. 1978.
Nancy and Betty
VBetty Ann Ballard and Nancy O’Neill. Maura’s third birthday party. Birch Drive. 1978.

August 20

August is usually the worst month to work at the corner of Pratt and Central and this August is no different. Heat and humidity do not mix well with propane torches and the old Shop is a hot box this time of year. The crew sweat but are accustomed to it as much as one can be though it’s tough on young Jack Jr. He doesn’t let on to the men but everyday like this he can’t wait to get home, stand in a cold shower then step out into air conditioning. Heater tubes are finished for Harvey Stambaugh today with Little Jack doing the annealing. Big Jack watches from a few feet away and gives him full marks.

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the Shop’s job book entry. Havery Stambuah job. August 20, 1978.

September 1

Big Jack is driving home from the Shop with Little Jack. His boy will be turning sixteen next week and that has only brought one thought to Jack Jr.’s mind.

“Dad? I want to get my license. I mean, when I can. I’m sixteen on Monday.” Little Jack asks his Dad as they cruise quietly home after a long week. It’s Little Jack’s last day of work at the Shop for the summer.

Big Jack glances right for a second then looks back at the street ahead of him. “If you want to. You gotta take Driver’s Ed. I bet they teach at school.” He flicks on his blinker to turn right then raises his voice one notch. “And you gotta be serious about it. This here. This ain’t no toy. This is an automobile. You gotta stay focused and pay attention.”

“I know Dad.”Little Jack answers back without pause. “You see me at work. I can handle that stuff,  then I can drive. You know I can.”

Big Jack chuckles. “I know it, Huh?” His wide grin spreads over his face. “Yeah, I know you can but no shenanigans, no playing around in the car but sure. Sign up for the class and I’ll take you out to teach you to drive.”

“Great. Thanks Dad. I know they teach it at Carmel.” Jack nods to his Dad and looks up Orleans Street reflexively as they cross it.

“We’ll have fun when I take you out.” Big Jack teases a little. “I’ll be real nice like I am at the Shop. I’ll be like a pussy cat.” Big Jack breaks into resounding laughter as they pull to a stop on the side of their house.

“I bet.” Little Jack laughs back at him.

Jack the elder turns the car off and gets a little more serious. “You’ll be fine and you can start driving us to work. One less thing for me to do.”

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Jack Kavanagh Jr. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1978.

September 10

The two Jack’s are at Memorial Stadium for the Baltimore Colts’ home opener and they get beat bad by the Miami Dolphins 42-0. It’s a sign of the times as the team will limp through a difficult 5-11 season setting them in last place.

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Baltimore Colts Opening Day Ticket Stub. September 10, 1978.

September 18

It’s a rainy fall Monday and everyone is running a little late at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Jack offers to drop Ann and the boys off, Jack Jr. and Ann at the bus stop and Joe at St. Elizabeth’s. Ann takes a bus downtown every morning to work and Jack takes one going the opposite direction to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel High School in Essex. Senior pulls up to the corner of Fayette Street and Lakewood. Ann and Junior hop out of the car and their father drives off down Lakewood Avenue with Joe in the back. Jack is listening to the radio and he slows at Baltimore Street then turns right. His drowsy son in the back seat  perks up and grins but stays quiet. Jack heads up Baltimore Street and makes the left onto Patterson Park Avenue when he notices Joe.

“Damn it! You could of said something.” Jack looks in the rear view mirror at Joe who yawns.

“I was half asleep, Dad. I wasn’t paying attention.” Joe suppresses a small smile.

Jack make three rights to get back onto Baltimore.”Yeah. Half-asleep my foot.” He mutters through a small grin of his own. He drops Joe off at the corner and drives to work shaking his head along the way. This isn’t the first time he’s forgotten the kids in the backseat but with Joe joining Jack Jr. at Carmel next year, it will be the last.

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Joe(GI) Kavanagh. 1978.

October 3

Jack has copper tube coming in and going out of the Shop almost every week. Today it’s a small exchanger for the Union Trust Company. Besides municipal agencies some banks and businesses have a maintenance department who tend to their boilers. Union Trust is one such company and when the Shop fabricates and assembles their heater, the maintenance crew will handle the installation.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Union Trust Company job. October 3, 1978.

October 10

Jack and Ed Kavanagh eat lunch at their desks in the small corner office. Ed having a shrimp salad sandwich from the deli while Jack enjoys his ham sandwich made by his wife. They are discussing the afternoon’s schedule. A local manufacturing company, Niro Atomizer, needs some repair parts, two pipes and two flat bars to be bent, and they need them today. Jack tells Ed to pull a couple men away from a job for L & S Welding and get these parts made as fast possible. The pipes and the bars are rolled in the R-3 Roundo machine that sits in the front half of the building.

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The Shop’s job bok entry. Niro Atomizer job. October 10, 1978

October 14

The Caps home opener is this Saturday night and Big Jack and Little Jack are there to welcome the team. Jack Sr. drives but he promises Junior that after some experience behind the wheel, he’ll be the one doing the driving. Washington loses 6-3 to the Atlanta Flames and despite the Caps struggles to win, Little Jack loves this club and this sport more every season.

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Washington Capitals Ticket Stub. October 14, 1978.

October 17

This year’s World Series is a rematch of the last. The Yankees take on the Los Angeles Dodgers and just like last year, New York prevails. Baltimore’s Birds have a good year with 90 wins but that only amounts to fourth place behind the Brewers, Red Sox and Yanks who win 100 regular season games. Jack and his sons are watching the series and discussing nearly every play. It’s just as it was with Jack and his father Eddie. They love the game but they treasure the time together, sharing the sport and going over it all as one. The talks, the thoughts and opinions are as important as the play on the field.

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Jack Kavnagh Jr. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Late 1970s.

November 2

The year is finishing strong with a nice two week backlog of work for Jack. Today some angles are rolled for long-time customer J.C. Pardo while a set of heater tubes are started. The tubes are annealed and bent today then the exchanger, which is for Springfield Hospital will be assembled tomorrow. Jack is in and out of the Shop most of the day. He speaks to Denny McCartney from B & B Welding about rolling six 3” angle rings needed for next week and scribbles a note on a pad to remember. He glances down at the note and sees “Betty’s Birthday” next to it. After a long day, the first thing he says to his wife as he comes through the door is “Happy Birthday.”

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The Shop’s job book entry. J.C. Pardo Company job. November 2, 1978.
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The Shop’s job book entry. Springfield Hospital job. November 2, 1978.

December 6

Two thousand feet of copper tubes is delivered to Central Avenue from C-S Metals. The truck is backed into the building from the Eden Street side and bundles of tube are picked up using cloth straps to protect them. Hoists and chain falls do the work while the men keep a careful eyes on the load. Jack has gotten to know the salesman from C-S Metals very well, Bob Yingling. They have a good relationship and Bob helps Jack keep his stock up and Bob appreciates the business. Another heater is finished today for the Housing Authority while a set of 2” copper tubes are rolled into circles for a fountain. Even in the halcyon days of coppersmith work, the Shop has rarely used so much copper in a year as they have in this one.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Housing Authority of Baltimore City job. December 6, 1978.

December 25

Christmas with the Kavanagh’s is the usual large crowded, festive and loud affair. Two turkeys are prepared to accommodate the family and friends. Gifts are exchanged and Jack and Betty delight at the little granddaughters as they ooh and ah at the toys, the tree and the lights. Three generations of the family welcome Christmas and celebrate together with food, drink and song. Jack is very thankful for the uptick in work this year and is very happy with his son’s progress. Little Jack has another year after this one in high school and should be well-prepared by then to take on working at the Shop full time. Jack Jr. has aptitude, skills and is not afraid of hard work. He can be moody and headstrong but that’s of little concern to his father. He was no different at that age. Little Jack has passed his drivers test and is growing into quite the young man. Jack’s proud of the way his boy has handled himself among the men at the Shop. Not overly proud but not in any way intimidated as he could be at sixteen. Big Jack’s mind can’t help but wander into the future envisioning Jack at the helm of the business while he takes a step back and then a step down eventually. He takes a long look at his younger son, Joe playing a game with his nieces at the base of the Christmas Tree. Soon Joe will be at the Shop as well. A flood of visions of brothers at the Shop hit Jack. He and his brother, his father and his brother and his grandfather Joe and his brothers all worked together there. The thought of the tradition going on pleases him. Big Jack’s train of thought is broken as there are calls for “Sentimental Journey,” one of the family’s favorites and he presses his fingers to the keys.

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Jack Sr., Betty Ann and Jane Kavanagh. Front room of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Christmas 1978.
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Joe(GI) Kavanagh, Jim O’Neill and Michael Ballard. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Christmas 1978.
Mary Handy xmas 1978 Lakewood
Handy and Mary Brandenburg. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Christmas. 1978.

 

 

Jimmy Carter is the President of the United States. The Neutron Bomb is developed but President Carter delays its production. Carter’s Camp David Accords yield a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. Jim Jones and 900 People’s Temple followers die in Guyana in a mass murder/suicide. “Hustler” publisher Larry Flynt is shot and paralyzed. The Susan B Anthony Dollar is minted. Women become fully integrated into the Army. The first legal casino opens on the East Coast in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Affirmed wins the Triple Crown of horse racing. Space Invaders ushers in the video game craze. The night time soap opera “Dallas” premiers. The films “Grease,” “Animal House” and “Halloween” are released. Kobe Bryant, John Legend, James Franco, Ashton Kutcher, Zoe Saldana, and Josh Hartnett are born. Edgar Bergen, Norman Rockwell, Margaret Mead, Harvey Milk and Ed Wood die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

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Big Jack Kavanagh in his office at 201 S. Central Avenue. 1970s.

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

Table of Contents

1977 Little Jack

January 9

On a cold Sunday, Jack watches Super Bowl 11 as the Oakland Raiders take on the Minnesota Vikings for the NFL Championship. He watches every year as do most Americans. It’s becoming a winter tradition in the US. The AFC’s Raiders lead this game the whole way and win 32-14.

January 28

Jack drives home from Central Avenue on this Friday. He drives along Pratt Street until reaching Patterson Park then turns left. The day passes through his mind as he waits at the light on Baltimore Street. A set of admiralty brass tubes were bent for Harvey Stambaugh. That was an easy one, no annealing necessary as admiralty is soft and Stambaugh furnished the tube. Charlie Owens tinned some very small pieces for ElJay Corporation. They still get tinning jobs occasionally but that old school coppersmith work is disappearing. Jack turns left onto Lakewood Avenue and is almost home. He pulls up to the corner, turns the quick right and parks on the Jefferson Street side of the house. He heads inside ready for dinner and then to watch a mini-series the family has been engrossed in. The Kavanagh’s have been watching “Roots” on channel 13. The series began on Sunday and has been running all week. The tale of an African-American family and its struggle from slavery to freedom is compelling. Jack and Betty enjoy it a great deal and their son Joe is particularly interested. He begins to ask questions about his family and how they came to America. While certainly not the story of an ancestor kidnapped into slavery, he imagines it’s a story worth hearing. During commercial breaks, he peppers his parents with questions about the Kavanagh family history. For several weeks, it is often the subject of conversation at the dinner table and afterward. Jack regales him with tales of Old Uncle Joe, the bootlegging and, of course, Jack Hart and Aunt Kitty. Betty chimes in as well or adds knowing nods when Jack reaches some particular point. When Jack and Kitty come up, Betty is quick to say they truly were in love. Joe is more fascinated after each chat. Jack and Betty instruct Joe to send a letter to Aunt Anna, Sister Mary Agnes, who now lives in Minnesota. She is a member of the Visitation Convent and they have re-located from Baltimore to Minneapolis. They tell him Aunt Anna will have some family information for you. The Kavanagh’s watch every minute of every episode of Roots and their interest is more than a curiosity with genealogy. They are also moved by the ordeal of this family as jt is portrayed and the inspired performances of the actors.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Eljay Corporation job. January 28, 1977.

February 11

Jim and Nancy welcome their second child, Katie Kavanagh O’Neill in Denver Colorado. Jack and Betty have been waiting patiently and are so anxious to meet the new baby. Long distance congratulatory calls are made and then plans to fly out to meet Baby Katie.

Nancy Maura Katie 1977
Nancy and Katie Kavanagh O’Neill. Denver. 1977.
Jim Nancy Maura Katie 1977
Jim, Nancy, Maura and Katie O’Neill. Denver 1977.

February 18

The Shop finishes a large heat exchanger for Spring Grove Hospital today. It takes nearly five hundred  feet of 3/4” copper tube but the Kavanagh’s have kept a big stock of tube for years. Jack must have close to five thousand feet of it on the racks upstairs. It’s another job from a hospital and Jack hopes that trend continues. He can always use more customers.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Sprng Grove Hospital job. February 18, 1977.

February 25

On a Friday night, Jack, Jane and Jack Jr. attend their first Washington Capitals game at the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland. It’s a bit of a drive but with no school or work on Saturday, Jack is fine taking his daughter and son. Jane likes hockey and has scored tickets to Baltimore Clippers games in the past from the telephone company where she works. This is the NHL though and Jack Jr. is very excited and he’s transfixed as he watches. Hockey is a game that is very dynamic to watch in person with a lot of fast action. The Caps are hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs and they win 4-2. The three Kavanagh’s have a lot of fun and even the ride home is full of chatter about the game.  If Jack wasn’t hooked on hockey before, he is now.

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Ticket to Jane and Jack Kavanagh Sr. and Jr.’s first Washington Capitals Game. February 25, 1977.

March 1

The weather has warmed a little but the work is still fair at best. Several angles are rolled for Codd Fabricators, some flat bars for Klaunberg and a finned heater is fixed for the Maryland House of Correction. A finned heater is a unit that is made from 180 deg and 90 deg elbows connecting copper tubes in a serpentine shape. The tubes are embedded in steel fins which conduct some of the heat. Repairs are problematic as you must fix the leaking tube while doing your best not to ruin too many fins. The Shop has fixed these for years so the crew can do it without much damage. Elbows are replaced and Foster’s Welding seals some gaps and the heater is returned to City Jail.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Maryland House of Corrections job. March 1, 1977.

March 18

Jack Jr. and a friend drive to the Capital Centre to see the Caps play the Colorado Rockies. Jack sees a rare rout for the Caps as they beat the Rockies 5-0 with Goalie Roger Crozier getting the shutout.

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Washington Capitals ticket. March 18, 1977.

April 7

The Orioles Opening day is this Thursday and the starting lineup looks a little different. Doug DeCinces is playing third base and a young hitter named Eddie Murray is DHing. Murray is a standout and looks to be the first baseman of the future but the absence of Brooks Robinson is most notable. Brooks is on the roster as a player-coach but his playing days are coming to an end. The Orioles lose a squeaker today in ten innings. Bert Blyleven out duels Jim Palmer 2-1 with both pitchers throwing 10 innings of ball.

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Brooks Robinson commemorative button. 1977.

April 19

April Kavanagh Ballard is born to Michael and Betty Ann Ballard today. Jack and Betty are able to visit this baby the day she is born. Betty Ann and Michael live in Arlington Virginia which is driveable from Baltimore. Jack and Betty can not believe they are suddenly grandparents three times over.

April infant2 1977
Apirl Kavanagh Ballard. April 1977.
April and Michael
Michael Ballard and April. 1977.

May 13

Jack’s crew spend a beautiful spring day trapped indoors in the Shop at the corner of Pratt and Central. The garage doors are opened wide in hopes of letting much of the sunshine and warmth into the building. The volume of work is still not where Jack wants it to be but getting better. The crew are busy bending  round copper tubes for a fountain and three square tubes for Baltimore Tube Bending. Jack’s idea of having John Benser make rollers during his idle time continues to pay off for him. Benser has made a variety of flat rollers and spacers for the Roundo and the Shop is able to curve a wider range of items and sizes. Square tubes are a perfect example.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Baltimore Tube Bending Co. job. May 13, 1977.

May15

The Kavanagh’s are descending on Arlington Virginia for Baby April’s Baptism. The ceremony is being held in Michael and Betty’s backyard and is officiated by Father Tim Madsen, a friend of Betty’s from college. Most of the family are there except for JoAnn who is April’s godmother. She is hung up in traffic on the Bay Bridge coming from Ocean City and Mary gladly stands in during the sacrament. Mary is always happy to help especially if it means more time with the baby. April’s big day is a beautiful one. Jack and Betty are either holding the baby or snapping pictures all day. April’s parents are very happy to be surrounded by many friends and relatives from both of their families. Little Joe is there and rides with sisters Jane and Ann. He’s excited to be an uncle again. Joe passes the time during the ride by reading a book in the backseat, a book recommended by Ann who read it because of Betty. Jane loves it too and they discuss it between chapters. The book is called “the Hobbit.”

Aparil, Betty, Mary, Michael at April's Christening
Mary Brandenburg holding April, Michael and Betty Ann Ballard. April’s Christening. Arlington Virginia. May 15, 1977.
Mom, Dad, & April at April's Chrstening
Betty Kavanagh holding April Kavanagh Ballard with Jack Kavanagh taking picture. April’s Christening. May 15, 1977
April & Betty April's Christening
Father Tim Madsen, April and Betty Ann Ballard. May 15, 1977.

June 6

Today is Monday and the first day of vacation for the Kavanagh kids.  Ann(16), Jack Jr.(14) and Joe(11) are happy to be finished with school and out in the early afternoon sunshine of summer. They are walking across the park to the Patterson Theater to see a newly released movie, a science fiction film set in space. All three of the Kavanagh’s are excited to see it. The commercials look great with spaceships and lasers. The movie is called “Star Wars” and they are seeing a matinee. The film is incredible. The Kavanagh’s love it. Action packed and thrilling with astounding special effects, compared to most B movie Sci-Fi Ann and the boys have seen, it looks almost real. After Chewie gives his call, Han and Luke receive their medals, the credits roll and the kids start talking about the show. Each thought it was incredible as did the rest of the audience. As they file out still chatting about the movie, they see something they have never seen before: a line running from the Patterson Theater up Eastern Avenue. The Kavanagh’s walk along it and are asked by many if they saw Star Wars? How was it? They say it was great and keep going. The line is over a block long, all to see this movie. Ann, Jack and Joe talk about it the whole way home. The movie, the effects, the line; they all agree maybe this Star Wars thing will be something big.

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Jack Kavanagh Jr. Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School picuture 1977.

June 8

Jack Jr. goes to work at the Shop for the first time. His father has informed Jack he will only have to work three days a week unless they are working Saturdays. He can still have off on Monday and Tuesday. Jack Sr. knows his boy is still young at only fourteen but so was he when he started. Little Jack, as he is called by the crew, is nervous but he is dutiful and does what he is told to do. Today he is told to sweep up and clean metal shavings from around the lathes and other machines. It’s not what he expected but he didn’t know what to expect. The workers are focused on getting a heat exchanger out for Housing Authority. It’s not a large unit but does have twenty-four tubes and Jack was told they needed it picked up by the end of the day. Jack is always a man of his word and the unit is out of the Shop by 2:30 pm. At the end of the day, Jack and his father are heading back to the house. They talk about the day and the men at the Shop. Jack Jr. is glad he got through this first one. Hopefully, it’s all downhill from here. After dinner, his younger brother fires questions at him about the Shop while Jack changes into clean clothes..

“So what was it like Jack? Did you run any of the big machines?” Joe asks as Jack pulls a Capitals t-shirt over his head.

“Dirty. It was dirty and no I didn’t run any machine unless a broom counts.” Jack’s wide grin spreads over his face.

“Sweep? You had to sweep? You mean you cleaned up? That seems boring.” Joe wrinkles his nose in thought.

“It’s work. It’s not supposed to be fun and you gotta start at the bottom, G. The first thing you do is help clean up. I guess.” Jack stands in front of the mirror and brushes his hair carefully.

Joe watches him curiously. He has noticed Jack’s sudden interest in his hair looking just so. Joe is accustomed to Jack calling him GI or just G. That’s the nickname Jack stuck on Joe as a baby. “How were the men? Do they have to listen to you since your Dad’s son?”

“No, No. It’s not like that. I am just a worker there. Nobody listens to me. I listen to them. Dad says by next week I’ll be helping to roll pipe.” Jack sends his brother a quick glance then returns his eyes to the reflection in the mirror.

“But what were the guys like? Were they nice?” Joe wants to learn all he can because he knows he will work be there some day too.

“Weird. They were weird but,” Jack pauses and sits on his bed across from his little brother. “Listen Joe. Its a work Shop. It’s not like school or anything like that. They were all fine to me. Maybe because I’m Dad’s son. I don’t know but it’s work. You are mostly too busy to care what anybody is like. You do what you’re told and can talk a little during breaks and lunch but most of the day you are doing stuff.”

“Was it hard work? I mean. You’re bigger than me. Do you think I’ll be able to do it?” Joe seems to be getting closer to the question he really wants answered.

Jack smiles. “Yeah, you’ll be fine and you’ll be bigger by then. You got a few years. You’ll see. Besides, I’ll be there. I’ll take care of you and Dad will be there too. Don’t worry about it.” he places a hand on Joe’s shoulder. “Come on. Let’s get the guys and play three flies up Ellwood Park before it gets dark.”

Joe hops off the bed. “Okay. Sounds good. Thanks ….. J.” Joe’s eyes widen and he chuckles and follows his brother down the stairs and out the front door.

July 15

The Shop has gained some more work but it’s still not the average summer. Jack has decided to alternate working half days on Saturday. The crew are happy to have any extra hours so it works for everybody. Everybody but Little Jack who seems to enjoy sleeping in on his Saturdays and would prefer to have them all off. Today Jack is finally working on a job. He’s cutting some copper tubes for  Harvey Stambaugh while five 4” pipe elbows are rolled in the R-5 for the Harry Campbell and Sons Co.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Housing Authority of Baltimore job. June 8, 1977.
Jack at bat Lakewood yard
Jack Kavanagh Jr. bunting. Backyard of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Mid 1970s.

July 19

Jack is watching the Major League Baseball All-star game and he can’t believe his eyes. Orioles ace Jim Palmer, the all-star starter, has given up three home runs and even thrown a wild pitch. Palmer will get saddled with the loss as he has a very rough night. It’s an exhibition and Jack hopes he got this out of his system and can return to his normal form for the Birds. The only other Oriole all-star is outfielder Ken Singleton. He is a solid hitter with a very good batting eye something that Jack believes is sadly lacking in many of the “free swingers” in the game today.  Singleton is hit by a pitch in his one at bat so there are few highlights for Baltimore fans with the National League winning 7-5.

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1977 MLB All-Star Souvenir Program. Signed by Ken Singleton.

August 6

The Kavanagh’s annual vacation to Ocean City starts today and this one will be very special. The O’Neill’s are visiting from Denver so granddaughters, Maura and Katie are spending the week with them. Jack and Betty can’t wait to show them off all over this beach town they love.. The long ride on Route 50 across the Bay Bridge is well worth it when they arrive at Royal Palm Court. They unload under the direction of Jack and put things away under the guidance of Betty. Soon the small house is set up for a week of living. The family spends days fishing and crabbing or at the beach, Jolly Roger Amusement Park or at miniature golf. Nights are spent walking on the boardwalk and visiting Marty’s Playland and Trimpers rides. Sister JoAnn lives in OC and is a great guide for the younger kids. She can take them out for a night of fun in the town better than most locals. She knows all the best places and the best deals. Jack and Betty spend as much time as possible with their grandkids. It’s a wonderful trip with lots of fun, games and great food. Soft ice cream, funnel cakes, cotton candy and Thrasher’s Fries are all consumed. The week goes by very fast but they enjoy the break. They head home on Sunday with school on the horizon.

Jim Jane Jack Joe Katie Royal Palm 1977
Jim O’Neill, Jane Kavanagh holding Katie O’Neil with Jack Jr. and Joe Kavanagh crouching. Royal Palm Court. Ocean City Md. Summer 1977.
Ann Jack Kav Royal Palm OC
Ann and Jack Kavanagh Jr. in the pool at Royal Palm Court. Ocean City. Mid 1970s.

August 20

It’s a hot, humid and sticky Saturday in the old Shop. Jack Jr. has nearly made it through his first summer but today puts him to the test. A set of copper U-bends for J.E. Hurley Company and a copper coil for Tydings, Lynch & Lorenz both require annealing. The heat of the torches make it almost insufferable in the old building. Both units are completed before the crew heads home and they will be picked up on Monday. This was a very tough day on Central Avenue. Little Jack manages but for the first time he begins to look forward to school starting next month.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Tydings, Lynch & Lorenz Co. job. August 22, 1977.

August 21

The Baltimore Orioles are in the thick of a pennant race and when catcher Rick Dempsey is ready to return from the disabled list, Brooks Robinson voluntarily retires. He knows his skills at the plate have diminished and the team needs the roster space. He can still “pick ‘em” as they say in the field but his batting skills are falling. Baltimore saw it coming but is saddened especially Joe Kavanagh. Brooks was his hero and he idolized him. The young boy spoke to Brooks a few times when he came over to sign autographs. Joe was always in awe but like it is for all boys, one day your hero steps down and this is that day.

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Brooks Robinson signed mounted picture. Courtesy of Joseph Kavanagh’s memorabilia collection.

August 22

A meeting of the Robin-Blair Sons is held before a Monday afternoon game in Patterson Park. With Brooks retired and both Frank Robinson and Paul Blair no longer with the Orioles, they wonder if they should change their name. The boys, Jack and Joe Kavanagh, Ray French and the Stakias brothers all agree to continue to play as the Robin-Blair Sons. Those players may be gone but they are not forgotten. With Jack working part-time they have less days to play but they still take on all challengers from the area. The six boys sometimes add another player, Greg Heaps a friend of Joe’s from St. Elizabeth’s or some other boy from the neighborhood.

Jack Joe Kav gang1
The Robin-Blair Sons. Standing- Jimmy, George(holding Haderacki) Stakias and Jack Kavanagh Jr. Crouched- Greg Heaps, Stayaul Stakias Ray French and Joe Kavanagh. Jefferson Street side of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1977.

September 18

A special celebrations is held today before the Orioles and Red Sox game and it is called “Thanks Brooks Day.” The Kavanagh’s are there along with a full house of Baltimoreans to pay tribute to the man who embodied the Orioles for over twenty years. His skills and competitiveness were what made him stand out but what made him memorable was the style and demeanor he displayed. He seemed like an average fellow. He could just as easily have been a fan in the stands but for his innate ability to grab a ball when it was bouncing in his direction. He was beloved by the Orioles fans and in their eyes he represented the last twelve years of success. Joe Kavanagh sits with his brother, sister and parents and his eyes fill with tears. He had this dream of playing second for the Birds alongside of Brooksie. He is just a boy who thinks such dreams come easily and if you can dream the dream, it can happen. Life doesn’t work that way and neither do dreams. His mother wraps her arm around the twelve year old. He is old enough to mask his tears but still young enough to shed them. The Orioles will always be his team. He will never stop being a fan but to say it will be the same without Number 5 would be an inaccuracy. The Birds lose to Boston 10-4 but on this day, few care about the score.

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Brooks Robinson commemortive glass.
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Brooks Robinson memorial pictures on placque. Courtesy of Joe Kavanagh’s memoriabilia colleciton.
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Brookos Robinson signed baseball. Courtesy of Joseph Kavanagh’s memorabiila collection.

September 30

The baseball season has come to an end and the Orioles finished in a tie for second place with the Boston Red Sox despite winning 97 games. It’s a great regular season for them but still not enough. The Yankees are a powerhouse and part of the reason is Reggie Jackson. Jack can only hope the Birds can find a way to top the Yanks next year. One positive sign for the future is young slugger Eddie Murray who wins the American League Rookie of the Year Award and Jack looks for big things from him. At the Shop, Jack has cut out all Saturday hours because the work has dropped as it typically does when winter approaches. Today a set of U-Bends are made for Stambaugh. The Shop has had a big year with Harvey’s company. This time the U-Bends are made from stainless steel which requires no annealing but they must be filled. Small tubes like these are not filled with rosin but with cerrobend. Cerrobend is a commercial industrial product used to protect hollow pipes and tubes during bending. Blocks of the cerrobend are boiled in a large pot then slowly poured into the tubes. It hardens quickly, far quicker than rosin and the tubes can be bent in a matter of minutes. The tubes then must be placed in large troughs and the cerrobend is boiled back out. It’s laborious but fortunately only the smallest radius tubes need filing. The tubes are completed, cleaned and delivered to Harvey’s shop on Woodall Street.

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Eddie Murray commemorative button. 1977.
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The Shop’s job book entry. Harvey Stambaugh & Sons Co. job. September 30, 1977.

October 2

Jack Sr. and Jr. are at Memorial Stadium today for the Colts home opener against the Buffalo Bills. The  Colts have started hot winning two on the road before taking this one 17-14. Baltimore will have a good year winning ten games and making it to the playoffs. The Jacks have a good time. They talk a bit about work and school but the focus is on football and the game. There is a comfort level they have with each other where they can almost finish each other’s sentences when it comes to talking sports.

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Baltimore Colts ticket to first home game of the 1977 season.

October 8

The O’Neill’s relocate to Baltimore and Jack and Betty are excited and thrilled to have them close to home. In fact, they move temporarily back to 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Betty says there is always room for family. So Jim, Nancy, Maura and Katie come to live with Jack, Betty, Ann, Jack Jr. and Joe. The rowhouse is suddenly crowded again just like old times.

Joe and Maura 1979-80
Joe(GI) Kavanagh and Maura Kavanagh O’Neill. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1977.

October 14

The Washington Capitals start their fourth season tonight versus the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Capital Centre and Little Jack is there with his sister Jane.  It’s a good start to the campaign with Jack’s favorite player Guy Charron scoring a goal and the Caps winning 2-1. Jack makes plans to go to as many games as he can from now on.

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Washington Captials ticket to first game of the 1977-1978 season.

October 16

Jack and his boys and the four O’Neill’s are watching the World Series with the New York Yankees facing the Los Angeles Dodgers. It would have been a crowded room in most places but not in that house. In tonight’s game six, Ex-Orioles Reggie Jackson powers three home runs out of Yankee Stadium and writes his name in the baseball history books. He also earns the nickname Mr. October as he finishes with a record five home runs in the Series and the Yanks take the Championship.

October 26

A set of angle rings are rolled for Baltimore Tube Bending in the R-3. Angles are the toughest shape to roll as the legs must be held straight and they tend to move during the bending process. The leg must be carefully examined after each pass and adjustments must be made to keep them as close to a good 90 deg corner as possible. The angles are completed and delivered by Harry Nadolski who has taken over as truck driver. Charlie Owens is nearing retirement and Jack thinks it’s best he not drive the truck anymore. When Nadolski returns, he has a piece of steel tube that Mr. Rogers at Baltimore Tube needs rolled. He brings along a wooden template the piece will need to match. Jack loves when one job goes out and another comes in on the same truck.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Two Baltimore Tube Bending Co. jobs. October 26 & November 1, 1977.

November 3

Two heat exchangers are finished and picked up today. Jack is very happy he keeps the stock he does as exchangers are becoming a large and important part of their range of jobs. One is for Sinai Hospital and the other for Maryland Hospital Laundry Company. They run laundry services for hospitals all around Baltimore City. Both are good-sized units and are two good bills to send out on the same day.

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The Shop’s job book Entry. Maryland Hospital Laundry Company job. November 3, 1977.

December 17

The three youngest of the Kavanagh children are spending Saturday at Jane’s apartment near Lake Montebello. She lives above Boh’s TV shop and she really loves the area. She runs around Montebello and in the neighborhood for exercise. Ann, Jack and Joe help Jane pick out a Christmas tree, transport it and then decorate it. In fact, they decorate her entire apartment with a bit too much exuberance. Tinsel is placed on every houseplant or knickknack in the place. Jane is surprised but amused. They bake cookies and have a day of fun while Jack and Betty are shopping and prepping for the holiday. The kids have such a good time, this becomes a yearly tradition.

Jack, Ann, Joe, Marua, Betty and Michael
Jack Jr., Ann and Joe Kavanagh holding Maura O’Neill, Betty Ann and Michael Ballard. Jane Kavanagh’s apartment above Boh’s TV. Montebellow Lake. 1976.

December 24

The Baltimore Colts are hosting the Super Bowl Champion Oakland Raiders at Memorial Stadium for a playoff game. Jack Sr. and Jr. are there and they are pulling hard for their team who are leading with just minutes to go when the Raiders tie it and the Colts lose in overtime. It’s a sad slow ride home but Jack tells his son it’s been a good season. Junior agrees but is quiet and a little moody about the game. He’ll focus on the Capitals and hockey and hope for a better year next time for the Colts.

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Jack Kavanagh. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Late 1970s.

December 25

The Kavanagh’s celebrate Christmas at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Betty, Michael and April make the trip up to Baltimore so it’s even more special. Jack and Betty are every bit the doting grandparents and enjoy every minute with the baby. The piles of Christmas presents grow again as even as a baby, April must get presents. The cycle seems to be starting over again and the family all take note of it. Another generation is growing so fast already. Such is how it is in a large family like the Kavanagh’s. Honestly, we never do anything small. It’s done big or not done. Turkey, parsnips, potatoes, stuffing and nearly anything else that can fit on the table is eaten. Jack plays the piano and they all sing as they do every Christmas. Another year has passed with two additions to the clan and with Little Jack learning the family trade. A time long waited for by his father. To train his son. To teach him as his father taught him. To guide him so he can do what Jack does some day. It’s the way it’s been done since Old Uncle Joe took on his nephews as apprentices all the way through Jack being schooled by Eddie. The fifth generation has arrived at the Shop though Junior still has a long road and much to learn. Jack and Betty’s family legacy gets bigger and even with so many in the home, there is always plenty of love to go around. It’s what happened on the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson. A great love between two people was spread over nine children only never too thin but rather it seemed to deepen and envelope them all and any who came into that house too. If you spent any appreciable amount of time in the Kavanagh home, you felt it. It touched you. If you grew up there, it warmed you, sustained you and it was all you knew.

 

 

Jimmy Carter is the President of the United States of America. The US agrees to return the Panama Canal to the nation of Panama. The Trans Alaskan Oil Pipeline opens. For twenty-five hours, a large scale black out hits New York City. The first Apple Computers and the first Atari Video Game Consoles are sold. Seattle Slew wins the Triple Crown. The films “Saturday Night Fever”, “Slap Shot” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” are released. Billy Joel’s album “the Stranger” debuts. Tom Brady, Floyd Mayweather Jr., John Mayer, Kerry Washington and Laila Ali are born.  Elvis Presley, Groucho Marx, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby and Ronnie Van Zandt die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

April Katie playpen Lakewood Ave
Katie Kavanagh O’Neill and April Kavanagh Ballard. Front Room of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1977.

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

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1976 The Bicentennial

January 7

Jack pulls his keys to the heavy metal doors at 201 S. Central Avenue from his pocket and unlocks both padlocks. He swings the door open, enters and heads into the office while his crew arrive in ones and twos but all on time. Jack(51) and his wife Betty(46) have nine children but only three are still living at home, Ann, Jack Jr. and Joe. The older girls have moved out with Nancy and Mary both married now. Mary and her husband Handy live on Bucknell Road and Nancy and her husband Jim live the farthest away in Denver with their baby girl, Maura. Eldest daughter BettyAnn lives in Washington DC, Jane and Jackie have apartments in Baltimore and JoAnn has moved to Ocean City to live. Jack is very proud of his brood and they stay close regardless of whether they are local or not. Jack’s Shop has started this year the same as last. They are slow even for January but have a few jobs. The country is in recession with rampant inflation. Gas prices are going to the moon and there are shortages to boot. For the first time Jack can remember, sometimes you have to stand or park in line to get gasoline. Jack is sure things will be fine as he sits in the corner office with his brother Ed and secretary Helen Glodek. The work will pick up and hopefully this gas crisis will be resolved. A set of nine pipes are bent for the Heat and Power Corporation today. Though they have three bends each, it’s a fairly simple job. They are bent in the Leonard Air Bender and finished in three hours total.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Heat and Power Corporation job. January 7, 1976.

January 18

Jack sits in his chair drinking a bottle of National Premium on Super Bowl Sunday. The Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Dallas Cowboys for the NFL Championship. Jack loves football and despite Pittsburgh bouncing the Colts from the playoffs, he roots for them and they win 21-17. Jack thinks of his son-in-law Jim O’Neill. Jim and his family are from Pittsburgh and are all fans. Jack might have enjoyed a little good-natured ribbing at Jim’s expense if they had lost but he prefers Jim to get the win. In Jack’s mind, if it can’t be the Colts, it might as well be the Steelers.

Maura April 1976
Maura Kavanagh O’Neill. Denver. 1976.

February 12

An unseasonably warm February Thursday is a quiet one at the Shop. There are a couple jobs in the works including a copper coil which is finished for the Ackerman and Baynes Company, one of Jack’s local fabricator customers. The coil took a lot of time and certainly more than Jack figured in the job. It happens sometimes. You don’t always cover the time and,  on this one, Jack bid it a little low because he really needed the work. Despite all of this, it will be a good sized bill to send out. While this coil is finished by the Glenn brothers, two men are rolling some flat bar rings for Universal Metal Products and the rest are doings some cleaning up and maintenance on the machines.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Ackerman and Baynes Fabricators job. February 12, 1976.

March 16

The mild February has led to a cold March so far but the work has picked up some. The Shop has been well cleaned and that’s never a good thing. Jack knows a clean Shop is not a busy Shop. He might not like the mess but if it’s because the crew doesn’t have the time to clean, that’s a good thing. A set of pipes are rolled for Codd Fabricators, one of the Kavanagh’s oldest customers. Codd sends work in regularly. They are located on Aliceanna Street about five minutes from the Joseph Kavanagh Company. This makes deliveries and pick ups much easier. Codd is owned by Ray Kaufmann and his family while their shop is run by Pete Kolb. Jack knows both Pete and Ray and considers them both work “friends.” The two companies work together well.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Codd Fabricators job. March 16, 1976.

April 1

It’s April Fool’s Day at the Shop which means nailing other worker’s boots to the floor, giving people a  “hot foot” and the possibility that Ed might slip a Tums in your coffee cup if you let your guard down. Pranks and jokes are common in any working environment but in a dirty metal Shop it comes with the territory. Jack gets a chuckle out of it all and doesn’t let it bother him. As long as the work is done, he lets the boys have their fun. His brother Ed, of course, is usually right in the middle of it. Another reason Jack lets the playing go on is they are still waiting for more work. It will get here. Jack is sure but in the interim he has the men keep cleaning and he has John Benser making tools for stock. It’s a good use of free time and they will need the tools eventually.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Stock rollers made for Roundo machine. April 1, 1976.
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Baltimore Orioles souvenir helmet.

April 9

It’s a Friday opening day for the Orioles and that’s Jack’s favorite. A Friday is the easiest day for him to leave work early. He picks Betty and the kids up and they head out to Thirty-third Street for the game. Jack is excited for the start of the season. The Orioles made a big trade just a week ago acquiring perennial all-star Reggie Jackson from the Oakland A’s. Jackson is a power-hitting left-handed outfielder and the Birds hope he can put them over the top. Baltimore wins a squeaker today 1-0 with the only run scoring in the fourth inning on a couple of errors and a Bobby Grich single. Reggie doesn’t play in the game but will have a terrific year for the Orioles belting 27 home runs while surprising the league with 28 stolen bases.

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Baltmore Orioles souvenir Bobblehead Bird. 1970s.

April 18

Jack is pleased to receive a rush job from Sinai Hospital. They have a boiler that is down and they need a heat exchanger repaired. The Shop has made and repaired exchangers for the City Housing Authority for a few years and the word has spread to other agencies and now hospitals. Copper tubes are annealed and bent into U’s, brass spacer plates are cut and drilled and the new unit is assembled as quickly as possible. Jack wants this one out fast in hopes it will lead to more work from Sinai down the road.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Sinai Hospital job. April 18, 1976.

May 31

The Kavanagh’s return from a weekend at the beach. It’s Memorial Day and the family spent the holiday at Royal Palm Court. The kids have a few days of school the following week then are finished for the summer. Jack Jr. will graduate from St. Elizabeth’s and move on to high school. He received his Confirmation in the Catholic Church two weeks prior and Mom and Dad are full of pride in the young man he is becoming. Jack and Betty have a wedding to look forward to this summer. Betty Ann is engaged to Michael Ballard, a young man from Kentucky who she has been seeing for some time.

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Jack Kavanagh Jr. in front of St. Elizabeth’s School. Spring 1976.

June 10

The Summer has arrived with a bang, a slew of orders and jobs has hit the corner of Pratt and Central. Jack immediately adds Saturday hours to the schedule and the crew are happy for the extra money. A very large set of copper U-bends are finished for Harvey Stambaugh & Sons. It’s four hundred and thirty-six bends and takes over one hundred lengths of tube. Jack always keeps a big stock of copper and this helps him in getting work. Most other companies do not keep this much in stock but the Kavanagh’s have been working with copper long enough that Jack knows to keep plenty on hand.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Harvey Stambaugh Co. job. June 10, 1976.

June 22

The work is suddenly plentiful and it’s a good thing the workers did some cleaning and maintenance when they could. A mix of angle rings, railings, a set of brewery fittings for National and some stainless steel shafts for a machine are all bent today. The shafts are sent in from the William H. Whiting Company and they are rolled in the R-3 by Mike Glenn. They are only four feet long so one man is all it takes. Jack stands in the front of 201 S. Central and watches his men at work. Anytime he can do that and hear the grinding and whirring of machines and the thud and clang of metal being moved, he is happy.

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The Shop’sjob book entry. William H. Whiting Co. June 22, 1976.

June 26

Betty Ann Kavanagh marries Michael Ballard at St. Andrew’s Church in Wheaton, Maryland. Her parents are excited for her and the Kavanagh clan and some of the Crew family drive from Baltimore for the celebration. Nancy and baby Maura fly in from Denver. Jack and Betty are happy to have another daughter married and pleased to welcome Michael into the fold. The Kavanagh family keeps growing and that will only continue.

Betty and Michael Ballard Wedding 1976
Michael and Betty Ann Ballard. Wedding Day. June 26, 1976.
Betty Ann and Michael Ballard. Wedding. Cake picture. 1976
Betty Ann and Michael Ballard. Wedding day. June 26, 1976.
Jack Kavanagh and Buddy Crew. Betty Ann's Weding. 1976
Buddy Crew and Jack Kavanagh Sr. Betty Ann and Michael’s wedding. June 26, 1976.

July 4

This Sunday is the United State of America’s 200th birthday and the Kavanagh’s celebrate. Crabs and shrimp are steamed and burgers and hot dogs are grilled. A large fireworks display is held at the Inner Harbor and a mammoth cake is floated on a barge from Fort McHenry. The family watches it all on television from home and the youngest, Joe, is excited. His head is full of a giant cake a la Paul Bunyan. He’s a bit disappointed when the cake becomes a bit of a civic embarrassment. The cake sits for several days before the holiday and rain and rats take their toll. Some substitute pieces of cake are sold and the Kavanagh’s as a group, are a little disappointed in this too. The cake is rather dry but cake is still cake. The day is a very patriotic and festive one. The family knows this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and they do their best to take it all in.

Jack and Joe Kav July 1976
Jack Jr. and Joe(GI) Kavanagh. July 1976.
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Maura Kavanagh O’Neill. Denver. 1976.

July 17

Jack glances out of the window onto Jefferson Street. He’s home on a Saturday afternoon and watching his boys play wiffle ball on the side of the house. He smiles to watch his sons and their friends as they play as he did. His boys still play on their neighborhood team, the Robin-Blair Sons. The core is Jack and Joe and their friends Tommy and Ray French but Tommy is getting older and sometimes is too busy to play. The team is usually augmented for games by other boys in the neighborhood. This summer it’s been three young Greek boys who moved onto the 500 block of Lakewood, the Stakias brothers. Jack and Joe like these boys and with six, they rarely have to find any one else to get up a game even with a bigger team. Jack lets the curtain close and sits down in his recliner flipping the seat back. He opens the newspaper as Betty enters from the kitchen, tea for each in tow. She takes her seat closer to the window and instinctively checks on the boys. She turns to Jack.

“Well, my darling, how do you like being a Grandad?” she rocks in the chair and crosses her legs while she lets her tea cool.

Jack blows on his then takes a small swallow. “Hmm? I love it. Of course. She’s something. I gotta tell you, Betty. I love that little girl.” Jack smiles soft as only a father of seven girls can. All Daddy’s girls in his eyes and the chance to feel that again with this baby girl warms him.

Betty takes a sip from her cup then continues. “I’m glad you feel that way, Jack. I love that baby so much too and…. I have some news.”

Suddenly Jack perks up and places his cup roughly in the saucer, the sound making Betty wince. “News? What do you mean? Are they having another baby?” his grin getting ahead of itself with excitement.

Betty pauses then slowly nods. “Maura is going to have a baby brother or sister early next year.”

“Oh Gee, hon. That’s great.” He claps his hands together and is on his feet in a flash “Another grandbaby, Betty. Oh I can’t believe it.” He steps closer and lifts her to her feet wrapping his arms around her. “Another grandchild.”

“Yes, Jack. Another grandchild. Another baby.”

Jack Joe part gang Lakewood
Standing-George Stakias, Jimmy Stakias, Jack Kavanagh Jr. Stooping down- Stayaul Stakias and Joe Kavanagh. Lakewood and Jefferson. Standing in front of Jefferson St. wall. Mid 1970s.

August 7

The Kavanagh’s take their annual vacation in Ocean City at Royal Palm Court. The kids sleep a little in the back while Jack and Betty drive through the early morning Saturday hours. They love this city. Now that they have this small place of their own, they both dream of retiring here some day. A long way off no doubt, but it’s a goal they share. Jack loves the water, the fishing and crabbing. Betty loves the solitude and sunshine. She loves nothing more than to sit outside with the scent of the sea, the warmth of the sun and the feel of a book in her hand. They reach Ocean City mid morning and Betty sets them to unpacking and setting up the bedrooms for the week. She cooks as much as she can at Royal Palm. It’s much cheaper to eat at home rather than go out but they do treat themselves occasionally. Saturday night will be spent at Granny’s Pizzeria on 17th Street. Gooey cheese, perfect sauce and crisped thin crust is how they do it and they do it right. It’s the kids’ favorite and Jack and Betty love the black olive pizza. The rest of the week is a whirlwind of fishing, crabbing, rides, arcades and soft serve ice cream. It goes by in a flash and the following Sunday they are driving back across the Bay Bridge on their way home.

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Jack and Joe Kavanagh and unknown other boy in pool at Royal Palm Court. Summer 1976.
Joe Kav Aug 1976 Busch Gardens
Joe(GI) Kavanagh. Busch Gardens. 1976.

September 6

It’s Labor Day and the Kavanagh’s have returned from another long weekend in Ocean City. It’s the end of summer and the ride home was a quiet one. The children will return to school tomorrow for another year. Jack Jr. joins Ann at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Joe is the last to remain at St. Elizabeth’s. Jack, Betty and the kids are watching the end of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Jerry introduces the “Chairman of the Board” and Jack shushes them all to silence. Jack is a huge admirer of Frank Sinatra. Frank sings and then brings out a special guest, Dean Martin and the old duo of Martin and Lewis are re-united for a few moments. Jack and Betty smile broadly and it’s that sudden rush of nostalgia and feeling yourself pulled back happily to your youth. The kids know this is important as they have spent hours watching those old movies with their father. The Telethon once again passes the previous year’s high and the summer is truly over as the credits roll. The children scatter to find some fun for those last few hours before bed,  then school. Betty is glad to have some time alone with Jack.

“Well, Jack. I have some news for you.” Betty leans over and kisses him quick then sits down facing him.

Jack returns the kiss and smiles. “What is it, hon? Something with the kids’ school?”

The corners of Betty’s mouth crinkle in a grin. “No, no. We… are going to be grandparents again next year. “

“I know that, Betty. Nancy told us.” Jack replies as he lifts a glass of iced tea to his lips.

“I said again. Yes Nancy is having a baby. But so is Betty.” her eyes flash very wide.

Jack suddenly scoots forward in his chair and turns to face her more directly. “What? Really? Betty too?”

“I’m serious. Betty too.” Betty’s lips purse together for a moment in a more whimsical smile. “There will be two babies next year.”

Jack chuckles merrily and rises to his feet closing the distance between them quickly and they embrace. “Two more babies.” Jack whispers in her ear.

“Mmhmm.” Betty answers softly.

Joe Kav July 1975 with fish Royal Palm
Joe Kavanagh with fish. Royal Palm Caourt. Mid 1970s.
Jack Kav on bike Royal Palm
Jack Kavanagh Jr. Royal Palm Court. 1974.

September 19

Jack and Little Jack attend the Colts home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s a close one but Baltimore pulls it out winning 28-27. Jack and his son discuss the game throughout and on the ride home. These are special times for a father and son especially in a household the size of the Kavanagh’s. Any alone time with Jack Sr., is precious to his children when there are so many.

September 23

The Shop has completed a busy summer and the Saturday hours come to an end. Jack still has work enough to keep the crew busy but not enough for the weekend time. Today a Davit Boom is bent for Crown, Cork and Seal Co. A Davit Boom is a section of pipe that is bent on one end to facilitate lifting heavy objects often from the water or a boat. A winch or chain fall is attached to the top and the curve aids in supporting and lifting whatever the object is. Jack had an order for two of these from Crown, Cork and Seal two weeks ago and today a third is bent.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Two Crown, Cork and Seal Co. jobs. September 1976.

October 6

The Washington Capitals open their third season at home hosting the Atlanta Flames. Jack Kavanagh Jr. is listening from his bedroom leaning as close as he can to the radio. Lakewood Avenue is at the bottom of two hills,  and radio and television reception can be a challenge. Jack has this fancy Channel Master and can get the game but some nights it’s a little staticky. He holds his ear close because he has to keep the sound down too. The TV is on downstairs and his father is watching so it’s best to keep the radio volume down. Jack is becoming a bigger hockey fan with each season. He loves the action, the speed and the skill of the game. He has acquired a second hand stick and pucks to play around with and practice. Jack enjoys tonight’s broadcast immensely. The Caps win 6-5 and will make some steps forward this year winning 24 games and climbing out of the cellar of the Norris Division.

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Jack Kavanagh Jr. and Jerry Sheppard in Webloes uniforms. Mid 1970s.

October 20

Jack calls Mr. John Rogers at Baltimore Tube Bending to tell him a piece of 4” pipe is ready and it will be delivered shortly. The pipe was rolled in the R-5 to 90 degrees and will be used as an elbow. It’s a typical job for the Shop but one that is too big for Baltimore Tube Bending to do themselves. Rogers and Jack discuss the World Series as well. The Orioles did okay winning 88 games but just as last year, they will finish second in the Eastern Division. The Yankees were in first and won the ALCS as well. They are playing the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series and so far, the Reds are up 3 games to none. Jack is hoping for a sweep. Even though New York is the American League team, they are in the Birds’ division and Jack can’t root for the Yanks. He just can’t do it. He will get his wish in two nights when the Reds finish it off and take the World Series championship.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Baltimore Tube Bending Company job. October 20, 1976.

November 2

Democrat Jimmy Carter defeats incumbent Republican Gerald Ford to win the presidency. The Kavanagh’s vote for Carter. They have been members of the Democratic Party for three generations and in this case, the Nixon administration left a bad taste that Ford had very little chance of overcoming.

November 9

Another heat exchanger is completed today. This one is for a local YMCA. This unit uses bigger tubes than most exchangers. Usually they are made with 3/4” copper tube but this one needs 1 1/4” O.D. The Shop does stock this size and the boys get right to it. Lengths of copper are pulled from racks then cut and annealed. They are bent in the Leonard Air Bender,  then trimmed to size. Finally, the unit is put together, the tubes expanded to seal and it is stamped with the Job# and the date for future reference.

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The Shop’s job book entry. YMCA job. November 9, 1976.

November 27

The Kavanagh’s visit Aunt Anna, Sister Mary Agnes at the Visitation Convent. She is happy to hear all the latest on the two babes that are on the way but she also has some news of her own. The Visitation building on Roland Park Avenue has been sold by the Archdiocese. Her order is moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota and she with it. The family is very surprised as they see her almost every month and have done so for over thirty years. Sister Mary Agnes tells them she is excited for the challenge. She will miss them all dearly and Baltimore too but she is ready for a change if that is what God has planned for her. The move will not be until next year but Jack and Betty already promise to fly out to see her if they can. Aunt Anna promises to write to them which she has always done. She is a prolific letter writer and corresponds with many friends and family.

Visitation
The Visitation Convent. 5712 Roland Avenue. Baltimore, MD. 1929.

November 29

Jack is watching the evening news and Reggie Jackson has signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent. His tenure in Baltimore was a brief one. Jack shakes his head and mutters, “those Damn Yankees.”

Jackson Reggie NY77-274_FL_NBLMcWilliams
Reggie Jackson in New York Yankees uniform. 1977.

December 14

It’s a very cold Tuesday in the old Shop and Jack and the crew’s minds are on their work but also the approaching holiday. Thoughts of gifts for their kids, time with family and time away from work fill all their thoughts. The year has been fair. A slow start lead to a busy summer and now to a steady end to 1976. A fountain is finished for Fountain Craft company today along with a 3” Pipe for Service Machine and Welding. The pipe is thin wall but does not require filling. Still, it must be rolled slowly or “babied” as Jack would say to keep the distortion of the pipe to a minimum. Jerry Purnell and helper Forest Glenn take care of this one in the R-5. Jack is very happy with the Roundo machines. He has two and is beginning to consider purchasing a third. He would love something even bigger than the R-5 but for now, he will wait. He will keep thinking about it for down the road.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Service Machine and Welding Company job. December 14, 1976.

December 19

The Colts host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs and the two Jacks are there. Both are excited for a re-match of last year’s playoff game and perhaps some revenge against the Steelers. The Colts are an offensive juggernaut this season leading the league in points scored and quarterback Bert Jones wins the MVP of the league. Baltimore has the home field advantage this time but it doesn’t help. The game turns ugly early with the Colts trailing 26-7 at the half and finally losing 40-14. this game is tough to watch so the two Kavanagh’s decide to leave early along with many of the Colts fans. It’s good fortune many do because minutes after the game is completed, a small plane crashes into the upper deck of Memorial Stadium. Jack and Jack are listening on the radio and can’t believe what they hear. It could have been much worse if the stadium had been full at the time. The pilot was arrested and sent for psychological evaluation.

December 25

It’s Christmas Day on Lakewood Avenue and this year feels merrier than most. It’s always a beautiful Christmas at 447 but this year is special. A wedding, a baby and two more on the way. Jack and Betty can hardly contain themselves. The front room is decorated as always with a large tree, pieces of cut up tree around the mirror over the piano and along the stairs. Santa’s elves are placed about and a small Nativity sits on the radiator. There are piles of gifts for each of the children with the youngest, Joe’s being the largest. He’s still in the toy phase at least for a few more years. Food is abundant and music flows from the piano punctuated by Jack’s deep throaty voice leading them in song. They welcome and celebrate Christmas,  then bid it farewell in fine fashion. Jack and Betty will watch their family grow even more next year as the next generation gets bigger. Their kids are grown or growing up and they are happy but a little sad too. They have had small kids in the house for over twenty years and the sound of play is one they relish. Fortunately, the grandchild will fill any silence that appears. Jack has one other thing on his mind this Christmas. Jack Jr. is fourteen. It’s time for him to begin to learn his trade. Jack has discussed it with Betty and next year, Little Jack will start at the Shop. The fifth generation will come to the Joseph Kavanagh Company.

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Jack Kavanagh Jr., Joe Kavanagh and Maura Kavanagh O’Neill. 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1976.

 

 

Jimmy Carter is the President of the United States after defeating Gerald Ford. The two-dollar bill is re-introduced by the US Treasury. The ABA and the NBA merge. The Naval Academy accepts its first class that includes women. The first outbreak of Legionnaires disease occurs in Philadelphia. The space shuttle Enterprise is finished and unveiled to the public. The Band play their last concert and it is made into a movie, “the Last Waltz.” The company Apple is formed by Steve Jobs. The films “the Omen,” “Rocky” and “Taxi Driver” are released. I read “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Ryan Reynolds, Peyton Manning, Rashida Jones, Pat Tillman and Matthew Shepard are born. Sal Mineo, Howard Hughes, J. Paul Getty and Jack Cassidy die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

Fort McHenry. Courtesy of Getty Images
Fort McHenry. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1975 The First Grandchild

January 12

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and Jack is watching the game from 447 N. Lakewood Avenue.  The AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers are matched up against the NFC Champion Minnesota Vikings. Jack pulls for Pittsburgh. They are in the same conference as the Colts and Jack usually pulls for the AFC team. Also, his son-in-law Jim O’Neill is from Pittsburgh and is a big Steelers fan. Jim will be happy today as the Steelers win 16-6. Jack and his wife Betty are anxious grandparents to be. Jim and Nancy called from Denver on Christmas Day to let them know they were expecting. Jack and Betty are on pins and needles and as excited as they could be to become Granny and Grandad. Jack hops up from his recliner after the game is over and walks into the front room. He sits at the piano and plays a few tunes. Music relaxes him and he plays every day. Even while playing, his mind is always at the Shop on some level. It is winter and they are not particularly busy which is typical. They have a little work to start the year and tomorrow’s schedule rolls through his mind. The Shop has some 1 1/2” pipes to bend for Custom Steel Fabricators and three angles to roll for J.C. Pardo. Jack remembers he has to have both of those jobs knocked out early so they can be picked up in the afternoon as promised.  His crew will take care of it first thing and it will be fine. He’s pulled out of his thoughts and his playing when he hears Betty calling everyone for dinner. He closes the cover on the keys, clicks off the light that sits on the piano and heads into the dining room.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Custom Steel Fabricators job. January 13. 1975.
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The Shop’s job book entry. J. C. Pardo job. January 13. 1975.

February 18

Two 4” pipes are completed for Baltimore Tube Bending today. This company bends small pipes and tubes very much like the Shop does but they are unable to handle larger pieces. When Mr. Rogers at Baltimore Tube Bending has bigger pipes or tubes to bend, he calls Jack and sends them over. This job is welcomed by the crew as it will require filling the pipes with rosin. That means using torches to melt the rosin before filling and then again to get the rosin back out. Any torch work in February is a good thing and warms the old Shop up a bit. The pieces are finished and then delivered by Charlie Owens this afternoon.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Baltimore Tube Bending Company job. February 18, 1975.

March 13

The Shop has made it through another winter and they have stayed steady if not busy. Jack will take that. He knows the stories of winters at the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Even as far back as Old Uncle Joe, the winter was always the most challenging part of the year to find work. A repair job for the Housing Authority is finished today. A heat exchanger was leaking and it was sent in for testing and repairs. The tubes are cut from the unit and they are checked. One tube is found to have a small pinhole. Another is bent to replace it and the unit is re-assembled, now in full working order.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Baltimore Housing Authority job. March 13, 1975.

April 11

The Orioles opening day is a Friday and the Kavanagh’s are there. Jack left his brother in charge & rushed out after lunch to get them all to the game. The Orioles are hosting their Eastern Division rival Boston Red Sox. The Birds have changed a bit in the off season. Gone are long time pitcher Dave McNally and long time first baseman, Boog Powell. Newcomers are starter Mike Torrez, first baseman Lee May and a young corner outfielder, Ken Singleton. This game is a close one that takes extra innings to decide. Finally, in the 12th inning, Carl Yastrzemski crushes a home run to right off Doyle Alexander and the Red Sox win. The Kavanagh’s head home after the loss still confident in their Birds team.

May 6

The spring has brought in a little more work but not as much as Jack had hoped. Most of the crew are busy but for John Benser, the machinist. During his idle hours, Benser makes dies and rollers for stock. Today he takes the final cuts on a set of 1 1/2” O.D. rollers for the R-3. They are turned down, faced off and grooved in a lathe. Finally, the old belt-driven shaper is used to cut the keyways. John Benser is Jack’s longest tenured employee. He spends much of his time in the upstairs machine shop making parts for jobs and on days like today, making assorted tools.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Stock set of rollers for R-3 made May 6, 1975.

June 1

JoAnn Kavanagh graduates from Catholic High School on this Sunday. She is the last of six daughters to attend CHS. Her Mother and Father are very proud of her as is her maternal grandmother, Nanny who is at the house for a small party to celebrate.

JoAnn's Graduation with Nanny 1975
JoAnn Kavanagh at her graduation with grandmother, Nanny Crew. June 1, 1975.

June 2

JoAnn boards a bus and moves to Ocean City, Maryland. She has told her parents she wants to live at the beach and promises to find a job and work hard. She does just that and her first job is on the boardwalk at Steve’s Carry Out. The place is located directly opposite Trimper’s Amusements, a place the Kavanagh kids have loved for years.

JoAnn 1975 OC
JoAnn Kavanagh. Working on the boardwalk in Ocean City. Summer 1975.

June 4

The Kavanagh’s are at Memorial Stadium to watch the Orioles play the Texas Rangers on a Wednesday night.  The Birds have struggled out of the gate so far and they lose another tough one tonight. Just as it was on opening day, this takes 12 innings to finish with Grant Jackson getting the loss in relief. Jim Palmer pitched a good game. His only mistakes being solo home runs to Texas outfielders, Jeff Burroughs and Mark Hargrove. Both Orioles’ runs were driven in by Lee May including a solo homer of his own. Jack is concerned about his team but he knows it’s early. He knows they have good pitching and still have good hitting. He is sure they will get it straightened out.

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Baltimore Orioles ticket stub. June 4, 1975.

June 10

A rush of work has hit Central Avenue and Jack is relieved. He offers his men half-day Saturday hours and they gladly accept. Jack will keep that up as long as the work warrants it. His workers are split over a handful of jobs including a brass railing, a municipal fountain and several pipe rolling jobs. Another 4” Pipe is completed for Baltimore Tube Bending. This one does not require any filling as the pipe is heavy enough to handle the rolling process without collapsing. The pipe is rolled into a ring and needs to be trimmed and welded shut. Jack usually stays away from any extra fabricating or welding after the bending. Bending and rolling is their forte and Jack prefers to stick with what they are best at but for Mr. Rogers at Baltimore Tube, he is fine with it. The crew trims the ring then sends it up the street to Foster’s Welding. Jack Foster is another of Jack Kavanagh’s work “friends.” Foster’s is two blocks away so it’s simple and quick to run material up there and back. Foster’s handles the welding very well and the job is completed. Jack Kavanagh knows Foster’s does good work. In his mind, if he can’t trust another Jack, who can he trust?

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The Shop’s job book entry. Baltimore Tube Bending Company job. June 10. 1975.

June 21

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Ann & Jack Jr. take the bus to the Strand Theater. They are going to see a movie that was just released called “Jaws.” Their little brother is too young to go according to his mother, Betty. His sister and brother head off to the movies and he sits alone in the basement. Betty calls him upstairs to go to the store for her. She says we need a can of string beans for dinner and ushers him out the door but not before letting Joe know, he can buy himself a comic book and a candy bar. The little boy suddenly has a smile on his face and he races back across the street from Coby’s, the corner store. His father is in the front room playing the piano so Joe plops down in his Dad’s recliner. He tears open an end of the Hershey Bar and immerses himself in the adventures of the Flash, his favorite super hero. Jealous thoughts of his older brother and sister are gone as the Flash takes on Captain Cold in a battle for the fate of Central City. In a few hours, Ann and Jack return from “Jaws.” They were both shocked to see a line to get into the theater. Apparently, this happened all over the country. This movie that starts with some very ominous music becomes a smash hit and the summer blockbuster is invented.

Joe 1975 Lakewood Ave
Joe(GI) Kavanagh. Birthday at 447 N. Lakewood Ave. Sitting in his father’s chair with a model & Tom Swift Jr. books. June 17, 1975.

July 2

On a hot summer Wednesday, the crew at 201 S. Central are anxious for the holiday. Jack has promised if they can finish up early tomorrow, he’ll get them all out of there by 2 pm tomorrow. That will give them a couple of hours then a long weekend which they all are looking forward to. The Shop is full of the high-pitched creaking of steel as it is rolled in the Roundo machines mixed with the slamming of the Pines Bender. After each bend, when the bend arm of the Pines returns it smacks hard against the machine. The sound of work and labor has filled this building for over sixty years and today is no different. The job in the Pines is for Washington Aluminum Co. Forty 2 1/2” aluminum pipes are bent and so forty times the machine’s ram must crash back and thud rhythmically. Jack is happy with the volume of work. It’s his job to worry about the place and worry he does. When there is a backlog of scheduled work for two weeks or more as there is now, he worries a lot less.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Washington Aluminum Co. job. July 2, 1975.
Jim and Nancy O'Neill Summer 1975
Jim and Nancy O’Neill. Denver, Colorado. Summer 1975.

August 2

Jack, Betty and the three youngest children, Ann, Jack Jr. and Joe are driving across the Bay Bridge in the very early dawn hours. Now that they have a home in OC, they can take short weekend trips whenever possible. They have taken several so far this summer but today starts their real vacation. A week with the Shop closed and the Kavanagh’s at the beach, fishing, crabbing and hitting the boards. They also get to see their daughter JoAnn who has been living and working in Ocean City since her graduation. It’s an annual trip and the family loves it. This year they are a bit distracted with the impending birth of Nancy and Jim’s baby. The baby is due this month so they are getting close.

Jack and Joe fishing 1974
Jack Jr. and Joe Kavanagh. Fishing in Ocean City. Mid 1970s.
Nanny at Nancy's baby shower 1975
Bernadine “Nanny” Crew. Nancy O’Neill’s baby shower. 1975.

August 11

The Kavanagh’s returned from their vacation yesterday but are met with very sad news. Betty’s mother has passed away very suddenly. She was having some routine exploratory surgery for pain she has been having and she never makes it out of recovery. Betty is devastated. She has always been very close to her mother and she is heartbroken. It seems doubly so as she wanted more than anything for her mother to know her first great-grandchild. The family gathers and mourns her. Bernadine Crew is the only grandmother the youngest of the kids ever knew. Nanny was loving and caring and essentially the prototypical grandmother; the family’s sadness is heavy. Nanny’s funeral is held at St. Elizabeth’s Church and she is buried at New Cathedral Cemetery where much of the family are interred.

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Announcement of Bernadine “Nanny” Crew’s funeral in St. Elizabeth’s bulletin. August 17, 1975.
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Bernadine MacErlain (Crew). Circa 1910.
Nanny and Uncle Buddy
Bernadine Crew with firstborn Lawrence “Buddy” Crew. Late 1920s.
Nanny & Bunk
Bernadine crew with son Howard “Bumpsey” Crew. Circa 1970.
Nanny 1970
Bernadine “Nanny” Crew. 1970.

August 17

Sometimes in a period of great sadness, suddenly there is great joy. Maura Kavanagh O’Neill is born to Jim and Nancy in Denver Colorado. Jack and Betty and the assorted Kavanagh’s are thrilled and very excited. This baby is the start of a new generation. Jack and Betty are grandparents and it is a role they have looked forward to for some time. After Maura’s birth, six sisters become aunts and two brothers become uncles including the youngest who becomes Uncle Joe at the tender age of ten. Betty flies out to Denver for a week or so and is joined by Jack for the second weekend. They are as happy as they can be to meet their first grandchild.

Nancy Jim Maura 1975
Nancy and Jim O’Neill with baby Maura. Denver, Colorado. August 1975.
Mom and Maura September 1975
Betty Kavanagh holding Maura O’Neill. September 1975.

September 2

The Kavanagh kids who still remain at home all head back to school today. Ann starts her second year at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel High School in Essex while the boys both return to St. Elizabeth’s Elementary for another year.

September 19

Another heat exchanger repair is handled today for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. This unit is larger containing 41 tubes. They are removed and tested with four having leaks. Replacements are bent and a new spacer plate is drilled then the exchanger is put back together. Housing Authority is a good reliable customer. Jack can count on some work from them every month. This will be the last week for working Saturday half-days and this is how it usually goes at the Joseph Kavanagh Company. They are slower in the winter, busier in the summer, enough to work extra hours,  then the rest of the year is steady. At least during any good year.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Baltimore Housing Authority job. September 19, 1975.

September 28

Jack is taking his son Jack Jr. to his first football game. He’s wanted to do this for a few years but was waiting for his boy to get a little older. The Colts first game at Memorial Stadium this season is against the Oakland Raiders. The Orioles had a good year winning 90 games but have to settle for second to the Red Sox and they miss the playoffs. The two Jacks are disappointed but they have high hopes for the Colts. The Raiders beat Baltimore today 31-20 but the Colts finish the year strong winning nine in a row to take the AFC East Division and secure a playoff berth.

Joe and Maual Crew 1974 Bucknell Road
Joe Kavanagh and Manuel Crew. The Crew home on Bucknell Road. Mid 1970s.

October 7

The Washington Capitals or simply “Caps,” as their fans begin to call them, lose their home opener to the Pittsburgh Penguins in DC 4-2. It will be another hard year for the fledgling franchise but they will gain one very enthusiastic fan.

October 11

On this Saturday, a new late night comedy show premiers. It is called Saturday Night Live. The live show consists of short comedic skits, a monologue or two from a host and musical guest performances as well. Tonight the host is comedian George Carlin and music is provided by Bill Preston and Janis Ian. Ann and Jack Jr. stay up to watch and they love the show. Jack particularly enjoys a sketch about a Samurai laundromat attendant. Little Joe doesn’t see the appeal and he would rather stay in bed in his room watching late night horror movies presented by “Ghost Host” or “Creature Feature.” That was the boys’ usual Saturday night viewing but Jack Jr. may be getting too old for that.

Joe and Manual 1974 Bucknell rd
Joe Kavanagh and Manuel Crew. The Crew home on Bucknell Road. Mid 1970s.

October 17

Jack and his brother Ed sit in the small corner office at Pratt and Central. Ed eats a shrimp salad sandwich from one of the delis at Corned Beef Row while Jack has his usual ham sandwich from home. It’s the end of another week at the Shop and the brothers casually discuss the jobs Jack has lined up for next week and what has to be completed today. The last job that needs finishing today is for the Poole and Kent Company. Four pieces of 2 1/2” heavy steel pipe must be rolled to a 28 ft. Radius. It’s a straight forward job in the R-5. Jack tells Ed to let him know as soon as they are working on the last piece so he can call the customer and get them on their way to pick up.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Poole and Kent Company job. October 17, 1975.

October 24

It’s a Friday night and the Kavanagh household is happy to have reached the weekend. The World Series is over and football is played on Sunday but on this day, another sport squeezes into Kavanagh fandom. Little Jack received a fancy radio for his birthday last month and since has been searching the dial for fun things. He finds the radio broadcast for the Washington Capitals hockey game. Jack listens closely as an announcer, Ron Webber, describes the action. He is hooked. Fall and winter nights will soon be spent with ear close to radio and Jack’s interest in hockey grows very quickly. The Caps are young and struggling but Jack does not care. He finds he loves hockey as much as baseball and football and perhaps over time, even more.

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Jack Kavanagh’s radio from 1970s. Picture taken February 2020.

October 21

It’s a Tuesday night and Jack and his sons are watching game 6 of the World Series. The Boston Red Sox are down 3 games to 2 to the Cincinnati Reds and this game in Fenway is a must win for Boston and its fans. The Reds jump out to a lead but Boston rallies back and the game is tied 6–6 and goes into extra innings. Jack and the boys talk about the game as they watch. It’s an exciting one and all three are on the edge of their seats. As the clock passes eleven o’clock, a voice from the top of the stairs is heard.

“Jack? Jack? It’s past 11 o’clock. The boys have school tomorrow. You know.” Betty calls down  to her husband.

The room grows eerily quiet in an instant. Jack Jr. and Joe try to sink into their chairs a bit as if that might hide them from view. Jack takes a sip of his beer and keeps his eyes focused on the television.  “I said it’s past 11. You boys better get to sleep. You have to get up for school tomorrow.” Betty repeats herself.

“Sure hon, The game’s almost over. They’ll be right up.” Jack answers without looking away from the game.

Betty tries again. “Jack? You have to get up too.” An audible sigh moves down the stairs.  “Fine. Fine. Nobody listens to me in this house. Heading toward midnight and children awake.” She shakes her head hard enough that the boys could almost sense it from the first floor. She returns to her bed muttering, “Patience is a virtue.”

The room stays quiet for a few more minutes and the boys realize they are being allowed to stay up. Jack never confirms this but his silence and ignoring of their mother tells them so. The young Kavanagh lads are quite happy they are allowed to watch the end when Boston Catcher Carlton Fisk steps to the plate in the bottom of the 12th. They see something pretty special. Fisk drives a pitch deep into left field but right down the foul line. As Jack and his boys lean forward, Fisk is seen jumping up and down waving his arms toward fair territory. As if by the strength of his will, the ball stays fair and bounces off the foul pole for a home run. The Red Sox win and this moment is forever remembered in the annuls of baseball lore. Fisk’s waved fair shot. Jack immediately ushers his sons up the steps and into bed. He’s glad he let them stay up. It’s another baseball moment they won’t soon forget. Baseball though is humbling and this is no clearer than on the next night when the Reds come back from a three run deficit to win 4-3 thus taking the championship. The Kavanagh’s will watch that game too but it’s game 6 they will never forget.

November 29

The Kavanagh family visits Aunt Anna at the Visitation Convent on this Saturday after Thanksgiving. In the order, she is named Sister Mary Agnes but is always Aunt Anna to her family. She is Jack’s father’s sister and the last of her generation. Jack, Betty and the kids visit as often as they can and always close to the holidays. They catch up with her on her teaching and she on the family. She is nearly as excited as Jack and Betty at the arrival of Nancy’s baby. After a nice long chat, the family heads home to enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend.

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Aunt Anna Kavanag(Sister Mary Agnes) in front of Christmas tree at Visitation Convent. Mid 1970s.

December 15

The end of another year is approaching and the Shop is finishing strong. They have a solid two week backlog and Jack believes that will extend to the beginning of 1976. This year, they have received a few calls for small parts for local brewers and distillers but those jobs are more and more infrequent. The bulk of the Kavanagh’s work is rolling and bending metal for construction, fabrication and an assortment of other applications. A set of pipe rings are rolled in the R-3 for Codd Fabricators while some 1 1/4” pipes are bent for a sculpture for Stan Edmister. The Shop has helped Mr. Edmister with a couple of projects and Jack is hoping the word spreads to more artists. Work is work and Jack will take any and all he can get.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Codd Fabricators job. December 15, 1975.

December 25

It’s Christmas Day on Lakewood Avenue and the family celebrates as they always do. They gather and enjoy the day as one. Presents are exchanged, a feast is shared and music and song will fill the house. For Jack and Betty, this Christmas will always be special. Jim, Nancy and baby Maura are back home for the holiday and the baby is held, passed around and held again by any and all. Jack and Betty have lived in this house for about thirty years now. They have raised nine children and now there is a grandchild. Betty misses her mother dearly and will take some time to heal but if there is anything that helps her, it is this miracle of a baby. Betty takes any chance to snatch her up and hold Maura in her arms while Jack is content to make faces and say “boozey gitsie” and other nonsensical things to amuse the little one. The baby seems non-plussed but the rest of the Kavanagh’s chuckle for this is how Jack was to all of them. The end of the festivities finds the family gathered around the piano. Jack plays and everyone joins in singing if they know the words. Christmas carols are played and those favorites from long ago that he and Betty love. He slips into “As Time Goes By” and sends a lingering glance to Betty. When he sings certain songs, he is singing to her. This is one perfect example. She returns his look and this is their present to each other. What they have shared and done together. This suddenly growing again family and each of these moments. They are precious to them both and to be savored, enjoyed and recounted as time goes by.

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Sheet Music to “As Time Goes By” from Jack Kavanagh Senior’s collection.

December 27

Maura Kavanagh O’Neill is baptized at St. Elizabeth’s Church where the Kavanagh’s are parishioners and have been for generations. Jack and Betty are proud grandparents as are Jim and Nancy proud Dad and Mom. Most members of both families are there and Jim plays the song “Greensleeves” on the flute as part of the celebration of the sacrament. It’s a beautiful service but the family then rushes down Lakewood Avenue to get home. The Colts are in the playoffs and face the Steelers today in Pittsburgh.  The Kavanagh’s and O’Neill’s of Pittsburgh sit down to watch the game and it goes the Steelers way. They beat the Colts 28-10. A tough day for Colts fans but the Kavanagh’s will take it. They welcomed a new family member into the Church today and the assumption is, Maura pulled a favor to help her Dad’s team.

Maura in snow suit late 1975
Maura Kavanagh O’Neill. Winter 1975.

 

 

Gerald Ford is the President of the United States. Due to the energy crisis, Daylight Savings Time starts two months early. Saigon falls thus ending the Vietnam War. Elizabeth Seton becomes the first American Roman Catholic Saint. The ship the Edmund Fitzgerald sinks. Bill Gates founds Microsoft. Busch Gardens opens in Williamsburg, VA. “Wheel of Fortune” premiers on TV. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” debuts on Broadway. The films, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Towering Inferno”, “Young Frankenstein” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” album are released. Angelina Jolie, Tiger Woods, Drew Barrymore, Alex Rodriguez and Ray Lewis are born. Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Ozzie Nelson, Casey Stengel and Rod Serling die. Teamsters Union Leader Jimmy Hoffa disappears.

There are 50 states in the Union.

Newborn Maura 1
Maura Kavanagh O’Neill. August 1975.

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

Table of Contents

1974 Hank Aaron and the Capitals

January 13

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and Jack watches the game drinking a National Premium beer. The Miami Dolphins are facing the Minnesota Vikings and Jack enjoys the game. The Colts weren’t in it but he roots for the AFC Champion, Dolphins. He looks curiously at the beer bottle as he drinks. National was a good customer for many years. It wasn’t so long ago the Shop’s primary work was servicing the brewery and distillery industry. That work has diminished greatly. They still make a few occasional customer parts and fittings but it is more and more infrequently. Brewers and distillers are moving west or closing completely in Baltimore. Fortunately, the bending and rolling has become the Shop’s main function and Jack’s customer list grows every year. There are many applications for curved metal and this seems to help keep the work steady. If one industry is slow then it is likely some other company will need something bent. It’s a somewhat small niche but with a wide array of customers. It was Jack’s idea to buy the machines they use every day now and his father opposed it. Jack was right on that score and his father wrong. He takes another swallow of beer as the Dolphins celebrate on the field after winning 24-7.

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Ed Kavanagh Jr. Mid 1970s.

January 15

A few different sizes of angles are rolled for McNamara Fabricators. Inflation and recession has hit the country and Jack has noticed a drop in work. It’s the winter and that is to be expected but it’s a bit more pronounced this year. The Shop has work but only about a week’s backlog. That’s okay but two weeks or more gives Jack a little more security. He’s happy with what he has and is most grateful that he has a good hard-working crew. His brother Ed and eight other gentlemen work hard for Jack. He relies on them and he treats them well in return.

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The Shop’s job book entry. McNamara Fabricators job. January 15, 1974.

February 12

Jack and Betty purchase a summer home in Ocean City. Royal Palm Court at 1231 St. Louis Avenue. Jack has squirreled away a little money since his father’s death and they put the funds into this house in OC. They will rent it out when not on the Eastern Shore to help cover the mortgage but now they have their own  place to stay when they take their vacation and weekend trips.

February 26

With a recession hitting the nation, the Shop has been buoyed a bit by the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. After several years of repairing and replacing heat exchangers, the Shop is starting to be a regular supplier for them. Jack receives several calls every month from Mike Winchester, who handles their maintenance, and the Housing Authority sends in at least one exchanger each time. It’s annealing and bending copper tube which is the Kavanagh’s forte. After bending, the tubes are inserted into a thick plate used as a header. The exchangers are slid into a boiler and mounted, then are used to generate heat or hot water depending on the boiler.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Housing Authority of Baltimore job. February 26, 1974.

March 29

Three 4” Pipes are rolled for a drilling apparatus for Ocean Drilling & Exploration Company. Jack is not sure what the application is,  apart from knowing it’s part of their equipment. The Shop often receives one-off oddball jobs if they require bending too. Sometimes these are repairs or replacement parts as the Shop did in the past for brewers and distillers. The parts are either so old or so custom that replacements aren’t available so they must be made. If there is custom bending involved, people call Jack Kavanagh.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Ocean Drilling and Exploration Corporation job. March 29, 1974.

April 5

This chilly breezy Friday finds the Kavanagh’s at Memorial Stadium for opening day. The Orioles are hosting the Detroit Tigers and win 3-2. Jack, Betty and the youngest of their children see a good game with Baltimore ace Jim Palmer outdueling Mickey Lolich for the win. Palmer runs into some trouble in the last inning and reliever Grant Jackson steps in and gets the save. The kids chatter on the way home about the game and their hopes for another playoff season. Jack drives the car in silence but is thinking the exact same thing.

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The 1974 Baltimore Orioles team picture from the American League Championship Program.

April 8

Jack sits in his recliner in the living room watching Monday Night Baseball with his sons, Jack Jr. and Joe. He sips a beer and talks to the boys about the game. This one could be special he tells them. The Los Angeles Dodgers are facing the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium. Braves’s slugger Hank Aaron just tied the great Babe Ruth for most career home runs at 714 four days ago. Jack’s father was the biggest Ruth fan you could imagine. Ruth was from Baltimore and Eddie Kavanagh held him in high reverence and that admiration passed to Jack when he was a boy. The Babe was Jack’s favorite when he was growing up. He even had the chance to see Ruth play once in an exhibition game in Baltimore. There was no local MLB team so any chance to see a big leaguer was a thrill but this was Ruth. That was something Jack would never forget. He regales his boys on the feats of Ruth and those days,  then talks of how amazing it is that another man has finally passed the 700 plateau and tied the Babe. Jack and the boys watch as LA jumps out in front early and the three hope they get to see Aaron surpass the Babe’s record in person. Jack wishes it more than his boys as he truly recognizes the historical significance and how big this event could be. Jack Jr. and Joe pepper their father with questions about the game and Babe Ruth as they watch,  but all of them grow silent as Aaron steps to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. Pitcher Al Downing’s second pitch is a fast ball and Hank Aaron does not miss it. Hammerin’ Hank certainly hammers this one and it sails high into the air heading toward left-center field. Three sets of eyes on Lakewood Avenue grow large and they watch in awe as the ball lands on the other side of the fence. Henry Aaron has done it. He is the new All-time Home Run Champion. The boys whoop and holler while for a brief moment Jack takes this in. Ruth’s record has fallen and a black man receives one of the loudest standing ovations ever before a crowd in the Deep South and is named king. The significance eludes the boys but Jack is keenly aware of it. The moment ends in a flash and Jack hops up from his recliner and rushes up the stairs. His boys assume he has to go to the bathroom or something as few things made their Dad run at home. He returns with a bag and pulls something from it. Two somethings. He hands each of his sons a souvenir baseball commemorating Aaron’s 715th homer. The boys are amazed and then hold each ball up high as if it were the actual ball hit by Aaron. They hug and jump up and down while Jack’s thoughts are a whirlwind. He wants to remember it all and does. He memorizes these seconds of glee shared with his boys and so do they. His thoughts travel to his father and all those years of being a Ruth fan. Jack thinks of his youth and how Ruth was the man that all boys looked up to and wanted to be. Now there is a new home run king and Jack is happy for Aaron and for the game of baseball. How he managed to have those two balls and work it out so the three of them could watch this incredible accomplishment together, I’ll never know. The man had a way about him. He had impeccable timing. It will be a memory etched in the three Kavanaghs’ minds forever.

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Hank Aaron 715th home run souvenir ball. April 8, 1974.
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Jack Kavanagh Sr. in his chair in living rom of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. Mid 1970s.

April 10

The winter is over and the usual step up in work has arrived with the spring. The Shop finishes a set of pipe rings for the Fieldsboro Welding Company. Welders are becoming a larger percentage of the Kavanagh Company’s customers. A welder invariably will need pipes, tubes or angles bent at some point. Some he can do himself by hand but it will require lots of grinding and clean up. A good pipe bend or angle ring saves time and welders are coming to the Shop for them. Fieldsboro had ordered a set of these rings last week and came back with a bigger order to follow. That’s a good thing for Jack.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Fieldsboro Welding Company jobs. April 5 and April 10, 1974.

May 7

Despite the arrival of better weather, the Shop is still not particularly busy. Jack wonders if he’ll be able to work Saturdays this year. His workers have come to count on it as extra money in the summer and he has come to expect the same. Jack will have to wait and see. They have a fountain they are working on, some angles for Codd Fabricators and a long railing. There is work but Jack would very much prefer to have more on the books.

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Joe and Ann Kavanagh. On the stairs at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1974.

May 24

The Kavanaghs drive to the Eastern Shore of Md and spend the Memorial Day weekend at their new vacation home, Royal Palm Court. Royal Palm is a long line of small rowhouses connected together. There are two small bedrooms and one bath but to Jack and Betty it is a dream come true. They have wanted a home of their own here for a long time. They truly love Ocean City and having their own place will make visiting easier. The family gets in its usual mix of crabbing, fishing, beaching and boardwalking then rush home around noon to reach Baltimore before dinner time.  It’s a fun weekend and Jack and Betty will do all they can to visit as often as they can.

JoAnn and Joe Fishing in OC. 1974.
Joe and JoAnn Kavanagh. Fishing in Ocean City 1974.
JoAnn Fishing in OC. 1974.
JoAnn Kavanagh. Fishing in Ocean City. 1974.

June 6

The work has stayed steady but not busy enough to warrant Saturday hours. Jack prefers to work half day Saturdays but this year the volume of jobs isn’t there and he wants to be sure to keep everyone busy during the normal forty hours. The boys are putting together a heat exchange for the Baltimore City Housing Authority. Jack watches as the bent tubes are slid into the holes in a tube sheet. The sheet is 1” thick and is the header for the unit. The exchanger itself fits into a boiler but it is the copper tubes that furnish the heat. After the tubes are inserted. They are expanded to a very snug fit. A handheld machine that is similar to a drill is used. Instead of a drill bit an expander is pushed into the tube. When used the expander does exactly as the name infers, expanding or stretching the tubes diameter to seal the holes. When tube is expanded to the proper fit, a slight whistle is heard from the machine as the engine stalls for a second. Jack stands thinking and listening to the off and on whir and spin of the engine broken up by this soft high-pitched whistle over and over.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Housing Authority of Baltimore job. June 6, 1974.

June 11

Jack sits in his office at 201 S. Central Avenue. He’s finishing his morning coffee and talking to his secretary Helen Glodek. Helen comes in at nine and leaves at two, sometimes making a bank deposit on the way home. She keeps the work hours straight for the employees and does the payroll. Just as important as the time and the pay are taking messages for Jack and keeping customer up to date on their orders. As they finish their coffee, Gichner Ironworks calls and asks about an order for a 2 1/2” Aluminum Pipe bend. It’s a custom piece being made to match a template furnished by Gichner. Jack lets them know it is in the machine and will be ready in less than an hour.

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The Shop’s job book entry.. Fred S. Gichner Iron Works job. June 11, 1974.

July 1

In addition to gaining more welder customers, Jack has had good luck with the local metal fabrication shops both small and large. Most can do some bending maybe even some rolling but with the Roundo machines and the pipe benders Jack has, he can do these things easier, quicker and make a better product. The Fab shops also have limited tools whereas the Shop has been making tools for their machines for decades. These many tools widen the range of curves and bends they can do. F. H. Klaunberg is one such fabricator customer of the Kavangh’s. A dozen 1 1/2” steel angles are rolled into small diameter half-rings for them today. It’s probably something they could do but not as well or as cheaply as Jack and his rollers can.

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The Shop’s job book entry. F.H. Klaunberg job. July 1, 1974.

August 8

The Kavanagh’s are having a big family summer vacation in Ocean City. The Shop is closed and the family is at the beach. Enough Kavanagh’s are on hand that Jack and Betty need to rent another place for the week. Jack and Betty’s daughters, Nancy and Mary and their husbands, stay at Royal Palm while Jack and Betty rent a dockhouse right on the Bay. It’s five minutes from Royal Palm with a back porch for fishing. Jack has always loved the idea of waking up and tossing a line out from the back of his house. There is even more family down for the week as Betty’s brother Bumpsey and his family are in OC as well. It’s a busy week with a lot of fishing but today the family takes a break from their vacation to watch the news coverage as President Nixon resigns. The walls were closing in on the Nixon presidency. The nation is shocked to watch it unfold but perhaps not too shocked. The Watergate scandal has dominated the media and the country’s attention for over a year and in the end, it led all the way to the top. Vice-President Gerald Ford assumes the presidency and before the end of the year, he will give Nixon a complete pardon.

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Jack Kavanagh Sr. and fish. Dock house. Ocean City. 1974.
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Bumpsey and Manuel Crew. Fishing at the Dock house in Ocean City. 1974.
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Bumpsey Crew and Joe Kavanagh. Fishing at the Dock house in Ocean City. 1974.
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Joe Kavanagh and fish. Dock house. Ocean City. 1974.

August 26

Jack walks from the back of the Shop where 3” angles are being rolled for Codd Fabricators. He had a quick chat with Jerry Purnell who was rolling them with a new helper, Mike Glenn. Mike’s brother Forest has been at the Shop for several years and brought him in to replace a young fellow who has moved on. Jack’s brother Ed hired both Glenns and he has taken quite a liking to them. Jack feels he can trust them but then again that is true of all his employees. If he didn’t trust you, you couldn’t work for Jack. He heads toward the office and passes the Leonard Air Bender where some 1” OD steel tubes are being bent for the Chesapeake Canvas Co. by Eddie Buckingham. After the tube is clamped tight in the machine, a lever is flicked and a hiss of air is released as the pressure pulls the arm around. These are u-bends and very standard fare for the tube bending Kavanagh Shop.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Chesapeake Canvas Company job. August 26, 1974.

September 2

Jack and Betty are on another return trip to Baltimore. They spent the last weekend of summer at Royal Palm with JoAnn, Ann, Jack and Joe, the last four of their children and the only ones still living at home. The kids return to school tomorrow. JoAnn for her last year at Catholic High, Ann in her first year at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel High School and Jack & Joe continuing at St. Elizabeth’s.

“I sure love this place, Betty.” Jack glances over at her in the passenger seat. The boys are chattering to each other while the girls are in the far back of the station wagon listening to music. Luckily, it’s low enough that Jack can’t hear that “racket” as he often calls it.

Betty smiles over. “Me too. This is our dream. It’s peaceful. There’s beach, sun and the sea.” her smile widens to the corners of her eyes. “The kids love it.”

“This kid too.” Jack chuckles “Best money we ever spent. I know it’s going to stretch us for a few years but it will be worth it.”

“Jack, you know we’ll make it work. We’ll do this and that. We’ll rent the place out weekends we’re not there and it will all be fine. Then it will be all ours, soon enough.” Betty replies as her eyes roll left to see what the boys are up to.

Jack’s eyes stay focused on the road. “Yes we will. We will.” His voice trailing off with those last words to be replace by Jack singing softly to himself. “Fly me to the moon. Let me play among the stars.” He turns again to Betty. “We’re on Ritchie Highway, hon. We’ll be home to see the end of the telethon.”

“Good. I have to see the end. I always hope Jerry does at least a little better each year.” She stares out the window watching the road go by and thinks of dinner and lunches for tomorrow to be made when they get home.

Ann - JoAnn OC 1974
Ann and JoAnn Kavanagh. Boardwalk. Ocean City 1974.
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Jack Jr. and Joe Kavanagh. Frontier Town. Ocean City. Mid 1970s.

September 22

The Baltimore Colts first home game is against the Green Bay Packer and Jack Kavanagh is there with his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Bumpsey and Shirley Crew. The Packer win 20-13 and the rest of the season is just as bad. The Colts finish in last place with a dismal record of 2-12.

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1974 American League Championship Souvenir Program.
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Scorecard from the 1974 American League Championship Program.

October 9

The Orioles lose the American League Championship Series to the Oakland A’s for a second year in a row. The final game, game four, is in Baltimore and the Kavanagh’s are there. The Birds are trailing 2-0 in the final inning and rally to score one but Rollie Fingers strikes out Don Baylor and the game is done. It’s a disappointment but it’s baseball. The Orioles have been on a strong run for ten years. Jack and his kids are not happy about it but they enjoyed the season and hope the team can keep it up. The Kavanagh’s love their teams and will be fans no matter what. As the Orioles’ season ends, the first steps of another of those teams is taken. For this very same evening, an expansion hockey team the Washington Capitals play their first game losing 6-3 to the New York Rangers in NY.  A rough start to a very rough first year for the franchise. It’s met with little fanfare in neighboring Baltimore but soon Jack Kavanagh Jr. will become a fan. Evenings will be spent listening to games on the radio in his bedroom and daylight hours are often spent on street hockey then eventually, Little Jack gets a pair of skates to play on ice. His allegiance to the team and the sport grows quickly then spreads to his brother, his sister, his father then soon most of the Kavanaghs become strong Caps fans. It will take a few years for the team to find any success but Jack Jr. is as faithful and supportive a fan as any team could ask for.

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Washington Capitals souvenir mug. 1970s.

October 17

The A’s win their third straight World Series defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers. The A’s establish themselves as one of the great modern dynasties with three championships in a row. It’s a rueful dynasty in the sense that twice they downed the Orioles in the ALCS. The Kavanaghs watch the series despite the Birds absence from it. Jack and the kids pull for the A’s due to their loyalty to the American League. It also lessens the sting of losing to them when they beat everybody else and go on to win it all.

November 27

The crew on Central Avenue have a little more pep in their step on this Wednesday, Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and Jack and his men are anxious for the holiday and the four day weekend. A few things are finished up before they can get out of there including some galvanized pipes rolled for Jensen Manufacturing. AT 2:15 pm, Jensen picks the pipes up and Jack sends everyone home. Happy Thanksgiving’s are hurriedly wished to one and all as the building empties in minutes.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Jensen Manufacturing job. November 27, 1974.

December 10

The Joseph Kavanagh Company is barreling toward the end of another year. They haven’t been swamped and there was no working on Saturdays for the crew but it could have been worse. The number of jobs didn’t require much overtime this year but they had work consistently. Not a good year but not a bad one either. Some 6” structural channels are completed in the R-5 today. The customer, MLM Company, needs some channels curved and a few straightened then re-rolled. These are used as concrete forms and often are re-used thus they need the straightening first. The straightening takes longer than the rolling. It’s a challenge and must be done carefully and slowly. Also, they must be taken out of the machine after each pass to check the progress. It’s labor intensive and a good job for the rush to the end of 1974.

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The Shop’s job book entry. MLM Company job. December 10, 1974.
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Roundo R-5. Picture taken November 2019.

December 25

The Kavanagh’s celebrate Christmas at Lakewood Avenue on this Wednesday. It’s a day full of happiness, togetherness and caring. Gifts are piled in mounds in the front room though they are not as numerous as in years past. Most of Jack and Betty’s children are grown but the youngest still clamor and wait for this morning with great anticipation. The kids feel fortunate. They get two Christmases these days. One on the Sunday before the big day with Betty’s Mom, Nanny and her family then this one. Little Joe feels particularly lucky as he received four Star Trek action figures from his godfather, Bill Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman was a long time border at Nanny’s old house and he is now a very close family friend. Joe also suspected this would mean the Bridge of the Enterprise play set would be under his tree and it was. It’s a Christmas he won’t forget as he can be Kirk, Spock, Bones or Scotty or take turns being all four. Jack grins wide in silence as he watches his little boy playing out pretend adventures full of that unbridled happiness a child feels from getting that most wanted gift. A large turkey feast is prepared by Betty. Two turkeys are baked. One thirty pounder for the noontime meal and the second smaller is necessary or there would be no turkey sandwiches. That would we unacceptable in the Kavanagh household. Their children gather with some other friends and the usual mob of about twenty people eat together and welcome the holiday. Jack plays the piano and everyone sings along as they do on every holiday. Betty speaks to daughter Nancy who lives in Denver with her husband Jim O’Neill. They talk of the holiday and a special Christmas present. As things wind down at the end of the day, Jack thanks Betty for another wonderful perfect Christmas Day. After the last of the children have gone to bed, the couple discuss Christmases past and even those to come. They have shared many good times and some bad times together. They made it through deaths in the family, several miscarriages and Betty’s bout with polio. Their bond of love has been unwavering and despite the world around them has always been the least of their concerns. This year they faced a recession like all of the country yet managed to achieve one of their dreams. They have a place at the beach in Ocean City now. A place they can call their own they can stay at whenever the mood strikes them to get away. It’s a small place but they are accustomed to that. They made the rowhouse at the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson work for nine kids and this will work for them too. Jack and Betty are happy. They have managed to live their dream life so far and have received an abundance of happiness to more than balance out those bad times. On top of all this, Jack and Betty are on-the-moon with excitement. Nancy gave Betty some news. Next year, they will receive an unexpected but long wished for gift, their first grandchild.

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Betty Kavanagh. Christmas in kitchen of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. 1974.

 

 

Gerald Ford is the President of the United States after Richard Nixon’s resignation. The 55 MPH Speed Limit is implemented. President Ford gives Vietnam War draft evaders amnesty. The MRI is invented. Construction on the Alaskan Pipeline begins. The films “the Godfather 2,” “Blazing Saddles” and “Serpico” are released. Stephen King’s first book, “Carrie” is published. Patty Hearst is kidnapped. The world’s population reaches 4 billion. Leonardo Dicaprio, Jimmy Fallon, Derek Jeter, Duff Goldman,  and Hilary Swank are born. Earl Warren, Duke Ellington, Charles Lindbergh, Jack Benny and Ed Sullivan die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

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Hank Aaron 715th home run souvenir ball and sleave. April 8, 1974.

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

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

1973 The Designated Batter

January 14

Jack watches the Super Bowl from his home at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue. The Colts had a rough year and were not in the playoffs but nearby Washington DC is represented. The Redskins are NFC champions but lose the Super Bowl to the Miami Dolphins. Miami takes the championship and finishes undefeated on the season. The first and only team to ever do so.

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Joe (GI) Kavanagh and cousin Manuel Crew. New Year’s Eve 1972.

January 15

All American offensive maneuvers in Vietnam are suspended by President Nixon indicating that progress is being made in the peace talks.

January 22

Jack and most of Baltimore are a little sad today. He sits in his small corner office reading the paper and  learns that Johnny Unitas has been traded to the San Diego Chargers for future considerations. Unitas’ career is winding down and the end seems near at hand after last season. This closes a door on a part of the Baltimore Colts history. Jack will miss Johnny U who was a great passer and a great leader on the field but most of all, Jack would say he was a winner. Unitas knew how to win. Jack folds the paper up and walks out into the Shop. They have some but not a lot of work to start the year and all of Jack’s crew of eight are busily working on jobs.

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Joseph Kavanagh Co. promotional coffee cup. 1970s.

January 27

All American involvement in the war between North and South Vietnam ends. The country rejoices and now waits for the last of its soldiers to come home.

February 6

A mix of flat bars and angles are rolled for Lambert Fabricators today. Bill Schmidt, Jerry Purnell and Eddie Buckingham work on this job. Templates are cut to the desired radius,  then the flat bars are rolled in the R-3 while the angles are rolled in the R-5. The Roundos are working out very well for Jack. They are used nearly every day at the Shop. The rolling and bending work has grown nearly as fast as the brewery and distillery work has diminished. The alcohol industry in the Baltimore area is waning as more companies cut back operations, move west or go out of business. Fortunately, word has spread in the metals industry of the Kavanagh’s capabilities for bending and rolling.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Lambert Fabricators job. February 6, 1973.

March 14

The Shop completes an order for the J.C. Pardo Company. Pardo makes equipment for the food service industry and nearly all of their work is in stainless steel. This job has some 1” Pipes that are bent in the Pines Bender by Eddie Buckingham and some flat bars rolled in the R-5 by Jerry Purnell and a young helper named Forest Glenn.

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The Shop’s job book entry. J. C. Pardo job. March 14, 1973.

March 18

On a chilly Sunday evening, Jack and Betty are seated in the living room with their sons Jack Jr. and Joe sprawled across the floor preparing to watch MASH, a new comedy that takes place during the Korean War. Before it starts Jack speaks to his boys.

“So this year, the American League has changed the rules. The pitcher doesn’t have to bat, right? That’s the idea of this Designated Hitter?” Jack prods his sons.

Little Jack answers immediately. “Yeah, Dad. Another hitter will take his at-bats. The pitcher can focus on being a pitcher. It makes sense to me.”

Jack rolls his eyes. “Not to me. He’s still a ballplayer isn’t he?”

“But Dad, won’t it be more fun to see a real hitter up there than an automatic out? They might hit a home run or something.” Joe chimes in looking from his brother to his father.

Jack leans forward as the end credits run for the New Dick Van Dyke Show. “It doesn’t make it more fun. It’s just easier on the pitchers. This seems crazy to me. Your grandfather would hate it. I can tell you that. Part of their job is to be a player. They field don’t they? Shouldn’t they bat?”

Betty hushes Jack and the boys as “Suicide is Painless,” the theme to MASH begins playing and Jack Jr. lowers his reply. “It’s one batter, Dad. Most bottom of the lineup innings are scoreless with the pitcher in the middle of it. It should liven up the game.”

“The game don’t need livening up.” Jack’s head spins to his left as Betty shushes them again then continues in a softer tone. “Pitchers are ball players. Part of the job is hitting.”

“Nobody comes to see Jim Palmer hit, Dad.” Joe speaks up and is silenced by a look from his mother.

“Will you three be quiet? I thought we were watching this. Of course the TV is on so everybody has to talk.” She shakes her head at the three of them. “Oh my. Patience is a virtue.” The room falls very silent but for the opening quips of Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John MacEntyre.

Quickly and quietly and only in the direction of his sons Jack whispers, “Babe Ruth was a pitcher. They came to see him hit.”

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1973 Baltimore Orioles Yearbook.
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Jack Jr., Joe(GI) and Betty Kavanagh. Mid 1970s.

April 6

Jack, Betty, JoAnn, Ann, Jack and Joe are sitting in the first row on the third base side of Memorial Stadium. It’s opening day in Baltimore and the season starts off with a bang. Brooks hits two home runs and Don Baylor goes four for four and the Birds crush the Milwaukee Brewers 10-0 on a chilly Friday afternoon. Baylor misses hitting for the cycle by a single. He finishes the day with two doubles, a triple and a hone run. Dave McNally is masterful allowing only three hits and Terry Crowley is the Orioles’ first Designated Hitter and contributes two hits of his own. All in all, Jack is very happy he snuck out of the Shop a little early today.

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Baltimore Orioles Outfielder Don Baylor. 1973 Baltimore Orioles Yearbook.
Ann, Jack & Joe Lakewood Ave yard
Ann, Jack Jr. and Joe(GI) Kavanagh. Early 1970s. Backyard of 447 N. Lakewood Avenue facing Jefferson Street.

April 18

A set of 1” O.D. tubes are bent for Products Support Inc. PSI makes a variety of machines and they require a tight tolerance on most of their work. Jack rolls these himself with Bill Schimdt on the R-3. The customer furnishes a drawing and a wood layout is made from it by Jack then the tubes are rolled to a 17 7/8” Rad. The fixture is marked with Products Supports’ Part Number and saved for future orders.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Products Support, Inc. job. April 18, 1973.

May 14

National Wire Products has ordered a group of pipes to be bent. This job is recurring and the Shop seems to get an order for these pipes three or four times a year. It’s a good job and with the development part completed, it’s just a matter of duplicating what they did before. The pipes are bent in the Pines Bender and a few different fellows get time on it.

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The Shop’s job book entry. National Wire Products job. May 14, 1973.

May 17

Senate hearings on the Watergate investigation begin to be televised. Jack works through the day so he doesn’t get much chance to watch but he does follow closely. This scandal seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Jack can’t help but wonder how far up it will go. Will it lead to the White House?

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Joe(GI) Kavanagh celebrating his 8th birhtday at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. Golden Ring Mall. June 1973.

June 11

The summer has been hot and busy to start and the crew are working Saturdays. Today two 6” Extra Heavy Pipes (Sch. 80) are finished. The pipes were filled and rolled and finally are melted out today for sizing. Jack would love to be able to bend these larger pipes without filling them but even the R-5 can not roll them down fast enough to avoid crushing the pipe. He loves both of these Roundo Rollers and he thinks to himself some day he may buy an even bigger version. For now, they will make do but the fill and rolling is tough to make money on. It’s necessary for the job sometimes but he would love to find ways to avoid it.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Natkin & Company job. June 11, 1973.

June 14

It’s Flag Day across the Baltimore area and all of America. In Glen Burnie in Baltimore County, a young couple has more than the holiday to celebrate. Anthony and Linda Dalfonzo welcome their second child, a girl, to their family. They have a son, Paul and this new baby is named Kimberly Lynn. They live on Glenn Road in a small one story house and are very happy to bring this new member of the family home. The baby by coincidence is baptized by the same priest who christened Joe Kavanagh, and by more than coincidence, in a little over twenty years, she will become Joe’s wife.

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Kim and Paul Dalfonzo. 1973.

July 4

The Kavanagh’s celebrate Independence Day on this Wednesday. They hold their traditional crab feast on the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson. The crabs along with steamed shrimp this year are consumed at the long dining room table around noon. The older girls spend the day with their friends in the neighborhood while Jack Jr. and Joe sit listening to the Orioles game on the radio. They each keep score as they listen with their father still at the table: the last Kavanagh left eating crabs. The Birds are down 5-0 to the Brewers in the bottom of the 6th inning. Designated Hitter Tommy Davis steps to the plate. So far he is 0 for 2 on the day.

“Boys! Boys! Change Davis from DH to DB in the score book. He’s a Designated Batter not Hitter. I can’t remember the last time he got a hit. He ain’t no Designated HITTER.” Jack teases his sons and breaks into loud laughter.

Chuck Thompson’s voice on the radio interrupts him. “Davis sends a frozen rope to right field for a single.” Both Little Jack and Joe grin widely as they write single in their score cards.

“All right. All right. I see you both. You think that’s funny huh? I’m glad he got a hit but it don’t make me wrong.” Jack’s grin matches the boys. “Probably a little too late for us today anyway.” Jack is wrong. The Orioles put up three runs this inning and seven more in the next two frames. They comeback big for a 10-7 win. Designated Batter indeed.

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Baltimore Oriole Tommy Davis signed baseball.

July 19

The Shop is full of work in the buildup to their summer shut down. Jack has made it an annual tradition of having a weeklong vacation for the crew in early August. He keeps his customers aware of the impending break so the weeks before are usually busy ones. Today some custom fittings are made for Schaefer Brewery, a set of tubes are bent for Universal Metals and a 4” Pipe is rolled for the Chevron Asphalt company. The pipe is bent to 90 deg on a wide enough radius to allow asphalt to blow out at a high rate. These large sweep elbows as they are called are becoming part of the Shop’s regular work.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Chevron Asphalt Co. job. July 19, 1973.

August 12

The Kavanagh’s spend a fun week at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland. They fish, crab, swim and spend each night on the boardwalk visiting the arcades and playing games. A great week is had by all with the only disappointment being Joe’s. The latest James Bond movie is playing at the Surf and Sand theater and JoAnn, Ann and Jack go to see it. Betty deems Joe too young at eight years of age. To his chagrin, he isn’t allowed to go. Jack and Betty make a special trip to Bailey’s Drug Store to buy him several comics to salve the wound of being excluded. Joe loves his comic books. It does the trick but he never forgets that first time he was too little to go with his older siblings. Apart from that, the week flies by for everyone and before they know it, they are driving that slow long drive on Route 50 back to Baltimore.

Dad, JoAnn and Joe. Fishing in OC. 1973.
JoAnn, Jack Sr. and Joe Kavanagh. Fishing in Ocean City. 1973.
Crab Trap OC
Kavanagh Crab Trap. Ocean City. 1973.
JoAnn and Joe Fishing in OC. 1973
Joe and JoAnn Kavanagh. Fishing in Ocean City. 1973.
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Jack Kavanagh Jr. Fishing in Ocean City. Early 1970s.

August 17

The crew have been toiling hard since their return from vacation. The work has piled up awaiting their return but it is always worth it for that week’s break in the summer heat. Two orders are completed for Leary Manufacturing. Both are sets of steel “C” Channels that are rolled in the R-5. Jack has had John Benser, his machinist, continue to make new tools for the angle rollers. Even different flat rollers can be used for a variety of setups. The more they have. The more they can do. That’s what Jack wants.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Two Leary Manufacturing jobs. August 15 and 17, 1973.

September 7

Jack gets a call from Bill DeFazio at L & S Welding. The Shop is rolling two tubes for them and Mr. DeFazio is looking for an update. Jack tells him they can pick up today at 2 PM. DeFazio retorts they need them before lunch and Jack chuckles and says they should have ordered them a day earlier. Both laugh, Jack knows his customer and DeFazio is one who, if he seems to be pushing,  just needs to be pushed back. He respects it and they often kid each other in this way but they become good work friends. Jack is “work friends” with quite a few of his customers. His nature is one that makes people trust him and he them.

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The Shop’s job book entry. L & S Welding job. September 7, 1973.

September 12

Jack is excited to be finishing a rush job today. The head of maintenance at Memorial Stadium has called and they needed a section of curved fence replaced as quickly as possible. Jack is happy for the work but the idea of doing some work for the Orioles and Colts is a thrill for him. He has the pipe rolled the minute it comes through the door and it is picked up in a few hours. After speaking to Jack, the maintenance chief realizes he’s a big Orioles fan and surprises Jack with a gift. A few days after the fence is repaired, he has the team sign a bullpen stool and sends it over to Jack. Lifelong Orioles fan that he is, Jack cannot believe this thing. Brooks, Palmer, Cuellar, McNally, Weaver and the rest of the players are all on there. Jack loves it and he can’t wait to take it home and show it to Betty and the kids.

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Memorial Stadium bullpen stool signed by entire 1973 Baltimore Orioles team.

September 23

Jack spends a Sunday at Memorial Stadium watching the Colts open up their season against the New York Jets. It’s strange to see the Colts play without Johnny Unitas on the field. Unitas’ departure is indicative of the changes the Colts are going through. They lose today, 34-10 and will suffer though a long tough 4-10 season.

October 3

Jack’s crew are working busily on their usual mix of bent pipes, rolled steel and parts for the remaining brewery customers. They have cut out Saturday hours as the work is not at the summer level but it’s still quite good and steady. Today a cabinet company has ordered some rings from 3/4” O.D. steel tube. The customer is the JK Cabinet Company and the rings are knocked out very quickly. Jack observes his men as he passes from Shop to office and back. He knows he has a good group of workers and that can make all the difference. It did for his father. He remembers those fellows well though only Charlie Owens is left of that old coppersmith crew.

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The Shop’s job book entry. J. K. Cabinet Company job. October 3, 1973.

October 10

Vice-President and former Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew resigns due to charge of tax evasion. He pleads no contest is fined and put on probation. Michigan Representative Gerald Ford will be nominated to take Agnew’s place as Vice President.

October 11

The Orioles face the Oakland A’s in the ALCS. The Kavanagh’s are at Memorial Stadium for games 1 and 2. They cheer and root as hard as they can then watch from home for the rest of the series. The games from Oakland begin at 3:30 pm Eastern Standard Time and the kids rush home to watch. Jack tries to do the same but invariably misses the first inning or two. He shoots from back door to living room at a much faster pace than usual,  plopping down in his chair his eyes taking in the game on the TV as if he was studying it to memorize the situation. For the first time, the Birds lose the American League Championship Series. Pitching wins the day in this series as both teams only manage fifteen runs in five games. In the final game, Oakland ace pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter shuts out the Orioles and they lose 3-0. So the Orioles are sent home packing and it’s an abrupt end to the year but it was a good one for baseball in Baltimore. Jack again tells the kids, the Birds did well and there is always next year.

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1973 American League Chanmpionship Series Souvenir Program.

October 21

The Oakland A’s repeat as World Series Champions defeating the New York Met 4 games to 3. The A’s are the first team to win two championships in a row since the 1961-62 New York Yankees. This World Series is the first with all weekday games played at night. This made it easier to increase the coveted television audience. Jack tunes in each night and pulls for the A’s. Jack’s an American League guy and even though the A’s beat the Birds, he wants the AL to win it all. This is also the last World Series where each team produced their own souvenir programs. Henceforth, MLB will design and sell the programs to be used in both parks. They will have the same content inside and the same cover.

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Baltimore Orioles 1973 Souvenir baseball.

November 17

Jack like most Americans is following the Watergate Investigation closely. In a nationwide televised press conference from Disney World in Florida, President Nixon declares his innocence boasting, “I am not a crook.”

November 24

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving and the Kavanagh’s visit Aunt Anna at the Visitation Convent. Her name in the order is Sister Mary Agnes and she is Jack’s father’s sister. The family visits her throughout the year but always makes a point of it during the holidays. She teaches at the Visitation school and is a talented piano player like so many Kavanagh’s. She tells them about her students and asks about the kids and the Shop. It’s a pleasant visit as always and the family promises to see Aunt Anna again before Christmas.

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Sr. Mary Agnes(Aunt Anna Kavanagh) with the Visiatation’s Mother Superior. Visitation Convent. Early 1970s.

November 28

An order for some steel rings for Codd Fabricators is completed today from angles and flat bars. Codd is one of their oldest customers; the Shop having done work for them since the early 1900s. Their building is on Aliceanna Street about five minutes from the Joseph Kavanagh Company. Pete Kolb runs the place and sends any material up to the Kavanagh’s so any work is labor only. Jack likes that as he never has to put money out for material but mostly he likes working for Codd because of Pete Kolb. He is another of Jack’s close “work friends” and the two companies work well together.  Codd seems to have at least one or two jobs for Jack every month, sometimes every week.

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The Shop’s job book entry. Codd Fabricators job. Novembrer 28, 1973.

December 25

It’s Christmas Day at the corner of Lakewood and Jefferson. The family attended midnight Mass last night and had Christmas with Betty’s mother and her family the day before yesterday on Sunday. Today is spent enjoying family, food & opening presents. The kids begin playing with their toys immediately and the house is full of the revving of small motorcycle toys. Both Jack and Joe received the Evel Knievel action figure which comes with a motorcycle that when you can rev the engine it takes off across the floor. The boys are thrilled and the house at 447 N. Lakewood Avenue is full of sound and merriment throughout the day. Later as he does each year, Jack sits at the piano and plays. His children gather around and sing to celebrate the holiday and another good year. Betty sits quietly sipping tea on the couch observing the party around her. Betty would join in the songs occasionally but she preferred to watch and listen: to see the family that she and Jack have and to take in every bit of their shared love and happiness. For Jack’s part, he loves this part of the day. He loves the feel of the ivory keys on his hands and the sounds of his children’s voices. He’s content because the Shop continues to do well despite the decrease in brewery and distillery work and despite inflation which is hitting the US hard. The Shop is busy and that’s what matters. Jack is curious how things will shake out for Nixon. Gerald Ford has been confirmed as Vice-President but that is secondary to the concerns for Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate break-in and cover up. More accusations are being made nearly weekly and the targets of these accusations are getting closer and closer to the White House. Jack has never seen anything like this and he wonders where it will end. Nixon is a beleaguered president now with many in the press and many Americans believing he is involved. The question seems to be:  how involved?

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Christmas tree on Lakewood Avenue. Mid 1970s.

 

 

Richard Nixon is the President of the United States. The Roe vs. Wade ruling on legalizing abortion is handed down.  George Steinbrenner buys the New York Yankees from CBS. Elvis Presley’s concert in Hawaii becomes the first worldwide broadcast of a musical show. The cellphone and Hip Hop music are invented.  The Sears Tower and the World Trade Center are both finished. FedEx opens for business. Skylab is launched. The DEA is founded. Secretariat wins the Triple Crown. Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes in tennis. The films “The Exorcist,” “The Sting,” “American Graffitti” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” are released. Neil Patrick Harris, Dave Chappele, Seth McFarland, David Blaine and Monica Seles are born. Lyndon Baines Johnson, Bruce Lee, Jim Croce and Bobby Darin die.

There are 50 states in the Union.

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Kim Dalfonzo. 1974.

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

Table of Contents