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Grant Misener

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Abstract

Dr. Grant Misener was a well known small animal practitioner in Chicago and an enthusiastic supporter of the OVC Alumni Association and the University of Guelph. At the time of the interview he was President of “The Friends of the University of Guelph” that is a fundraising organization of about 500 graduates of the University of Guelph living in the United States. He was one of the small group of Alumni who has been made a Fellow of the University of Guelph (P 36). He was also active in veterinary associations in the US. This Oral History is long and contains some family history but Grant’s description of his early life, student days, summer jobs and early practice days is as interesting as James Harriet’s books.

Graduation Year

1938

College

OVC

Interview Date

Interviewer

T. Yaeger & T. Crowley

Call Number

RE1 UOG A1340033

Transcript

ALUMNI-IN-ACTION ORAL HISTORY

ANDREW GRANT MISENER, OAC 1935, OVC 1938

Interviewed by Tony Yaeger

April 7, 1985 and June 17, 1985

Edited from the Original Transcript

 

*Vernon “Tony” Yaeger, Grants cousin, is managing the recording of these tapes

 

 

T          You could start by telling us about your early days, when and where you were born, what your childhood was like, your schooling, and anything else of interest, and carry on from there.

 

A         Well, thanks, Tony.  I’m known as Andrew Grant Misener, I was born July 1, 1912, right here on this farm, Lot 12, Concession 12, Townsend Township, County of Norfolk.  The house, which is no longer there, was located on the northeast corner. I was the third child of Harvey G. and Elizabeth Misener, formerly Andrews.  I have two older sisters, and I have four younger sisters.  I attended public school at SS #23, Townsend Township at a place know as Tyrrell, that’s the way we spell it, and as we used to say when we played football – this is the way we yell it – Tyrrell. My mother and father thought it would be a good idea if they sent me to school with my two older sisters, Evelyn and Eleanor. As I was so active and had several younger sisters at home, they sent me to school.

 

T          What were your younger sister’s names?

 

A         Well, I was going to get to that later. My parents thought it would be a good idea, as I understand, to send me to grade school the September when I was probably 5.  Now, I’ve just forgotten who our first teacher was down there.  I used to know them all. I think it was Miss Handley, Elsie Handley.  I could be wrong there.  But anyway, I think it was Miss Cruise, Alberta Cruise, who had a brother who later became, quite a well-known person as head of Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.  I think that he may have been a nephew, rather than a brother of Alberta, because one of my memories of Alberta was during the First World War, it would be about 1917, and I must have started school if I was 5, and I can remember her crying in her handkerchief. Later we were told her brother was killed in action.  So that would pinpoint it right along. It had to be, I think, around 1917.

 

            I had four other sisters that came along after me. There was a space of about two years between all of us in the Misener family. Evelyn was born, I believe in 1908, and Eleanor about 1910, I came along in 1912, Nellie came along in ’14, Grace in about ’16, and Orpha about ’18 and Ada around ’20.  So we had quite a family.

 

            The small house that we were born in was a house that I believe my great-grandfather, actually it was a grandfather, built, but it became just too small. My father decided he was going to have to have a larger home.  I don’t know whether he knew how many children he was going to have. I don’t think he did, but anyway, he decided to build this house. My first memory of this house was the excavation, where the basement is now naturally. They had a tremendous rainstorm immediately and I can remember the white geese coming up there. Somebody brought me over and they were swimming down where the basement is of this house we are now in, Tony. Then I can remember the drainage ditch that they dug to drain away the septic tank and whatever was required, down across the field, just to the west there. I think I remember crawling up and looking down in there, but sometimes, you can’t be sure of those things.  Maybe they told me that, but in that case, I would be only about 3 years old.  But be that as it may, my Dad built this house and there are, let me see, how many rooms we’ve got up here.

 

            We’re up in the northeast bedroom right now.  This is where my grandmother, Julianne Labar had her domain.  It was quite an honour when I came over here to be able to sleep in here, because this was Julianne Labar’s room.  She was the widow of Andrew Misener, my grandfather, and she, as it was a custom in those days, had some rights, or quite a few rights of remaining on the home farm. And she was quite a matriarch as I can remember. I always thought she didn’t quite like me too well, and I was the only boy. Now maybe she did like me, maybe it was just her way of handling boys, because she did have three sons.  She had my father who was the oldest son. Uncle Henry - Uncle Hen as we called him - was the second one. Then they lost another son, Ross, who I didn’t know as he died at the early age of 26 or 27. He contracted pneumonia and passed away rather quickly. They had a sister, Eva Jean, who married Carl Smith.

 

I’m getting back to public school.  That was a great experience, and I often tell my friends when we talk about modern school that I went to one of the greatest public schools anyone could.  This was when the school had 30 to 40 students but only had one teacher. You sat in the class and you always listened to what was going on in the older classes and by the time you got in that next class you knew a lot of the stuff because you’d been exposed to it. We had a succession of teachers for a while.  I think after Miss Cruise, we had Elsie Handley, and she was a very pretty young girl and of course, as a young boy you always fell in love with your good-looking school teachers, for a time.  Then along came a man, Robert Austin, Bob Austin, probably one of the greatest grade-school teachers in Ontario and one that I think did so much for me. He was a strict disciplinarian. There was no nonsense there at all. He was an excellent teacher, and a great person.  I believe that he taught me more than any other one teacher at that impressionable age.  Before I was 11years of age, you used to advance through the grades quite easily because as I say, you listened and you saw the work that went on the class ahead of you and when you got in there, you knew what it was and you could go right ahead. My great claim to fame was history.  I could remember dates.  I could go back in English history, you know. It was unheard of to get a 100 on an examination but I can remember some that I got up in the 90’s because it was almost a letter perfect history exam that I could write back in those days. I just wish I’d retained some of my memory now.  Here I am  going to be 73 and I might forget your name, Tony.  I might fumble now for your name, but you understand, I’m sure.

 

T          You haven’t forgotten your own, though.

 

A         No, I still can remember mine.  However, just before I was 11, Bob Austin had me ready to try the entrance exams, but my mother, in her wisdom, delayed it.                                My mother was the one that made these decisions.  She was a great, great lady and a wonderful mother.  She said, “You’re too young to try the entrance exam.  You will stay back a year.”  So I stayed back and I actually wrote the entrance exam before I was 12 because we wrote it in late June. I went and stayed with my Aunt Florence, that was your mother, and it was always such a great deal for me to go there as Aunt Florence was one of my favourite people because she was a great talker.  She and my mother would get together, and I would just sit there, and my mouth would be open listening to them.  They could go back in time and it was better than any radio program, or any television program we have now. But I went out and I stayed at my Aunt Florence’s and I wrote my entrance exam.  And fortunately, I made it.  And, I don’t know what marks I got. It doesn’t make any difference now.  I think they did tell you at that time. I was never up in the 90’s like I was telling you about history, because there were some things that didn’t come quite that easy. However, I never had any problem.

 

            And back in those years, you know, my father and my mother never went to high school, my grandparents, none of those did, but with a family of girls, you know, it was always, well one should, with as many girls as they had, get them kind of educated so that they would perhaps, I didn’t know at the time, but I think this was the deal, so they’d meet somebody, and get a good life mate.  So, the girls went to high school.

 

             Now, Evelyn, my oldest sister went and she had the distinction of being one of the highest ranked up until 3rd year in high school. It was the 3rd year in high school that she and Winifred Linwood got some of the highest marks in the Province of Ontario. Unfortunately, she developed a condition known as keratoconus, conical cornea, which at that time they believed might have resulted from whooping cough or coughing, and the, cornea came just like a cone, to a point and she wasn’t able to see. Unfortunately, she had to quit high school. This was a terrible thing because she was a real student.  Later on she was able to see Dr. Bragg, in Brantford, an ophthalmology specialist, who had brought over some Zeis lens from Germany. I can remember she was probably around 20 at that time, and after he had fitted her with lens, she could see the reading in the store windows. And that was quite a thing. 

 

Well now, she had three years of high school. She and Eleanor had, of course, to go into Simcoe and board and she boarded at the Clauses. Eli Claus, he was quite a character around there.  Mrs.Claus was a lovely person and I used to be so interested in her coming home weekends and telling about Myrtle Claus. She was sort of her heroine there, and told about what went on at school.  And then she used to go down to the library - I was quite a reader - and she’d bring me home maybe 3, 4 books - 2 or 3 anyway. I would read them, and they were books, as I recall like Dick Merrill at Yale and Yale was a school that I would have liked to have gone to because I read these books.  That was a wonderful place.  They didn’t have too much about Harvard or Princeton at that time, which you people who might be listening to this, would probably think were better than Yale.  However, I’m digressing here a bit. Tony is this a little too much digression. These are the memories that I have back in those years.

 

Another great memory I have, is that I liked to read.  Delbert Culver, who was a veteran of the First World War and lived on the farm down below Tyrrell School, and had never married, was a great reader and he loved science fiction. I used to get books from him.  I used to get books like, oh, Tarzan of the Apes; see I can remember, and that was my introduction to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the apes, which I just loved.  Then I would get the science fiction magazines he would loan me. His sister Ruth used to bring them to school. I’d bring them home, and I had a room in the opposite end of the house here, and we didn’t have electricity in those days, we had coal oil lamps and I would start reading there. My folks were very kind to me for they’d  let me close the door and I would read by that coal oil lamp, and many a night, I wakened up smelling something, and it was the wick burning.  The kerosene had burned out of the lamp and smoked the chimney up but I got away with it. I was the only one in this house that had their private room because I was the only boy. But those are great memories. That’s probably why I just love coming back here. 

           

            I love to go to Mount Zion Church, where we were this morning, April 7th, 1985. I took my son, Bob, and my grandson David, over to church there, and saw a nice service and that was the site of so many early memories I have. We used to walk to Sunday School from here, and this is about 2 ½ miles.  Then, there wasn’t too much new because I used to look at some of the girls over there; there was some pretty nice-looking girls that went there, and I don’t know why I looked at girls. We had a lot of girls here - you’d think I would be tired of girls.  But anyway, in the afternoon, I’d go over to Tyrrell Church, the Baptist church there, and I’d see these nice-looking girls. I can remember Cora Rice.  She was about 3 years older than I was, but I thought that she was the most beautiful girl I’d seen, up till that time and I wonder what happened to Cora.

 

But, anyway, going on, I never went to high school. That was the point I was getting at and I didn’t care too much. I thought it was kind of great that I didn’t have to go to school anymore. I did go down and I took like, fifth class work under Bob Austin and I took some mathematics there, a little bit of algebra, and I took physics, and I took - oh geology. There were no credits or anything given but I did get a little more rounded education.  But I stayed home on the farm after I was 12 and I apparently grew up quite quickly.  I matured rather early and I was about the same height as I am now, which is not too high about 5’ 8” but I was strong, strong like a bull.  I had the muscles there and we get that from, you know, cleaning out the stables, and pitching the hay and everything around the farm.

 

T          Shoveling it

 

A         Yes, that’s right, shoveling it, Tony.  We developed great muscles and the exercise gave you a great appetite. The meals were always great around here as my mother was an excellent cook. My grandmother thought that she was a better cook than my mother.  I doubted it myself. You can see that my grand and I were just a little bit at odds. I just, never got close to her, as probably one should to their grandmother, but anyway, she was a good cook.  She could bake bread.  We had a cousin, just to digress a bit, who was mayor of the city of Welland.  He was a pharmacist. His name was Art Brennan. Now Art was quite a guy.  He married, Della Misener. He used to come up here and he was a real sport.  He always drove a big car, a big beautiful car.  I think maybe that’s where I got the liking for driving big cars because he would come up with a big Hudson, with a tire on the side. He had beautiful guns. He would bring some of his buddies up to the farm and they would go back in the woods squirrel hunting. That was the day my grandmother who would know that he was up here, would say “I’ll bake some bread because Art likes my bread.”  So in the middle of the afternoon, when they got through shooting squirrels, they’d come in here and she would have some fresh bread.  He’d come in and I think Brennan must be Irish, because he really had the blarney there.  I would sit around there with my mouth open and he would compliment my grandmother and she’d keep bringing out the bread and butter and he and all his pals, got their fill. I don’t know what else they ate there, but that was a little side story about some experiences home on the farm.

           

            Well, time went on and I began to wonder if I had made the right decision to stay home here on the farm, because actually, there was a lot of hard work here.  Back in those days, we didn’t have electricity, we didn’t have a tractor; we had none of the modern conveniences they have today. We had a lot of hard work.  We had teams of horses and I learned to plow. I prided myself on plowing that straight furrow.  I thought I was the best plowman at the age of 14 in the county of Norfolk.  I’m not sure I was, but I, strangely, got a big bang out of it.  It was a great thing to do. 

           

            Now, in the meantime, my cousin, Vernon Yaeger, Tony, as we called him was living in town.  He was townie and he was interested in radio and things of that nature.  Now he’d come down here and he was a pretty good musician.  He had a ukulele, and he could make that ukulele talk.  He impressed me so much I bought a ukulele but I never had that rhythm.  I didn’t have that musical background.  He later went on and he took up saxophone, and then, I can remember one time, I went up to see him and he was studying theory of piano or theory of music.  He got into it real deep there.  He had a band of his own before he was 18 and these are the things I sort of coveted.  He would make money there and he’d buy radio parts and he would be getting Buffalo, New York, and Chicago on these little radios that he put together.  I didn’t have that talent.  I didn’t.  Later on, I must tell you, he became an electrical engineer at Queens University.

           

            I went sort of the other way and I joined the Junior Farmers. I was the farm boy.  And I got to kind of like that you got around and saw some good livestock. Oh, I can remember Tony’s father had purebred Holsteins and I said to my dad, “You know, we shouldn’t have these grade cattle here.  Uncle Russell has got purebred Holsteins down there. Why don’t we have purebred Holsteins?”  So he bought a heifer from Uncle Russell Yaeger, and brought her here as our first purebred Holstein.  Now I found out later she wasn’t the best type of a Holstein, but she turned out to be a good milker. However, from the hook to the pinbone she sloped a bit. After I got into agricultural college and learned how to judge cattle and so on, I realized she just wasn’t the best but she was our foundation cow here and she had a good milk record. We got a young bull here and we started a Holstein herd. 

 

            My mother also had to have some income you know. They didn’t have any money on the farm here. I can remember maybe one or two sows.  I think about one sow and they’d try to have a litter of pigs to pay for the taxes.  That was always the thing. Taxes I think were about $80.00.  This was an 80-acre farm and that was the big thing. Now, my father had this farm paid for as long as I can remember; except he owed my grandmother who lived here. He owed her a living of so much a month.  She got a stipend for being the matriarch of the family.  With the 7 kids here, why, there wasn’t very much money.  I can remember that my mother got into raising chickens. Well, we tore down the old house there and I can remember tearing that down, I was maybe 13, 14. We built a chicken house out here and a brooder house and I can remember getting these chickens from the hatchery and the little brooder stove we had.  My mother was a very industrious person.  I don’t know how she did all this work but she used to start about 6 o’clock in the morning and many a time was still working until 11 or 12 at night.  She’d be mending clothes if she wasn’t doing anything else.  Maybe reading a paper or mending away there.  But she was a terrific worker and a wonderful inspiration. I can remember things were so hard up that I didn’t have any spending money. 

 

            Now, Tony, my cousin up there, had a Redbird bicycle.  That was the most beautiful bicycle.  I can remember him riding it down here.  It had the crossbar sloped down under the seat and he rode that down here. It was about 7 miles from here to Simcoe and he let me ride it a little bit around there. He had this new bicycle and I thought that’s the greatest thing.  Well, he was about a year, I think about a year older than I was.  Weren’t you a year older Tony, than I am? Aren’t you about a year older?  So you were a year advanced on me, you see and you were kind of my hero at that time.  We used to wrestle a lot. Uncle Ellery used to coach us a little bit.  I still remember some of those locks that Uncle Ellery would teach us. The hammerhold and the headlock and a few other holds and we used to wrestle down here whenever we’d come over.  We must have been bad around here.

 

            Well, getting back here, I digress too much; but my mind wanders. I joined the Junior Farmers and it was an opportunity back about 1926 to go into Waterford and take a 3 month short course.  That must have been about ’27, ’28. I think I was about 16, I had to be about 16, and Bob Cunningham drove a car and Evelyn and I went in and I think, Ruth Misener. We had a carload and went into the town hall in Waterford for  this 3-month course.  And that opened up a whole new world to me. We even got some culture there. P. George Marshall, who was one of the great music teachers, vocal teachers, would come over and try to teach us to sing.  Now, I can’t hold a tune but I enjoyed it.  I’ve always enjoyed music, but I never had that musical talent that Tony had, or my Aunt Ellen had.  Some of my sisters are pretty good.  I can go to church and look at the hymnal there, and I know it goes up and down and that’s about all. I know a full note or a half note, but I know nothing about music.  I’m very ignorant, and if I come back into this life again that’s one of the things I want to do.  I would like to be able to play the piano and play it real well.

           

            Well after taking that short course at Waterford, I got real interested.  We took a trip up to Guelph, spent a day up there, and I thought, Oh, what a place. The campus, I thought, was just beautiful and how great it would be to go.  Well, about a summer later, they offered a Norfolk County scholarship here, which was two years to Guelph in the Associate course, with your tuition paid. I’ve forgotten just how much but I think it was $100.00 and free tuition.  Well, I went out to Simcoe to try that examination one time after I got the chores done. Let’s say it was about 8:00. I was supposed to be at the Agricultural Office and I rode my bicycle.  By that time, I had bought a bicycle.  I bought one from some neighbour for $5.00. I got about 3 miles from Simcoe and the chain broke.   Now this was catastrophic.  What was I going to do?  So, I got out there and I knew I couldn’t fix the chain, so I took that bicycle by the handlebars and ran along with it. As it turns out I heard this years later, a distant relative, one of whom we call the Onie Miseners, Harry Misener was warden of the county.  He was in Port Dover and later developed the Misener fertilizer business. I think he may have had the Misener fertilizer at that time. He had gone to school with my mother.  He knew my mother and my name was there as I had applied. I didn’t show up at the appointed time and he told me later that Fraser Ross, the agricultural representative said” If this young man couldn’t be here on time for this interview, I’m going home.  I‘ve interviewed the others. I’m not going to wait.”  And as Harry later told me, he said. “I know the parents of this boy, and I know that something must have happened.”  Just then, Fraser got up and left, or was going to leave, and I came in the door and I told them about my trouble.  I still had my bicycle, and they said, “Come on in”.  And I took that examination.  Now, the gods were with me, as has been the case with many of the things in my life. I made good marks.  I guess I did things right there because there were two of us and somewhere in my memoirs, I have a clipping out of the Simcoe Reformer, and in just a little notation there it says.“ Two Norfolk young men were awarded the Norfolk County scholarship because the examining committee couldn’t choose between them.”  That’s how I got to Guelph.  Tony, can we take a rest here.

           

            You know here, a little while ago, I mentioned that things were real rough to be able to get enough money on our type of farm. There was a store over in Renton, a general store. We never had such a thing as an allowance at that time and my parents didn’t have any money to give me. Oh, we’d go out and you’d get a few cents maybe, if you got 25 cents a day for doing something that was quite a bit.  Well, I devised a little way of getting some extra money here, and this taught me a great lesson.  I figured that the hens were laying pretty good and that nobody would miss 3 or 4 eggs a day.  So, we had a carriage in the old driving shed there that hadn’t been used for a long time and it had a back seat. I got hold of a peach basket and I used to go in the henhouse and I’d get about 3 or 4 eggs a day and I’d take and store them under the back seat in the peach basket. When I’d get about 2 dozen eggs after the chores were done I’d get on my bicycle with these eggs and I’d pedal over to the Renton store. Eggs were selling for maybe 25 cents a dozen and I’d have 2 dozen eggs to sell so I’d have 50 cents.  Now, 50 cents at that time was a lot of money. I sort of hate to confess this, but I used to buy some Tuckett’s tobacco and some Zig-Zag papers and maybe roll a cigarette, some plug licorice. Well I had a little spending money and this went along just great.  I thought I was really in business.  One day, I can always remember this, the sun was just going down in the west there and it was coming between the cracks of those pine boards, and I came in the side door of the driving shed and I had my bicycle out there, my chores all done. I went in there and to collect the peach basket with my eggs, as I was going out to the store and there was a paper right on top of these eggs.  I thought, that’s strange, cause I didn’t put it there. Well, I took the paper over where I could read it and in my Dad’s hand writing, it said “Be sure, your sins will find you out”.  Now that’s the last eggs I ever stole from this farm.  And, you know, my Dad was so smart about this. Now, he never ever said anything to me about that again but I found out how he found out.  He went over with some eggs the next night after I had been over and Mrs. Smith said, the Smith’s had the store, “Oh, Mr. Misener, the hens must be laying real good over there.”  He said, “No, well now why do you say that?”  She said “Well, Grant brought over two dozen last night”, and he said, “Oh, did he?”  So, he watched, and that was my story of how my conscience did find me out there.  That was a wonderful lesson he taught me there.

 

            Well, I won this scholarship to go to Guelph.  Now, my father wasn’t too pleased about this.  I know he wasn’t because he had a son here who was 18 years of age, who could just about do anything or at least thought he could. He was strong as a bull, he could thresh, he could pitch, he could fill silos, he could saw wood and he could split wood and he could do all the chores that needed doing. Besides, he thought he was pretty good with cattle and with the poultry. He whitewashed the barn, and he used to curry the cows down and clean the horse stable and keep the barn in good shape and it was natural that I, as the only son, would at some time or another inherit this farm.  But, you know, I won that scholarship. I had been up to Guelph and I had seen what it was like. It was my mother who said “Look we can figure out some way for you to go up there since you won that scholarship. Spend that time there and you can come home in the summertime and help”. She persuaded my dad that that was the thing to do.

           

            So, he went along. You know, I have to tell you this, I think my mother was the motivating force on that team.  She was the one that kind of made the decisions.  She was smart, for she communicated them in a nice way. She was a great helpmate to my dad. 

 

            My dad was a little frail man. I’ve forgotten to tell you this but my dad never weighed, soaking wet, over 140 pounds. And here I am sitting right here and I’ve lost 15 pounds, and I weigh in at about 205 now. But Tony, I got this from the Austin side I’m sure. My mother’s and my grandmother’s name was Austin and if you remember the Austins, they were all short, stocky people, and unfortunately, they developed cardiovascular conditions such as you and I have. Tony and I are sitting here and we both have been subjected to cardiovascular conditions.

           

            I’ll never forget the day I left for Guelph. My father had a 1918 Model Ford.  Now this was the fall of 1930. That car was 12 years old and he wasn’t going to buy another one because I had torn it up once or twice, not real bad, but I’d hit Sandy Ross – which is another story – taking the milk over to the factory one time. I think I’d turned it on its side another time, and you know, you get down in there, you get in behind that wheel, and you wanted to sort of, as the kids say now “Bury that speedometer”.  It didn’t have a speedometer on it, but you’d pull it.  So, he wasn’t about to get another car, but he took me up to Simcoe to what we called The Radio, which was the Lake Erie & Northern [electric railway].  It went up as far as Galt.  And I had a little steamer trunk, which I understand was my Uncle Ross’s and a suitcase and I got on that L. E. & N. and I rode it up to Galt and then I caught a bus and went on into Guelph. I carried that steamer trunk along with me in one hand, up over my back or something, and the other suitcase and I caught the streetcar up to the college and arrived up there about the 20th of September, 1930.  It was a beautiful fall day.  I can remember going up there on that L E & N, up the Grand River and seeing the leaves starting to turn and it was a beautiful day. Here I was – leaving the farm.  I was going to college. I had made it.  Well, I finally got there.

 

            They were just building what they now call Johnson Hall.  They were in turmoil.  There weren’t too many places to put the new freshman class coming in, but Dickie Sands, D.R. Sands, was the dean, and he was doing his best.  I got registered there, and they said “We don’t have any place to put you for the night, but you can go down to the gym and have a swim.”  Well, you went skinny dipping in the gym. It was, I guess, always a custom to do that in the boys’ gym. I couldn’t swim – I’d never learned to swim because I was never near water deep enough to learn to swim. I was sort of in the shallow end of the pool and a fellow came along and he said “Would you like to room with my friend and me?”  It didn’t matter to me and I said “Why, sure.”  Well, it turned out that it was Jack See. He had kind of picked me out because as he told me afterwards, I was kind of cocky looking and he thought that I might make a good roommate.      

           

            They took us down and we were put up in what we call Hart House which was the old economics building.  And that was where I stayed during my first year at Guelph.  Fortunately, George Richardson, my other roommate, was about 10 years older than both Jack and me and a very clever fellow. He’d been through high school except he didn’t have enough subjects to get into the degree course.    I don’t know what subjects he’d missed but he could figure anything out.  And on some of these subjects that we later took up in the intermediate year, if it hadn’t been for George Richardson and Jack See, I never would have got through. 

 

            The one thing I was good in was English.  I never had any problem there – and a little story – we were with the first year degree students – this was in the second year, and the English class must have had 250 students.  It was English Composition. Obviously the professor couldn’t teach this many and he told us that.  He said “There are some of you here that I know won’t need this. I want you to take a sheet out of your notebooks and I want you to write a composition. You have 45 minutes to do this and those that pass will not have to take this course the rest of the year.  Those that don’t pass will have to take it.”  So I sat down and I must have been fairly good in English, punctuation and so on, and I wrote an article off the top of my head and I remember the title of it, “Working One’s Way Through College”. I got high marks on it and I never took any more English Comp. (laugh)  Jack See who had had about 5 or 6 years in high school, but had missed some subjects, had to take it.  Many of my friends did, such as Bob Johnson who’d spent about 6 years in high school, but was one of those that played hockey and so on. So that is my little story about English.

 

            Now, let’s see.  We’ll get back.  After I got up there, it was a great revelation.  I still just love that place. That was where I made my break.  I got up there; I got a job in the Poultry Department; I could make money – enough money to keep myself going – the tuition was paid and it was only $5.50 a week for board and room.

 

T          How’d you get money in the Poultry Department?

 

A         I worked. I used to clean chicken roosts.  Did you ever clean chicken roosts? (laugh)  Let me explain this to you.  You had a short hoe and you had a pail and the chicken droppings you brought back into this pail. Then you had another pail containing lime with a little broom in it. Then you would make a beautiful job of it by brushing lime on the roosts. I’m so glad you asked (laughing)

 

A         That was my first job, out there cleaning chicken roosts.  And then I advanced to trap lining.  They were always developing different lines of breeding birds, Rocks and other high production varieties, and  these were trap nested.  They’d go into the trap nest to lay an egg and then you’d have to take them out – they had a leg band on them and you would write down the number on the band.

 

T          This was working your way up?

 

A         This was working your way up. (laugh)  That’s right.  Well, I worked myself up so good that year, that I was offered a job – I think I asked for it – in the poultry department for the summer because it used to worry me “How am I going to make any money this summer?”   So, I was offered a job.  Now bear in mind, this was the summer of 1931, this was the start of the Depression and I was offered a job at $78.00 a month and a room down in the poultry department, and boy I took that.  I saved enough to go ahead the next year.  Then, I kind of worked myself up a little more, and at nights, I got a job in the cafeteria as a dishwasher. What is the name, what do they call a dishwasher – a pearl diver.  I was a pearl diver (laugh), and then I worked myself up again.  The dietician there, Freda Roe, bless her, she was a nice-looking girl and she was older than we were, but she took a liking to us and she got me waiting tables. I think the epitome of the whole thing was that I became such a good waiter that she would put me on the faculty parties, on the head table.  I had a little mishap one night as I was serving. I knew which side to serve on, from which side to take away and I had my white coat on and I smiled and was very pleasant. G.I. Christy, we called him God I’m Christy, he was the president and attended the faculty party.  I’ll never forget this. They had a roasted pig, a little pig with an apple in its mouth. That was the entree and I was taking the coffee and everything and Mrs. Christy jerked her elbow and I upset some coffee on her.  I thought I would be fired but I wasn’t.  It wasn’t my fault but it was mortifying.  Here I was the head table waiter and I spilled coffee on the president’s wife.

 

            But, these were great years. I had to make a little money to go back.  Well, things fell in the second year.  During the second year we got into the height of the Depression.  Maybe you’ll remember Mitch Hepburn.  He became the Premier of Ontario.  He was the great saviour.  He was going to bring us out of the Depression and he started right in at the Ontario Agricultural College.  He cut everything down.  We were getting 25 cents an hour for student labour.  It went down to 20.  He took all the cars away from the extension department and sold them at auction. He really got in there and screwed things up, you might say. Maybe he didn’t. Anyway, there were no jobs the next year as much as I was liked or thought I was liked at the poultry department. 

 

            Oh, I got to drive a team down there.  That was a great job in the summer time.  They had a team of Percherons, dappled Percherons.  They were crossbred Percherons, with some lighter breed in them. They were a beautiful looking team, and what I would do is go around to the different chicken houses and pick up the refuse. I also collected garbage from the whole college, the houses and everything (laugh). I had this wagon with the dappled team and I had the harness all shined up.  I used to use a lot of Brasso. Do you remember what Brasso was?

 

T          Yeah, yeah. I had a brass saxophone

 

A         Oh yeah, we used that Brasso and I had the harness shining. The team was shod

            you know and they’d clippety-clop, clop down on the pavement.  I was real proud of that team of horses.  That was a great summer. That was a great summer.

 

Well, the next summer, by golly, that job disappeared because the Depression was settling in. What was I going to do?  So I came home.  Now, there wasn’t anything to do at home here but in the meantime I’d heard of a man named Ford Wiggins, who was the chairman of the produce department at Canada Packers, an OAC graduate and I was writing around for jobs.  I wrote all over… Kapuskasing,  some of these experimental farms. Some of the fellows I’d known had been the year before in these places. Money was real tight.  So, I made a trip down to Toronto and I got in to see Ford Wiggins.  Now, Ford Wiggins, he was the head of the department.  He was a handsome looking man, about 6 feet tall… maybe taller than that…a great little sense of humour and everything and I sat down and I talked to him and I said, “I wonder if you have any jobs?”  And he said, “What have you been doing?”  And I said, “I worked in the poultry department last year.”  He said, “Who’d you work for?” and I said “Professor Graham”.  He said “Dick Graham – good friend of mine.  Well, if you worked for Dick Graham for a year and for that last summer there, it’s just possible we can use you.  We’ve got a produce plant up in Clinton, Ontario and I’m thinking of starting out some broiler production up there.  You know something about poultry.  He said, “I want you to go up there. Archie McGugan is up there; he’s my manager and I want you to go up and take a look at the place.” 

 

So I went up. I hitchhiked, I forgot to tell you, I never traveled on a bus all the time I went to Guelph. In those days you’d have your little pennant on your suitcase and a little smile on your face.  You could travel faster than a bus; I’ll swear you could.  Now, of course, it’s all different.  It’s been changed but this was a great way of getting around.  So I hitchhiked up to Clinton and dropped in to see Archie McGugan, and he offered me, I think it was $14.00 a week – less than what I got the year before. I had to have room and board. Mrs. Livermore had a boarding house there – a wonderful lady – deaf, deaf as a post – but gave us room and board, I think, for $5.00 a week. 

 

I took the job and I think it was the first year I was there they had an old Focal radio, one of those that come out and looked like a church steeple almost.  I was lying there listening to it and the news flash came on that five little girls had been born up north. Well it was the Dionne quintuplets.  I can remember that.  It was in late April.  We used to get through OAC real early. 

 

Well, it was my job to organize the broiler feeding.  So, we would go out and we would buy white leghorn cockerels. They already had empty batteries up there where we put the chickens and a feeding trough and I would figure out the ration. We always wanted a white broiler.  So somewhere or other, I got the idea we should put some buckwheat in the ration. That would put on great fat and it did.  I developed a ration, which got a little notoriety at that time … my own ration.  I made it up to fatten up those broilers. We’d get them in there at about 8 weeks of age and maybe fatten them up for two weeks and then of course, dress them out and pack them in boxes. They were a beautiful little bird.  I’d like to get hold of some of them now.

 

I spent the summer there and I made some great friends up in Clinton.  I used to roam, back in those days. Mrs. Livermore had about 6 young men staying there who worked at the bank; she had bank fellas, bookkeepers and tellers, and Kelly Calder, who came from Simcoe. Now he was the accountant who is, you know, right next to the top man at the Bank of Montreal. He had the big front bedroom there.  And Kelly – I’ve an interesting little story about Kelly – Kelly was a great golfer. We used to go out to a little 9-hole course outside of Clinton on Sunday afternoons cause I worked 6 days a week and I also worked on Sunday too, cause these chickens had to be fed.  But we’d have a little time off and we’d go up there. 

 

Mrs. Livermore, you know, only charged $5.00 a week so she had to cut costs.  One day she figured out a way. She thought there was maybe too much toilet paper being used.  So she put a little sign up over the toilet paper and it said “Why use 6 when 5 will do?”  So, I guess in that week she was quite pleased with the reduction in the amount of toilet paper we had used because she took that sign down and she put on “Why use 5 when 4 will do?” (chuckle)  Well, Kelly Calder had been off playing golf – he had quite a sense of humour – he came back in and saw this newest sign and then he wrote down “What’s par for this hole?” (Laughter)  I don’t know whether you could buy that.  Would you believe that?  But, Mrs. Livermore ran a great, great boarding house.  I have many fond memories.  I must have been a little bit of favourite of hers, because I went back to see her after I’d been in Chicago, and I thought she wouldn’t let me go at all – she grabbed on to me just like, matter of fact, her son and we talked on Aunt Ellen’s tape.

 

Her son became Judge Livermore.  The judge, married Carrie, Carrie, Carrie…I’ve forgotten her name now and they used to come up there all the time, but – she was great. 

 

You know we used to tell odd little stories there, but maybe some of them, were spicy.  As Abraham Lincoln said…if a story has enough humour in it to disinfect it, it is a good story. So Jim Livermore was Emma’s [Mrs. Livermore] husband and he said she was deaf.  He was the watchman at a defunct piano factory there and Jim liked a little story and we would be sitting there and somebody would tell a story and she could lip read very expertly and she’d look and if she caught somebody just saying something a little base, she’d hold up her finger and say “Tut, tut, tut.” (laughter).  So we used to always watch her that she wasn’t lip reading. We ate a lot of soup in those days.  Boy, she made good soup and I still like soup..

My good friend, Manley Johnson who grew up in North Dakota said when we’d talk about the Depression days, that they had had too much soup then. He can’t stand the sight of soup.  But I still love soup.

Well, getting back here to Guelph – I got back that summer and I started in…the intermediate year – this was after 2 years. 

 

TRANSCRIBING NOTE:

****There seems to be an interruption in the tape here & I think that some of the interview may be missing

 

            Now this was something like an accelerated high school course.  We took, physics; Prof. Blackwood taught physics. We took embryology; Osborne taught that. He could draw with both hands up there and as soon as he got through drawing he’d rub it off before you’d have a chance to copy it.  We took German and French.  We took chemistry. Let me see, we’d taken two years of chemistry before this course but I’d never taken basic chemistry in high school.  Some of these fellows had had 3 and 4 years of chemistry and then I had to get in with them.  And oh, mathematics, yeah, we even got into trigonometry and some calculus, which I knew nothing about at all. Nothing. I couldn’t even get the trigonometry.  Algebra, I could do all right but this was all crammed into one year, Tony, and it was tough. This is when I had George Richardson there, the older guy to help me.  George had an ice cream factory up at Stratford, Ontario at that time and he was about 10 – 15 years older and he seemed to know all these things.  He could explain them to me. We would be in physics and he would say, “Ah, it’s not that difficult” and he would explain it. He was a great help except in languages. Nobody could help me in languages. 

           

            Now the first supplemental exam - we called them sups - I got was in Elsie Mason’s course in German.  I had to write a supplemental exam and fortunately, she gave the same exam she gave in the spring, so I made it.  Spreken sie Deutsch? That’s about all I remember about German. I don’t know how I got through French. I did though, but anyway, I made that intermediate year and then we could go into the degree year. 

            Now, of course, I had a job with Canada Packers and I started developing a new way to pluck chickens.  I thought it was a new way – some of the other companies might have had it – waxed plucking – where we dipped them in wax. I experimented with beeswax, and with paraffin wax, and we got pretty good at it. We could, put these broilers in and peel off the wax and the feathers at the same time.  It worked pretty good.  I didn’t patent the device so it never amounted to much for me personally. But the Swiss developed, later on, a pretty good system for the waxing of chickens.

 

            I went back the next summer.  I spent 3 years up in Clinton or was it 4 years, after graduation.  Well, I’m getting ahead of my story.

 

            Now this is the real important thing that happened to me the fall that I was coming back from my intermediate year. I used to love this going back to school. That campus was just beautiful in the fall. The leaves have turned and you start getting into the wonderful autumns that you know we have in this part of the country. This is my favourite time, autumn and the boys would be out playing football, and you’d hear them clearly. We had dances, what we called hops, every night after eating. We’d go over to MacDonald Hall and somebody’d play a piano and we’d dance and we’d see (new girls) in the fall.  This was fun because they had a new crop of girls coming in from Mac Hall, and you’d sit down at the bottom of the dining hall, there’s a little place there, and you’d watch these girls come down and you’d pick out the cute ones.  I was down there – this was the fall I went back there – and I saw this girl coming and she had a blue blazer on, and it had white piping on it. She was quite animated and cute and it said B H S on her blazer--Burlington High School.  That’s where I first saw Mid.  And over at the hop there, I started dancing with her and dating her and this was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.  I met my future wife there. She took a two year course at MacDonald Hall and went on to Toronto and got her degree.  Now, I almost lost her, but that’s another story.  But that was a momentous thing that year. 

           

            I got in the animal husbandry option.  Now another thing came along.  I’ve been fortunate in these things. A fellow up there had a paper route and he was graduating the spring when I was in the intermediate year. I asked him if he’d consider selling that to me and I think for about $15.00 or maybe even less, he said he would.  I bought the rights to deliver the Globe & Mail. No, at that time it was the Globe, and then there was The Mail & Empire.  No, I beg your pardon… the Globe & Mail had merged, I think, and I got the right to sell it to the students and I got it to a point where it was a nice little business.  I was making more then, after I got it worked up, than I was working for Canada Packers.  I think I was making about $18.00 a week, which was a lot of money in those days and I was my own boss. Now you have to be a bit of a salesman and I developed quite a sales pitch.  I told the fellas in the junior year that I had been there three years before that they should get the livestock market reports and watch those because this was a fundamental thing in becoming an agricultural graduate . You had to follow the markets and also current events which you needed in English. I had a little pitch there and I usually sold it. I think I had about 150 customers in Bill’s Hall and also in the Ed Building. I sold to the president and used to deliver one to his house. I worked up a real business there. As a matter of fact, I never had so much money in my life. Those were great, great years that I had and that’s why I have such fond memories of Guelph.

 

            Well, I got into the degree course and things went along pretty good.  I got through that intermediate year and in 1935 sometime in late April I graduated with a Bachelor of Scientific Agriculture, B.S.A.  I was also, made assistant manager of Canada Packers, the Clinton Plant, at the salary of $25.00 a week, which was $2.00 a week more than the plant foreman was making then, and he’d been with them about 15 years.  Now I guess I wasn’t too popular with him you see, when he found out I was making more than he was. But this was the thing, I had a degree in agriculture. I spent the summer up there and things went along pretty good.  Archie McGugan had left by then and we had Del Mulby as the manager and he would send me out selling fertilizer, buying chickens, and cost accounting. I got a business education working for Canada Packers I couldn’t have gotten any other place because they were a very efficient company. They weren’t making any money but they weren’t losing any either. Packing companies, they had sort of a bad name, but they had to be efficient and this is what taught me cost accounting.       

           

            I used to have to look at my watch and time plucking chickens to see how much it cost us to pluck each chicken… you know – work these figures out and everything.  We had an economics fellow come in, J.C. Cameron from Queens, and he had all of these ideas, you see.  This was the beginning of things that became common later.  I guess this would be small time now but these were the start of a newer way of doing things.  So this did give me a background which came in handy after I went into veterinary medicine and started in practice.

           

            That summer of 1935 Jack See came up to see me. Oh yes, I must tell you that I had decided since I was  assistant manager here at Canada Packers and a 23 year old graduate that it was about time maybe I got married because I had this wonderful little girl.  So, I suggested this to Mid.  She said, “No”. She didn’t think that we were ready yet.  Now she was thinking of going on and taking her degree  at Toronto. So this gave me an idea when Jack See came along and talked to me about going back in veterinary medicine.  So, I flipped a coin one day  about the last day I’d have a chance to go down and register and I said, “Heads, I go; tails, I don’t” and it came down heads. I went over to the plant and I borrowed a car from one of the fellows working over there and I drove to Guelph. I went in to see Dr. McGillivray who was the principal of the Ontario Veterinary College and I got in to see him right away. I told him who I was and what I’d been doing and could I get in as I’d known that Jack See had gotten in the second year. He said “Laddie” – he was Scotch  - he said “Laddie, you can”, and he got me into second year.

            I went on to see Mr. Wiggins because he was the one that got me started with Canada Packers and I drove on to Toronto.  Now, I didn’t make an appointment, I just drove down there.  I just felt I had to go down and tell him that this would be the end of my career with Canada Packers if I went back to school into veterinary medicine.  So, I drove up to his home …I found out where he lived –…and there was a babysitter there and I told her who I was and that I wanted to see him.  She had me come in. He and his wife were out to a play or a movie or something.  They came in about 10:30, 11:00 sometime, and he said “What are you doing here, Grant” and I told him.  I said, “I’m going back to veterinary college” and he said a wonderful thing to me.  He said “I would never discourage anyone from taking further education, if they want to do it”.   He wished me well.  He said “We had plans for you.”  They had about 6 or 7 different produce plants up in Wingham and Harriston and all those small towns there and my next move up would have been a manager and probably $35.00 a week… which incidentally I got in Chicago on my first job there, three years later.  But that’s another story.

 

            Here, now can we hold it for a minute here.

 

            Before I went to register at the veterinary college or after I had registered and decided to go, I was out with a group of young people I had gotten to know in Clinton, and we were going to a movie down in Seaforth, and somebody said “Grant is leaving next week”, and they said “What’s he going to do?” and he said “He’s going back to veterinary college.” I remember Mary Hudley who was an accountant in the Royal Bank there and she said “Veterinary College! Why would anyone want to go to veterinary college?  The automobiles are here and there aren’t going to be horses anymore”.  I think that was the general feeling then. “Why did I want to go back to veterinary college?” 

           

            Well, as I mentioned, Jack See probably had talked me into it but it didn’t take that much persuasion and Mid wasn’t ready to get married then. She wanted to go on to Toronto and get her degree. I think she felt she had a little career and I didn’t have too much money, frankly.  I was making $25.00 a week, but there were people that got married in those years on that. I guess probably we could have got along if I’d put her to work as a waitress or something as they might these days. However, I decided to go back and I thought that really the reason I went back was that I was going to become a poultry pathologist. I had this background in poultry and felt that if I had two degrees I would be one of the few people, probably not more than a half a dozen people in Canada at that time, who would have a degree in agriculture and one in veterinary medicine. Jack See sold me on this idea. So, this was my thought.  I would go back and make a career out of being a poultry pathologist.

 

            Well the next summer I decided to further this idea and wanted a job in the poultry pathology laboratory at the central experimental farm in Ottawa.  Now, that was a little difficult to do but we had a distant cousin, who was Senator Billy Taylor, William Taylor, in Scotland Ontario.  He was a 4011th cousin but he was very prominent and he was a Canadian senator and I decided to write him. I wrote him and told him what I wanted to do.   You know, they always say that there are two signs on a door: one is push and the other is pull and pull is the most important thing. Somebody had told me that so I thought that if I could get a little pull, I might get in the central experimental farm. 

           

            Well, during the time I hadn’t heard from the central experimental farm, I went and worked in a town, oh, it was north of Guelph, Durham, and I worked for a Dr. Wolfe up there.  Dr. Wolfe had had nephritis, a kidney condition and he was in bed.  I’d heard of the job from the Old Chief. That is what we used to call Dr. McGillivary.  I had asked him if there were any jobs with a veterinarian and he told me there was a place up somewhere in that area. So I hitchhiked, which was my mode of travel in those days, up to Durham, and I stopped and thought I’d drop in and see the local veterinarian.  And lo and behold, he was in bed and he said, “I wouldn’t even go up and see that fella you were going to see because he’s not a graduate. He’s a quack and you wouldn’t want to work for a quack.”  A quack, of course, being a non-registered veterinarian with really no degree.  Well anyway, I went on to see this fellow and it was a terrible mess.  I think I slept that night in something like a henhouse and he was a real opportunist this man and I knew immediately when I got up there that I didn’t want any job with him.  So I came back in, saw Dr. Wolfe again, and he said, “Fine, go to work.  Here’s my car”. 

           

 

            Now I had spent two weeks before with Dr. Stirk who was an outstanding large animal practitioner in Brampton around the good agricultural country in Peel County. He used to look after the Bull farm, which was sort of a show place.  It had a large Jersey herd which was the pet project there.  They had a world-famous cow known as Brampton Basoola Lass. I still remember her name. She had a world record in butterfat, but she used to get milk fever.  Every once in a while, sometimes twice a week, Dr. Stirk would give her calcium gluconate intravenously, which was a treatment then  and she’d snap out of it and go ahead and still make more records.  That was my little practical experience in large animal practice.  So, here I was, up in Durham, going out to practice in the country and take calls. I had some notable experiences.

 

            I was called out one time and they had a standard-bred horse and they wanted it castrated. At that time we used a casting harness as they didn’t have anesthetics or anything. You just cast the horse, tied it up and went ahead and did the surgery.  I couldn’t work Dr. Wolfe’s casting harness and I had to give up and come back in and admit defeat.  Now, that’s pretty hard to do at that age, when I was supposed to be Dr. Misener. I didn’t have a degree yet, but I was called Dr. Misener. 

 

            Another time I can remember I was called out on a Sunday morning, about three o’clock, and a big beautiful Percheron mare was foaling.  She had distocia, a difficult birth, and I was to help her. I worked on that for about two or three hours, and I finally said, “We’ve got to get some help”.  We had to call another veterinarian in and he went in and was able to get the colt but the poor mare died.  I’d go out and see her before she died but that was another defeat. So you have to have a few of those defeats.

 

            Another time, the local undertaker had a little Cocker Spaniel puppy and he wanted it spayed. In those small towns at that time the undertaker would be a furniture man and they were friends of the Wolfe’s.  So, I was elected to spay it.  They brought it up and I had some ether and a make-shift surgery although I didn’t have too much surgery experience.  I went in and something happened there as I didn’t get one of the large arteries ligated (tied off) properly and the poor little puppy bled to death.  Now, that was another defeat.  I’m telling you some of the bad things that happened when I was learning to do these things. They were terrible.  Tony, do you want to just cut that for a moment?

 

            I spent about one month up there with Dr. Wolfe as he recovered from his attack of nephritis. I used to go out and I’d maybe bring in $50, $75.00 per day cash and turn it over to him even though there wasn’t too much practice. I had thought at the time when I went up there that we had made a bargain and I thought it was $25.00 a week I was to get which wasn’t too bad.  After the end of the month I had an insurance policy coming due, and I said to him, “Doctor, I wonder if I could have some money,” and he said “Sure” and he reached in his pocket and he brought out this roll of bills which I had brought in during the last few weeks, you see, and he took out $25.00, and he said “Here you are, Grant.”  Well, I said “Could I have a little more, doctor; I’m going to need a little more for  this insurance policy coming due.”  He said, “Well, next month I’ll give you another $25.00.”  I couldn’t believe it.  I said, “Dr. Wolfe, I thought our oral agreement was that you were going to pay me $25.00 a week.”  He said “$25.00 a week!  Why”, he said, “No, it’s $25.00 a month as you’re getting your room and board here.”  Well, naturally, I couldn’t stay.  I said, “Now, Doctor, I can’t do that.”  Well, of course, he was ready to practice at that time. So that afternoon, I knew that one of some young people I had met was going down to Guelph, so I just called him, and said, “Look, I’m leaving”. I had my little steamer trunk and my bag there, and put them in the car, and away I went, down to Guelph. I stayed at Roy Mason’s house right next to the tuck shop just off the campus and I said “Roy, can I leave this in here”, and sure enough he agreed. Roy was a good friend of mine.

 

            That was my experience in large animal practice.  Well, before I left, Dr. Wolfe, I think felt a little guilty, and he came, and he said “Now, no hard feelings, Grant.”  He said, “This was the arrangement I thought we made was $25.00 a month.”  He said, “You know, my father used to have students come up – his father had been a veterinarian – and stay here for the summer and they never got anything, just their room and board.”  Well that’s the way they did it then, but I couldn’t in my circumstances.

           

            So I went and stopped at the college and then I hitchhiked on down to the farm. I came down here.  Now all the time I was waiting for that job in Ottawa and one morning the mailman came as I was out mowing the lawn or something. I’d been home a couple of days maybe and I went out to get the mail.  Lo and behold, here was this letter of acceptance in the poultry pathology laboratory at the central experimental farms in Ottawa. I was pulling it out, reading it, and Evelyn called and said, “There’s a long distance call from Chicago.”  I went in and picked up the phone, and he said, “This is Dr. Brundige.  I’m in Chicago.  I just talked to Dr. MacIntosh in Guelph and he says that you’re available.  Now, I need a man to come over.  Would you come over and work the rest of the summer for me?”  I said, “Doctor, I just got a job right here, right now, I just pulled it out of the mail. I explained to him what happened and he said, “Well, do you know of any other young fellow?”  He said, “I like you Canadians, you young Canadians.  I’ve had Dr. Webb over here and he’s been very good and I’ve had other Canadians.  Do you know of anybody that would be willing to come?”  I said, “Yes, I do.”  I said, “I have a classmate, Kenneth Bohn.”

           

            I’d spent a couple of nights before with Ken.  I’d borrowed my dad’s car and gone there, where he was working with his father.  His father was a veterinary practitioner in Hagersville, and he said to me, “Grant, you know this, I like dad and everything, but he said “I don’t think a son should stay with his dad all the time.  I think he should get out and see something.  Do you know of any jobs?”  I said, “I don’t right now”.  So, I told Dr. Brundige and he said, “Well, you get in touch with him and phone me back collect.”  So, I called Ken, and I said, “Hey, I got a job for you in Chicago.”  He said “Chicago! (laughter).  He said, “Are you putting me on?”  I said, “No.”  I told him the circumstances.  He said “Just a minute”, and his father came on the phone and said, “Could we come up and see you?”   So, I said “Sure”.  So, in about, an hour or so, they pulled in the lane here, Dr.Bohn, and his son, Kenneth Bohn, who was my classmate and Dr. Bohn did most of the talking.  Ken was standing there and if Ken ever listens to this record, why I’m sure he’ll say that it’s true.  He won’t actually, but this is true.  His father asked me all the questions and I said to him, “Dr. Bohn, I think this would be a great experience for your son, Kenneth.  Now, I happen to know there’s a Michigan Central Excursion that he can take over to Chicago and back for $9.00, and it’s good for up to 3 weeks. Why don’t you let him go over there and take a look at this, and try it out, and if he doesn’t like it, why he can come back within the three weeks, all for $9.00.”  He said, “That’s a good idea.”  Now he was a Scotchman, Dr. Bohn was, you see, and that appealed to him. 

           

            So the next morning, I left by my usual mode of traveling, which was hitchhiking. Somebody took me as far as Hagersville. I stopped and walked across the track as  the train was up at the station, and I saw Ken get on the Michigan Central leaving for Chicago. I was leaving for Ottawa and by that night I was there for my new job.  I found Mrs. Craig’s boarding house down on Fifth Avenue. I’ve forgotten how I got it but that was an experience.

 

            I went down to the poultry pathology laboratory and, I must say, in all honesty, I discovered that summer, that I’d never want to work for the federal government again.  I would never want a federal government job.  I don’t know whether the same situation still exists or not but back in those years this was one of the most boring jobs and the reason it was boring was because they actually never did any work.  I had been used to working for a packing company where something counted.  They just put in time.  They were clock-watchers.  They would come in and they would sign the book in and then they would talk for about two hours about penny stocks, these little mining stocks that were around and then, what they did the night before.  Then, they’d have some coffee and then maybe we would go out and we would draw blood from maybe 15-20 chickens. They were running a compliment fixation test. It was supposed to be research, but I’ve forgotten what it was they were trying to find out.  It was a compliment fixation test which kind of amazed me at that time because that was something new. Then about 11:30, they would start looking at the clock and deciding where they were going to eat.  Then somebody would sign somebody out. We had to be signed out and we’d go out over to the cafeteria and we’d get lunch there. We had about an hour and a half for lunch, as I remember., We’d come back and we’d lay under some of those beautiful big maple trees as this was in July and August down at the central experimental farm. We’d talk to the stenographers and admire the pretty girls and so on as a lot of secretaries worked there .Then we’d get back to the office about 1:30 and we’d spend about an hour talking about what we did at noon. Maybe, about 2:30, we’d do a little more work and about 3:30 – because they got through at 4:00 – summer hours – they would start to talk about going home. Then maybe somebody’d leave early and have somebody sign them out and this was the way it went. It got to be boring and I decided right then that I wasn’t going to go into any research work for the government.

 

            Well, I got back from Ottawa, and started into my final year at veterinary college.  Oh, I forgot, I missed one summer.  This was the first summer, between the second year and the third year. I had a call one day and it was a Rev. Lightbourne.  This would be in 1936, about March.  A tall, distinguished looking man came in and he said, “Professor Snyder asked me to look you up and I understand you’ve graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College and your interest was in poultry and you worked for Canada Packers.  I’m an Anglican minister in Aurora, Ontario, and I have a project down there. We have an abandoned factory where they used to make matches and we have the equipment down there for hatching and  raising chickens. We’re producing broilers and I understand you’ve had some experience.”  I said, “That’s right.”  He said, “Would you come to work for me for the summer?”  And I thought, well, I’m not going to go back to Canada Packers as I’ve severed my connections there.  I said, “Yes.”  He was so distinguished looking I didn’t even go down to look at the place or anything .Well, I arrived down there sometime in April  and I stayed at the hotel in Aurora .I’ve forgotten the salary I was supposed to get.  It was better than what I was getting with Canada Packers. Let’s say it was $30.00 a week. He wanted a specialist and he was willing to pay for a specialist, so $30.00 a week.

I went down and the place was in terrible shape with diseases like coccidiosis and bacillary white diarrhea (pullorum disease). The chickens were just loaded down with disease and probably the mortality was about 50%.  This was why he

            had asked me to help. Now then, I couldn’t do too much down there because

            of the overwhelming circumstances. We did the best we could and tried to clean

            it up. We got some medication in there and we tried but it was a losing cause

            right from the start.

                         

            The Lightbournes were a very cultured family and he had a brother-in-law who

             was an Englishman, also from a very cultured family.  He was a pretty

             good Anglican minister. I used to go to the church there and listen to

             him preach but he certainly was no businessman.  He had an Auburn car –

             I can remember this – about a1933 Auburn and I think nobody around here

             will remember an Auburn.  But after I’d been there about 6 weeks, he

             couldn’t afford to pay me, and I moved out of the hotel and I went down

             to the match factory. He gave me one of these folding cots and I had a little

             hot plate where I could cook some eggs and make some toast.

            

             Because I wasn’t going to make any money there at all, I said “Mr.

             Lighbtbourne “could I borrow your car and trailer”? I learned with Canada

             Packers that I can go out in the country and talk to the farmers in their

             poultry houses regarding their non-producing chickens; hens that are not

             laying eggs and never will lay eggs.  I’ll start out around here if I can borrow

             the car and trailer.” He said, “Sure”. Then he could pay me off by lending

             me his car and trailer.

 

            So, I actually went in business for myself for about 6 weeks.  I would go out and I would cull these non-layers out of a flock.  Some of the farmers didn’t believe me  so they’d put them in a box stall or some kind of a coop. Well, they never laid any eggs. They were never going to lay any eggs and you could easily tell that. Then I’d come back around and collect them.  They were nice fat old hens and I would take them and would dress them out.  Then I would drive them into Toronto and I made more money than I had lost. At that time I was an entrepreneur, you would say, and I retrieved the money that I had lost and got enough money as a nest egg to go back to college because I still had my paper route.  I had kept my paper route from O.A.C.  I had let it out on contract but I’d put in the contract a codicil, well, I guess it would be a codicil, George is not here, my nephew, the lawyer , but I’d put a clause in the contract that if I wanted I could get back my job delivering newspapers. I had been thinking, I guess, of coming back.

           

 

            So, I came back to Guelph.   No, in the meantime, I went to Toronto.  This was when I hitchhiked to Ottawa the last week before school to look for this job in the poultry pathology lab. I was able to go down and see the place and it looked great to me.  This is when I got all steamed up and got Senator Billy Taylor, our distant cousin to intercede for me, and get the job.  Ah, a funny little thing happened when I was down there. I stayed at a cheap hotel down near the experimental farm. I know it was cheap because it only cost about $3.00. That’s all I could afford. It was above a bar or was it a beer parlour and this was a crummy little hotel.  That night I called a girl I had known at Mac Hall, Marie Broadfoot, who became a great friend of ours we still talk to her. She said “What are you doing down here, Grant”, and I said, “Well, I’m looking for a job at the experimental farm.”   “Where are you staying?” and I told her and she said “Look, check out of there right away and come on over here; we’ve got a room here.”  So I go over and her husband was the city attorney for the City of Ottawa, city lawyer, I guess it’s called in Canada and he was a wonderful fellow.  Rupert Broadfoot became one of my favourite characters.  They were leaving that weekend to go up on the Ottawa River.  They had a cottage up there and so we drove up and had a great time.  We went to a square dance and his friend was there who was president of Borden’s of Canada.  I really traveled in high circles there.  I made a great friend.

           

            We came back and I stayed down there 2 or 3 days until I got things lined up for this job.  One day he said, “Grant, do you play golf?” and I said “Not very good” and he said “I don’t either, but come on over to my club, I’ve got some extra clubs”. He said “Drive the car, Grant”, so I got behind the wheel and he said “I have to drop into the office” and we went right into downtown Ottawa and I said “Where do you want me to park, Mr. Broadfoot?”  and he said, “Do you see that sign where it says No Parking?”  I said “Yeah.”  He said “Right there.”  So I parked there. He was a city lawyer. We went out and I had more laughs with him. Matter of fact, he and his wife called in to see me in Chicago and they were two of our favourite people.  Still at 72 years of age I call Marie from Chicago about 3 or 4 times a year. She’s a widow now and has two sons. One is a lawyer in Orangeville and another is head of one of these food service companies.  He graduated in hotel management. She has the greatest Scotch humour.  Broadfoot was Scotch, and she’s very proud of it.  Marie is her name, Jean Marie Broadfoot. You know when I was in the hospital in January, Mid gets a call from her and she says ‘How’s Grant?”  Well, Mid said, “He’s in the hospital.”  “What’s the trouble?”  She said, “Well, he’s had a coronary.”  She said “You know, I knew something was wrong.”  She said “We Highland Scotch know. I knew there was something wrong and I just had to call.”  Isn’t that amusing, Tony?  (laughter)  She said it was her Scotch Highland blood.

 

            Well, we’ll go on from there.  These are some of the funny little things.

            I’ve gotten  behind, I don’t know whether we can edit this out or not Tony but, anyway I thought you’d be interested in some of my little experiences and some of the interesting people I’ve met. 

 

            I seem to collect characters.  I love people that have a sense of humour and are a little unusual and all throughout my years I have collected them. I’ll tell you some more funny anecdotes later. I think they’re funny, to me they’re funny anyway.

 

            Anyway, after that summer in Ottawa I’d told you about, I had decided I would like to get into practice and I gave up that idea of research.   I also gave it up as research jobs had dried up.

**TRANSCRIBING NOTE:

There appears to be a gap between tape 1 and tape 2, so I’ve just begun typing

where tape 2 begins.

 

 

A         During the winter in my last year at O.V.C., the thing that was foremost on my mind was what was I going to do after graduation.  Well, as I mentioned, I couldn’t get a job in research; there were no jobs in research.  Ken Bohn had gone to Chicago to work for Dr. Brundige, and he called one day and said he’d heard from Dr. Brundige. “He wants me to get another person.  He bought another hospital, and he wants you to come to Chicago, and he’ll interview you.  He said you’re the one.”

           

 

            One weekend I got on the train in Guelph and went to Detroit and then caught a bus and travelled all night to Chicago.  This was about in February, 1938.  I had a classmate of mine in agriculture, Frank Love, who worked for Wilson & Company.  He had been a Wilson scholarship man. The president of Wilson & Company, who formerly came from London Ontario had taken Frank over and Frank was going along just famously.  He had a nice apartment and everything and I was going to spend the weekend with Frank.  I found my way to his apartment after I got off the bus on the south side of Chicago. He lived down near the University of Chicago, and I went there and then I went down to see Dr. Brundige.

 

            Now, Ken had told me some things about Dr. Brundige and Ken was quite impressed with him.  There was some things he didn’t know about Dr. Brundige; some things he did.  Dr. Brundige had been married twice before and he had two former wives on alimony.  He drove a new Lincoln Zephyr; he was a very professional looking man; you would have thought he was a chief surgeon in one of the largest hospitals as he was immaculate. He was a great dresser and had a great line of conversation. I was quite impressed with him at the start.  He showed us around Chicago and took us out to a nightclub and he made a deal with us.  We both had a job.

           

 

            The deal was this; I was to get a few weeks training with the doctor he had on the south side. I can’t think of his name now. A couple of weeks training and then he would put me in the new place he had bought from a Dr. Mongeau who had passed away of a heart attack during the winter months.  So we decided to accept the job and we went back and made arrangements. We were to get $35.00 a week and a free room and then we were to get 5% of the profits.  I don’t know how he was going to figure that out, but the $35.00 a week, now believe it or not at that time in 1938 Ken Bohn and I had probably two of the best paying jobs in the entire graduating class.  So, we were quite jubilant.

             

            After graduating on the 13th of May, 1938, in Simcoe Hall, at the University of Toronto, we stayed that night in the Ford Hotel; We left for Chicago by train, I believe it was the train now, the C.N.R. ,it went right through. After arriving in Chicago I started out with this doctor on the south side and Ken went up on Broadway, up on the north side of Chicago to work with Dr. Brundige. 

 

            After about two weeks, Dr. Brundige felt I was sufficiently well-trained to take over the place he had recently purchased. There hadn’t been a veterinarian there in some time. He had hooked up the phone from there to his phone on Broadway. It was only about a mile from the Clark Street address.  So, I went over and started practicing. 

 

            There was an old chap over there, he looked old to me at that time, although he was probably only about 50 or so, and he and his wife lived in the building. He was a kennel man and I think he was doing the practicing.  I’m sure he was.  Well, the fact that this young whippersnipper from Canada came in to run the practice didn’t sit too well with Old Dick, or his wife,  I never thought I said anything to turn them off or offend them .One nice day in May a fellow walked in, I always remember this, he had a green suit on and he had a straw hat with a green band , kind of a jaunty looking fellow. He introduced himself and he flashed out a badge and said “I’m with the Department of Registration and Education. May I see your licence?”  Well, I didn’t have a licence although I’d applied for one.  He said, “You are under arrest.”   “No more practicing for you. There’ll be a trial.”  There was nothing I could do so I said “sorry, sir”, and I tried to explain to him that I had applied for a licence. That made no difference to him.  He was a flunky with the Department of Registration and Education. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I always think of him as Irish when I remember this fellow in the green suit and the green band on his straw hat coming in and threatening me; the only time anybody had ever flashed a badge and told me I was under arrest.  Well, it wasn’t a formal arrest; they didn’t put the handcuffs on or anything, but.  I called Dr. Brundige and told him what had happened.  First I called Dr. Bohn and I said that if a fellow comes in there with a light green suit on, just don’t meet with  him, send somebody else; send Dr. Brundige.  Now Dick , the old kennel man and his wife I believe, had apparently complained about me because he was jealous that I was going to take over his job.  To make a long story short, Dr. Brundige knew Dr. Marelett who was head of the examining board of Illinois. Dr. Marelett was an Ontario graduate, and he was a really powerful man.  He had been dean of the Chicago Veterinary College and he knew politicians and he knew everything about how to get along.  Dr. Brundige had called him and he got things straightened out and I went back to practice.  I soon wrote the exams and fortunately, I got them.  But that was kind of a disconcerting incident.

 

            You know, I must tell you too, that before I went to Chicago, I announced to my parents that I had a chance for a job in Chicago.  They were very much against that, because it was still the days of Al Capone and gangsterism, and they were sure that I would get shot or other dire things would happen to me. I think my mother worried so much about that. But after she and my dad came over to Chicago and saw how I was getting along and after I drove them back over here in my nice Buick, about 1940 and I married Mid, {she too, came over to Chicago but that’s another story}, why they forgave me and thought it was all right.

                                   

            But, those are things that you still think back on.  You know, every once in a while I have dreams about going back to Guelph, back to school. I’m afraid I’m not going to have enough money.  I think if a psychiatrist got hold of this you see, and if I got on the couch sometime and told him about some of my dreams, it might be real interesting.  But these things still come through somewhere, up there in the confines of my brain; that little computer up there, still spews these things out about not having enough money and maybe this is a driving force.  There may be something back in my past that has left a little scar in my brain about this quest for having enough money. I know I’ve always been cautious. I’ve been in practice now 47 years, on May 13th and I still have those dreams.

 

            Now I have to say that I have been so fortunate in many things.  I started practice after we got this licence business straightened away and I wrote the state board exams. Eventually one day there wasn’t too much practice over there because it had been milked pretty dry by Brundige .

           

            Now Ken Bohn and I learned a great lesson there, working for Dr. Brundige.  As I mentioned at that time he was paying alimony to two former wives; he was a womanizer; he was a fine-looking man but he didn’t pay his bills. He had this beautiful Lincoln Zephyr which he was buying on time and he would see the man come up to collect the monthly payment up and he’d ask Dr. Bohn to tell him that Dr. Brundige was out on a call, and he’d evade this payment.  He never paid his drug bills he and never discounted any of the bills that you get for cash. He had trouble paying his rent and all these places were rented. He was just a very poor businessman. He taught us something there, specifically not to do this. Ken and I always got together and oftentimes we’d talk about the great lesson we’d learned from Dr. Brundige.

           

             He was also not too honest.  I’ve seen this happen back in the days when dogs would get distemper and they’d have convulsions and they might die. He had maybe 60 kennels and his object was to fill up those kennels, as many as he could, and try to get $2.00 a day for keeping a dog in there.  That was maybe about the going rate then. Maybe a dog was ready to go home but he’d keep it an extra 2 or 3 days just to be sure. We actually saw cases where the dog would die and he would say “the dog is not very good and no, don’t go in to see him”, and maybe charge for 2 or 3 days when the dog would be dead.  He would put it in the freezer and then he’d tell them. His morals weren’t too high, unfortunately. 

 

            He had a dear old mother that lived in an apartment above the practice and Ken also lived up there and she thought the world of Ken. When you think back on these things, you think of the lessons you have learned about how to practice and how not to practice, and I think this was very valuable.  I had occasion to go up to the University of Minnesota a few years ago, and talk to the students and life’s lessons were one of my themes.  I was  in the game room downstairs and I was practicing this before a recorder there and trying to get it down and smooth it out when Mid came down. I didn’t see her and she stood there and listened to it. When I saw her and I turned it off, she said, “You’re not going to tell those students that, are you Grant?”  I said, “Sure I am.  I think this is important.” You know, I went up and spoke and I got a great round of applause. I mean, they just loved it.   I told them about my early experiences in practice and I think it was one of the best talks I ever made, but Mid didn’t think they’d be interested in that.

 

A         The practice was at 6448 North Clark on a brick street and it was a store front with a big plate glass window. One day in about September a truck went by and hit a stone which came up and struck that big plate glass window, putting a little mark there.  I called Dr. Brundige a day or so later and I told him what happened.  He didn’t seem to be very excited.  Later, the jiggling from the street cars and other traffic vibrations cracked the window right across. A big long streak ran out from that mark where the stone had hit the plate glass. He came over one day to collect the money for that’s about the only time I saw him.  He would come in and say, “Let me have a look at the books and see how much money you have for me” and so on.  I said,” Doctor, we’ve got a problem with this plate glass window”.  He looked and he said, “What happened there?” and I said, “Well, I told you Doctor, a stone hit the window here about 3 weeks ago.”  Oh, he said, “I don’t know about this place. “ Why did I every buy it “I’m not making any money on it”, and I said, “Do you want to sell it, doctor?”, and he looked at me and he said, “no, not right now.”  But just before Christmas he came to me, because he remembered I had said something about “do you want to sell the practice” and he said, “Were you serious when you mentioned here a month ago that you’d like to buy the practice?” {I found out later that one of his wives was going to throw him down alimony row for not paying his alimony}.  I said, “Well, how much do you want for it?” and he mentioned the price, I think it was around $5,000.00. He had probably only paid $1,500.00 for it ‘cause back in those days if somebody died, why you picked up a practice for very little. It was just the instruments and as it was a rented place you took the lease over and so on. I said, “I might be able to get $4,000.00 together for you if you give me some time on it now.”  He said, “Can you get $1,000.00 in cash by such and such a date?” and I said, “I’ll have to find out.  I won’t know for a week.”  “Well, you find out.” 

 

            So, I wrote Eleanor a letter.  I didn’t know enough to phone, we never phoned in those days, and told her to please let me know. Back came a cheque for $1,000.00.She believed in me, you see. Then Dr Brundige said, “All right now we’ll go down to the lawyer”. He gave me some good advice right there.  He said, “You get hold of a lawyer” and then he said “We’ll draw up a contract.  I want $1,000.00 down and then I want four more $1,000.00 payments.  I said, “Wait a minute.  You told me $4,000.00 all together.”  “Oh no” he said, “I didn’t mean it that way.”  He said, $1,000.00 down and an additional $4,000.00 and I want $75.00 a month in the winter and $100.00 in the summer and it was to be an amortized payment deal.  I said, “No doctor, you said $4,000.00.  Let’s forget the whole thing.”  I called his bluff.  I used to play a little poker you see, and I know he was bluffing me.  So, he said, “Well, okay.”  As he had told me to get a lawyer, I called Frank Love.  Frank was with Wilson and Company.  Frank did me a great favour as he got me a young contract lawyer, who’s father was in charge of writing contracts for Wilson & Company. He drew up a great contract and I went down and we signed the papers and I purchased the practice about the 15th of December, 1938.  So I moved rather fast there from May the 15th to December.

           

 

            I know my parents were very worried about me and so on, but I thought I could make it.  I can remember the first month; I’ve still got the old books. I think we took in less than $400.00 that month.  I had a kennel man to whom I think we paid $10.00 a week plus his room. I didn’t have too many expenses, and I made it.  It started out that I had to pay Dr. Brundige $75.00 in the fall and winter months and $100.00 a month during the summer months.  It started out great and in about, oh gee, about two years, I had that place paid for.

 

            Well, in the meantime, Mid and I had drifted apart.  She had gone on to Toronto. I had been up at Guelph where I met another young lady who was at MacDonald Hall, and, she reminded me a great deal of Mid; They say that you might always be attracted to a girl that is something like the first girl you fall in love with ; Or some such proverb, Marilyn.  I don’t know whether you have heard this before.  {This is my niece Marilyn Armstrong here.}

 

            But of course, I had to have some companionship; company for the social affairs at Guelph and so on. So this young lady’s name was Isabel Paul and she was a great gal. We had come together and Mid and I had drifted apart.  Well, in the summer of 1939, Isabel had found some other companions. She had left school as she had graduated in ’38. We had sort of drifted apart too and I had met some other girls. I’ll have to tell a little story out of school.  I met a girl in Chicago and she was a divorcee and had a son .She used to come down to the hospital and bring her son to see the dogs and it got a just a little bit involved.  She was looking for another husband and I was so naïve that I didn’t quite understand these things. I met her parents and they had a big Buick and a large apartment up near Northwestern University. We could have the use of the big Buick to go out. They were looking and hoping that someone would come along and take the daughter off their hands. I just almost fell for it but I wasn’t in love with her.  She was a nice girl and I hate to say this; but she was a Catholic and divorced.  I never could see bringing a girl home to my parents and introducing her as a Catholic divorcee. So I got smart then and said, “Look Grant, it is 1939 and you are 27 years old; you better sharpen up here. You know Mid Taylor, and you better find out what she’s doing.” So I called her one night from Chicago.  That’s the greatest phone call I ever made. I said, “Mid, I’m coming up to the O.A.C. Alumni weekend.  How about meeting me there?”  And she said, “Yes”.  So, I met her there, and we decided right there that I had been fooling around long enough.  She apparently felt that she was ready to settle down and by golly, we made the bargain right there, that weekend in Guelph on the campus.  That’s another reason I like Guelph, you see.  Okay, cut.

 

            Marilyn just asked me; “Well, Grant, how did you and Mid get married?”  That’s rather interesting because I proposed to her up on the campus in Guelph about 3:00 one morning. She said “yes”, and then we started making plans.  Now, her parents had never met my parents and her father had passed away in 1937. She and her mother drove up here to the farm, met my mother and had lunch. Mid’s mother was just a wonderful person; Do you remember her?  You don’t remember her.  You lived right back of her; I’m talking to Marilyn here; They lived at 127 Brant Street.  Mid’s mother was a wonderful lady, and she and my mother got to know other.

 

            I decided I didn’t have enough money to leave my practice long enough to get married, and I said, “Mid, would you come over and marry me?”  There was a lot of rigamarole to go through and certain papers that we had to get, such as a visa and a health certificate and, oh, all sorts of things.  I had gone over on a visa and I was still traveling on a green card there. A professional like me could get a green visa or an immigration visa or a non-quota visa at that time because there weren’t enough veterinarians apparently in the United States.  There was not a veterinary college in Illinois.  There were only about 15 veterinary colleges in the whole United States.   So, I persuaded Mid that she should come over.  At that time I lived in a little apartment in the back of the hospital with Doug Reid.

 

 

            In September of 1939, just when the war was starting, I came up to the farm with friends from Chicago, Chet and Fran Nichols. Chet was a dog warden from Evanston Illinois and later became a crack reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Chester (his full name) was also an opera singer with a wonderful baritone voice and a real character. I enjoy great characters. I met him through Bob Cunningham’s cousin, Bill Thompson. Bob was visiting Bill Thompson and got to know Chet. Chet thought that it was great to know a veterinarian like Bob because he used to keep the dogs that were not taken from the pound in Evanston. As Chet  was also in the dog business, he would try to sell these dogs. Chet needed a little help sometimes to get these dogs well and keep them healthy.

            Bill Thompson resigned from his job and persuaded Chet to replace him, and later, Chet became a crack news photographer for the Chicago Tribune.  

 

 

            Anyway, Chet, Fran and I drove up here to the farm, and then we went on down to Mid’s place and stayed there. Then we went on a trip to Niagara Falls and vicinity.  This was in September.  I’ll never forget driving down along the river just the other side of Niagara Falls to see an army unit training there.  There was a sergeant out there putting his platoon through their paces and that was the first visible sign that war had just been declared.  Now this didn’t look like too good a time to get married; or maybe it was a great time.  As it turned out, it was a great time. 

 

            As mentioned previously, I said to Mid, “Would you come over” and she said she would. So on about the 29th of January, 1940, she and her mother arrived in Chicago.  I had this apartment all fixed up, Chet and Fran had helped me. One of their uncles had come down and done some carpenter work, and it wasn’t too bad. It was a small apartment, one bedroom, kitchen, small living room and a small dining room, right up above the back part of the hospital.  You had to go through a back door and up the stairs.  We started out real humbly. Now, Mrs. Taylor had a beautiful home at 127 Brant Street in Burlington, and Mid was used to that lifestyle but by golly she came over and said okay.  I had arranged with Dr. Smith up at the Rogers Park Presbyterian Church to marry us on the 2nd of February, which was on a Thursday at 5:00 p.m. We arrived and in his study were Chet and Fran Nichols, Olie, Dr. Olaf Norling Christensen and Edith Christensen, and Dr. Bob Seirog and Ethel Seirog, friends I had gotten to know in Chicago.  No, Ethel wasn’t married to Bob yet.  They came and stood there with us as witnesses and we were married by Dr. Smith.

 

            After that, the five of us went to the Edgewater Beach Hotel to the Marine dining room, just Chet, Fran, Mid, Mid’s mother and I. We didn’t ask the others to go along.  I didn’t have much money and I didn’t realize the protocol.  We just said thank you and they wished us well and away we went. They had a shower for us afterwards and so on. Horace Height was playing at the Edgewater Beach Hotel at that time.  You will remember, maybe, Horace Height?  Wee Bonnie Baker was singing for him and we had a beautiful dinner at a nice table. In the midst of dinner, the loudspeaker called for Dr. Misener. I responded and they said there’s an urgent phone call for you.  It was my kennel man.  He said somebody’d come in with a bitch having puppies, and I said, “Well, I can’t do much about it. Refer them  over to Dr. Brundige.” I was just married. After this nice dinner we danced in the Marine dining room. Then Chet and Fran went home, and Mid and I and Mrs. Taylor went over to our apartment. I had a single bed set up in the dining room and there was a double bed, part of a bedroom suite I had bought, in the bedroom that we’d added.  Mid and her mother slept together and I slept out in the dining room that first night.  

 

            So, the next morning, we were to take Mid’s mother down to the train. Oh yes, Ken Bohn loaned me his Chevy that he had bought from Bob Seirog. Ken was really put out that I decided to get married because he thought it ended a great relationship, as we’d had a lot of fun together. He didn’t even stay in town for my wedding but he did loan me his car. We were going down Otter Drive toward the station across the river and the drawbridge came up and we missed the train.  So, Mrs. Taylor stayed for another night. (Laughter) Well, anyway, we left that bed up, and Chet and Fran dropped in to see us. Chet was a little nosy, as most newsmen are so he said to me in private “What have you got that bed still up for?”  I said, “Well, Chet, I know you’re a Roman Catholic and I wouldn’t expect you to know”, but I said, “I’m Methodist and Mid is Presbyterian and in the Presbyterian religion, you can’t really share the same bed for a month.”  “Oh”, he said, “Is that right, I didn’t know that.”  So he went home and told Fran, and she said to Chet, “He’s really putting you on.”  (laughter)  So, for a time, that was a big  joke about the difference between Roman Catholics and Presbyterians. 

 

            I’ll tell you, we started off very humbly, but this little girl, Mildred Louise Taylor, who became Misener, was just a great gal and we went out and bought furniture. It was only about two months later that Frank Love said to me, “Grant, are you ready to buy a car,” and I said, “Well, I don’t know.  How much would it take?”  He had driven up in this gorgeous looking Buick Super6 car, and he said, “I know a fellow from whom we can buy them wholesale”.  “Where is he?”  He said, “He’s down on Blue Island.”   So, I said, “Gee, I might be interested.”  So I thought I’d better have some wheels; I’d been used to driving Ken’s car around and, you know before you bought a house or anything, you bought a car.  I was 27  years old and I’d never had an automobile.  So, he talked me into it; well, he didn’t talk me into it for I didn’t need any persuading. This was an opportunity, and for eleven hundred dollars, I bought a new 1940 Buick. It was a gorgeous black car with white-wall tires; it had a radio in it; it didn’t have any air conditioning but had a stick-shift.  I don’t know whether you remember that car or not, do you, Tony?

 

T          Inaudable?

 

A         I think I paid $400.00 down and owed $700.00. I was so proud because I’d just bought it and the first weekend we decided to take a trip up here.  Mid’s two sisters were down and we drove them back and Ken Bohn came along with us. We drove that new Buick up here and it was pretty snazzy.  I don’t think you were around.

 

T          I don’t remember

 

A         I think you were maybe at Queen’s, or you were maybe working in Montreal or someplace. That was my first car. I got married and within a couple of months, I bought a new car. We were having a great time and everything was rosy then. 

 

            I think we’d better continue this some other time, Tony, when I’ll tell you about the rest of my life.

 

            PAUSE

 

A         This is Sunday, June the 17th . We left Chicago on Thursday, came into Ann Arbour and drove into Guelph on Friday. This is our 50th graduation anniversary; mine 50 years from the O.A.C., and Mid’s fifty years from MacDonald Institute.  We met a lot of people that we knew and we had a wonderful time.  Our group, along with Mid’s group shared a luncheon together and then we had a beautiful banquet in Creelman Hall on Saturday evening.  So, it was a great time.

            I think that we should go on now, and talk about coming down to the farm, and Orpha and Lee having us all here. I think there would be probably 28 people here, if I have the count right.

 

            So where do we go here? …  It seems as though Orpha had remembered it was the 45th anniversary of our marriage and also of Ada’s and George’s, so there was a big birthday cake.  There were 28 people here, all of our dear relatives including Aunt Ellen. She had just celebrated her 90th birthday back on April the 28th in St. Thomas. “Would that be right, Tony?” She had over 300 people there helping her celebrate. Aunt Mary was here looking as young and beautiful as ever.  The entire family was here, including all the sisters. We had a great time. It was a little rainy outside so Orpha and Lee had it inside and there were all kinds of food. I’m sure that I gained about four pounds yesterday. That Tony, you know, he’s not very tall; he’s about 5’ 6”; but I saw him go out for the second helping of the main course and the second helping of dessert.  You wouldn’t think a fellow like him could put it away so well but we had fun.

 

Now Tony came down this morning and we are going to try and continue to recall a few facts here about what happened to me. As you remember I had just bought this wonderful new Buick and come up here to show off. Well, anyway, we got back and a few months later, no, I believe it was the year before, I had the chance to buy the practice and I took it. I don’t know whether I mentioned this in the tape before. I think I did about the stone breaking the window. Do you remember that?

 

T          Yeah

 

            Anyway, I had begun a purchase agreement and was in my own practice.  I had done that, of course, in the fall of ’38. Now, it was great to have a wife and helpmate there, somebody to look after the meals and everything. We lived back in the little apartment and things started to go along real good. 

 

Unfortunately, there were rumours of war at that time. Canada was already at war but the United States hadn’t declared war yet as I recall. On December 7th, you will remember the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor and the fat was in the fire.  Now, this caused a little consternation with me because I had signed up to buy a practice and I didn’t know what my status was. I was still a foreigner. I was not an American citizen and couldn’t be for five years. This was a worrisome time: What would happen, would I be drafted in as a private? If I had been a citizen, I could go into the veterinary corps as an officer.

 

 My friend, Ken Bohn had married Ruth Kennedy, and he had almost completed a three-year period and so he could become a citizen and therefore an officer in the United States Army.  He took that course.  He went down and enlisted as a private, went in the army and within months he became a citizen, and he was made a First Lieutenant in the Army Veterinary Corps.  He had been in for about a month or so, and I visited him when he was home from camp. I said “Ken, this has been a source of worry to me, now that you’re in the army, what do you think I should do?”  He said, “I’ve been in 2 or 3 months and I haven’t done anything.  He said, “They’ve got so many men and everything now, why don’t you stay out and maybe you can help the war effort better at home. They will let you know if they’re going to conscript you but just don’t go and enlist like I did.”

So, I stayed out. I used to go and help a friend, Bill Gay, who had a practice up in Woodstock {Illinois}. I would go up one or two days a week and help Bill out.  Oftentimes, he said that he’d been a little critical of what I’d done.  Anyway, I helped him get started and to organize his practice. I used to go out and help him blood test cattle and look after the livestock up around the Woodstock area. 

 

It was about that time our son Bob appeared.  I think he was born in 1942 if I have this right. I don’t have anything in front of me but I remember Ken was home and as he was an officer in the Veterinary Corps he had that beautiful uniform on, the pinks they called them. Of course, Ken is fairly tall and always dressed well, and he looked like an officer and a gentleman.  I can remember Mid started having pains and I got her down to St. Joseph’s Hospital. In those days they wouldn’t allow the husband anywhere near the patient.  They just took the patient and put them in a labour room. Mid said that was the worst 24 hours she ever spent in her life.  She was in there all alone with nobody to talk to and in pain and Bob wasn’t delivered until about 24 hours after I took her to St. Joseph’s Hospital. 

I can well remember that day as Ken and Ruth and I went out to a restaurant and waited around for news.  I would phone to see how things were and eventually they told me I had a son.  We named him Robert Grant. 

 

Things went along really well when we got him home from the hospital to the little apartment up above the back of the clinic.  However, when a 2-bedroom apartment became available over the front part of the building we decided we should move across the roof, as it were.  It was a much larger apartment and we thought we just had the world by the tail at that time.  It had great big rooms and was so different from the small apartment. 

 

Well, things went along but I can’t include every event. It would take about 4 or 5 tapes if I told you everything, and my memory isn’t that good anyway. The practice came along really well.  I recall that Dr. Douglas Lead {Reid}?, who I had known at O.A.C, graduated after he had been with me for one summer and I decided to offer him a job. He and I were real good friends and he came to Chicago and worked with me.  We had a 2-man practice and got along great but this war thing hung over Doug’s head too and he finally decided he’d better get into a position in which he would be less likely to be drafted. At that time small animal practice wasn’t considered the most important thing in veterinary medicine.  The important thing was practice involving food animals.  So, Doug had an offer for a job down in Delaware with an artificial insemination outfit. He came to me and said, “Grant, I think I’d better leave here, or they’re going to take me in as a private in the army.  With this new job I can get a deferment.”  So, he left and I was alone for a time. Then I got hold of a Dr. John Spannabel, an Ohio State graduate who had some difficulty with one arm. I don’t know if it was polio or an accident at birth, but the one arm was rather malformed and he didn’t have complete use of it.  Therefore, he would have a medical deferment from the arm and so he came with me at that time. 

 

Our second son, Andy was born, I believe January 31 1945 and he was delivered at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.  Those war years were a little difficult, you know. Sometimes your conscience bothered you a little bit. You knew people in the army and here you were not doing too much really for the war effort.  However, I became what was known as a 3A, because I had a son and then later, two sons and you got a certain amount of deferment then.  So, we went along, and I was able to make the mortgage payments on the hospital, and then I had an offer to buy the building.  I think the price was, can you imagine this, as I recall, it was $22,000.00 for a 3-storey building.  I could buy it on a deferred payment plan, so much money down and so much a month. I took advantage of that offer and went ahead.

 

            We lived above the hospital in the front apartment and the back apartment was      rented out. I’ve forgotten who it was rented to at that time. Bob, of course was           about two or three years of age and he had a little wagon which he played with outside. One day when he was about 3 years old, I saw him almost out to the             streetcar barns which were close by. Right then Mid and I decided we had to go   out and buy a home because we had to get out of this environment. We looked at           some homes in the city, and a client of mine told me there was a beautiful little             home out in a village called Niles, which was about 7 miles from the office. I             thought that was a long way, but they sold me. They said it was a Cape Cod          home and it was very tastefully decorated, landscaped and we should have a look            at it.

 

So, Mid and I drove out and we fell in love with this home.  We inquired the price and they wanted, I believe, $12,500.00.  It had been up maybe 2 years and the decorating had been done by a professional. There were things we probably never would have put in, like the rug with a floral design and some of the wallpaper which was rather modern. I know that Mid and I with our conservative taste, never would have decorated like that but it looked good to us.  It certainly looked good to Mid because she was ready to get out of that apartment above the hospital.

 

I had a friend who was sort of my financial advisor, named Tom Henry. Tom was in the insurance business. Tom and Edna had no children and they became great friends of Ken Bohn. Tom would drop into the office every day or so and I asked him, “What do you think Tom, about this?”  Tom was a great guy and he was selling insurance. He suggested how I could buy that home. You could get a mortgage at that time if you had some money down and I’d saved some money so we made the arrangements with the owner. His name was Pier Vidalis, I think, and he was a hairdresser, a pretty good one because he’d bought this home and he’d decorated it that way.  They’d overplanted the grounds as we found out later but they looked beautiful.

 

We were able to arrange financing for this home and we moved out to Niles. That was a great, great little home.  It had two bedrooms upstairs; it had a living room; it had a separate dining room, kitchen on the first floor and then it had a recreation room down in the basement with a bar finished in knotty pine.  Of course there was a furnace and all. Well, I thought I was a millionaire after moving into a place like that.  Nobody had a better home than that and Mid loved it too.  Niles at that time wasn’t too well developed as the street wasn’t even paved but it was a great place to live.  Bob could get out with his little red wagon and he’d go visiting the neighbours.  When he was about 4 he knew all the neighbours around. I can recall there were some neighbours back in those days who even had some chickens. Bob used to love to go over and watch those chickens in the coop two or three doors from where we were.

 

We had a dog, a wire-haired terrier, named Billy who would run away if he got a chance, but he was a pretty good dog and Bob liked him.  He used to harness him up to the sleigh and we have some pictures somewhere of Billy pulling Bob or Bobby as we called him.  Bob was a tow-head when he was young.  Now, of course, he’s 42 years old I take a look at him every day and he’s got a few gray hairs coming in. I suggested some time maybe he could use something on that.  He said he’d already tried it, but it didn’t work.  I think the name of it was Grecian Formula.

 

Well things went along great. I still had that Buick that I told you about earlier and we only had one car.  Now, Mid was a little handicapped as she was out there with no public transportation but she had a great deal there.  She could call up the grocery store and order her groceries which they’d deliver.  That would save her a lot of time shopping.  There was a company that delivered all kinds of meats and other things that one could buy.  We even had milk men in those days to deliver milk. She really liked it out there and I did too. It was 7 miles from the office and I would take off in the morning and I wouldn’t get back until late because we had office hours until 9:00pm. I was probably obsessed with being able to pay for that home and for the hospital and everything. I was heavily in debt back in those years but things came along great. We got out of debt eventually.

 

 I was fortunate in being able to get good professional help. I was able to hire a beautiful young lady named Marjorie Galavin. She was my office girl; she was my technician; she could do anything.  Her mother was a registered nurse and when we would go away, Mrs. Galavin used to come out and stay with the kids.  This was a great arrangement.

 

 I got interested in professional organizational work and I was asked to be secretary-treasurer of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association.  I fell into that as I’ve always liked that sort of work.  I used to write a bulletin and I would go to the meetings with Marjorie, my secretary, who was a good typist and we’d get everything done.  This was an extracurricular activity that I had.

 

Then I became President of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association. I believe that was in about 1945 or 46, and then I became the secretary-treasurer of the Illinois Association.  Then I was appointed to serve as delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association representing the State of Illinois.  That went on for 29 years.  I was the delegate and it was an enjoyable experience. I met so many people from all over the United States including national leaders.  After two or three years, they were probably short of material, they asked me to be president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. That was just a little bit too much. I felt I’d be away from home frequently and then the other thing was that it entailed a lot of public speaking. I’ve always been a bit shy about public speaking.  Some people might not believe it, but it’s always been sort of an effort for me to get up and speak in public.  When I do present anything, I work and I labour a long time before I get up to speak. It’s not a natural thing for me to get up on my feet and to talk to a group.  I have done a lot of it.  I was president of the Kiwanis Club; I was president of the Canadian Club of Chicago. Even now at my advanced age of almost 73, I get a few butterflies in the stomach when I’m asked to get up and say something. Maybe that’s good.  Maybe that’s good.

 

Just last year I had the great honour of being made a fellow of the University of Guelph and was asked to give the convocation address.  I think I worked about 3 months on that convocation address.  I went out and bought a new tape machine.  I would practice on this because I only had 12 minutes to say what I was supposed to say. This was a hard thing for me to do, but a wonderful thing and I enjoyed it afterwards.

 

Well, I’m digressing here and getting ahead of myself. 

 

But I’ve always enjoyed my professional organizational activities.  I’m pretty well through all of those things now, with one exception. I’m still president of The Friends of the University of Guelph and that is a fundraising organization of about 500 graduates of the University of Guelph living in the United States. I send out  fund-seeking letters. As a matter of fact, right in the back of my car I have two large boxes of envelopes with letters made up by the Alumni office in Guelph.  I’m going to take them back and sign them all, stamp them and mail them to about 300 people who previously contributed sizable amounts.  We are looking forward to the annual meeting of this organization in Las Vegas next month. I have been thinking of resigning this job, but the man I had picked out to succeed me, Bill Barnes, tells me I should keep on for at least another year.  I don’t think he wants to take it for another year so, if I’m elected, I’ll probably serve another year.

 

Now, I’ll get back to practice and life in Chicago. On the 13th of May, this year, I and Ken Bohn, my good old friend who went to Chicago with me, went out to a very fine restaurant to celebrate 47 years of practice. We had a few cocktails, I mean I had, because Ken hasn’t had a cocktail for five years.  I don’t know how he does it, but he suddenly decided that he was going “on the wagon”.  I usually have a couple of cocktails at a thing like that and my dear wife Mid will have a couple too. Each night we enjoy what we call “attitude adjustment hour” before we eat dinner and I’ll tell you what it is.  It’s a vodka martini, and sometimes as I’m trying to be on a salt-free diet now, I make a Gibson as a substitute. If you don’t know what a Gibson is, why it’s the same as a martini, except it doesn’t have an olive. It has a couple of onions in it. These are some of the pleasant little things we do in our lives.  

 

In a few weeks or a few days, it’s getting closer to my birthday on July the 1st this year, I expect to enter into my retirement phase of life.  Last Wednesday I signed a contract with my partner of the last 10 years. He’s been with me for 23 years. I think it’s 23 years. LaValle Holley, who is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, or Oklahoma State University, I should say, is going to take over the whole thing and I wish him all sorts of luck.  We’ve had an amiable partnership since 1962 when he came with me. He’s a very capable and fine-looking man.

He’s tall; the type of person that women look at and a lot of lady clients just think he’s great. So I know that he’ll be a success.

 

 I don’t want to end this right now, but Tony, what else would you like to know.  Are there any questions you’d like to ask?

 

T          You haven’t mentioned your youngest son, Ken.

 

A         Oh my goodness, there is his picture looking right at me.  Well, I can remember on a windy day back in 1949, I was at a convention. As you may have gathered, I’ve been a great convention attendee. While I was at an American Animal Hospital Association meeting in the old Edgewater Beach Hotel, I had gone over to the Elks Club.  Now, Mid was expecting at that time. We thought it might be a little girl and we had hoped for a girl. We had convinced ourselves that this was going to be our daughter.  I’d gone out with a group of veterinarians and friends over to the Elks Club, which was on Sheridan Road, and I’d just ordered a great big steak because they served the greatest steaks. I thought now, I’d better phone Mid and see if everything is all right because the birth wasn’t quite expected for another few days.  I called, and she said, “Where have you been?” and I said, “I’m over at the Elks”.  She said “You’d better get over here.  I’ve got my bag packed and I’ve got to get up to St. Francis Hospital right away.”  At that time, I had a ’48, I believe it was a ’48 Cadillac. It was a great big, old gray car.  Now, I ran back in and I told the waitress, “Wrap that steak up.” The steak had been already cooked, I think it was on the plate and I ran out and I got in that old gray, Cadillac and I got out to Niles. It was about 7 miles from there. Mid was sitting in the hall with her little suitcase and I said, “Where are the kids?” and she said “Esther Pritchard has them and let’s get going.”  Well, we started out and we went down Oakton Avenue. The hospital was about 5 miles away and by golly, wouldn’t you know, there was a freight train going across the road and we had to stop. Poor Mid! As it turned out our son, not our daughter wanted to be born.  Anyway I got her to the hospital and into the prep room. I delivered, or almost did, our son.  Now then, they came in and they whipped her into the delivery room but you see I was right there. I could have completely delivered this child of ours, who turned out to be Kenneth Taylor Misener. That was quite a traumatic experience but Ken was eager to be born.

 

Now, Ken has been a joy in our life.  He’s been a great boy.  He didn’t have any interest in veterinary medicine.  I don’t know whether I mentioned it but Bob did have a lot of interest in veterinary medicine but I’ll continue on with Ken.

Ken was a good student.  Ken was a leader, always a leader.  Kids would be around, even when he was 7, 8, 9 years old. The kids would come up and they’d always say, “Ken, what do we do?” and he would tell them.  He, in my opinion, is a born leader.  Well, Ken didn’t want to go to any university in Illinois.  I didn’t know why this was, but I think I do now.  We had a dear friend, Dick Schaefer, who graduated from Ohio State and when Ken was in his junior year of high school, he got talking to Dick and Dick gave him a pep talk.  Dick’s a real salesman; he’s a great entrepreneur, a multi-millionaire now and he gave Ken a great pep talk on Ohio State.  Now, Ken applied to three colleges and I can remember one was in Colorado, and one was in Ohio and the other was Ohio State. He was accepted to all three, which was unusual, but he was in the top quarter of his class at Main High, and that was a large high school. So he was a good student and he decided to go to Ohio State. 

 

So we took him down there. Ohio State at that time would be about 30,000 students.  It’s a big, big school and has a wonderful football team. I said when I got down there, “Ken, now don’t join a fraternity for at least a year.”  While we were helping him move into his dormitory a couple of fellows knocked on the door looking for fraternity pledges. Well, you know what happened.  He joined Sigma Phi Epsilon. I hope I have that right. He was pledged, probably before we got back to Chicago.  (laughter)  But this was great as he met a group of nice young men and to this day we know a lot of them. We have a lot of fun with them and Ken did real well in Ohio State.  He took marketing, that was his major. He got active in student government and became a great leader. He had a top position in the student government when he was a senior. He also got into R.O.T.C.

 

Ken had a philosophy and I asked him one time, “Ken, now you’re in R.O.T.C., what do you think about it?”  He said, “Dad, if a country is good enough to live in, it’s good enough to fight for, and that’s why I joined.”  This was his philosophy.  He got in back in the late 60’s and R.O.T.C. wasn’t popular then. There was an uprising of students as many of you may recall and some of them used to throw eggs at these R.O.T.C. students when they were n their uniforms.  This was at the time of the Vietnam War. There was a bunch of dissidents and young people who were well, they were a little nuts, I always, thought, but they were from a different generation than I was. Ken wasn’t exactly a square, but he had a different ideas.  And this never bothered him. 

 

Then he decided what he should do and that to take post graduate work. I don’t know where he got this idea but he decided to take his Masters in hospital management which turned out great.  It was a two year Masters course, and out of the whole class, and Ken never tells me these things, but I understand he was first. He topped his class. 

 

He had to serve two years in the army and he went to camp somewhere down in Pennsylvania. At that time I’d bought him a car. I figured he was old enough then. He was about 22 and all the other kids had cars, so I bought him a little Oldsmobile Cutlass, a cute little red car.  And he took that car down to Pennsylvania to camp. I said, “What branch of the army are you going in?”  He said, “I think they’re going to put me in communications, radio or something.”  I said, “Well, what do you know about that?”  He said “Nothing, but that’s the army.” I said, “Aren’t you going to use your professional degree there?” “Well,” he said, “I don’t know how you get into that.”

 

It just so happened that through the national veterinary associations, I knew the brigadier general, who was head of the veterinary corps and I knew him quite well, on a personal basis.  So, I told him about Ken and he took his name down and he said, “You know, I work in the surgeon general’s office.”  And lo and behold, would you believe it, Ken got an appointment to medical services.

 

            Ken went to Texas for a course, and he ended up as adjutant at Brook Medical Hospital.  The adjutant, I guess, just about runs the hospital for the colonel who is in charge.  I mean, he’s the joe boy, you see.  He’s the one that does the work.  But this was a great experience for Ken.

 

            Well, after he came out of the army, he had some friends who were in the Metropolitan Hospital in Cleveland.  There’s another longer name…Cayuga County or something … I’ve forgotten the name, outside of Baltimore and Washington where he was adjutant of that facility. He knew these two fellows who worked in this hospital and there was an opening there, so he got in.

 

T          Where is this?

 

A         This is up in Cleveland.  He started in there, as he told me one time, around $17,000.00 or $18,000.00.  Salaries weren’t too great there, because at that time, why I was paying a fraternity brother of his, Kev Hay about twice that much and Ken said he was working for poverty wages. He was on the poverty level. (laughter)

But he came along real, real great there, and they started to increase the salary. About two or three years ago, he said to me, “Dad, I’ve got my resume, and I’m putting my resume out.”  I said, “Well gee, they’re using you great there now.  You’re a vice-president.” He said, “Well, I know, but you’ve got to move out to move up.”  And I guess that’s the philosophy because he was approached by Fairview General Hospital who hired him.  I was gonna tell some salary things but I don’t think he would like me to mention that.

 

            But now he is vice-president and chief operating officer of that hospital, and he’s got a fine job. They had, I think it was about a 10 million dollar project to build an ancillary building, and he was put in charge of that.  The ancillary building had doctors’ offices and other facilities for the hospital out in North Olmstead, which is a suburb of Cleveland.   But he has done real good.  I’m real proud of Ken.  He married a cute little girl, I shouldn’t say cute little girl, a beautiful girl, Beth Baker who is a psychologist.  She has a Masters Degree in psychology. As she explains it, if a person gets some sort of disability and thinks this is the end of the world, they try to rehabilitate them. And she’s in charge of that department now at that hospital and she’s a smart gal

 

            They have a daughter, born on August 1st who will be two years old this year.  That is little Melissa who we’re going to see in two or three days.

            We’re so proud of Ken.

 

            Now, we’re also proud of Bob because Bob wanted to be a veterinarian.  He always went to work with me and he’d have made a good veterinarian. But at that time veterinary schools were so difficult to get into. You had to have a 3.5 out of 4 grade point average for them even to look at you. He was not able to get up to that grade point average because Bob was a pretty normal guy.  He likes a good time too and he’s not bookish.  He’s intelligent, but he’s not the scholarly type that can knock off those grades and I never was either.  I always came in about average. There’s some of those fellows can sit down and read a book and some of them are blessed with a photographic memory and can just give the professors what they want right back.  I never could; Bob never could. 

 

            But, I wanted to see Bob in a profession. I belonged to the Inter Professional Council in Chicago, which was made up of dentists, physicians, veterinarians, podiatrists and optometrists. I got to know an optometrist who was the president.  So, I said to him, “I have a son, who I think would be interested in your profession.  Would you show him around?”  He said, “Sure.” So I sent Bob down to the office and he showed Bob around, explained what an optometrist did and Bob thought he’d like that field.  Bob had graduated from North Park College with a Bachelor of Science degree and then he applied to the Illinois Optometry College and was accepted. He graduated from there in about 1968 and started practice up in Northbrook.  He has developed a very fine practice.  Bob impresses me, always impresses me when he examines my eyes.  He’s very thorough; he’s very gentle; he’s very knowledgeable and I think he is exceptionally good with contact lenses. Years ago when he was in high school, contact lenses became rather popular and I had a friend who was an ophthalmologist and I sent Bob over to him.  Bob had a little eye problem and asked him about contact lenses.  So, he sent him to a technician, not an optometrist, who fitted Bob with contact lenses but they were not a proper fit.  These lenses apparently didn’t suit Bob because they started to wear the surface of his cornea. Fortunately, they found this out at the Illinois College of Optometry. He had to wear spectacles for about six months until that cornea was repaired.  So, he has always remembered this, and contact lenses are his specialty. I think he does an excellent job.  It’s difficult to get an appointment with him.  I have to take appointments on off-hours and so does his mother.  But he’s doing a fine job. He’s got an excellent piece of property and this property is going to be a gold mine someday.  It’s in Northbrook, a fine town and it will do nothing but go up.

 

            Bob is married. This is his second marriage.  He is married to Gail.  Gail is a nice girl and we think the world of her.  She’s a great girl.  He has two children by his former marriage; David who is 18 now and Lynn is 15.  David is expressing some interest in optometry.  He had been going to a junior college, and I hope he gets interested enough so that maybe he’ll take up his dad’s profession. Whether that’s good or not, I don’t know. But we’d like to see him get real interested in something and go ahead and get a degree of some type.

 

            Now that kind of covers our lives. I hope these boys don’t hear this. They might think I laid it on a little thick or I didn’t lay it on well enough. I don’t know but, Tony, you know, I brag about my kids.  I’m real proud of our sons, Mid’s and my sons. They’re great sons.  We enjoy them. 

            I always say Bob is like a ray of sunshine when he comes in the house.  He’s got his mother’s personality.  He’s got a sense of humour; he is a great, great person.

 

            Ken is the same way.  Ken has got a little different sense of humour but he is a pleasure.  He calls on the phone about once a week and tells me some stories. He’s quite a story-teller, as is Bob. Anyway, we have a lot of great camaraderie between Mid and I and our sons.  So… it’s been a great life.  Okay?

 

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