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[Pat]: She used to always try to follow my brothers and she was walking on the radiator and she hit the radiator and she busted the tooth, didn’t she, that night?

[Dave]: When she fell off? I guess Nancy did a couple of thing like that, huh?

[Pat]: No, that was Betty.  Nancy was daredevil too. 

[Nana]: Oh, gosh.  When my kids got anything wrong with them, it had to be the worst.   I always had them all laid out and everything, I’m telling you. Judy had the polio-

[Pat]: I’ll never forget the time I went to camp and my mother had to come up and get me or they had to send me home because I busted my tooth.  I was sad because they had to send me home, they got more scared about my cracked tooth.  And I hadn’t been- like I was saying, you don’t get out of the city that much and I didn’t want to go home, and they were having a fit, “Oh, we got to get this kid home so they can go to the dentist,” you know?  And I was crying ‘cause they were sending me home.  Everyone’s all concerned about me.

[Dave]: Everybody’s breaking legs and arms and everything, huh?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Pat]: I guess my mother’s seen her share of blood. Between my brothers coming in –

[Nana]: I remember when Peggy used to have the nosebleeds. 

[Pat]: We were talking about that the other day.  Somebody had tonsillitis, or- we heard that Rainey had her tonsils out.  Mary took ‘em out one day and she brought ‘em out to our house, and Rainey was talking real funny.  And it’s the only thing that crossed my mind, I said, “Rainey, did you have your tonsils out?”  She said, “yeah, I just got out of the hospital day before yesterday.” Cause she was in that- [high pitched voice] “Hiii”, you know how it’s real high and it’s cracky?  Dave and I were talking about that just the other day.  How kids were growing, you know, and he was talking about Rainey.”

[Pat]: So I said, “Boy, are you kidding me?” Cause I asked her, I said, “were you sick?” So she said “no, I just got sore throats.” And Dave and I were talking about it, I said “Boy, she was lucky.” I can remember when my sister Peggy was little and we had our tonsils out.  She used to sit and fill a bucket- have a bloody nose and fill a bucket of blood. 

[Nana]: Oh, God yes.  Used to have to bring her down the hospital and have it cauterized, to stop it.

[Dave]: That’s painful, isn’t it?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, they used to have to plug it up with cotton and everything.  Ruined more towels, more bathrobes…

[Pat]: I used to get a bloody nose, but nothing like that-

[Dave]: I only get a bloody nose when I get punched in the nose.

[Pat]: So when one had to go in, she just I guess, shipped the two of ‘em in and got them over and done at once.  But I’ll never forget- I can’t remember to this day what Peggy had- but I’ll never forget when Peggy got sick.  She wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t walk, she wouldn’t talk, she wouldn’t do anything at all.

[Nana]: That was what they called Chorea- but you spelled it with a “c-h.” And you lost all coordination in that, you know.  And she was in the hospital almost one whole summer.  That was the day they came home from school.  You were going into fifth grade I think.   And all in that fourth year, fifth year- whatever it was, Sister kept saying, “if you don’t do better, your sister will go ahead of you and leave you behind.” Well, when she knew that she had been promoted, when she got home, she just collapsed.  That was it.  She had made the grade and she had to learn to walk, she had to learn to talk, and do everything all over again.  I’ll never forget when they brought her home from the hospital-

[Pat]: You’ll never forget, I’ll never forget.

[Nana]: I said, “You’ll have to be very careful; she can’t talk, so watch her eyes.”

[Pat]: They didn’t want to release her.  She talked around us, but she said, “You’re not doing a thing, this kid’s gonna get better.  I’m taking her home.”  Because they didn’t want her to go home- she couldn’t function at all!  She had to carry her in the bed.  She couldn’t even write her name! 

[Nana]: They’d carry her upstairs on the chair.  So I said to them, “you can go up and talk to her.”  This was on the afternoon- remember [Katie McKinnon]? And they came up and the pair of them came out of the room and they felt so bad.  And that Monday morning, she was sleeping, I remember Nana had come down, stayed overnight.  And she was going away the next day on vacation.  I think that was the year she took Betty and Barbara up to Halifax or up to Montreal.  So anyway, we were having breakfast Monday morning, and my mother said to me, (it was about nine o’clock,) “you better go up and see if she’s all right.” So, they were all out in the kitchen and I started hollering up- why, not screaming, but I called my mother and I said, “come here.”  So she comes in the room, and I said, “say hi to Peggy.” So she says, “Hi Peggy,” Peggy didn’t move.  Well, when I walked in, she was sleeping, and then I started to do something, I had changed my room around, and I had started to make my bed or something, and all of a sudden I heard, “ooh.”  I thought I was dreaming, and I looked, and she was talking! And so I called my mother and my mother come up and she began talking to her, and that’s how she started talking again. 

[Dave]: Just started up again and that was it.

[Nana]: Yeah.

[Pat]: And you know those plastic sheets? You buy them in the game store, in the Five and Dime.  You lift the sheet, you write something and you lift the sheet.  

[Nana]: Oh yeah, magic marker.

[Pat]: Yeah, that’s how she learned how to write.  We used to all say, “come on! You can do it, you can do it!” And we’d do it, and it was terrible, she’d go … and you’d say, “no, this is what you do.” And you’d do it all over and lift the paper and that’s what she did, everybody just kept-

[Dave]: Didn’t you say you got sick one time she got sick? 

[Pat]: No, I got all the symptoms. I didn’t get the sickness.  

[Dave]: Did you get sick in school, or what?

[Pat]: When she come home-

[Nana]: No, that was her appendix.

[Pat]: Oh, you mean when she had the sickness, or whatever it was?

[Dave]: When she got sick, did you have the symptoms before you knew she was sick? 

[Nana]: No, that was when she had rheumatic fever.

[Pat]: Oh, I don’t know.  Yeah, they called it Saint Vitus dance or whatever. 

[Nana]: No, that was what that Chorea was. 

[Pat]: Oh, okay.  So anyways, I remember being in school and feeling lousy, whether she was missing then or not.  No, it must have been after she came home, I remember going to school and I felt lousy.  And every day, I used to have to come home, and the doctor would be there.  And I used to have to get up in the bed, and he’d check me all over, and I had what they call sympathy pains.  If she had a cramp in her stomach, I had a cramp in my stomach.  If she had headaches that day, I had headaches that day.  And the doctor told my mother, “there’s nothing wrong with this kid, she’s just what they call sympathy pains.” 

[Nana]: Well that’s it, they were so close.

[Dave]: Yup. Anything else?

[Pat]: The only other thing is when I had appendicitis.  Peggy didn’t feel too [swift].  But then, neither did I. 

[Nana]: Well as I say, when my kids got something, they really got it.  Like one time I had taken the kids- one of the nuns’ mother had died- it was Betty’s sister, and I took a bunch of the girls up to the wake.  And we came home, and we were all sitting at the table having supper, that was one thing at my house, you had to be at that meal table.  We all ate together.  Of course, that was when families were families.  And so anyway, she said, “Mama, I don’t feel good.  May I go up in my room?” So, I figured, well this was an experience, and yes, all right.  So then, all of a sudden, I said, “shh, everybody keep quiet.”  And I could hear the bed going up and down, and I could hear, “It’s no ordinary pain, it’s no ordinary pain.” And I went up the room, and here she is, jumping up and down on the bed, screaming with pain! And, Jackie was working down the City Hospital at the time as an orderly, you know? After school, and on Saturdays.  She was in the seventh grade then, so he was older.  Anyway, I called him and I said, “what do you think?”  And he said, “you’d better get her down the hospital.”  Him and I walked the streets of Roxbury that night.  Her appendix had ruptured, and we didn’t know whether she would live or die, but they wouldn’t let me stay in the hospital.  So they said, “We’ll be in touch,” and we walked- oh God, and then, we’d walk back to the hospital, and then walk again.  I’m telling you-“

[Pat]: Well, when mine ruptured, they ruptured around the liver and up around the bowels.  Three days of [?] you know.  And then this lady in the hospital- it was severe.  And I was getting better, but I never liked the food.  So my mother would bring me in stuff.  She used to bring me good eggnog- homemade, fresh.  She’d say to me, “put this in the refrigerator. When she doesn’t want something, give her this, at least she’s going to get the nourishment.”   So I guess this woman saw that they brought me something besides what they were giving to somebody else- all she was, was a cleaning lady.  But this one day, somebody had come to visit me and my slippers ended up way under the bed where I couldn’t- instead of being on the side and walking into them.  So I said to her, “would you please get those?”  So she said, “What do you think I am, your maid?  What are you, a spoiled brat?” She said, “get under the bed and get them yourself.” So I waited and I waited, and I said, never mind.  And I just waited for someone to come, ‘cause that’s the first thing they told me when I even woke up- you don’t move any more than- I couldn’t bend down and get those things, I probably never would have got up! “

[Nana]: No!

[Pat]: That’s funny though, the different things that happen to you. 

[Nana]: These kids used to love to go over to Rosemarie and Tony’s house when they were first married.  And then, was it Tony’s christening, that Warren was giving you kids the peaches and the wine? 

[Pat]: It was probably.  First time I ever tasted rhubarb was when she lived in [? Neck?].  I never tasted rhubarb.  They used to have fields and fields and fields of it.  Like, her house would be here, and right across the street was fields of it.  I don’t know, but they must have been giving the stuff to Rosemary because she used to make different stuff [?]. 

[Nana]: I used to love that. 

[Dave]: It’s funny, when you look back, you say, “I wish I had always taken more pictures.”  Ma’s always saying she wish she took more pictures of this or that that happened.  

[Pat]: We got a movie thing we gotta get-

[Dave]: You gotta use that more.

[Nana]: I got about four rolls of film in there I have to take out.  

[Dave]: What, ones that haven’t been developed yet? 

[Nana]: Yeah.

[Dave]: Do you got, old albums and things too, though? Of yours?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, I got loads of pictures.  Oh God help us, yes.  It’s too late now to get them out.

[Pat]: You used to have boxes and boxes of them.  You gave a lot away though, didn’t you?  No, I divided them up among the kids, yeah.  

[Dave]: I think that’s the thing, though, everybody can look back at pictures and stuff. 

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: That’s the best part of it. 

[Nana]: So have you been looking into these post-graduate stuff? 


Yeah, I wrote away.  We just finished that tax thing today. 

Interview with Nana Phillips, 1977 [Part I]

[Nana]: My mother and my brother Jim, my sister Anne, my sister Elizabeth came over from England. I don’t know what year but-

[Dave]: Like in the 1910’s?

[Nana]: Oh, for heaven’s sakes, I was born in 1908.

[Dave]: Yeah, and you were born here.

[Nana]: So that was a good many years before I was born.

[Dave]: Okay. So it was in the 1890’s or so.

[Nana]: It maybe was. Or maybe wasn’t that long. Because wait a minute now- there was Helen, and Agnes and Frank were born after they got here, and myself, so it may have been in the 1890’s or something, I don’t know.  But anyway, they came over on the ship and they came steerage? First class?

[Dave]: Which one? Steerage?

[Nana]: Yeah, that’s when you’re down below I guess?

[Dave]: Yeah, that’s steerage, when you’re underneath.

[Nana]: Yeah, and when they got into East Boston, they came right to East Boston on the Cunard Line.  And when they came to East Boston, my father was supposed to be there to meet them.  And he wasn’t, and they had to stay in the place like a police station overnight. And then he came the next morning ‘cause he was working and he didn’t know they were there.  So, he had an apartment all ready for them on Clayton Street in Dorchester.

[Dave]: So, he was already over here? And they were coming over.

[Nana]: Oh yeah, he had his job and he had sent the passage money for them.  And my mother brought her canary all the way from England.  I don’t know how many years she had it after she got here.  They brought a lot of things over from England.  And they had quite a trip I guess, you know.

[Dave]: Yeah, it’s a long way.

[Popcorn popping slowly]

[Nana]: Oh yeah, I don’t know how long it took them then.

[Dave]: It’d take a long time- three weeks, at least.

[Nana]: It used to take them two and a half to three weeks, yeah.  To come over. And he worked on the- do you know where Freeport Street is in Dorchester?  You know where you turn to go on the Expressway now? And there’s-

[Dave]: Freeport Street? Yeah, yeah, where the gas tanks are.

[Nana]: No-

[Dave]: No, the one before that?

[Nana]: No, when you’re going in from Dorchester to go on the Expressway.   You know that street? And there’s a factory right aside of it?  That used to be a pumping station at that time.  As they called-

[Dave]: Of water?

[Nana]: I don’t know whether it was water, or what it was.  It was something to do- I guess it must have had something to do with water, but they called it the pumping station anyway, and he worked there.  He was a stationary engineer.  And I know-

[Popcorn popping quickly]

[Nana]: And now it’s burned, but I don’t want to-

[Pat]: You can tell, you’ll still-

[Dave]: Pops up a storm though, doesn’t it?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.  But ‘cept when it starts, and then you take it out-

[Dave]: Ma, you see all the condensation in there? You see all the water in there?

[Nana]: Yeah.

[Dave]: Yeah, the reason the popcorn explodes is inside each kernel of corn, there’s water.  When the water boils, it turns into steam.  Steam takes up a lot more space, that’s why it blows open.

[Nana]: Ohh.

[Nana]: So, when they came here, he had this apartment on Clayton Street in Dorchester and they went to the Gibson School. 

[Dave]: Where’s that?

[Nana]: It used to be on the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Gibson Street.  You know where it is in Dorchester there at the town fair?

[Dave]: Yeah, I know where that is.  It’s not there now.

[Nana]: Noo, it’s an American Legion Hall or something.

[Dave]: Oh, down over that way.

[Nana]: Yeah, you know where the bus comes around to go there up the street, Neponset.  Right there.  And then they moved to Neponset after that.  Or did they? Yes, they did.  Yeah, my uncle had a duplex house and my mother lived in one side and her brother lived on the other with his wife.  And that’s where I was born, that’s where my father died, there.

[Dave]: So he came over before then, I guess from England, though?

[Nana]: Oh, yes.  He came over and worked and got their passage money, and sent it over and they came.  And then they made their home here and they had three that were born in England and six that were born here.  And I was the youngest of the nine.

[Dave]: How long was he here before they came over?

[Nana]: I don’t know exactly.

[Dave]: A couple years?

[Nana]: It must have been at least a year to get- or even more, maybe.  I don’t know how the money was in those days, you know.  And they-

[Nana]: And there was a strike on at the telephone company, and I was a strike-breaker.

[Dave]: Ah, you were a-

[Nana]: I was a scab.

[Dave]: A scab, that’s it.

[Nana]: That’s it.  My brother got me a job.

[Dave]: Being a scab?

[Nana]: Uh-huh.  I went to work every day, and the styles were long dresses, and my mother wouldn’t put me in long dresses.

[Dave]: She wouldn’t let you wear ‘em?

[Nana]: No. 

[Dave]: What’d you have to wear?

[Nana]: And what I used to do was- mind you, they used to have to wear them at knee length, and they were wearing them down to their ankles! So, what I used to do, was take my mother’s dress, and when I got downstairs in the outside hall, I’d switch and change and I’d go to work thinking I was Madame Godiva! And I had my mother’s dress on.  But, I wasn’t going to be left out. 

[Dave]: So what’d you do for the phone company?

[Nana]: I was a telephone operator, that’s right.

[Dave]: You worked a switchboard?

[Nana]: Uh huh.  And I’d say “operator?”

[Dave]: How long did that last?

[Nana]: Well, full-time it lasted about two and a half years and then I got married.  But then when your grandfather had his appendix out-  no, when Winnie was nine months old, when she had the osteomyelitis, I had to go back to work to help pay for her bills.   Cause you couldn’t go into the Children’s Hospital to visit them on Saturday- or during the week- but every Saturday was the day that that bill had to be paid in advance.

[Dave]: Oh, if you hadn’t paid the money, you couldn’t go see her?

[Nana]: And you couldn’t go see them, no sir.  I used to meet him in Park Street, and he’d give me his pay, and then after she came home from the hospital, he was rushed to the hospital and had his appendix out.  They were wrapped around his kidney.

[Dave]: She had appendix trouble too, right?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, and [?] did too.  And so I went back to work for the telephone company and my mother watched Winnie.

[Dave]: Where was Dad working then?

[Nana]: He had his own trucking business then.

[Dave]: Oh, trucking?

[Pat]: When did you and daddy work in the shipyard? Or did you?

[Nana]: That was after Judy was born.

[Dave]: That was later?

[Nana]: Judy was six months old after he got out of the army.  That was the beginning-

[Pat]: Weren’t you both welders?

[Nana]: I don’t know what he was doing.

[Dave]: You welded? What’s that, World War II?

[Nana]: I was Winnie the Welder, yeah.

[Dave]: Winnie the Welder! 

[Nana]: And I worked there when he was in the army.  See, what happened was, he wanted to get back in the navy.  It would have been the grace of God if he had, but the time for him to be taken in to the army came before his papers- he had lost his originals, and he had sent to Washington for them- and, on the Saturday he was sworn in the army, and on the Monday his papers from the navy came.  And he never forgave me for that.  It wasn’t my fault, but that was it. 

[Dave]: So, where’d you work welding?

[Nana]: Hingham Shipyard.

[Dave]: In the Hingham Shipyard?

[Nana]: Hingham Shipyard, and then he got a job there and I couldn’t stand working the same place with him, so I quit and went over South Boston Navy Yard. 

[Dave]: I guess they needed everybody to work then, huh?

[Nana]: Oh yeah.

[Dave]: So what’d you do welding? You putting ships together?

[Nana]: Sure, pieces you know.  

[Dave]: I know, sections.

[Nana]: They set them up and you weld that section.

[Dave]: You just do the line?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: How long was that for?  Just through the war?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: You do that for four years?

[Nana]: Oh, no, no.  He went in I think in September, and I went to work after that.  And then I quit in April because he got discharged in April.

[Dave]: He got discharged in April?

[Nana]: Yeah.  He was only in six months.

[Dave]: That was in the army, right?  He was in the navy before that?  When did he start in the navy before that?

[Nana]: He was in the navy when I first met him.

[Dave]: When you first met him?

[Nana]: I went to a farewell party for this redheaded kid. Should’ve said farewell!  But, you know how it is.  But, anyway.

[Pat]: Was my grandmother born here?

[Nana]: My mother? She was born in Liverpool, England. And your father’s people were born in England.  My father was born in County Monaghan, Ireland. Which father is he?

[Pat]: How did they meet?

[Nana]: I didn’t ask them.  He was in the English navy still.  She lived in Liverpool, it’s a shipping place.  She is a direct descendant from the people that own the Cunard Line shipping company.

[Dave]: So, was he a Catholic?

[Nana]: My father? My father was a Catholic.  My mother wasn’t.  She was a convert at nine years old.

[Dave]: At nine years old? She was Anglican before that- I mean British?

[Nana]: She was British, sure, but she was Protestant.  And when her parents died, her grandmother brought her up and she had her baptized Catholic.

[Dave]: So he was an Irish Catholic?

[Nana]: Mmhmm. I always used to say to Jim, “You limey, you.” I’m Irish, my father was Irish.

[Dave]: But he’s a limey.

[Nana]: But he was born in England. 

[Dave]: Oh, but he lived in Ireland.

[Nana]: No, my brother Jim.  Jim, Elizabeth and Anne were born in Ireland. [?]

[Pat]: So did Jim have to take out papers here?

[Dave]: No, he’s still a citizen of England, or what is he?

[Nana]: When he became 21, he had to take my father’s papers and my mother’s papers down and had them turned over for him.

[Dave]: So he became naturalized?

[Nana]: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: Dad’s gonna wait till he’s 75, then he’s going to become naturalized.

[Pat]: He’s permanent, what else would you need.

[Dave]: He’s an immovable resident, he’s not a permanent resident.

[Nana]: [?] leave him alone.  Have you heard any more about going to school?

[Pat]: I lost the ball.  And she said, “well, is it one of these?” I’ll never forget.  These are things I can’t forget.  She had a whole basket.  She used to collect all the balls that all the kids lost in that park.  And I guess when some poor soul like me come along looking for a ball to play with, she’d give it to me.  But that stuck in my craw because how many people go around collecting kid’s balls that they lose in the park.  But she lived down there.

[Dave]: You don’t remember when the war started, though.

[Pat]: The only thing I can remember was we lived in some house in Neponset, it had to be in Neponset, and we had a porch in the backyard and we used to all sit out there after supper.  And my nana had long, long silver gray hair.  And we used to take turns brushing her hair.  It was so beautiful.

[Nana]: Oh, yes, she had such wonderful patience.  She’d let them put ribbons on her and put it in rollers and put it in curls.

[Pat]: And braid it. Her hair was so long she could wrap it and wrap it.

[Dave]: How old was she then?

[Nana]: Oh, about 75 maybe.

[Pat]: Must have been in her 70’s.  But it was so long and it was thicker [she had it thick in a hair net], too.

[Nana]: Oh, she only had it cut a couple of years before she died.

[Dave]: She lived to be what, 93?

[Nana]: She was 93 when she died, yeah.

[Pat]: But things like that I remember.  I don’t remember hard times.

[Dave]: Yeah, you remember when the war started?

[Nana]: Do I remember?  Yes, sure.  I remember the big Depression too.  That was when my Winnie was a baby. 

[Pat]: And the other thing I can remember about when we were all home is  my mother used to put that Oleo margarine or whatever kind of margarine it was in a bowl and we used to have to sit and color it.  They used to give you these tubes and you put the grease in and then you put the color in and that was your butter.

[Nana]: And you had to mix it all up with your hands. 

[Dave]: Yeah, rationing too, huh?

[Pat]: Yeah, she used to cook and she’d say okay, I’m making the supper, somebody set the table and you sit there and you get that ready.

[Dave]: What’d you do for rationing? Did you get tickets or what?

[Nana]: During the- oh yes, that’s when I stopped using sugar in tea or coffee or anything.

[Dave]: Because you didn’t have enough sugar?

[Nana]: No, I figured my kids needed it more than I did.  Things got too bad.

[Pat]: When they rationed it?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, it was rationed.

[Dave]: I guess everything was rationed, huh?

[Nana]: And I’ll never forget, I was telling Dottie [Hawkin] that I wasn’t taking sugar in my tea or coffee and this was when Dick went in Korea, so anyway, he had bought the television and she used to come up and want to watch the wrestling matches.  It got to be a habit and then I said the heck with that.  But anyway, I’d make coffee and I told her that I had given up sugar, and she said, “well try this.”  Oh gee, you could hear me screaming everywhere.  I said, “my God, you poisoned me!” – saccharine. Oh God.  I said, “If I’m not gonna have sugar, I’m not having sugar.  But I’m NOT having substitutes.” Oh, God, it’s terrible.

[Dave]: So you’re better off, right?

[Nana]: Yeah, so I’ve never used it ever since!

[Dave]: So she didn’t have a TV and you did?

[Nana]: No, we did, yeah.

[Dave]: When’d you get a TV?

[Nana]: When Dick went in the service for Korea.

[Dave]: 51? 52?

[Nana]: I don’t remember when he went in.  Judy was about eight or nine and she was born in 42, so yeah, it might have been 51.  Let’s see, when Jack went in, he bought me a mixer.  Billy bought me the washing machine and Dick bought me a television.

[Pat]: What’d you do, you bought that wringer washing machine?

[Nana]: Oh no, yeah.  No, that was the one.  Yeah, that was it.  Oh my God.

[Pat]: The wringer washing machine. That was the most unbelievable.  My mother caught her arm- was it broken, or?

[Nana]: Oh no, see the difference in these two hands?

[Dave]: That’s what you did to it?

[Nana]: I pushed this right through the wringer.

[Pat]: See, there used to be like two wringers, and you’d push the sheet through, and if you didn’t get it right on the other side, it would go up the other wringer and everything would just keep rolling and rolling.

[Dave]: No, it was electric! I see.

[Nana]: Yes, it was electric.

[Dave]: I was trying to think how you could roll your own hand in it.  I couldn’t figure that one.

[Nana]: Oh no, I had one of those, you used to hook it on to the wringer and wring it by hand, but this was an electric machine, yeah.

[Pat]: And sometimes when you put the stuff through and if it was thick, like a blanket or a heavy towel or something, the whole top would pop, so she’s [tied] her hand and she’s standing there with the thing in the machine and she’s screaming, “help! Help!”

[Nana]: I’m saying, “pull the plug out!” Rosemary’s standing there, taking things out of the bag from the convent with a platter full of hamburgers she tossed them up in the air, I said, “take the plug out!” And finally, she got the plug out, and the hamburgers were on the floor.  But they picked them up and ate them that night.

[Pat]: Kiss them up to God.  Every time something happened, my mother would say, “Kiss it up to God.”

[Dave]: Kiss it up to God, can’t waste.

[Nana]: You know who I get a big kick out of sometimes, is the [?] We’d be sitting at the table-

[Dave]: You got a quarter of your own to spend? Out of twenty-one dollars?

[Nana]: But I got my carfare money every day, and, you know-

[Dave]: Well, I mean 21, you got a quarter?

[Nana]: But that was my spending money.

[Dave]: How much could you spend a quarter on?

[Nana]: Well, it went pretty far in those days.

[Pat]: Well, Daddy told us you used to go to the movies with a dime?

[Nana]: Sure.

[Pat]: Till back before my mother was born.

[Nana]: It cost a nickel for the movies and five cents for your candy.

[Pat]: Yeah, but then you got a bag.

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Pat]: How many kids did she bring up?

[Nana]: Who, my mother? I was the youngest of nine.

[Pat]: And he was in the service most of the time, wasn’t he?

[Nana]: Oh, not after they moved here.  No, he worked in that pumping station on Freeport Street.

[Dave]: Oh, the whole time?

[Nana]: Yeah, I guess. And then, my father died when he was only 35 years old.   He had ulcerated legs and varicose veins.

[Pat]: He died of that? I guess they didn’t have the medicine back then.

[Nana]: Oh, they didn’t have the stuff in those years, no.  You know, if you ever want to know folklore and know your history, you ought to get him over to see Mary [Hulse?].  She’s got all kind of pictures over there for me.  And that, and I haven’t gotten over there to get them.

[Pat]: I know, we should get back to them.

[Nana]: I know, well, with the warmer weather I must call them, see how they’ve made out during the winter.

[Dave]: So, what, he died in like, the 20’s? He was 35?

[Pat]: So, she did more or less raise you guys.

[Nana]: Who, my mother? Oh, yes.  Sure she did.  I was only a year old when my father died and Frank’s about three and a half years older than me.

[Dave]: So what did she do, did she work part time, or-?

[Nana]: My mother was a nurse.  She put us in- I was in St Vincent’s, well it was called St Vincent’s Orphan Asylum but, it was like, working mothers could put-

[laughter]

[Nana]: She’s off, yeah.

[Pat]: It sounds funny.

[Nana]: It was down on- it wasn’t on Harrison Avenue, it was further over, but working mothers could leave little children there you know, and she went and trained to be a nurse because Frank and I were babies.

[Dave]: Where did she work? Do you know what hospital?

[Nana]: She trained in the Grace Hospital out in Newton.

[Dave]: And so, she worked at being a nurse?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, for years and years and years.  It was a doctor up in Dorchester on Bolton St, Doctor Kelly, and if anybody hated anybody, I hated that man- when I was a child.  Because in those days, when women had the babies, they had them at home, you know.  And they’d have a nurse come and stay with them- a week or sixteen days or whatever it was, you know.  And my mother would come home and she might have a day off on Sunday, and she’d only be home for a little while, you know, you didn’t see her that often.  And, if she’d be home for a couple of days, the first thing you know, who’d be ringing the bell, but Doctor Kelly.  And I’d say, “He’s here again, Ma!”  And she’d say, “what’s the matter with you?” “Doctor Kelly!” Oh, God.  I remember one Christmas he came and he had all kinds of things for me.  I didn’t want any part of it.  You’re taking my mother!

[Pat]: She probably thought, “Oh, good, here comes money.”

[Nana]: Oh, sure, that was our livelihood.  I didn’t know.

[Dave]: So, you stayed at- what was the name of it again, the orphan asylum?

[Nana]: St. Vincent’s.

[Dave]: St. Vincent’s. Till you started school?

[Nana]: I don’t know how long I stayed there.  Maybe I did. Yeah, I first started over at St. Joseph’s in Roxbury and when I was in the second grade, we moved to Blue Hill Avenue and I went to St. Patrick’s then for the rest of my school.

[Dave]: And then, where’d you go to high school?

[Nana]: St. Patrick’s. They had a three-year commercial course.

[Dave]: That’s what you took?  So you did typing and stuff?

[Pat]: What was that academy thing you told me?

[Nana]: Oh, that was during the First World War.  I was up St. Anne’s Academy in Marlborough for a year.

[Dave]: That was after high school?

[Nana]: No, that was before. Sixth/seventh grade.  Because they were all working in munitions factories, Frank was able to take care of himself you know, and I wouldn’t go in the house by myself so I was supposed to put the potatoes on and get things ready for supper.  I’d be still sitting on the steps when they all got home from work. So it was cheaper for my mother to put me in the boarding school.  Cause they were all making big money.

[Dave]: Working in the factories?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.  Munitions factories.  That was a French academy, you could speak English one hour a day.  I can’t remember hardly any words in French now.

[Dave]: Oh, you had to do French, though?  So you learned some French while you were there?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, all the time. 

[Dave]: That must have been fun, speaking in French.

[Pat]: What was it, the nuns?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: So, you had all parochial education then.  So did all the kids?

[Nana]: Mmhmm.  Oh yeah. Yes, God love us, as I always said, people used to say to me, “Oh, it must have been awful hard” and all this stuff.  I said, I had a very good teacher. Because my mother sure was a wonderful person.  She took care of us, gave us the best.

[Dave]: She must have seen a lot of different things in her time, huh?

[Nana]: Oh, she sure did.

[Dave]: Now, she came over from England, right? Then she lived over here.

[Nana]: She couldn’t have been over here- well, she was for a few years, yeah. I was gonna say she couldn’t have been over very long, but there was Helen, and there was another Winnifred you know. I’m the second Winnifred in the family.  Hard luck me.  And so I always say to my kids, “don’t ever name after anybody- like, if you have one, don’t name another one after that.” Cause people have done that- look at me.  But, my sister was Winnifred Mary and I’m Winnifred Margaret.

[Pat]: What’s the sister’s name that become a nun?

[Nana]: Agnes.  And my sister Elizabeth died at 13.  She had heart trouble. And she was the one- when I was born, my mother said, “I don’t know what to name the baby,” and she said, “well, name her after the other Winnie.” So, that’s how I got my name.

[Pat]: So, how many years was she a nun?

[Nana]: Agnes?  I can’t remember.

[Pat]: How old was she when she died?

[Dave]: Was she the one up in Halifax?

[Nana]: Yeah.

[Dave]: She was there during the explosion, right?

[Nana]: No. No, Agnes wasn’t there.  She was gone then.  I was married and had my kids when the explosion-

[Dave]: No, it was in the First World War.

[Nana]: No it wasn’t.

[Dave]: It was in 1917.  Which explosion are you talking about?

[Nana]: No, no, no.  It was something big.  Oh, no it was the fire that went [out].  Oh yeah, yeah yeah, I remember.

[Pat]: It was that ship-

[Dave]: A munitions ship blew up, knocked down half of Halifax.

[Nana]: Oh yeah, in the harbor.  My mother’s brother Vernon- Barney, they called him, he-

… Listen! Among the many struggles and catastrophes associated with the return of the Draconis, not all were stories of honorable struggle. Some, although reckoned by blood as counted among the Noble, chose to turn craven in their obeisance to the new Powers in the land.

Among these were the leaders of House Draejan, those stemming from Constantine’s Branch. In exchange for petty commercial concessions from the new overlords, Draejan’s forces cooperated in the hunting down and extinguishing of their traditional rivals, House Raylinth, until none were known to still be abroad in the land. The Draekjan, as they were now called by many, had complete concession over the lucrative tanning, mining, cartage, and gate rights — a sizable portion of which they handed over to their masters with extreme precision and regularity.

Herodian the Younger might have been mistaken for a townsman, a grasping merchant by his dress and demeanor. He was fat, and covered his belly with a wide belt of fashioned gold, inlaid with gaudy jewels. But he stood in true generation from Constantine and he from Falheim. Herodian had never seen a battle he couldn’t buy his way out of. He was not known to have seen any battles at all.

At this time, he was bent on adding — to the other accounts of his tollage — the lumber rights and grain millage from the great wheel on the river. This was steady income, and of no interest to his Draconic masters, or their lesser servants, and he coveted the additional coins. Even in such times, food-growers and herders needed wood for their barns and fencing, and would find a way to pay. In not in coin, then in service. Herodian did not scruple at demanding any form of service, many of them vile or simply cruel.

The mill was situated at a fall of water by the eastern edge of the Savage Woods. In those times down to our own, no one enters (and few ever leave) the Woods, fearing what dwelled within A few members of House Dilathi were thought to survive within, relatively safe from the predations of the Draconis due to the resistant wood of the native trees, and the efforts of a few greater Druids. If the Fae had portals within, they were never spoken of. 

The millkeep was a fair, respected half-orc named Glum. He ran a fair mill, a brisk business day and most of the night, and kept everything in order.

On a fair day in September — I recall it in full, said the Chronicler —  Herodian rode, or rather,  rolled, up upon the mill, with a dozen spear-carrying henchwards in tow, bypassing the line of peasants and demanding to speak at once to Glum.

With a deep, rumbling grunt, and heave of his arms, Glum disconnected the mechanism that spun the grindstone, and it slowly spun to a halt.

“What is it?” he bellowed as he came out. 

“You are Glum, the Miller?” queried Herodian, speaking through a lackey. 

“I am. State yer business, I have orders to fill, and ye see the line.”

“Very well. Upon examination of the accounts, my Master finds that you are 10 years in arrears on this operation. How will you make satisfaction?”

“WHAT? Outrageous. Everything on this side of the river is House Dalathi, and has been for years uncounted.”

“The Dalathi are all dead,” murmured Herodian. “And these are new times. I could have this stream redirected, and whom would your mill serve then?”

Just then, three wagons emerged from the forest, the drivers hooded and cloaked and the horses huge and ringed with fog, or perhaps it was sweat from the effort of their labors.

Herodian thought he saw a chance to gain some profit. “Seize them!” he ordered, and his henchwards pushed forwards, ready to seize the wagons and the horses. By force if the woodmen were inclined to fight.

A screeching came from the woods beyond, as if from the rubbing of great treelimbs in a gale. A dozen Treants emerged, striding between the wagons. With their long limbs, they grabbed the frontmost of Herodian’s men, two apiece, and continued marching towards the river.

Herodian stood upright in his stirrups a moment, in shock. And then he turned his horse and made to ford the river, to safety. 

A laughing voice from the shadowed woods was heard, “Thus Herodian abandoned his odious claim.”

A few of the henchwards managed to sprint, and swim, into the river and back to their homes.

Glum laughed. Turning back to his work, he offered a terse observation to those of his customers within earshot.

“Dalathi survives.”

 

Getting the Bauble Back:
A Simple Stealth Module for Draconis
by
Dave Davis
It is nighttime, misty and dark. The Violet Thorn is busy
with customers.
A hooded person enters, orders a drink, and asks if
Aloysius is nearby.
BARKEEP
“Why yes, he’s right over there.”
The Barkeep points to the table where Aloysius is sitting,
enjoying a drink with his friends.
HOODED WOMAN
“Thank you, good sir.”
HOODED PERSON drops a few coins on the bar, then walks
quietly over to Aloysius’s table and coughs into her hand,
apparently in order to get his attention without attracting
that of others in the tavern.
HOODED WOMAN (CONT’D)
“Might I ask for private word with
you, Aloysius?”
Aloysius looks the Hooded Person up and down.
ALOYSIUS
“Very well, I’ll back in a moment
then.”
Together they walk into a private room. About a minute
later, Aloysius exits the room and returns to his table,
while the Hooded Person leaves by the front door.
ALOYSIUS (CONT’D)
(He lowers his voice)
“Well, my friends. It seems we
have an opportunity to make a
little coin at minimal risk. IF we
act fast. Would you like to hear
more about it?”
“Well, that lady, hmmph, is an old
colleague of mine from an earlier
part of my career.
LATER: THEY MEET
THE HOODED WOMAN AT
THE PREARRANGED
LOCATION:
ALOYSIUS (CONT’D)
(In a low voice)
“Brynne, We’re here.”

Driving home, Scofield recalled how he and Bob Thompson had first put together what became the Kronsys calibration unit about a dozen years ago.

Calibration, in this technical area, is a rare talent. It requires — almost — someone with Asperger’s syndrome-like skills in attention to detail. Bob Thompson had this — the ability to pick up on the slightest disharmony among the instrumentation.

As with traditional piano tuners and their set of forks, there was in their sort of instrumentation a physical, ‘ground truth’ to what they did.  That empirical ground truth was located in a specific, custom-modified six-amphere wire from a standard microwave gun that Bob had devised. It was Scofield who had figured out a means of putting a company together, the traditional garage-and-credit-card based startup.

Thompson’s hack was reliable, clever, and (unfortunately) unpatentable. And considered a trade secret by Kronsys, once they had brought bought them out to acquire their technology. They hired on Thomson and Scofield to run the new product group.

Coming back to the present as he pulled the car into his driveway, Scofield guessed that Bob and the others had been unceremoniously RIFed. In other words, fired. His old friend had probably been seen out the door with nothing but his pictures of his kids in a box under his arm. They had built that unit from nothing, and now it was gone.

Once he was back in his apartment, it didn’t take Scofield long to dig out Bob’s old AOL account and open it to a chat window. Then, he popped open a beer to wait.

At 9:30, Bob logged on.  He sent over a few lines of text:

/set#noarchive

Coffee? Now?

“I must have Moscow Rules”

EOM

 

…and then the daughter window closed, a little ‘hung-up phone’ picture taking its place

James looked at the screen a moment, leaned back and cracked his knuckles as he was wont to do when puzzling something out, and then got up. Time for him to visit the local Dunks’, it appeared.

But Bob never arrived. It turned out, as he learned late that night, that Bob Thompson was dead.

Just about the time Scofield was thinking of walking out and dumping the whole business, he heard the sound of a cart coming down the corridor. He looked, and saw a young man bringing what he could only guess was a PC of some unknown brand, the ‘workstation’ he had been expecting.

“Scofield, J-7? right? This setup is here for you,” said the fellow, who looked and sounded like “Desktop Support” was his chosen line of work.

“Yes. I’m Jim. Your name?”

“I’m just an outside contractor, here for the day. Call me Jay if you like. I’m her to set this up for you.”

“OK, Jay. Well, I’ll get out of your way and head to lunch, then.”

“OK.”

Not the talkative type, Scofield thought.

Jim got up from his chair, and retraced his steps, all the way back to his car. He got in, drove the short distance to the closest Dunkin’ Donuts, and bought a coffee and a muffin. He sat down to contemplate the whole crazy business.

While he was sipping his coffee, Scofield spotted the facade of the big, old 19th-century public library building. He wondered if it might be open, and then realized, of course it would. On a whim, he decided to burn up a few minutes of his break with a little quick and dirty-style research on their Internet PC’s.

 

He first searched for mentions of Kronsys as covered by the local news media. There weren’t any, at least not since the building had gone in, a dozen years ago. Next, he searched for hits on his ex-boss and ex-colleagues. He knew, for instance, that Bob had competed in bridge tournaments, and that Skip was fond of get-togethers for tasting freshly made craft beers. And, come to think of it, hadn’t Jon submitted — successfully — a technical paper for a recent Statistical Signal Processing Workshop put on by IEEE? About waveform transformations or something?

It took a few minutes, but he did find a couple of likely-looking e-mail addresses for his colleagues. He fired off a quick “Hi from Jim, I’m back” to each of them before logging off (after checking to erase his browser history) and returning to Kronsys.

 

The reminder of the day was nearly as tedious as the morning had been. His workstation, that nondescript, no-label PC, was up and running as he sat down. And, glory be! There was an Excel file of the call log records. That much was a relief.

There was also a phone on his desk. It appeared, however, to be unpowered and unconnected.  The whole shebang still felt so alienating and impersonal.

Scofield worked until it was nearly 5:00, poking around the seemingly endless rows of call data, still without finding anything that seemed like a pattern. At the stroke of 5:00, in walked Severin again; he noted that he was still here, and suggested that he would see Scofield tomorrow.

From the (unstaffed) Building C-West foyer, he took the left stairs up to the second floor. Another corridor, comprised of high-wall cubicle workstations, both sides, over its entire length. All of these were empty. Eighteen, twenty, twenty-two steps down, on his left-hand side he spotted his own first name and initial, and an integer.  “James S-7.” He sat down in the chair. No laptop, no phone, just the muted grays and browns of the sparse cubicle furnishings.

After about a minute, a fellow came down the corridor and walked into James’ cube.

 

“James, Major Scofield—Jim? Hello. I am Adrian Severin.” He held out his hand, and Jim shook it.  “I’ve been assigned as your manager. How do you do? And, I should say, Welcome Back!”  He looked like he was about to try some lameass sort of salute, but at Scofield’s look he thought better of it.

“Fine, thanks, umm, Hi.” Scofield offered his hand. “Did Bob retire?”

“I couldn’t say. You know, protocol.”

“Oh, for fucks’ sake. Right, OK. Sorry. Well, who is around? Skip, Stephen, Jon?

Severin frowned.

“You’re kidding me.”

Severin shook his head.

“Who is in our workgroup then?”

Severin frowned again.  “You are it, I’m afraid”

“What???”

Severin stood looking at him a moment, then said, “I’ll be right back.”

This was all very cryptic, and unlike the corporate culture Scofield remembered. “What’s the deal?” he wondered. They must have laid everyone off. It was the only logical explanation. But why all the secrecy?

∞ ∞ ∞

A little while later, Severin returned with a hefty stack of what appeared to be printouts of telephone call logs.

“While we’re waiting to get your workstation set up, I wondered if you could tend to a short-term task for us? To pour over these, basically, and look for anomalies and patterns.”

“Such as?” This was the stupidest-sounding request-order he had heard in a long time. And, over in-country, he had heard some doozies.

“As you can see,” Severin continued, “these are color-coded to indicate Authorized calls, in green bars, and Unauthorized calls— orange bars.

“And?”

“And if you could go through the ‘Unath’ lines and look for patterns, clusters, anything that leaps out at you, whatever might help us towards discover something actionable.”

“By hand?” Scofield scowled.  “This would certainly go a lot faster with even the simplest bit of programming applied to the problem. What system houses the call records?”

“The phone system.”

There was a moment while Scofield suppressed the urge to explicitly mock this bullshit.

“Right. Look, Adrian, is there something you are not telling me?”

“Such as?”

“Such as, maybe Kronsys has closed down my old department, and, because of the VRR/USERRA stuff, you don’t know what to do about me?

“I suppose that might be a reasonable inference for you to make. But we do have work that needs to be done.”

“I see. Well, OK. How about I dig into these until lunch, and then after a break and a bite to eat, maybe we could discuss this further? How can I reach you—since I don’t even have a desk phone yet?”

“Sounds good. Your workstation should be set up by the time you return; and, with any luck, your phone—internal calls only at this point.”

“All right then. See you at 1:00”

Scofield pulled the stack of printouts towards him, put the yellow pad and fine tip marker at his right hand, and dived into the work.

Two hours later, his eyes hurt and he hadn’t started to glimpse any pattern to be discerned in the small set of  ‘Unauth’ call records. He really was starting to conclude that the whole setup was merely ‘make-work’ and that they were pulling a CYA to keep out of hot water with their funders at the Pentagon.

He thought instead about his inexplicably odd and disquieting first day back at work, starting just ten hours ago, this morning. At his final Army debriefing, His CO had suggested that he take a break, a week anyway, but he was not a fan of idleness.  He had jumped right back in.

Scofield recalled that he was driving to work yesterday morning, heading in for his first day back at his civilian job at Kronsys Corp, a MIL-SPEC defense equipment manufacturer. He had been deployed in Afghanistan for eighteen months, and he was looking forward to seeing his old buds again, especially his old business partner Bob Thomson.

Due to the security protocols of the contracting work they did, personal, off-the-job electronic communication was forbidden among Kronsys employees. Although of course it went on anyway, here and there. Like office romance and harassment, it was discouraged but never quite squelched entirely. He had tried to contact Bob while he was away but, ever a stickler for ‘the rules, Thompson never wrote him back.  In fact, he hadn’t heard hardly a thing from Skip, or Jon, or Stephen, the other guys on his team  since shipping out. Nothing in the work Inbox other than required official crap from corporate. He was looking forward to rejoining their old lunchtime walking club, and catching up on all the skinny.

Scofield parked his car in a pretty good spot, got out and entered the lobby.  The young lady staffing the reception desk was new. Pretty, too.

“Hi, I’m Jim, I work here. I am restarting.” He held out his badge for her to see.

“Very good. Sign here please, while I print you some identifying information and an access pass.”

“I have that. Here … ”

“Oh. No, you need a new one, and a new photo. Protocol, you see.”

“Yes, OK. Like in the Army, I know.” He smiled as he handed over the old ID.

No return smile was offered.

“Hmm. Not so pretty inside, maybe,” he mused.

Getting new ID only took a few moments. The receptionist handed it to him—He put a hand out to proceed through the second, access door, waiting for her to buzz it open.

She looked up at him. “You will need directions.”

“Oh?

“You’ve been relocated.”

He realized that he should have expected some changes like this. “Where to?”

“Down the length of this corridor, then out; proceed to Building C2, across the quad. You’re still within the compound there, so your badge will work when you get to the Building C entrance.”

“OK. My boss is Bob Thompson, can you call him and tell him that I am on my way?”

She looked at her screen, and then back at Scofield. “Building C, 200 west. Proceed until you locate your cubicle, it will be on your left.  There you should find your new workstation and assignment materials. There will be someone around soon to discuss your re-entry schedule.”

“Not Bob?”

“I couldn’t say, sir. You know, protocol.”

“Yeah.”

She hit a button on her screen, and a sensomotor on the doorframe made an unlocking sound.

Scofield walked through it, and began walking down the long corridor. That he was pleased that to observe, he did remember. “One goddam thing is the same, at least.” And so on, out into the quad, arriving at the front of Building C.  He held up his new badge to the doorway reader and heard an unlocking motor whir again. He entered.