Tag Archives: Boston University

Alive in the Morgue

[Steve]: Auburndale went through to high school. Then went on to Gordon College and part way through Gordon College, I stepped out for a semester. It was the time of the Berlin Crisis [1961]. They called it the Berlin Crisis, when the Russians [Soviet Union] were behind the idea of isolating Berlin. The Americans went in and flew supplies over; they did a bridge of flying of all the supplies until that barricade, as it were, was broken.*

Steve in Fatigues, maybe 1963

Steve in Fatigues, maybe 1963

[Steve]: It was at that time [1962?] that they were “recruiting” people into the army. They weren’t recruiting; they were drafting. I went in, choosing what I wanted to do and that was to work in the medical laboratory. I did that and was a lab technician. When I came out of the army, I did more lab technician work. I finished up at Boston University, where I got my degree in psychology.

[Virginia?]: I think my parents were in South America. I was reading all this to my mom [Lee], that whole thing where you were talking about. . . . She goes, “I don’t remember him being in the service.” I said, “Mom! He was your brother. You didn’t know he was in the service?” Were they in South America at that time? What year was that?

[Steve]: Well actually, I recall being up to visit you in Bloomfield when you broke your leg and got chicken pox and had to be taken to. . . .

[Virginia?]: ‘72.

[Steve]: Yeah. ‘72? No.

[Virginia?]: They [who?] graduated in ‘72.

[Eric?]: ‘74.

[Steve]: Yeah, so actually. . . .

[Heidi]: When they [Steve and Marcia?] got engaged and you went down to visit. . . .

[Virginia?]: That was in ‘65.

[Heidi]: That was in ‘65.

[Marcia]: Yeah. You [Virginia? b. 1963] were just real little then and we got engaged in ‘65 and you [Steve] had just gotten your degree from BU.

[Steve]: Boston University.

[Marcia]: Your undergraduate degree.

[Steve]: But I was then in doing some graduate work.

[Virginia?]: So Mom and Dad had to have been in Peru because she probably doesn’t remember.

[Marcia]: It was early ‘60s.

[Eric?]: She probably doesn’t remember it, but I remember going to an airshow.

[Steve]: Yeah.

[Eric?]: Where you were working in . . . you took us . . . there was a morgue there or something.

[Heidi]: Yes. When you were working. . . .

[Marcia]: Fort Dix.

[Steve]: Fort Dix.

[Eric?]: OK. I don’t remember where it was, but I was just remembering you being there. And then you all sent us off.

[Steve]: Alive.

[Eric?]: Yeah. You gave us a tour of the morgue. But I remember you were working in the lab at that time. I remember you guys sent us off to the airport. I was so impressed with my Uncle Steve and I’m trying to remember why.

[Steve]: Why. Yeah.

[Heidi]: He worked in a morgue.

[Marcia]: He looked pretty smart in his uniform.

[Eric?]: Yes, he did, but anyway, I do remember being there.

NB: See also Steve Finds His Tie for another story from Fort Dix.

*Airlifts of supplies into Berlin took place during WWII, rather than during the Berlin Crisis, which culminated in 1961 with a military stand-off and the erection of the Berlin Wall. During the Berlin Crisis, Kennedy deployed 148,000 Air National Guard and Reservists and increased standing troop-strength in the army, navy, and air force. In my cursory reading, I see no draft mentioned with regard to the Berlin Crisis. However, my recall of this story cites the Vietnam War (1955–1975) as the reason for Dad/Steve being threatened with the draft.

story told by Steve to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014; recorded and transcribed by Dawn [Steve’s daughter]

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • There are a lot of pronouns and names followed by ?-marks. These represent my guesses as to who is talking and whom. Please verify that I guessed correctly or clarify.
  • The unresolved question was whether or not Lee was in Peru in 1962/3 when Steve was in the army. Was she?
  • What year did Steve visit Lee’s family in Bloomfield? Where was/is Bloomfield?
  • Whose leg was broken? Who got chicken pox? Virginia? Kathy?
  • Who graduated in 1974?
  • Why would Lee be in Peru but her kids be in the United States for Steve to visit and/or to visit Steve at Fort Dix?
  • Dad/Steve, I recall this draft-threat being attributed to the Vietnam War. Can you clarify? And can you give the dates during which you were in the service? The other story shows 1962 being one of those dates.
  • Dad/Steve, please tell the sleeping in the morgue story.
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Why Europe

Betty and Harley, ca. 2013, courtesy of Sandy Moyer[Betty]: He [Taylor] wasn’t around much. Daddy would go to church if he was in town, but he made no effort to engineer getting us to church. He would be in the car beeping the horn on Sunday morning. When we went to Park Street Church, he would drive us and sit in church. I think he went to the drug store to get a Coca Cola while we were in Sunday school.

The idea of missions started with Lee when she felt called of the Lord. When Lee decides something, you don’t get in her way. She was very serious.

I was afraid to ask my father to leave the country, but he was extremely pleased. It was a surprise to me. I thought he was against his girls leaving home.

Education was what was important to Daddy. He had three different master degrees. He thought we should have as much education as possible, the boys and the girls. So I attended Boston University. I paid for it on scholarship, and Wally and Lee helped financially, too.

I studied music, music history and piano, for two years and then transferred to Wheaton for a Christian background. There I had a partial scholarship and I did the work-study program. I washed dishes and worked in the snack-bar.

It was marrying Harley that got me involved in France.

[Harley]: I did a six-month tour with the Royal Aires, a quartet, in Sweden. During the early part of the sixth month, the Lord told me, “You’re going to Finland.”

Fine with me, I thought, but I don’t know anything about it. We were in Helsinki for four nights. The auditorium was packed out. We were in a big downtown church. Over 110 people came to the Lord. After we gave the invitation, I turned around to move chairs in case people came forward. When I turned back, the aisles were full and they were still coming.

During the days, a fleet of taxi cabs took us to meetings at a school, a church, a park, factories, and even with dancers. One of the seven pastors at the cathedral asked us to cancel the rest of our tour in Sweden and stay in Finland. Initially we said yes, but in praying about it, we decided no. We had made commitments.

They booked our return tickets and promised to outfit us with warm clothes. They put a tentative reservation on the Olympic stadium being built for 1952 Olympics. They promised to fill the stadium with 75 thousand.

We returned to the US by ship and slept whole time. We’d had three 1-hr meetings every day plus evening concerts for entire six months.

Two of the fellows went back to school so they wouldn’t be drafted. The group disbanded. I thought the world had come to an end. We’d sung together for five years.

(42 years later, we had a reunion at Canyon Lake. We hadn’t forgotten anything in our repertoire. Our baritone came from Ohio. One was in Buffalo, NY. One was in Rochester, NY. The second tenor and pianist had passed away.)

At the end of our Sweden tour, we’d traveled down through continent to reach our ship. We saw the wartime desolation. As we passed Cologne, Germany, I looked out the window. It was black. There was no building over one story. Rubble everywhere. But the spire and flying buttresses of the cathedral were in perfect condition, which is a tribute to American bombing. The bombers saved that. That is what gave me a vision for missions in Europe.

Anyway, it was raising money to go back to Finland that introduced me to a European missionary to Japan. She stayed at their house. She married a doctor. This is what gave Betty a vision for missions. Then we were introduced to Greater Europe Mission.

story as recalled by Betty and Harley Smith (Betty’s husband) in a conversation with Dawn Harrell (Steve’s daughter), November 13, 2013

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Do you have a photo of Harley and Betty embarking on their first France trip? Can we see it? How about one of Betty’s graduation from college or Harley with his singing group?
  • Can you add details to the story of the missionary to Japan and her influence on Betty?
  • Can you tell more about the process of finding and joining GEM? What year was that?
  • What years was Betty at BU? At Wheaton?

Duncan Clan Reunion Uproariously Good

June 1965 Family Reunion, courtesy of Colin Duncan

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor A. Duncan of 16 Washburn Ave., Auburndale, with their six children and families, hired a motel near Manchester, N. H. last weekend for their first family reunion in 13 years.

Betty, Taylor, Virginia, Wally, Harley perhaps, 06.12.1965, courtesy of Colin DuncanWeary but happy after the excitement of family baseball games, musical sessions, and en masse church attendance, Grandfather Duncan’s two-word description of the Friday-to-Sunday gathering was “uproariously good.”

The 28-member clan, lacking only one youngster who had the mumps, included Mrs. Willard Kindberg (Virginia Lee Duncan) and Mr. Kindberg, who have returned from the jungles of Peru where, since 1952, they have been working with the Campa Indians, translating and defining the language of the people, preparing young natives to teach it, and establishing schools. Mr. Kindberg is a translator with the Wycliffe Bible Translators, a Protestant mission society. Mrs. Kindberg was the first graduate of the nursing school at Wheaton College in Illinois. There are six children in their family.

Mrs. Harley Smith (Betty Duncan) and her husband and two children, [sic] home from Paris, France, where they operate a school for Greater Europe Mission (Protestant). Mr. Smith is business manager for the European Bible Institute in Lamorlaye, France. Mrs. Smith, a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, is a teacher of music.

Mr. and Mrs. J. Wallace Duncan and their four children [sic] from East Haddam, Conn. Mr. Duncan is a quality control engineer with Winchester Electronics Co. in Waterbury. He is a B. A. graduate of Gordon College, Wenham.

The Rev. and Mrs. Robert Duncan and their three children [sic] of Mattapan, where Mr. Duncan is the minister of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.

St. Louis, Mo., is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Taylor A. Duncan Jr. Taylor, a graduate of Northrop Institute of Technology, Inglewood, Calif., is with McDonald Aircraft Co. in St. Louis.

The youngest son, Bertrand Stevens Duncan, was graduated this June from Boston University with a degree in psychology. “Steve” is working as a laboratory technician at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton. He plans to study medicine.

The senior Duncans, who will have been married 40 years on July 25, have lived in Newton since 1935. They left their first address on Hartford St., Newton Highlands, at the outbreak of World War II when Mr. Duncan reentered the service.

He had been in the Navy during World War I and after that had gone into public accounting, getting his CPA in 1925. He entered teaching when he was called upon to fill a temporary vacancy at Temple University in Philadelphia, continued on a part-time basis, and was later called upon to set up business courses at Girard College.

During World War II Cmdr. Duncan spent three years in Philadelphia where he was in charge of a $115 million airplane contract between the Navy and the Budd Co. Later he was transferred to Portsmouth, N. H., where he served as the yard’s fiscal officer.

Mr. Duncan says he has retired twice. He left the Navy as a captain in 1932. Then he worked for General Electric Co. for more than five years as manager of a special auditing project in which he organized a staff of auditors. He retired in 1957.

For five years before World War II and for five years afterward he taught accounting, economics, and finance at Bentley College. He has also taught in the Boston University School of Business Administration.

June, 17 1965 News-Tribune newspaper article entitled “Newton-Based Duncan Clan Reunion Uproariously Good, courtesy of Polly Duncan (Bob’s wife) via Colin Duncan (Bob’s son)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Colin or Aunt Polly, what’s the name of the newspaper and the date of the edition in which this article appears? Best guess, anybody?
  • Which cousin had the mumps and couldn’t come? Can you tell who stayed home with you? Tell us about having the mumps. How long did it last? Did anyone else in the family get it?
  • Virginia, what year did Aunt Lee graduate from Wheaton as the first graduate of the nursing school? What was it like being the first graduate? What, exactly, does that mean? Was there no one else in her class? How big was her class? Was the program up and running or were there fits and starts? How long did it take her to get through? Why did she choose nursing? Why Wheaton?
  • Uncle Harley, Debby, Sandy, did Aunt Betty teach music in the school in Lamorlaye? Or did she take private students only? Did she teach anything else in the school? What was the school’s name? I presume it’s Aunt Betty playing the piano in the photo above. Am I right? Is Uncle Harley holding the trumpet?
  • Jimmy, Diane how long were you all in East Haddam? Why did you move? Can you describe your house? Remember your address? What ages were all the kids? How long was Uncle Wally with Winchester Electronics? Was he always quality control there or did he move around in jobs, up the ladder or otherwise? How did he get that job? Why did he leave?
  • Aha! The name of Uncle Bob’s church in Mattapan was St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. Aunt Polly, what position did he serve there? What were his dates there? Was he still in seminary? Where did the Bob Duncans live at that time? How old were the kids? What happened to St. Paul’s that I can’t find anything about it on the web?
  • Gloria, Trey, how did Uncle Tad end up on the other side of the continent in California? What did he do with McDonald Aircraft? How long was he there? Did he move up in the ranks, move around? Why did he leave? What did he go to? Does your mom remember that time? What does she recall? How did they feel about moving to St. Louis?
  • Dad/Steve, can you tell about getting the lab tech job at St. E’s? How long were you there? I’ve never heard about that lab tech job. Why not? What else was going on at the time? Were you dating that painful pre-mom woman still?
  • Anything else anybody wants to tell us?

Steve Saves Sandy from a Sledding Accident & Princey

[Uncle Steve] actually saved my life. I was sledding down on the sidewalk by Grandma and Grandpa’s house when the sled took off for the street. Fortunately [he] was right there and grabbed my foot just as a car was driving by! He said, “When we said ‘go play in traffic,’ this is NOT what we meant!”

You may not know this, but [Uncle Steve] actually saved my life. I was sledding down on the sidewalk by Grandma and Grandpa’s house when the sled took off for the street. Fortunately [he] was right there and grabbed my foot just as a car was driving by! He said, “When we said ‘go play in traffic,’ this is NOT what we meant!”

written by Sandy Moyer (Betty’s daughter) in response to a photo of Taylor and his boys, which Colin Duncan (Bob’s son) posted on Facebook, February 23, 2010

As far as the approximate dates for the sled “incident” (when your dad grabbed my foot as I headed for traffic), I believe it was in latter part of 1960, early 1961. I remember my folks were concerned that JFK was going to be elected president (which he was, obviously). So I am guessing possibly November/December 1960. I would have been seven years old. 

Your dad [Steve] still lived at home. He had a wonderful German shepherd named Princey. I was just speaking to my mother [Betty] about the dog, and I told her that I remember that his food bowl was out in the enclosed porch. She reminded me that your dad had trained him a bit. He would say to Princey: “Stay . . . stay . . . stay . . .” and the dog would look longingly at his bowl but not move toward it. Then your dad would say, “OKAY!” and the dog would make a beeline to his food. I loved that dog; he even walked me to school which was just a couple of blocks away from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. 

added by Sandy Moyer (Betty’s daughter) on November 5, 2012

This occurred outside of 16 Washburn Avenue on the hill in front of the house.  We did have a sidewalk in front of the house before the road, but the sled twisted, turning right into a road. Coming down the road was a car and a sheet of ice. I was where she passed and I reached out and grabbed her foot and kept her from getting in the way of the sliding car. 

I guess that I was about twenty years old, home from Boston University, prior to going into the army.  Betty and Harley were unquestionably home for furlough and we all took advantage of the snow and the wintertime sport.  I don’t think that I was so impressed that I was a hero, as Sandy might have remembered, but I like the idea of being thought of as such.  My Brother Tad, who was called Junior at the time, was probably in the Air Force at the moment and others of the family were not about. Who was doing the cooking?  I’m not sure. I would imagine it was the work of both Grandma Duncan [Virginia] and my sister [Betty].

added by Steve on November 26, 2012

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • What do you remember about Princey?
  • What other pets did the family have over the years?
  • What were other family members doing near the end of 1960/beginning of 1961?