Tag Archives: Gordon College

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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Park Street and Missions

Taylor Joins PSC, 06.26.1966, courtesy of Gloria Boyer

Taylor Duncan Joins PSC, 06.26.1966, courtesy of Gloria Boyer

So we were up in Boston and one of the first things that we did, that Dad [Taylor] did, was to get us connected to Park Street Church, which was one of the reasons for a lot of us eventually going into missions. But your Mom—Eric, Virginia—Lee, back in Pennsylvania, I can recall her working at a Afro-American kids camp and loving to do that. She was an outreaching young woman at the time.

She had been home and gone back and forth. I don’t know where it was at the time, but she went to West Suburban Hospital, where she graduated in nursing [~1950?]. That was part of Wheaton College connection there.

[T.J.]: That was who?

Virginia Lee Duncan, at that time, Kindberg.

[T.J.]: Your mother?

No, my sister.

[Heidi]: Their mother. [Heidi points out the Kindbergs in the room].

[T.J.]: Their mother.

Their mother. Yeah. Their mother.

So we were up in Boston and Park Street Church became a central part in our lives. Dr. Ockenga, who had come to Park Street Church in the ‘40s, also picked up the vision from Oswald Smith, up in Toronto, of missions. That developed up quite a bit at that church and so that was an early stimulus in my own life to go into missions. Although I had earlier, one of the things that I wanted to do in life, was to be an architect, but also there was the idea of going into medicine, which eventually happened, but only after, of course, university at Gordon College.

story told by Steve to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014; recorded and transcribed by Dawn [Steve’s daughter]; see also A Practical Vision for World Missions, for a fuller edition of this story

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 year did Lee graduate from nursing school?
    • What was the name of the kids’ camp where Lee worked? Can someone relate that story more fully? What years did she work there? How did she get connected to it?
    • Grandpa’s documents show him joining Park Street in 1966. When did Grandma join Park Street Church?

Ministry or Mechanics

As a young man, Wally thought he wanted to go in to the ministry.  His father discouraged him telling him that his real abilities were in mechanical studies.  Truly, Wally was amazing at fixing things, finding out how things worked.  He had a curiosity about all things mechanical and as a young boy had always tinkered with cars. 

Wally’s love for the Lord was stronger, and his desire to serve him greater and so he began his pursuit of ministry by going to Gordon College and then on to Gordon Seminary.  He was assigned as a student minister to preach and help out in the pastorate.  But, as he would say, he wasn’t too interested in visiting the old ladies of the church which was one of his expected duties. 

Before he finished his seminary training, he had gotten married and had his first son at age 21 [c. 1950].  He now had a family to support.  His odd jobs of traveling house to house to take baby pictures just wasn’t making enough money so he took his first real job at the Budd Company, working in quality control.  With this on the job training, and his great gifts which his father had predicted suited him for industry, Wally’s career in manufacturing was born.

Two years and two children to support sealed his fate. 

written memories of Wally, contributed by Barbara Duncan (Wally’s wife), December 12, 2012

After graduating from Gordon College, Wally attended one year of seminary (at Gordon-Conwell) before I was born and he needed to make a living. He was quite a preacher, and he preached often over the years. . . .

At times as a young father, he worked two jobs to help make ends meet. One of those second jobs was as a wedding photographer. He would often let me “assist,” and in time, I would take the pictures and he would “assist,” at least that’s how he positioned it for me.

His working career was primarily in manufacturing/engineering, initially in quality control engineering, then as a manufacturing plant manager, and later, in general mechanical engineering. He never got a formal engineering degree, but was an early proponent of computer-aided design and manufacturing, the adoption of which technology many at Skil initially resisted. (Hard to believe, eh?) He worked for Budd (railroad cars), Pratt & Whitney (jet engines), Timex (missile inertial guidance control systems), Stanley Tools, Black & Decker, Grinnell (fire suppression systems), and Skil.

He made an attempt to start his own business, Airlink Aviation, around 1968. . . . His idea was way before its time—that is, using helicopters to shuttle business executives from their offices to airports and to transport injured people from accident sites to hospitals. He couldn’t get enough buy-in for his concept at the time, so it never got past some demonstration flights. Ask Diane and Gregg about their experiences as “mock accident victims.”

written memories of Wally, contributed by Jim Duncan (Wally’s son), on the occasion of Wally’s death, November 7, 2006

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 remember this story of Wally choosing between ministry and business, seminary and work? What other details can you add?
  • Jim, would you be so kind as to confirm your birthday?
  • Diane, Gregg, tell us about your experiences as “mock accident victims.”

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?

Taylor Takes a Job at Bentley

[Barb]: You had four children at Drexel Hill and somewhere along the line you had two more.

[Virginia]: Those were all in Massachusetts, after I got to Massachusetts.

[Barb]: During the war you were moving back and forth, Philly to Mass.

USS Squalus under construction at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 1938, courtesy of wreckhunter dot net[Virginia]: I think—I don’t exaggerate—we moved first from Boston to Philadelphia. Back again to Boston again because Daddy [Taylor] was sent to the Navy yard. You know, before that he was all over. Then back again to Boston. This time he was sent to New Hampshire.

[Barb]: Portsmouth.

[Virginia]: To the Navy yard in New Hampshire, which was on the border. I mean, it was easy to get from there to where we lived. He was up there most of the time. It was many hours in between.

Bentley College, 921 Boylston Street, its location since 1919, photo after building facelift in 1962, courtesy of Bentley LibraryIn the meantime, he applied to the Bentley School of Accounting and Finance [now Bentley University, Department of Accountancy] because he could see the writing on the wall that the war [World War II, ended 1945] was going to end, you know. He wanted to be prepared, to see if he could get his job back as a teacher, as an instructor, as a professor. He was never a real professor because that’s a specialty, but he was an instructor under Bentley. Mr. Bentley was a very exacting man. My husband didn’t get along too well with him. As you can imagine, they were two of a kind. He thought an awful lot of my husband’s ability. I was always very proud to have him working there because you had to have a pretty good standing or you could never get a job in that school.

All this time our family was growing up. Wally especially was into this and that and the other thing because he was getting older. He had graduated from high school and college. He hadn’t graduated from college yet, but he was going into college, into Gordon, Gordon Seminary [now Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary]. He loved it very much but it was pretty confining and Wally never was one to be confined much. He always wanted to spread out.

partial conversation between Virginia and Barbara Duncan (Wally’s wife) in the summer of 1987, courtesy of Barbara Duncan

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 of all this moving around about which Grandma speaks?
  • Presumably Grandma is speaking about World War II when she says it was ending. Can you verify that?
  • Can you tell more about Grandpa’s work in Portsmouth, New Hampshire?
  • Can you tell us more about his work at Bentley?
  • Can you pin down the exact year that he went to work at Bentley? Had he worked there before the war?

What’s That Port City of Morocco?

[Bob] We took a train from Paris to Gibraltar [in August 1981]. We were going over to Morocco to see friends. And about the border of France, it was nighttime. It was very interesting though. I was sitting in this train and all of a sudden the car went straight up in the air.

[Polly] And you could feel it.

[Bob] And you could feel it. And I said, I know what they’re doing. They’re changing the wheels for a different gauge railroad between France and Spain. So they put it down eventually. And then we got into Spain. Boooring. Boring!

[Polly] It was so boring. And then we came to one of the cities.

[Bob] Madrid.

[Polly] Madrid.

[Bob] Oh, boy. Here’s a city I can look at. It went right under a tunnel the whole time we were there.

[Polly] We thought we were going to see something. Didn’t they know we haven’t seen Spain?

plain in Spain[Bob] It was just like Arizona. It would be like going on that railroad in Australia. It goes a thousand miles and doesn’t curve. For a thousand miles it goes as straight as [ ].

[Bob] I thought I’d never see anything and then we got to Algeciras.

[Polly] Which is the closest city near where the Rock of Gibraltar and the Straits of Gibraltar are. Anyway that’s where the big rock is. Or across from there. And we had to cross by ferry. You know, when we go, we don’t really know what we’re doing. We don’t know the language. But we go anyway. Especially with Uncle Bob. “Honey, it’ll all be taken care of!” And I’m, “Mmmmm, how are we going to do this? Where are we going?”

Abdul, Nadia, Houda, Nouza Filali-Ansary Family, Quincy, 1980[Polly] We were planning to meet and go over that route and go to Morocco. That was our plan. We had met this couple—and they had two little girls—as an exchange student in Boston. They were studying, or he was, at Boston University, many, many years ago [1980]. They kept saying, “Why don’t you come and visit us when we go back home to Morocco?” We were host family to them and took them a lot of places. And really, though they were Muslim, they would come to church quite regularly and everything. It was the music. They loved the music.

[Bob] They even said it was just like being in the mosque. And I said it couldn’t; it couldn’t. I could have choked him.

[Polly] That wasn’t such a nice thing, but I think he was trying to be. . . .

[Bob] Yeah. Trying to be cordial and all that.

[Polly] But anyway, by the Lord’s providence and so on, we were given a gift at our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary time [Aug 25, 1981] and we were able to go. We did go to Europe with the Gordon College Alumni Tour. And then we took off on our own. That’s why we were in Paris heading for [ ].

Ferry between Algeciras, Spain and Tangier, Morocco[Polly] Well we got—jump ahead now to Algeciras—and we really knew we were planning, when we got on the ferry, somehow we would be met by our friends on the other end, Abdul and Nouza in Morocco. But the ferry, it was so confusing: they would give you a ticket in the best English they knew how to communicate with us with no Arabic. Anyway, we were given the wrong tickets. This couple who knew some English. They were actually a French couple, but knew a little bit of English. No, a Moroccan couple, that was. We met a French couple, too, but that was. . . . Anyway, they were able. They said, “Oh, this won’t get you where you want to go.” So they helped us.

[Bob] Exchange the tickets.

[Polly] In that part of the world—and we may have this happen somewhat here and you probably have had it in your travels—but over there if you are given a number, a gate number where you were going to go out of, where the ferry was going to go out of, and all of the sudden they changed it. Well everybody—and I’m not kidding—everybody just jumps over you like a herd of cattle. And you’re going to head for the next one, but it doesn’t matter whether your luggage is there or you’re there. And so everybody—and literally that’s what happened to us—so we’re kind of swept along by this crowd, not knowing. . . . And this couple, young couple really helped us. They were wonderful.

[Polly] So we got on the ferry OK and had to show our passport at least seven times. But, you know, this was just part of that world. Got to, what was the port of Morocco that we came to? Not Casablanca. Oh, isn’t that awful. Not, no Al Jazeera’s the news.

[Bob] No. It’s very well-known. When you think of Morocco, you think of the city. Besides Casablanca.

[Polly] It’ll come.

[Bob] It’ll come.

[Polly] It’ll come. That’s all right. One of those senior moments?

[Polly] And anyway, we got there. This couple guided us. Well, we never met the couple we were supposed to meet.

[Bob] They weren’t allowed on the pier.

[Polly] And so, as a result, we ended up eventually, without, I’ll cut through a lot of the details. We stayed overnight in a motel. They helped us get us. . . .

[Bob] Not a motel, Honey. Remember the fellow we met? He heard us speaking English. He was, he had worked in the United States.

[Polly] No, no, no. This was. That’s when we got on the bus. This was not. . . . In the port city where we landed, we stayed in. . . .

[Bob] Stayed in his house.

[Polly] Later, Honey, in Rabat. Remember? When we took the bus ride? But this was the first thing.

[Bob] I know. Hotel. Small hotel.

[Polly] Small hotel. Anyway, and then we said, if we couldn’t find our friends, we would make our way back to Paris, then to Belgium and home. That’s where our tickets were, tickets for Belgium. And this couple said, you know in Eastern, or Mid-Eastern—whatever—hospitality, you do everything you can.

[Bob] You can’t do that. That would be a great insult.

[Polly] That would be an insult . . .

[Bob] . . . to go home . . .

[Polly] . . . to them.

[Virginia] To not try to find them?

[Bob] Not to try to find the couple that weren’t there at the port.

[Polly] The host family.

[Bob] Tangier!

[Polly] Tangier!

[Bob] You wait long enough, it comes to you.

[Polly] Yeah. And so they really impressed upon us that it would be almost our duty, I guess at that point, to take a bus to Rabat, which is the capital city, where the friends lived.

[Bob] And then look them up there.

[Polly] We did.

[Bob] That’s what we did. Yup.

[Polly] We found them eventually. They found, we found them.

[Bob] We found them.

[Polly] Amazing. Amazing.

[Bob] On the bus, we were talking, speaking obviously in English. It’s our best language.

[Lee] Your mother’s tongue.

[Bob] My mother’s tongue, yes. And a fellow from behind us came up, a young fellow. He’d been working in the United States and he was going home.

[Polly] Actually, he’d been studying in San Francisco.

[Bob] Yeah, San Francisco.

[Polly] Aziz was his name.

[Bob] So we said, “We don’t know where we are going. We don’t know how to find our folks.”

[Polly] “We don’t know what we’re doing.”

[Bob] And he said, “Oh don’t worry about that. There’s plenty of room in my house.” But then we got to his house and he couldn’t get it. It was all locked up. So he tried going up the gutter outside and then that collapsed on him. Anyway, his mother finally came home. And he was like the prodigal son back home again and they were all dancing. We were dancing. We slept in the mother’s bed.

[Polly] They insisted we stay overnight with them. Interestingly enough—you know the Lord does provide even when we were so ignorant we didn’t know what we were doing—but this family knew the name of our eventual hosts that we were trying to get to and were known by this other family that we had just stumbled across.

[Bob] They knew a sister or something and so they called the sister and the sister called the family.

Nouza, Houda, Abdul Filali-Ansary[Polly] And she actually drove us to the home of our eventual host family. Then we spent a bunch of maybe four or five days, but by the time we got to them it was more than half in.

[Bob] And they told us all the things we had missed that they had planned to do when they met us at the port.

[Virginia] What happened with that? They just weren’t able to get in.

Bob and Abdul[Bob] They weren’t able to get on. We drove right by them. They were sitting in the car but we didn’t know it. You see what happens there, an awful lot of Moroccans go to Europe and work. And then they have a month off, like they do in France. They go back home. Then they have to go back again. And there was a two- or three-day wait, sitting in the cars to get on the ferry. You know, it’s first come first served kind of thing. But they were in all that crowd. It was terrible, terrible. No restroom facilities. I mean it was just awful.

[Polly] Eating in the streets.

[Bob] Yup. Yup. Eating. Eating anything they could eat. That was the part that was very interesting. But then we got in the house. Now he had been working for the government for over a year, but couldn’t get a telephone. He says, “We have the wires out there in the yard, but they wouldn’t hitch them up.”

[Polly] And we tried and tried and tried, that was the other thing.

[Bob] Call them from all over Europe.

[Polly] But there was never an answer. We had a phone number, but never an answer because the phone wasn’t hooked up.

[Bob] Once we got there, we had a good time, except Polly got desperately ill. Sick-sick-sick-sick-sick.

[Virginia] Was it from the food?

[Bob] Yeah.

[Polly] Yeah. And I ate everything. I mean I tried to eat everything, which was probably not a good idea.

[Bob] We’d be eating at an outdoor restaurant and cats would run out over your feet. I mean up on the tables.

[Polly] They’d be up on the tables.

[Virginia] Oh no.

[Bob] I got sick, just for part of a day, but she got really, really sick.

full transcription of a story told by Bob and Polly (his wife) to Virginia (Lee’s daughter) and Lee and Ken (Lee’s second husband) during a visit to California in January 2004

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 remember the month and/or year that Polly and Bob visited Morocco in this story?
  • Do you recall other events from this trip?
  • I recall Bob telling a story about being unable to find his and Polly’s way back to the ferry after visitting Morocco. They were sick, or one of them was, and a woman beckoned them to follow her and led them to the ferry. Does anyone else recall this story? Can you retell it for us? Was it on the same trip or another one?

Grandpa Smiling

Taylor Albert Duncan with Wally, Bob, Tad, and Steve, 1950

This is a rare are the pictures of Grandpa [Taylor] smiling. Here are a few special memories I have of Grandpa: his giggle (believe or not); he would say “wishee” every time he sneezed; and watching Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, and other classic TV series with him.

We lived with Grandma [Virginia] and Grandpa for six months when we were back in the USA on furlough [1960/1961].

written by Sandy Moyer (Betty’s daughter) in response to the above photo, which Colin Duncan (Bob’s son) posted on Facebook, February 23, 2010

In the picture, I see many stories. But first Grandpa, or as I knew him it was Dad. I think the picture of him smiling was not the image that I recall most. I was born when he was 52 years old, my mother was 40 years old, and I was indeed unexpected, delivered by caesarean section and an addendum to his seven prior children. I remember dad as a stern disciplinarian, who was often not at home because he was teaching at the Bentley College, now Bentley University. I was simply the child that came along after my mother’s gynecologist said, “You will have no more children!” Never trust a doctor!!!

Two of the children before me were half siblings and the other five were all older than myself. In the picture, I was the smallest, about ten years old if the number “50” in the corner of the picture represents 1950. Lee, in her nurses graduation uniform, is pictured beside the sofa. Dad, or Grandpa, was posing for a photographer, which was Wally’s friend, a colleague from the Gordon College where he was attending.

Wally, being the older of the boys in our immediate family, was more of a role model that was my occasionally-home father. It was his craftiness that I emulated and even some of the harebrained ideas. Sometimes we called that vision! Anyway I got it. Wally was away at college frequently in Boston, where Gordon College was situated at that time. He always had some idea or project and I admired that. He started the youth work called Crusade for Christ and it was at those meetings where Betty and Harley met; that eventual marriage was not his idea though.

Bob was born after Betty, who was not in the picture at all. As I recall Bob, the most outstanding memory is that he spent time with me to help me learn some—believe it or not—Latin and some other subjects. It never seemed like he was caught up in crazy projects, which I was to emulate, but a lot more serious in study and learning. He was always fun.

TAD (Taylor Albert Duncan, “Junior”) was the next sibling in line and closest to my age. As I recall, in his younger years he was a good student and a good worker, earning more money than the rest of us. He had more tools and better tools and we competed between us, even though there were only two and a half years separating us. I was always a little tag-along and unfortunately, frequently, especially in the younger years, a crybaby. He was a challenge for me and I always thought him smarter than I was. I thought of him as being the one who did things in the nonconventional way, but he was there in school with me.

Dad was proud of his boys but sometimes we tried his patience. The smile could have been for many reasons. That was my Dad.

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 Grandpa/Dad?
  • What do you recall of his sons Wally, Bob, Tad/Junior, and Steve at those ages?
  • What was happening to you in 1950?
  • What house was this photo taken in?