A piece of advice for people who inherit piles of “stuff” – always go back and take new looks at what you have.
I inherited a lot of Adams family items from my cousin (first cousin, 2x removed) Charles Adams Chadwick, when he passed away in 2008. One of the items was his address book.
Lots of families used to have these, back in the days before the internet and worry about identity theft and all one’s important contact information was kept in them.
Charles was no exception. Most of these entries are very old as Charles always wrote with a fountain pen until the mid-1960s. Growing up, I had only met Charles a couple of times. He and his mother, Aunt Pearl, lived in Providence, Rhode Island. When I was young, the two of them would drive to Massachusetts for occasional family holiday get-togethers. If my parents decided to make the trip from New Jersey, we would also take part in the celebration.
I didn’t know any of Charles’ acquaintances, but he also recorded addresses and phone numbers of relatives in this little book, along with his own important “life” numbers.
In this book, I found several fun family gems that I have not come across elsewhere. Like both my grandparents, the Chadwick family was from Calais, Maine. However, I had no idea where they lived until I started browsing in the address book this morning.
Bottom Right: Notify Mrs. P. Chadwick
Charles wrote in who to notify inside the front cover and it included both of his mother’s addresses. 131 Cass Street is where they lived in Providence. The Calais address was 18 Franklin Street! Better yet, her phone number was 519-M. I love that. I guess there weren’t too many telephones in Calais at that time.
Google hasn’t driven down Franklin Street yet so I can’t get a look at it on Google Earth. Maybe some day, I will be able to make a second visit to Calais.
That wasn’t the only fun discovery. The next page in the book has my grandparents’ address in Needham, which I knew, along with their phone number, which I never knew and I don’t know that my aunt would remember it – NE 32978.
Right underneath their home entry was contact for my grandfather, Vernon, who worked at Western Union in Boston. I never, ever had any idea where he worked or his work phone number.
Now, I do! Grandfather worked not only at 230 Congress Street in Boston, he worked on the 9th floor. His phone number was Hu2-8020, extension 200. I knew Grandfather took the train every day into Boston.
230 Congress Street, Boston, MA
Here was his destination for many years. I can’t get a good crop of the height of the building, but it is twelve stories high. Grandfather retired in 1964, but Western Union offices are still there today! Only the phone number has changed.
The last fun bit of information was the address of the first house in which my aunt and uncle lived.
First Home, c1957
The address is given as 30 Norwell Road, no town, but I believe it was in Needham. I can’t find that address except over in Dedham and those houses are much older and don’t look anything like this one. I will have to ask my aunt if the street has been renamed.
Charles also has entries for some Chadwick and Stuart cousins. I recognize the names, but they are also long gone.
The last great find was the home address for my grandmother’s brother, Hazen, who died when I was two.
Hazen Coleman’s Home, c1950
I have these three pictures of his property, but had no idea where the house was. Charles’ book gives 860 Washington Street, Dedham, MA. I guess time marched on for this beautiful old property because it is now a Bank of America.
Remember, take second, third and fourth looks at family mementos you already have in your possession. What wasn’t important the first time might be when you revisit.