Tag Archives: Doris Priscilla Adams

Where Did Mom Live Growing Up? Using Local Resources

Doris Adams, Right Bottom Photo

Do you have an ancestor or family who moved frequently? Growing up, I only moved once from Passaic to Wayne, New Jersey. My mother, Doris Priscilla Adams, said my grandparents moved constantly because Grandfather, Vernon Tarbox Adams, worked for the Western Union. As he was promoted through the ranks, the family was uprooted time and again until 1947 when he was transferred to the Boston office and finished his work career in 1965.

I asked Mom once about the addresses where she lived. She said she didn’t remember most of them, but they lived in Maine, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, often more than once. She hated all the moves. She said they would just make some friends and get settled in school when it would be time to move again.

City directories have helped fill in some of the gaps to prove where Mom lived as she grew up.

Here is a short list of places that I’ve been able to cobble together:

1. Mom was born in Calais, Maine on 7 June 1923. However, the family was visiting relatives when she was born and I believe my grandparents were living in Massachusetts at the time. My aunt was born in 1921 in Malden, Massachusetts. I don’t know if they were still there in 1923.

2. Bangor Daily News reports that Vernon Adams and family are moving to Boston, 13 October 1925.

3. In December 1926, they were living somewhere in Bangor, Maine as the Bangor Daily News reported that Vernon’s grandmother, Nellie Adams, had visited the family over the holidays. No street address was given.

4. By 1928, the Adamses were still in Bangor, Maine, where they lived at 31 Wing Street, as found in the Bangor City Directory.

Source: Google Maps

5. They weren’t there for very long because the 1930 census shows them enumerated at 90 Mellen Street, Portland, Maine. It was a multi-family dwelling with Mary Torrey, owner, and one other family besides Mom’s living there.

6. However, they lived on Mellen Street for a very short time because the 1931 Portland City Directory gives their home address as 318 Stevens Avenue. They were still there in 1932.

7. The 1933 Portland City Directory gives the new family address as 145 Brentwood Street.

8. The 1937 Portland City Directory notes “move to New York City.” However, their exact address isn’t mentioned. I do have my aunt’s grammar school promotion certificate, dated June 1936. Apparently, my grandparents had settled in Lynbrook, New York.

Google Maps

9. Mom mentioned that before the family lived in Ridgewood, New Jersey, they lived for a short time in nearby Tenafly, New Jersey, but she didn’t remember the address.

10. My grandparents last lived in New Jersey at 630 Wyndemere Avenue in Ridgewood.

Source: Google Maps

Ridgewood is where the family lived at least from 1940 (as shown in the census that year) until Grandmother, Grandfather and my two aunts made the final family move to Massachusetts in 1947. My parents married in 1947, so Mom didn’t go with them.

I absolutely hated leaving my friends and classmates the one time my parents moved us to Wayne. I can’t imagine how many more moves my grandparents made that I haven’t yet been able to document. Given that they lived in at least three places just in Portland, almost 2 miles apart from each other, so it would mean a change of schools, it is conceivable that I am missing another 5-10 homes where they lived.

Have you had to move many times in your life?


Doris Priscilla Adams, U.S.N. WAVES, Discharged 70 Years Ago Today

Doris Adams1
Doris Priscilla Adams

Doris Priscilla Adams, later Doris Sabo, aka “Mom,” was rightly proud of her military service. She enlisted on 2 October 1943, when she was 20 years old.

Mom didn’t talk a lot about her military life, but from what she said, she enjoyed it. Boot camp was in Oklahoma in the winter and she wasn’t thrilled with that, but then she was assigned to San Diego, California, which she loved.

Doris Assignment to San Diego
Yeoman in the WAVES

Ridgewood Girl Assigned to San Diego As Yeoman in WAVES

Doris Adams, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon T. Adams of 630 Windemere Avenue, Ridgewood, having recently completed her course of training at the Yeoman School at Stillwater, Oklahoma, has received her rating of Yeoman, third class, as a member of the WAVES,and has been assigned to the Naval Air Base at San Diego, California.

Yeoman Adams enlisted in November 1943 and received her Boot training at Hunter College after which she was assigned to the school at Stillwater. She ahs been appointed to the post of secretary in the liaison office at the San Diego base.

Mrs. adams reports that her daughter’s letters ar highly enthusiastic of her new life. In common with most of the young women in service, she feels her present undertaking to be a most satisfying one.

A graduate of the Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School, Yeoman Adams was employed in New York with A.J. Powers, commercial photographer, before she entered the WAVES.

Doris & Naval Friends in Tijuana
Fun in Tijuana
Doris is second from left.

Mom was discharged from the Navy 70 years ago today, on 20 March 1946.

Doris Adams Navy Separation Paper
Discharge Papers

She finished as a Yeoman, Second Class, and earned the American Area Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. I have no idea what happened to those medals because they weren’t in the belongings that were left when she passed away in 2008.

Doris Adams Discharge ArticleDischarged

Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon T. Adams of 630 Wyndemere Avenue, Ridgewood, who was recently discharged from the WAVES as a yeoman first class (sic). Miss Adams, who has been stationed at San Diego, Calif. will spend the summer at Sebago Lake, Maine, and will enter Stanford University in the fall.

Treasure Chest Thursday: Favorite Photos

Here are three of my favorite childhood photos of my mother, Doris Priscilla Adams Sabo (7 June 1923- 23 July 2008) and her big sister, Annie Barbara Adams (3 August 1921- 30 January 1997).

Barbara and Doris Reading

Barbara and Doris 1

These photos were part of a set taken at the same time, in either Massachusetts or Maine, places where my grandfather had often been transferred for his work with Western Union.

By the lightweight looks of the dresses, I’d say these pictures were probably taken in the summer of 1926, when my mother turned three and Aunt Barbara turned five years old.

Both my mother and my aunt loved to read and, although the book was likely a photographer’s prop, they were clearly engrossed in the story book, which made for a beautiful photograph.