Apartment, Snoopy, Corncob Pipe

Posted in Love Letters | 8 comments

Frank had been searching for a new place for us to live in town.

I was still surprised when he came home one afternoon saying he had found us a new home.

The new apartment was located on the third story of a brick building on Main Street in downtown Ayer, Massachusetts.

The large building had offices on the second floor and a bank on the first floor. After entering the building through a big door in the middle of the building, a wide stairway led to the second-floor lobby, which we walked through to get to another wide stairway that led to the third-floor landing where there were four apartments.

Our apartment was the only one with a backdoor.  This door led to a fire escape with a small metal floored balcony that had metal stairs with metal hand railings on the sides, which lead to the ground level.  Mounted on the side of the building accessible from the balcony was a pulley system clothesline that was more than one hundred feet long with the other pulley attached to a telephone pole. After figuring it out, I absolutely loved this pulley clothesline.

Also, Frank and I loved that we had another unique entranceway into our apartment with a small balcony to sit on at night and talk.  Being three stories high up in the air also gave us a broader vision of things around us.  It seems like we could see in the distance forever.

We only had three windows in the apartment.  A very small window in the bathroom but there were two huge windows, one in the living room and one in the kitchen which had deep window seats.  I loved to sit on those window seats and look out the windows.

We had to give up “Big Fins” because our previous apartment owner would not let us leave it parked there for a few days after we moved.  Sadly, we had to get it towed away by a man who we signed it over to for the cost of the tow.  Even now, I remember that beautiful red and white car with the “Big Fins” and the memories of the dreams we shared while sitting together in it.

Next door to our apartment building was a large grocery store where we could buy fresh vegetables, meat, and dairy products if we ran out during the month.  Since we still did not have a car, it saved us a taxi trip to the commissary on the base at Fort Devens.

Also, the “Bubble It” laundromat was only six blocks away, and the lady who owned it did not seem to cringe every time we came in anymore after our “Smoking Laundry”  incidence.  This was a good thing since we only had a shower and no bathtub in our new bathroom.  There would be no more “Boogie Clothes” in this new apartment.  You know what?  I really did miss that!

Our best friends, who had helped us out so many times and made the “Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches” ever, also moved into an apartment right down the hall from us.  Frank and I were excited and thrilled to have them so close.

Frank had met many people on base in his classes who were also married and, of course, single soldiers who were far from home.  He would invite them over to eat, visit, and play cards which delighted me.  Everyone would bring something with them to drink and eat.   This way, we all shared the expense of just playing cards and having fun.

Our new home would become the place where everyone liked to hang out, relax, and have fun on the weekends. We played many hands of double-decker pinochle, spades, and hearts.  Lots of discussions about Vietnam,  the Army, and the new “Age of Aquarius” went on around our kitchen table while we played cards. We were all young and knew a lot about nothing.

One of the wives of Frank’s Army buddies was a bonafide “Hippy Flower Child” who hated the Army, and he wanted to be an Army lifer.   Still, to this very day, I wonder how their marriage worked out for them. She was so beautiful with long flowing hair and always had a flower pinned in her hair on one side of her head.  She taught me how to make large flowers out of colored tissue paper, and a pencil, which I put in some clean empty pickle jars then sat them around the house for decoration.

Frank and I had moved into this new home in the first part of September.  Our birthdays were both in the first week of October. So, because it was his first birthday as me being his wife,  I planned a “Surprise nineteenth birthday party for Frank.

The next story is how that turned out.  Enjoy.

“Snoopy and the Corncob Pipe”

Frank and I got up early on his nineteenth birthday because he had to go to school at Fort Devens that day. I fixed him a special breakfast then he was off to school.

Soldier in Army Uniform Fatigues 1968

Morning of Frank’s Nineteenth Birthday

Secretly I had plans for a surprise birthday party for him that evening.  After he left for school, I started preparations for his party.  First, I cleaned the house then made him a unique cake, which was a homemade chocolate cake with chocolate icing, shaped like a “Snoopy”  Charlie Brown’s pet beagle.

The reason for the shape of the cake did not really come from the comic strip, but from a song that Frank and I always sang together called “Hang on Sloopy.”  When we sang the song, we always changed Sloopy to Snoopy.  We loved that song, which was about true love and not things.

To surprise Frank, I had asked his best friend to come over and take him for an outing right after they got home from the base that afternoon, knowing that it would give me time to set up for the surprise party. When Frank got home from school, he changed out of his uniform, then just as planned, his friend knocked on our door and asked him to go on an errand with him.

After they left, my best friend, the wife of the friend Frank had just embarked on an errand with, came over to help me set up the table and do decorations. Once we were through, we waited for other friends to arrive.

Snoopy Cake

Birthday Decorations and Cake

All of the guests arrived, then we all went into the living room, sat down, and waited to surprise Frank. Needless to say, an hour passed, but Frank and his buddy had not returned, then we all heard a loud commotion coming up the stairs to our apartment landing. Frank was singing loudly and laughing when he opened our front door as we all yelled surprise.

Frank was smiling with his big “ole dimples,” smoking a corncob pipe, and quite drunk, but his buddy just stood behind him laughing.  Everyone in the room started laughing, but we were all in for a much bigger laugh when I lit the candles on the cake and put a birthday hat on Frank’s head.

Happy Birthday Party

Frank and the Snoopy Cake

As we all sang “Happy Birthday,” Frank leaned down, took a huge bite out of his “Snoopy” cake, getting chocolate icing all over his shirt!  Of course, I took a picture!

The rest of the evening was relatively quiet as we all returned to the living room to visit.  Frank would eventually pass out on the small couch while telling us all about him and his friend’s afternoon adventures.

Two days later, Frank would surprise me with a dozen red roses for my birthday and cook me a fabulous supper.

Our new home was the beginning of many new adventures for the two of us.


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  1. Oh, Nancy, you’ve done it again! What a lovely story. I just love how you end with an appropriate video. This one got me out of my seat trying to mimic this fabulous dancer. Hang on Sloopy (Snoopy) was one of my favorite songs of that time too. I can feel the affectionate, deep, abiding, and fun-loving kind of love that you two might have been feeling while singing this song. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for your comment MaryRae. I love that song too and I laughed and danced watching and listening to it. Life was so simple back then and we had so much fun. Thank you for enjoying our story. More fun to come.
      God Bless you,

  2. More memories…not enough money but enough friends to make it all work! GBY

    • Yes, we had some of the best friends. Having Money was never a real important thing to Frank and I but good friends were.
      Thank you for reading Kim,
      God Bless You

  3. Another great memory. That apartment building looks classy. And it was certainly more convenient for you. It’s good to have such fun memories in your home. God bless.

    • Yes, I was a fun building to live in. We had a lot of great times there. Thank you for commenting and reading.
      God Bless You, Diane.

  4. What a delighful story! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you so much Eva Marie. Although we were really young, we had a fun time in Massachusetts.
      God Bless You,

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