To complement my “Before they were Mothers” post (May 14) and in anticipation of the upcoming Father’s day, here are our fathers BEFORE they were fathers.
My father, Norman Charles Morgan was born in Hanover, New Hampshire on April 13, 1919. His father, Frank Millett Morgan, a mathematics professor and noted stamp collector, was born in New York City. His mother, Mary Elizabeth Granger, was born in Rutland, Vermont. Along with raising my father and his older brother, she made silver jewelry and dried flower arrangements. (One of her brothers was the famous vertebrate paleontologist, Walter Granger. Granger is my middle name and the name of a grandson.)
The first image is most likely a yearbook photograph. On the right, is a photograph of my father as a medical student. He became a psychiatrist and innovated a training program for doctors from India and Turkey. For many years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column, "Everyday Psychology" that he often illustrated with vignettes from our family life. He also created a radio documentary series on mental health that was distributed internationally by the General Federation of Women's Clubs.
The bottom left image is my father standing in the snow.
My father met my mother, Maritza Leskovar, at the International Club at Cornell University. Because their parents strenuously disapproved of their relationship, they eloped and got married in a hardware store where the owner was a justice of the peace. The last image is my father and mother in their matching plaid shirts and demin jeans. Their dog's name was Tono.
My father died on June 17, 1969, of cancer at the age of 50.
Linda's father George Edward Hickson was born on June 25, 1912, in Holyoke, Massachusetts. His parents, John and Johanna Moriarty Hickson were born in County Kerry, Ireland. His father became a Holyoke police officer and was awarded the Sir Walter Scott Medal for bravery for stopping a stampede of horses. His mother, Hannah, raised six children: John, Kathryn, George, Bill, Francis, and Jimmy. Whenever Linda's family had roast chicken, Hannah, who lived a block away, would come over and make her Irish stuffing that the whole family liked best.
A star athlete, Linda's father is on the left in the front row in the first photograph. The newspaper article notes that it is the "third time this season" that he had been named to an all-city team—baseball, football, and basketball."
George went to Syracuse University on an athletic scholarship. However, as the story goes, once he, who weighed 135 pounds and stood about 5'11", saw
his behemoth teammates—"coal miners from Pennsylvania"—he quit the team and supported himself through college by working in the kitchen of a sorority.
The next image is from a yearbook.
Linda's parents dated after they graduated from high school but they broke up when one of George's brothers told Mary that George had danced with another girl at a party. Sometime later, early one morning while Mary was on her way to work, they bumped into each other and resumed dating. They were married on Thanksgiving, November 26, 1936.
George lived to be 85 years old.