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A start at my "Autobiography"
Selected stories by Dick Whitney

Making Southbridge our home to raise our children– Dick Whitney

Oct 15, 1977 Wedding photos

Following our marriage on Oct 15, 1977, Peg and I decided to begin married life by renting an apartment, in order to “enjoy life” as a couple before settling down and raising  children; since I was working at AO and Peg had a job in Southbridge as well, we decided to look in the area of our hometown. Pegs Dad noticed an ad on the AO bulletin board, advertising an apartment on Old Sturbridge Road in Sturbridge, just beyond the Big Bunny market. We called and met with the owners (Duff and Alice Duchesneau). The apartment was beautiful, and we immediately agreed to rent it. It was on the second floor at 12 Old Sturbridge Road, and was ideal for us at that time. We became close to Duff and Alice, who soon seemed like our grandparents and took a special interest in us.

Peg and I did indeed due some travel, and time passed quickly as newlyweds. Upon returning from a trip to San Francisco and Las Vegas in June of 1979, we arranged to join my parents in Martha’s Vineyard in late July. Peg and I spent a night in Falmouth at the Elm Arch Inn (where my Grandfather had stayed during his sales stops with Kemps nuts years earlier). I recall Peg have cravings for fudge which I bought for her in Falmouth. We brought a batch over to Edgartown where Mom and Dad were staying. During that time, Peg noticed her pants were unusually tight, so Dad (who had some sewing skills) let her pants out. None of us (except Mom) thought much about these occurrences, for Peg was on the Birth Control pill so it did not enter our minds. Mom however, was very often right with her intuitions. She eventually mentioned her suspicions, but still Peg and I were not really convinced of anything unusual.

Upon returning to Southbridge, Peg made an appointment with her Ob-gyn Dr. Witter; to our surprise, Peg was indeed pregnant! This seemed almost impossible, and Dr. Witter was quite convinced that Peg had missed more than one dose of her birth control pills. My father, upon researching the Meds she was on, discovered that Dilantin (which she was taking for her epilepsy) decreased the effectiveness of the pill, and as such she was not as protected as we thought.

Our first child Chris, was born on March 21, 1980 and we brought him home to our apartment to be a family. I recall the day we brought him home, I discovered I was wearing two different style shoes on my feet; something which I would repeat when Erica was first born!

After several months in the apartment, we began to look for our first house. Just as Peg wanted to marry someone who was not from Southbridge, we both decided our preference was not to live in our hometown. We first started house hunting in Sturbridge and other area towns. After many houses were considered, we also began looking in Southbridge and came across a wonderful home on 5 Pine Ridge Road. It was owned and occupied by Alex and Leslie Neidhardt, who were planning to move next door. It was a ranch house on the corner of Pine Ridge and Dennison, and we made them and offer which they accepted. We moved in at the end of August, 1980 and live there to this day.

Pine Ridge Road is a dead end street and at the time we moved in, many young families were raising their children there too. We were pleased that most of the neighbors were friendly and they even had periodic street parties, which we enjoyed and participated in. Having myself grown up on another dead end street in Southbridge (Litchfield Ave.), Peg and I were both comfortable with this as a location to raise a family.

When we moved into the house, Chris was less than 6 months old and I still can remember seeing him on a blanket on the floor while we set up house and moved our first pieces of furniture around the house. Today, it is hard to believe how much we have accumulated. The cellar that was once huge and empty is now packed, and cleaning it out is one of those tasks that Peg and I keep talking but never seem to get to.

When Erica was born 3 years later, we set her up in the larger of the two rooms, where closet space for her clothes seemed likely to be needed. In reality, Pegs cloths tended to take up those closets even when Erica was a teen.

We have found Pine Ridge Road, and Southbridge, to be an ideal place to raise our children. Our home which we purchased in 1980 is still our home and have never regretted our decision. We feel fortunate to have lived so close to both sets of parents, and near our children, and calling Southbridge home.  In August of 2011, Erica purchased Moms house and made Southbridge her home.  Interestingly, prior to this purschase, she had put a deposit on another home in Southbridge after looking throughout the area. That purchase fortunately fell thru, and we are so glad things worked out the way they did!!!

Peg changing Chris in our new kitchen, Mom and Dads old living room table and rug in our living room

Having fiun on our front lawn, August 1980

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