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

The house where I grew up - 122 Litchfield Ave, Southbridge, MA 

Recollection on when Don Whitney purchased the house in 1947 

Section from Don Whitney autobiography on purchase of 122 Litchfield Ave. in 1947

…Shortly after we moved into the Moulton apartment on South Street, Jan began having morning sickness, which became increasingly severe and lasted all day.  She was pregnant.  This increased the pressure on finding a more suitable place to live.  But in the middle of everything Jan’s nausea became so severe that she was hospitalized for a week in Newton.  And while she was in the hospital we learned that her beloved summer place in Fortunes Rocks, Maine, had burned to the ground in a firestorm.  In spite of all this, she recovered sufficiently to rejoin me in our little apartment, and together we continued to look for housing.

By this time we had several real estate agents searching for us, and one of these, a Mrs. Perkins, came up with a house on Litchfield Avenue which seemed just right for us  – just right, that is, except for the price.  The owner was asking $14,500, and I was earning $2600 per year.  It couldn’t be done.  The owner then came down to $12,500.  It still couldn’t be done.  Then the owner offered to drop to $10,500, but without some of the land.   We said we would pay $10,500, but with the land.  The owner accepted.

Now the trick was to get a mortgage at the bank.  I still was over my head as far as house payments were concerned relative to my annual earnings.  But, I qualified for a GI loan, and Mr. Horsley at the Savings Bank said he felt I had a good future with AO.  He approved the loan.

Papers were passed, and we became proud owners of a new (to us) house.  The only trouble was the previous owners hadn’t yet moved out.  I took advantage of this period to learn how to operate the coal fired steam furnace.  Every night, I would go to the house and, under the guidance of the previous owner, shovel coal, empty ashes, adjust the water level, and all those good things which go with that kind of heating plant.

Then, one snowy December evening, I went over to the house to find the previous owners had moved out.  I had no key to the house, and no idea where they had gone.  Fortunately, a next door neighbor said she thought they had a place on Cedar Lake, and suggested they might have moved there.  In the middle of a blizzard, Jan and I went to Cedar Lake, and succeeded in tracking them down.  They gave me the key, and at last we took complete possession of the house.

See bank info from 1947  below these photos 

1947 photos above

1947 Southbridge Saving  Bank info / List of items that Mom and Dad owned
pdf posted 24-Oct-11

More 122 Litchfield Ave photos

Return to Index of Dick Whitney Autobiography
In Sept 2011, my daughter Erica bought this house and we are pleased to see her enjoy this house and that it stays in the family!

Updated on Nov 1, 2011

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