Chapter XXVI - Seaside Park
When my husband had had his heart attack, Richard was in his second year of college, and Marie was in her last year in art school. It had happened at the beginning of the year. One morning, a couple of weeks after his father became ill, we were having breakfast. Richard, not being sure about his future schooling, asked me if he should leave school after the first term. I said, "Of course not."
He said, "Ma, I can finish at night school. Papa is sick and no one is working. It will be too much of a drain. I can work days and go to school nights."
I said, "Richard, I appreciate that you spoke like a man and want to help but Papa and I have already discussed your future. We don't want you to interrupt your education. Working days and going to school at night would take too long for you to graduate. Don't you worry. We will manage. Your work in the summer will help toward your tuition."
On November 20, 1953, we acquired the shore property. We informed our son Tony and the other partners that Papa was retiring from the firm upon completion of the work at hand. We received the sum of $12,000 from the partnership. We used $6,000 to buy the mortgage on the property at the shore and on November 20 we became owners of an empty store and an apartment at Seaside Park.
Almost a year had passed since Nicola had suffered a heart attack. Now he felt rested and much better and he began to take over a portion of the housework. I didn't want him to, but he kept proclaiming that he felt fine and able. I protested and told him that if he took over the household chores I would have to take an outside job. We enjoyed the winter together and our relationship deepened to a closer understanding.
My husband's membership in the corporation had been liquidated and we had a few thousand dollars in a savings account. We bought the seller's mortgage for the shore property at a very low interest rate and the place was half paid for. We were confident that our future was assured. With our work and some help from the children, if we needed it, we were sure to make a go of the project.
We had no experience in the grocery business. First we wanted to clean and freshen the store before we stocked it.
In the early part of spring, when the weather permitted, Richard would drive us to the shore with some other members of our family. My portion of the work consisted mainly of cooking and washing dishes and making pots of coffee. Then there would be more cups and dishes to wash. Everyone worked hard and helped us to make our life at the shore more pleasant and comfortable.
After the cleaning came the time to stock the store. A friend of our daughter Lucy, a grocery salesman, came to see us. We placed an order to be delivered at the end of the month of May.
My husband and I planned to move in by the twentieth of May so everything would be ready for Memorial Day weekend, the official opening for business at the shore.
Richard was about to graduate from college and Marie had already finished school. Richard had been deferred from service due to his schooling. Now he had been served a notice to appear before the draft board for reclassification.
On the last weekend before we were going to stay, there were a few things to be finished. My husband, Richard and Marie would go to the shore to attend to those details. I would stay to clean our home before leaving. That Sunday I had visitors and could not finish the work I had started. I felt it did not matter because there were still three more days before leaving for the store. The visitors were my husband's first cousin and his wife. They were about to leave when my husband returned and we urged them to stay for supper. My husband was very happy to see them because we had not seen them for a long time.
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