Dad Was Always Picking Up the Phone

Dad was always picking up to the phone to right a wrong or warn one of his children regarding what he saw as impending doom.  He was constantly complaining of odors emanating from E.F. Drew, a local chemical company which manufactured edible oils and cleaning supplies and dumped wastes in a nearby field that was later deemed a hazardous waste site by the EPA. http://www.epa.gov/superfund/accomp/success/pepefld.htm.  Having worked for a chemical company, he knew the odors were potentially dangerous, and he was correct.

Dad saw nothing wrong with calling my brother in the middle of a job interview to inform him that his tire pressure was low. This was obviously embarrassing to my brother and was a situation where the telephone was a dangerous tool in Dad’s hands.  But that was Dad, never hesitating to call anyone to make a complaint or try to rectify a problem.

With that in mind, I should not have been surprised when I found a letter regarding Dad’s family in the National Archives files from Cordell Hull, who was Secretary of State under President Roosevelt.  At the time the letter was written, my father was the only member of his family who had successfully returned to New Jersey and was then stationed in Atlanta, Georgia with the Army Medical Corps.  Apparently, Dad was having difficulty obtaining the necessary funds to bring the rest of his family home, so he picked up the phone to inform the State Department of this. After reading the letter from Secretary Hull, it was apparent that Dad was no stranger to the Secretary of State.

Letter from Secretary of State regarding Dad

Letter from Secretary of State regarding Dad

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About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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2 Responses to Dad Was Always Picking Up the Phone

  1. Dave Wardamasky says:

    Regarding EF Drew, chemicals,etc. I remember one time there was a nasty odor coming from there. Dad called and they said it was no big deal. He got loud on the phone and told them it was a big deal and identified the problem based on the odor, and basically got louder with them and kept trying to get someone higher up on the chain of command.

  2. kjw616 says:

    He was right, but they were probably not used to someone calling them out on a problem. Calling someone from a small chemical company was hcild’s play for Dad!

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