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Herbert Pickett, Jr. writing:

      Herbert and Emily and little "Sonny" moved back to Baltimore in September of 1919. Emily and Sonny went by train, as she was seven months pregnant. Herbert drove the terrible old Ford, as he has related. Gilman had no housing for families. They were able to rent a house on Euclid Avenue, (later changed to Hawthorne Road). I recall it as a tall narrow shingled two-story house, east of Roland Ave. It was about two houses from the “Ma and Pa” railroad. I have a memory of small cramped rooms, if the recollections of a two year old can be trusted.   Baltimore was crowded with returning soldiers from the war, which had ended a year earlier. No maternity space was available at the Women's hospital. Union Memorial had not yet been built. Johns Hopkins and University Hospitals were far away. Dr. Porter agreed to deliver the baby at home. Mother was strong, young and healthy and had easy deliveries.

      Fortunately, Dr. Porter was able to secure the services of a Miss Janney as a nurse. The Janneys were a Green Spring Valley Family, old Baltimore aristocracy. I suspect she was kin of that tribe, a spinster R.N. who was the favorite maternity nurse of old Baltimore. The case she had for early November miscarried, and she was available. On November 10th, Dr. Porter and Miss Janney welcomed Lawrence Kimball into the world. It is probably the earliest clear memory I have: excitement, people bustling around, and the formidable starched white figure of Miss Janney pushing me around. These were the days, of course, when new mothers stayed in bed for two weeks and on one floor for six.

      Grandpa and Grandma Pickett came for Christmas. I recall Dad and Grandpa helping Grandma up the narrow stairs. She was an enormous woman, invalid from the stroke she had had in 1916. The stroke must have affected her speech, because I can't remember her ever speaking to me, or saying much of anything. Grandpa and I did a lot of things together. Somewhere he found a baby rabbit. It died, of course, and he put it in a little tin can of some sort and we buried it. - My first experience of death; I was puzzled.

      The next two years, we lived in a third floor apartment in a house owned by two maiden ladies named Stewart. This was a large frame house on Roland Avenue, at the crest of the hill before the Avenue descended to its end at Lake Avenue, the northern boundary of the City. It was easy walking distance from Gilman. I suspect Dad walked to work much of the time, though we had Model T Fords. Anyway, the house was a large country home on several acres. Our apartment was on the third floor, which had some sort of separate entry and stairway at the back. The Stewart sisters lived in the rest of the house. There were unused chicken coops and sheds, a weedy garden out back, and some fruit trees. The Burgers lived next door. Mr. Burger was a lawyer whom Dad once consulted about a will. Mrs. Burger taught kindergarten the Roland Park Presbyterian Church Sunday school, and in due time I began my Christian Education with her. Their youngest child, Josephine, was a beautiful little girl a few years older than I. We played together for a while, but our ways separated later on, and I often wonder what happened to her.

      It was in the Stewart house that I discovered Christmas and Santa Claus. When I got up Christmas morning, there was my stocking stuffed with all kinds of good things and wonders of wonders, a fully decorated Christmas tree reaching to the ceiling! And no chimney for Santa!  This would be Christmas 1920.

      Christmas, 1921 was something else.  Dad had a newer and better Ford.  It was still an open touring car, with side curtains for the winter.  Dad and Mother decided to go to the farm in Decatur for the holiday. It had to be a two day trip. The first day took us to Maplewood and the Tags, which was always fun. Then we drove up the west side of the Hudson to Kingston, then through the Catskills to Oneonta and so up to Worcester, and to the farm. As we started over the mountains, it got colder and snowy. We had no heater of course but had all sorts of heavy coats, blankets, etc. We may have had a flat, which was more or less routine. Some of the long hills may have had the gas tank blowing technique. The luggage was in a rack on the left running board. Actually, there were no doors on the left or street side of the body.  Any time Dad had to get out, Mother had to move first. The storm increased, I was cold, and I complained loudly and often. It didn't seem to bother Lawry at all. I can see him now, a lively two year old jumping around in his "teddy bear suit" seeming unaffected, but I was miserable. Finally, night overtook us and we stopped at a country hotel in Pine Hill.

      The storm had cleared the next morning, and we went on to the farm by lunch. Grandma and Grandpa were delighted to see us. Wonders of wonders, Santa Claus came again, undeterred by the cast iron stove in the living room. To be on the farm in winter was wonderful! Grandpa hauled milk to the Dairy Lea Milk station by the railroad in Worcester for the neighbors, and used his sleigh called “a pair of bobs,” with the wagon box. I went in with him every day. After depositing the cans at the milk station, and loading on the empties, we went to the Grange Store to trade, or visited his sister, Aunt Sarah or his cousin, Clem Pierce. I guess the return trip to Baltimore was uneventful; at least I wasn't cold.

      The big event that winter was the big snow. It was a serious blizzard by Baltimore standards, perhaps a foot or so, maybe up to 20 inches. Gilman had to close for a. couple of days and the boarders had a great time. They built a snow arch over the entry to the school, and built snow tunnels over the front lawn, through which I crawled. There were snow houses and snow forts for snowball fights.

      At that point the Gilman Trustees decided to build additional faculty housing, so they commissioned an architect named Este Fisher to draw up plans. He happened to be the son of the most prominent trustee, and his mother is credited with having the idea of Gilman in the first place. He designed a brick duplex house for senior faculty, Dad was to have one, Stuart Link, head of the Math Department, was to have the other. When we got back from Worcester that fall, the house was only half finished, so the folks had to rustle around to find a place to live. They were able to rent a second floor apartment in Roland Park, near Keswick Road. It wasn't too far from Mrs. Frey 's school, where I was to start kindergarten. I think it was furnished, our stuff being in storage. The landlord was a grocer by the name of Mr. Grauel who lived next door. They had children we used to play with some, but we were there only a few months. Mr. Grauel's store was at the bottom of the hill from Gilman, but it was considered expensive and we traded at the small A&P instead. The butcher in the store was named Rohr. And Many a joke was made about the two names.

      Dad and Grandpa had sold the farm to Glancy Wallace the previous spring, so the grandparents came down to live with us. In November, Grandma got pneumonia, which in those days before sulfa and penicillin was generally fatal to the elderly.  She died at home one night. She must have been 76 years old. Mother took Larry and me into the bedroom to see her body, white and unbreathing, and tried to explain death to us.

      Dr. Porter recommended a funeral director, and she was embalmed at home. Larry and I were banished to a room at the front of the house while the technician was at work, and told to stay there and not to open the door on threat of dire punishment. Of course, hearing something in the hall, I opened the door and looked out to see a man in a write coat with a length of rubber hose over his arm ending in a pointed metal instrument, coming back from the bathroom. I quickly closed the door, but Mother may have discovered this and I was scolded, you may be sure.

      Mother, Dad and Grandpa went to Worcester for the burial by train. Larry and I went to stay with the Bartletts at the school. Josiah was a Rhode Islander, proud of his descent from the Josiah Bartlett who signed the Declaration, and Molly was a sweet New England lady whom we dearly loved. They had one son, Jonathan, who later was a government agricultural agronomist at Oneonta. Joe taught math, and I eventually took Plane Geometry from him. Anyway, when we got there I had a chance to ask Molly what the man with the rubber hose was doing, what the hose was for. "Oh," she said, "you didn't see a hose it was a sort of a stand to set the casket on."  "No," I said, "it was a hose with a pointed metal tip on it." She insisted it was some sort of casket stand. I realized she wasn't going to give me any information, and I was giving her a hard time wanting to know about the embalmer's trocar.

      We had Christmas at that apartment, and in January began moving into the Gilman house, which was to be our home for the next sixteen years.  We had hardly settled in the new house when Mother went off to the Women's Hospital, February 5th, to bring Robert Ames to birth. Aunt Wealthy (Ames) came down from Maplewood to care for us, she being the only childless relative around and available. I'm sure she was glad to help. I have vague recollection of "Aunt" Rachel Blair being involved in this helping program.

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