My first academic position after getting my Ph.D. at Indiana University was at Queen's University in Kingston Ontario. I courted my fiancee, Nedra, traveling to Chicago where she worked as a technician for Turtox Biological Supply House. Nedra and I met at Indiana University and we were married in easter 1958. Since I was teaching at the time, we delayed our honeymoon until summer when school was out. My summer opportunity was working at CSH with Arthur Chovnick as my host (he was an acting Assistant Director at the time). We were placed in Hooper House (I think) and we ate at Davenport House. I remember the apartment being at the ground floor level and stifling hot. The sheets would cling to our bodies and the open windows did us little good. We enjoyed watching the horseshoe crab invasion and hundreds would come onto the beach and mate, a very appropriate activity for a newly married couple to watch.
We enjoyed chatting with the staff at lunch and dinner. We particularly enjoyed the stories told to us by the cook at Davenport, Evelyn (Billie) Hawkins. She was the granddaughter of a slave and grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. She was a domestic for Vannevar Bush (who got her the job at CSH) and earlier she was a practical nurse at Walter Reed Hospital where she had some prominent clients including a First Lady drying out for alcoholism who mysteriously found ways to find alcohol. Billie smuggled it to her in a hot water bottle!
Later, when Demerec retired, and I was on my way to UCLA as an Assistant Professor, Demerec called me and asked if I could hire Billie for my new laboratory there. I did and Billie followed me eight years later to Stony Brook University and we enjoyed her friendship until she died about her 85th year. Billie was like a grandmother to our children and saw them all grow up.
Last edited by Kirill : 07-12-2006 at 11:37 AM.