Annie102 – TTclub 9/28 Year of the Plague

The TT club, “Ten Travelers”

Annie had 3 nieces and one nephew (me) all nearly the same age.

Annie lived with Grandma & Grandpa in Seymour Connecticut on So. Main Street in a three story, 2 family house built by Grandpa Frank. Her younger sister, Aunt Katie, lived downstairs with my 2 cousins. It felt like our family house. To a kid it felt like a farm – large garden, fruit trees, chickens, rabbits, sometimes goats and lambs. By age 6 we lived in Philadelphia & with my older sister and Travelers Aid ID tags, my parents would put us on a train and would send us off to Seymour for long visits when we weren't in school. About a 4 hour train ride. Philly's 30th Street Station, 90 miles to NYC, then 60 miles to Bridgeport Connecticut. My parents both worked & Mother, a bookkeeper, fragile, was always busy at work. Annie would pick us up in her black 1950 Ford.

To Annie two children visiting were no problem concidering her years of teaching & then being principal in an Elementary School – an Elementary School renamed Anna Lopresti Elementary after her death.

She could have Kathy and me staying in the bedrooms on the 3rd floor , we would have potties – In the hallway on the third floor was a hand wind Victrola. A wood console model with a big horn with a needle and a handle to wind to power it. I took it apart when I was old enuf to use a screwdriver and learned the mechinics/physics of how something spring driven could kept a constant speed.

Grandma cooked and slept in the master bedroom with Annie. Uncle Phil and Aunt Katie were in the downstairs apartment , Katie home all day to watch over us. Both my sister & I each lived at Annie's one school year and most summers. We would play with Mary Ann and her sister, young coz Cathy (she & my sister both named after Grandma). We would play with the dog & eat unripe fruit and were free to run around outside. And we all knew the story of our dead uncle, died as a child run over on the trolly tracks running in front of the house along So, Main Street to Waterbury.

Annie worked with other spinster teachers who also had “just starting school” age nieces and nephews. They were bold working women – remember it was 1950ish. I remember one of Annie's sister teachers, her closest friend, Thelma Lounsbury, who had a really big Packard convertable – with the Ships Wheel logo on the back, red leather seats. 10 of could sit in its 2 roomy seats. Bigger than life to a 6 year old.

Annie and her band of sisters started the TT Club, the Ten Travelers Club. Every summer they would rent an ocean cottage with lots of bedrooms, and the aunts and kids would have a one week beach holiday. And they gave the parents a week off.

For the first few years we went to Milford on the Long Island Sound near New Haven – kinda like the ocean but no waves. The beach at Milford ran from the then famous yacht club (in the 50s sponsored an American Cup Challenge – didn't make it to the finals). And the beach ran past many large summer houses to a sand bar that ran out into the Sound to Charles Island. Only at high tide was the sandbar above water & vacationers could walk out to Charles Island and picnic. But you had to get back before the 7 foot tide would again cover the sandbar. Very exciting.

Every day the kids would take a nap and every day would walk to the Portuguese candy store and have 5 cents for a treat. I had my ½ size violin to practice every day & I managed to leave it out in the rain one afternoon – tramatic. As we got older the ladies took us up to Maine's Porpoise Bay where we played cribbadge and sailed sunfish.

Annie and her friends created our own gang. Valued socialization, vacation, tradition. Brilliant. The summer TT Club was disbanded when we kids started to come of age & were too much to handle. Thank you Annie.