Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Silly Putty Family

From my point of view there were three core Silly Putty families (1) the family of Peter Hodgson, Sr., (2) the family of Macgregor Kilpatrick, and (3) our family Haynes/Horner.

Our family members mostly worked at the Block Shop, Silly Putty, the Winchester Gun Factory, the New Haven telephone company, or Malley's. My mother did some occasional work at the Block Shop (wrapping gifts), she worked a stint at the Winchester Gun Factory, but she mostly worked as a secretary for Grace New Haven Hospital/Yale New Haven Hospital pediatrics clinic (she was there when they were first doing a lot of open heart surgery on children).

This photo is of my mom and dad's wedding in New Haven (at my aunt Alice and uncle Booster's house) on July 17, 1948.

In the back row is (left to right) Ted Midder (husband of Dee, and father of Wes). Ted would have helped out at Silly Putty on occasion; I am not sure of the identity of the next man who is wearing a dark shirt and light tie; the next person is Wesley Obery Midder (who was in charge of stocking toys at the BLOCK SHOP); the next person is my paternal grandmother, Dora "Jane" Kelly Knight Lee Haynes Midder (who worked at the Block Shop and befriended Pete prior to the Silly Putty days - but during the Block Shop days); then comes my maternal grandfather, John Anthony/Joao Antao Santos of New Bedford (who worked in the cotton mills in New Bedford and Boston; then my maternal grandmother, Maria Santos of New Bedford (who worked for a while in the cotton mills in New Bedford; then my aunt Antonia "Tanya" Santos Bargasse of New Bedford (who worked at Cornell-Dubelier and Arovox); then an unidentified man; then Aunt Ethel Ralls (who worked at the telephone company and later for Mayor Daniels); my godfather Manuel "Uncle Manny" Britto (also from the Cape Verde Islands - he lived in Bridgeport and my father may have called him in to work a crew at some point in time); and Dee Midder (my step-greatgrandmother - who was a domestic servant for a number of families in the New Haven area).
In the front, seated on the edge of the chair (going left to right) is my father's oldest sister, Mary Bell (who worked at Malley's); then her son, Marvin Joseph Bell (who became a stonemason); then my aunt Alice Haynes Horner (who worked at the Block Shop for 17 years); then my father, William "Bill" Henry Haynes (who worked at the Block Shop and Silly Putty); then my mother, Juanita Haynes (who worked at the Block Shop during Christmas rush occasionally); then my "Uncle Booster" (Alfred Horner) who worked at Winchester Gun Factory but who, nevertheless, was an authoritative source about the Block Shop and Silly Putty. Finally, my cousin JoAnn Bell Washington (who worked at the telephone company).

This is the family that Peter Hodgson, Sr. came to know. It is the family who accepted him as if he were a blood relative (BEFORE the legend of Silly Putty began). It is a family whose members all, in some way, became involved in the Block Shop and Silly Putty.