EXCERPTS FROM CHAPTER 5, 1946 – 1952 THE POSTWAR YEARS PART 2
HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!
On March 31, 1951, our second child, Bonnie Lynn Sefekar was born at 9:31 PM. She weighed 5 lbs. 11 oz. was delivered by Dr. Enselbery with a length of 19” and a Rh positive. This was quite an improvement from our first go around with William who weighed only 3 lbs. 14 oz. and was a preemie, see Attachment 5D
Gift to the United Jewish Appeal honor of Bonnie Lynn Sefekar’s Birth.
Attachment 5D Bonnie Lynn’s Birth, March 31,1951
Born: March 31,1951
It was so wonderful finally we’d have our full complement for our family.
In keeping with my lifelong obsession of writing letters to the press, too friends and myself. There was a regular feature in the New York Sunday News: Ask Anybody! So my Question, addressed to: Jim Thorpe, world’s greatest all-around athlete. “What, in your opinion, was your greatest athletic feat?” It netted me 25 cool ones a nice tidy sum in those days and a far cry from 15 years ago. In 1935 on my first submissions into the wacky world of “newspaper letters” when I received $1 or $2 for each entry.
New York Daily News
It was a great going away party and a lot of camaraderie showed through. This would be the first of many Thank You’s and Godspeed as I moved up the ladder with Thelma. From the VA I received a number of accolades and a large leather piece of luggage. Considering I was headed to the Maritime administration the idea of us taking an ocean cruise seemed like a distinct possibility. Actually this wouldn’t happen for another 30 years.
My work with the Veterans Administration, Brooklyn regional office resulted in the promotion to the Maritime Administration, (MA) on March 7, 1952 there was a going away party for me with some very catchy phrases. Like VA calling the Maritime and all the ships at sea! Sweepers! Man Your brooms! Clean Sweep Fore & Aft!
The OnGuard! That and Down your hatches, men of the Maritime, Eagle eye Joe reports to the Maritime Bridge 10th of March 1952…. Anchors away and bon voyage!!!! (See attached**)
The picture on the left is of Thelma and me planning to head out for the Prom when I graduated from Long Island University (LIU) with my undergraduate Degree.
The picture taken in June of 1950 could actually be mistaken for a high school prom picture; boy, did we look younger then.
One of the most memorable and important assignments took place under the Maritime administration. During this period between 1951 in 1952 I was involved with preparations for the building and commission of the S.S. United States, ha ha. This magnificent ship which would become the Flagship for the SS Ocean Liners was completed on June 19, 1952. It was a great day of celebration and I was so fortunate and my wife and children attend the “christening” of the SS United States. It was a few years later that an advertisement appeared in the playbill Thelma and I attended for my fair Lady that showed the advertisement for the USS United States cruise liner. It was an exceptional assignment and part of this, the fastest cruise ship of its time. And completely air-conditioned no less.
My son was especially enthralled as he tried to get a complete rendering of the largest ship of its time. It fared better than the Titanic, which coincidentally Billy learned the words to, “They built a ship Titanic and when it was through…” One of his first attempts at “professional” entertainment.
Remembering all the nice little things that came with being a father for the first time. Little Billy was a handful, he was so energetic and got into trouble all the time it took the two of us, Thelma and me to keep him under control. I can only imagine what it must be like to raise children with a single parent particularly a single mom. I really give them all the credit in the world. But back to my little tyke. He was constantly running and falling and getting sick. At least when he was five and had his tonsils out he started a normal routine not sickly and put on weight.
One of the instances of many that I recall with endearment was when Billy would watch me get up every morning as I shaved, got dressed and made breakfast. He would watch intently as I prepared my coffee and breakfast cereal. As he watched he grabbed a cup to join me. Because he was only four or five at the time, it wasn’t good idea to give him coffee with the caffeine. He was wild enough without that. What I did was I left a little coffee at the bottom of the cup and added a third of a cup of milk. Ironically my son never required a taste for coffee when he became an adult but stayed with hot chocolate and tea until he was much older and realized the need for the caffeine.
Another lesson that was passed down during this early time was that I wore a tie to work as part of my regular attire. In keeping with his attentiveness I would show him the art of making a single and double Windsor knots. This put him in good stead his whole adult life and as it turned out 60 years later turnaround is fair play and he helps me make my tie knots look very nice.
These were many memorable moments with my son Bill and then 5 years later my wife was pregnant again with our second child Bonnie Lynn.
During this time, we thought of adding another baby to our family however little Billy being such a handful was de-tracking from this idea. We were told by family and friends alike that the chances of another tyke like him were one in 14 million which good odds were for us. So as it turned out on March 31, 1951 our second
bundle of joy was delivered uneventful. Bonnie Lynn came into the world and a shining example of what a little Princess should be. Very cute and adorable and could do nothing wrong. We did find out later on the number of occasions that we administered disciplinary measures to the wrong party as my son always looked like the culprit while my daughter Bonnie sat with a smile very innocently while she kicked him again under the table.
Have so many precious memories during this time as part of life cycle, it is so endearing to newly married couples when they embark on a life together and starting a family.
My wife Thelma although completely consumed with raising our two children still found a little time to do some things not just with her family and newfound friends but things that she enjoyed throughout her life. She loved to sing along with the latest hits on the radio that she used to follow. We had a whole collection of hit Paraders and Song Hits and sheet music from the early 50s. I have always kept track of songs, artists and wrote down many of the hit songs and words that I grew up with and so did Thelma.
Looking back there were plenty of these songs we reminisce about and are still considered classics even today. Such favorites we’d hum along with the tune were: Unforgettable; Kisses Sweeter Than Wine; Because of You, Come On-A House, The Nearness of You, Silver Bells; Be My Love; Blue Velvet; It’s All in the Game and many, many more.
As I mentioned early on I was always enamored with words, songs and song writers and had an opportunity to meet Mr. Miller who wrote Dreamer’s Holiday. It is a fitting time in our lives and still being idealistic, just starting out and very happy with our lot in life.
It was at this time the opportunity presented itself for a life-changing decision to leave the confines of Queens, New York and move to the outskirts of civilization; Hicksville, New York. Hicksville would become indigenous to Syosset, Long Island which is how we presented our residence. It seemed to present more of a favorable ring as opposed to being from “Hicksville”. In considering the move to the ‘burbs we looked to our friends again Irv and Lee Bagatelle. The Bagatelle’s had a ready cut the umbilical cord and moved to this new concept in the suburbs; Levittown. We liked what we saw and Thelma began the financial preparation to secure a loan from her mother Bessie Abrahamson. The development that we settled on was called Country Village. It seemed like we drove forever on Northern State Parkway to exit 42 S. Oyster Bay Road hardly any landmarks were there for us. This was one of the first developments to be built in this part of Nassau County on Long Island. It’s amazing in just a few short years what sprung up shopping centers, schools even our place of prayer, Midway Jewish Center.
Copyright © 2015 by William Sefekar
NB ** denotes Material that will be in the book published at a later date.