06/08/2015 11:55 AM

Dorothy, Bill, and 2 son, Bill and 2 years, Kyle, 1952.


May 4, _48 ;Toffey; Wedding

April, 19493, they bought their first house, 565 Dude Road, New Milford, NJ Tree, side, 2011!


49; Mom & Dad; Rahway Art

1949; Mom & Dad; Rahway Art.




Learn more.."Bill and Dorothy Start Family Life"

Most tenements I have encountered have apartments that run from the front to the back of the building. They are called railroad apartments because they are long and narrow. Ours was half a railroad apartment. The living room was in the front facing the street. Behind that was the kitchen. The front door was located there, and between the door and the stove was the bathtub. Behind the kitchen was the bedroom, with a window opening onto a small airspace. But since we had a sofa bed in the living room, we used the bedroom for storage. Beyond that was a closet containing the toilet, and only the toilet, with an overhead tank with long pull chain.
There was no central heating. We had a leaky kerosene heater. We also had an ice box. When we needed ice, we watche the street for Jimmy. When he showed up we called out the window, and he would come up the four flights of stairs to deliver a 25¢ block of ice. Since the drip pan under the ice box had to be emptied daily, we had to arrange for an ice box sitter when we went away for a weekend.

Miss Pitschke, an elderly woman who clumped along with a cane, was an interesting character. She   boasted of being the first American to graduate from the photographic course at the Viennese School of Graphic Arts. She was a photo muralist and had a display of her work at the Architects Sample Exhibit on Park Ave. Her telephone, which rang in her 45th St. flat, was listed in the phone book with a Park Avenue address. She showed us a manuscript she had submitted to a publisher about 20 years earlier. The publisher had just found it and returned it to her. It consisted of photos of Mexican church doors.

Because of the apartment shortage, Miss Pitschke was able to be selective of whom she rented apartments to. The man in the apartment behind us was the owner of an advertising agency. He spent $1,300 -- a huge sum in those days -- to panel the walls, enclose the bathtub and lay inlaid linoleum -- all in a $35 a month apartment. And Miss Pitschke was unhappy with it. "He is introducing modern decor in my Victorian apartment building," she complained.

"Hell's Kitchen"

Despite the "Hell's Kitchen" designation, the neighborhood was pleasant enough. There was an all-night garage nearby and there seemed to be people on the street at all hours. There was a little French bakery around the corner from us. The French proprietress generally gave us short shrift, acting as though she didn't care whether we came there or not, until we met Miss Pitschke there and were greeted by her. After that we were favored customers.

The apartment, between 8th and 9th Ave's., was only three blocks from the office, which meant, of course, that I had trouble getting Dorothy to work on time. She no longer had a train to catch.

The Wartime Excess Profits Tax was still in force. This meant that companies had to turn over to the government whatever the government considered to be too much profit. Rather than do that companies put their profits into advertising, which benefitted Drug Trade News, and into such public relations efforts as cocktail parties, which benefited us. We would go to the cocktail parties and try surreptitiously to consume enough hors d'oeuvres so that we would not have to cook dinner

Start raising a family

There came a time when we decided we should start raising a family. We tried, but no luck. After 5 or 6 months, we visited Dr. Barbarito, the Toffey family's doctor in Jersey City. He had me take a sperm test and examined Dorothy. He suggested to Dorothy that she use a sodium bicarbonate douche. I went out and bought some sodium bicarbonate, but Dorothy said we had missed the crucial point and should wait until next month. Next month she found she was already pregnant. She called Dr. Barbarito and told him the news. "Isn't it wonderful what a little sodium bicarbonate will do," the doctor said. "But I didn't use the sodium bicarbonate, she told him.

We had no intention of trying to raise a family on West 45th St., so we began looking at real estate ads. The prices were disturbing, way higher than they had been a half-dozen years before the war.  Maybe we should wait until the housing shortage was over and prices came down. But we really couldn't wait with a baby on the way, so we began looking seriously.

There were a couple of ads for houses in Bergen County at prices we thought we could swing. Chester Eldridge offered to drive us there. I didn't learn until later that my enthusiasm for our flat on 45th St. had the Eldridge's worried that I wanted to make Hell's Kitchen my permanent home. That must have relieved their minds.

Summer of 1949

In the summer of 1949, we found a development of small two-bedroom brick houses.  They had detached one-car garages with connecting breezeways that serve as porches. The developer was going to build 150 houses, and getting in early we had a wide choice of sites. We selected one far at the corner of the development on a curve in the road. That gave us a pie-shaped plot with a small front yard and a big backyard. All trees throughout the development had been mowed down. But our plot backed on a long-established street with plenty of trees and gardens. The house      hadn't been built yet, but we were promised that it would be ready by Thanksgiving of 1949.  So much for promises. It was March 17, 1950, we finally took title and moved in. Dorothy, who had quit her job the first of January, settled down to be a homemaker.

Dorothy's German shepherd

Also moving in with us was King, ("2" King; one King, Chester, but died) Dorothy's German shepherd who earned his keep by fending off the horde of salesmen attracted by all the new homeowners. Dorothy would appear at the door holding King's chain collar while King acted as though he wanted to tear the person apart. The salesmen gave up. Actually, King kicked up a fuss any time a stranger came to the house. It was necessary to put him in the cellar for a brief period, then bring him up and introduce him to the guest.  He was then a perfect gentleman.  Away from home, King was everybody's friend.

"Mom, Dad and 2 Son"

Back to Top

"Toffey the Coffee" while you read about Toffey...
Life, History & Future!