Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson – A Very Bad House – 1942 – 1946 and 1946

Mary E. Wilson

Mary E. Wilson


In August, 1942, David was a year old and Archie’s dad, who had been very ill with cancer for over a year, died. I was heartbroken as he was such a nice, kind person and we always got along so well. He was only 67 years old and he suffered so much prior to his death. My two children were too young to remember their grandfather. I wish they could have known him.

Archie’s brother, David, had married Mildred Lucky a few months before his death.


The war finally ended in 1945 and the jubilation and happiness of the Americans was indescribable. Everyone celebrated.

I felt so sad for all the wives and mothers who have lost thousands of young men during this second war in my lifetime. The United States had been attacked by the enemy but in Europe and Britain it was devastating. Our men came home but soon hard times started to take effect because there was not enough work for everyone.

Archie had never, during the war, made a lot of money, because his plant had not manufactured war arms. They had made maintenance tools but he always was able to keep a steady job.


We still had to plan to get Mary Jean out of the city but now I was pregnant with my third child. In September, I gave birth to a lovely baby girl whom we called Beverly Joan and we now had three lovely children and felt blessed.

I joined Eastern Star at this time with Polly Griffin. Mary Jane was still under doctor Edgar’s care and still taking her  shots to keep her asthma under control (sometimes).

We bought land in Trumbull which is a suburb of Bridgeport. It was a farming community so our next ambition was to get our children out of the city and into the country, but all our money was tied up in an old two-family house we had bought. So now our goal was to really work harder to fix up the house as a step to get our little daughter out of the city and into the country.

The Griffin’s had left our apartment downstairs and we now rented to Bill and Gladys Cleary. She was a real nice girl and her mother a lovely lady but Bill, who worked with Archie, was a “kook”.

Alec had married Geraldine McDonald who had come to Bridgeport from Pennsylvania to do war work in the G.E., which is where she met Alec. Alec married Jerry and they lived with mother Wilson but she hated Jerry because she was a Catholic. Their life was very difficult while they lived with her and Jerry was very unhappy. Alec and Jerry finally built next to us and mother Wilson lived with them. I think she helped them financially from dad Wilson’s insurance in return for a  home with them. Things were a little different now because she was living in their home.

We knew our house on Edwin Street was the stepping stone to a new home on Laurel Street in Trumbull. I was really superstitious about the house on Edwin Street. The first thing we had done was to cut down a rope noose where a man had hung himself in the attic.

Archie’s ulcer attacks became worse when we moved there. He hemorrhaged and was very ill. He had just taken a new job in the Bridgeport Hardware Manufacturing Company when he became ill. The company was really very generous and paid his salary even though he was a new employee.

I blamed Mary Jean’s asthma on the house because Archie was gutting the second floor, the walls were all plaster and we created too much dust for a young child. I put wet sheets at the entrance of her room so it would curtail the plaster dust.

Archie’s dad was dying of cancer and our poor son suffered a terrible break in his arm and had to be hospitalized.

Peggy Lou, my brother’s daughter, had spent a week prior to Christmas with us so she could participate in the holiday activities. They lived in Newtown and she was a lonely little girl and loved to come and stay at our house and enjoy the companionship of her cousins. She became ill at our house and my brother took her home and she died the next morning, which was two days before Christmas, of spinal meningitis. The poor child was only six years old.

It just seemed everything bad happened in that house.

Next Sunday, we’ll read about the move to Trumbull and the family’s adjustment to country living.

Tomorrow, we’ll begin a week of letters from the spring of 1941, when Dan and Ced are working in Alaska and Lad is still in Venezuela.

Judy Guion


22 thoughts on “Autobiography of Mary E. Wilson – A Very Bad House – 1942 – 1946 and 1946

  1. Patty B says:

    Tragedy hits us all.

  2. Poor things, they had a really rough ride. Money cannot in itself make you happy, but it can certainly ease you out of bad places in your life. As an ignorant Brit, can I ask what a “kook” is?

    • jaggh53163 says:

      hilaryconstancegreen – A “kook” is someone who appears to be crazy, silly or eccentric, basically, anyone who doesn’t fit the definition of “normal”, or whatever “normal” is at the time. Thank you for asking. As a former English teacher, I think it’s important to understand the meaning of what we read. I need to keep a dictionary on my desk all the time !!!!

  3. Oh my gosh, difficult times did seem abundant in that house. I hope things changed when they moved.

  4. awax1217 says:

    Sometimes it appears a house or a life has the face of the devil within. I wrote a blog about I man who in two years had four run ins with bad luck and then the final curtain as cancer claimed his life. Sometimes life sucks.

  5. Mrs. P says:

    That was an incredible amount of personal devastation. Although, I don’t think I would have moved into a house that still had the noose of the last owner’s hanging, still up

  6. You hear today about sick buildings such as the story of Legionnaire’s in Philadelphia which I wrote about in July but it sounds like that house had something making people ill. Could it be asbestos?

  7. weggieboy says:

    Incredible that the noose hadn’t been removed before the house was sold to them.

  8. gpcox says:

    An interesting mixture of good times and bad.

  9. Gallivanta says:

    It’s strange how some houses are like that.

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