lifeHere is the short written history of her life that she left us. It was simply entitled "Family History." I suspect it was probably written as early as 1997 or thereabouts.
I went to work as society editor of the Colorado Springs Free Press right out of college in 1953. I had attended a summer session at Colorado College in 1950 and fell in love with the town and the newspaper.
Dan came to work on the news desk a year later, but since I worked days and he was on nights, we saw little of each other.
He had supported his mother for some time and lived with her before and after his Army service. Eventually she qualified for a state pension. He had done various newspaper jobs at the Denver Post and later the Rocky Mountain News, including librarian, copy boy etc. before becoming a reporter and finally city editor of the News. His brother-in-law, Vincent Dwyer (Frances's husband) was his boss and fired him on the spot for something minor—he had quite a temper, I gather. There was a rift in the family after that, until we got married.
Dan worked on papers in Casper WY and Boise ID before coming to Colorado Springs. He spent some time in Chicago looking for a job but was not successful.
I had a problem with my record player which I talked about at the office one afternoon, and Dan volunteered to take a look at it. He fixed it and we began dating in 1955 and fell in love. He proposed in January, 1956. My parents had not met him and were not at all happy about his being Catholic and 38 years old. We made a quick week end trip to Clarion and they accepted him. My father had said he would not walk down the aisle with me in a Catholic church, but he changed his mind and we had a lovely wedding at a small chapel in Manitou Springs. Our honeymoon trip was to Hot springs, Ark. And the Ozarks.
I had been living alone in a third story apartment after my roommate left for California and Dan lived by himself in an apartment. I was only there once, very briefly, as girls never went to men's apartments in those days. We rented a new split-level apartment that was furnished. (Single people rarely owned furniture then). He immediately began looking for a new job, since there were few opportunities in Colorado. We hated to leave, but were excited when he was hired by the Philadelphia Daily News and we left in August.
We drove our two cars east (I had the black 1950 Ford my dad gave me for my last year of college and Dan a fairly new DeSoto). We stopped to visit my family. I was pregnant with Dennis, but we didn't inform anyone until fall. The paper had booked us into the seedy Rittenhouse Hotel, which had a lot of call girls, and Dan wouldn't leave me there by myself. We found a second-story apartment, furnished in Crum Lynn, a small suburb near Chester. At first, Dan went to work at 10:30 p.m. Later he had better hours. Usually he took the train. We made a few friends in the area and among the newspaper people, but found the big-city people pretty provincial. We got a dog from the pound, but it had distemper and had to be put to sleep. That was hard, as we had both become very attached to him.
Although the paper was very happy with Dan's work, he felt we should leave the east, and I agreed. He accepted a job with a Topeka, KS paper and gave notice. Then he got a wire that there had been a merger and the job no longer existed. He was naturally very upset, but the paper said just to stay on. Before he could find another job, the paper suddenly was ordered to trim staff, so of course he was let go. But one of his bosses told Parks Rusk of the Miami Beach Sun about him and he was hired.
I was a little reluctant about Florida, because I have always disliked hot weather, but with a baby due in another month, Dan wasn't willing to look further. Because of my pregnancy, my doctor said I must not drive, so we had to sell my 1950 Ford. I cried a lot over parting with the car, I suppose because it was the only one I had ever really gotten acquainted with. My family always drove demonstrators, and they changed from week to week.
We took a ferry for a section of the trip, and it had fountains designated for white and colored. It was the first time I had seen such things. We stopped to visit Dan's good friend Tom Inglis and his wife Holly, whom he had known in Casper.
We stayed in a boarding house for a week and then rented a two-bedroom house unfurnished. Some of our savings went for our first furniture. We thought the house was wonderful, except for a problem with bugs and the fact that it had only a solar water heater, so we had a limited supply of hot water, and none on cloudy days.
Dennis was born earlier than the March 1 expected date. Dan and I were so proud and excited, and we didn't realize how little we know about babies. Dennis had a very bad case of colic, we discovered after I got home, and he spent a miserable seven months before his digestive system calmed down.
My parents flew down and stayed about a month, going off with their friends the Schuenhoffs to sightsee some. My dad couldn't stand for me not to have a car and selected a 1950 Plymouth, for which we shared half the cost. Dan was driving his DeSoto, which always cost a lot to maintain. (We should have kept that 50 ford instead). After Keith was born, he traded it for a small Ford Escort from England. It had no heater, which became a problem when we moved to Springfield.
In the fall of 1957, we moved into our own house west of Coral Gables. Three bedrooms, two baths, carport. We thought it was wonderful. Wood floors on the bedroom level up two steps and terrazzo for the rest, The Florida room had windows on three sides, and I bought about eight pairs of draperies at $5 each and sewed them together. My household money was about $35 a week. Our GI loan mortgage payments were about $100 a month. I believe Dan was earning about $125 a week.
He liked his job and didn't complain about the 45-minute commute. We socialized some with staff members. Neighbors were friendly, but we didn't party. Money was always very tight, but we expected it to be that way and did not feel deprived, odd as that may seem. After a threatened miscarriage with Keith, we were worried he might have problems. But other than the fact that he came later than expected, everything was fine.
Dan got very fed up with things in the Miami area and we decided to relocate. We tried to sell our house without success. I wouldn't let him look for a job until it sold, because I didn't want to be stuck there without him. Finally a buyer turned up and we moved into an apartment complex. Dan tried for a job on the Chicago Daily News but was not hired. Then he got the Springfield interview and was hired as editorial writer. So we were in the apartment only three weeks.
I flew to Iowa with Dennis and Keith to visit my family and Dan drove the Escort to Springfield. (He sold the Plymouth to a junk yard, I think). Illinois Bell had recently transferred a lot of Chicago people to Springfield, so rentals were scarce. He found a duplex which would serve, at $80 a month. Talking to us on the phone one night while we were in Iowa, Keith, who was just past two, said "I love you Daddy," with no prompting. We were all so touched.
We were glad to be back together after that week apart. The duplex was okay, but no garage. That first winter, Dan would get up once or twice a night and run the car so it would start the next day. He worked afternoons and evenings. The next year we unloaded the Escort for a used blue and white station wagon. The next car was a yellow wagon, then dark blue, then olive green and the last one was a chestnut color. Eventually we bought a cream Volkswagen bug. It was traded for a yellow Honda in 1976. That went for a red Toyota Tercel, which I eventually replaced with the 87 Mazda. Then back to red Ford Escorts.
After a year and a half, we moved to the bungalow at 327 South Park, and it seemed like heaven to have a garage and our own yard. Dennis started school at St. Agnes, but after two years, we switched him to Dubois, which had smaller classes.
After receiving life insurance money following my dad's death in 1967, we looked for a house to buy and then chose 400 South Park. By that time we had our dog Jupiter. Dan was managing editor of the Journal and our income was better. When both boys reached high school, I suggested that I get a job, but Dan was opposed, and I had no great urge for a career.
Dan got out of favor with our former friend, the publisher of the paper, in the mid 70s. He felt he was too old to find another job, but the situation was very hard for him. We never knew what the problem was. When the editor retired, Dan was passed over, and later a man was brought in from New York. He was friendly to Dan and got him into the business editor position, which he created. Dan's column became very popular, and he often was asked to speak by organizations and to appear on local tv news interview shows. When Dan neared 65, he suggested he would like to work one more year and was discouraged from it. He was glad to leave the paper and fully expected to work at something else. He had studied bookkeeping and accounting and thought he would like to do tax preparation. I took a course on that with him, but it certainly wasn't something I liked.
We had moved to our house at 1212 Interlacken in 1981. I had pushed for the move because I thought the stairs were getting hard for him and I had always wanted a more modern house with a two-car garage. Also I wanted to be away from our unpleasant neighbors, the McCoys. Dan fell in love with the new one when he saw the basement.
I feel, and I believe Dan did, that we had a very good and loving marriage. We were certainly more dependent upon each other than many couples today, and as involved as we could be in our sons' activities. Husbands of our era expected to support their families. Perhaps because Dan was older, he was mainly content to be with our family and our friends, with an occasional vacation. He loved travel, just as I have, and we did have two European trips.
After Dan's death in 1983, I found that volunteer work wasn't enough to keep me busy. I tried free lance writing and did sell two magazine articles. In 1984, 1 found a job as news writer with the Illinois Senate staff and have always felt very fortunate that I was hired, after so many years as a homemaker. It certainly broadened my life and my skills and introduced me to the computer, which is a great pleasure to me in retirement.
— Carolyn Cronin
linksher brother Ron's page
sympathy letter from college roommate Jeanne Downing
short piece about her father, Bert Samson