Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Searching for Tim Moffitt

When I was seven, Mary and Jim Moffitt and their son Tim moved onto Floraland Drive in Roanoke’s Williamson Road area. I lived in the house next door.

The Moffitts weren’t from around here. They were from “up north”—Pennsylvania. Mr. Moffitt worked for Kenrose Manufacturing, so I’m guessing he was transferred in. They took weeks-long vacations to Harvey’s Lake, Pennsylvania, every summer. Nobody else in the neighborhood took an actual vacation, unless you count an occasional day-trip to visit relatives in a neighboring county.

Mrs. Moffitt, unlike any of the other women in the neighborhood drove a car—something that was unheard of in our neighborhood. Even more unheard of, few years after they moved in, her husband bought her a car of her own! And, unlike the rest of the neighborhood composed entirely of Baptists and Methodists, they were Catholic.

Apparently, they never argued—unlike the previous residents of their house who had loud arguments ending when the wife threw the husband’s clothes into the front yard. Apparently, the Moffitts didn’t have telephone problems either. The previous residents must have had a lot of problems with their phone, too, because the same telephone repairman came once or twice a week and stayed for a long time while the wife was home and her husband was at work. (Our house was pretty close to theirs, so it was hard to miss the arguments in summer when the windows were open.) When the Moffitts moved in, things were a lot quieter.

Most other residents of the neighborhood were only a generation or two out of the country, so the Moffitts added the first exotic touch to a neighborhood that, in the years after the Korean War, was changing. They were the first in the neighborhood to have a rec room in their basement. Everyone knew basements were for storing stuff—and where the furnace and washing machine resided. Mr. and Mrs. Moffitt joined a country club and played golf—another unheard-of activity. In our neighborhood, husbands and wives just didn’t do anything recreational together (unless it was behind closed doors or unless you counted going to church or having arguments as recreation).

Heck, in the early 50s, husbands and wives didn’t do much of anything together. Men went to work. Wives stayed home and cooked, cleaned, washed, ironed, gardened, canned, sewed, etc. Rarely the twain met. Few of us kids saw our daddies during the daytime. Most of us rarely saw much our mamas from the front; they usually had their backs to us as they cooked at the stove, washed dishes at the sink, or treadled their sewing machines. We kids knew to stay out of adults’ way and not to slam the screen door when we went outside.

But I’m digressing. What I want to do is find Tim Moffitt and return to him a packet of pictures that his mother left with my mother nearly two decades ago. There must be a hundred photos in the packet—Tim as a little kid, pictures of Pennsylvania relatives, his parents when they were young, etc.

I know that when his mother was older and in her second widowhood, she moved to St. Louis to live with him (in the 1980s, I think). She left some things—clothes and these photos—with Mama, who still lived in Roanoke. She died a few years after she moved. When Mama came to live with me in 2001, I gave the clothes away (Robyn, who reads this blog—that’s where the vintage velvet blazer came from!) but the picture packet was in one of Mama’s innumerable boxes that we just hauled away to Penhook without opening.

Until recently.

I’d like to get these pictures to Tim. I lost touch with him in the 60s. I’ve tried a few email addresses that I found on the Internet but without results. I know that he graduated from VA Tech (1969?), married Jane Clausen from St. Louis (sometime in the 70s or early 80s?—there wasn’t a year on the clipping my mother saved), and worked as an engineer for University City until a year or so ago. I think my mother once said he and his wife had twins.

Somebody reading this blog must know where this Timothy Robert Moffitt is. (There are, I’ve learned, a bunch of Tim Moffitts scattered all over the country.) I’m posting some pictures to help you find him.

This 1950 shot of Tim and his mother shows the unfortunate look in little boys’ fashions at the time:

(If you find this blog, Tim, I apologize for including this picture, but you were kinda cute.)

This shot, inscribed “Timmy and Eddy Webb. Some cowboys! March 1952,” is typical of the 50s. Every kid back then must have donned cowboy attire and mounted up a bike or tricycle for a photo op:

Tim's on the left.

The brick wall to the right behind Tim in this 1955 photo is my family’s garage:

And there are many other pictures, some with possible historical significance. Like this shot of the Air Corps Technical School, Class No. 2—1935—Aircraft Armorers, Chanute Field, Rantoul, Illinois. It’s inscribed on the back: “Here’s the graduating class! Compliments of your son and brother, Raymond J. Blaum (Aircraft Armorer)”:

Raymond must have been Mary Moffitt’s brother; her maiden name was Blaum.

Tim’s mother gave me my first home perm when I was about 10, taught me to put on make-up when I was 13, and drove me to college when I was 17. She was a good friend to my mother and often drove her to the grocery store.

I’d like to return the favor. Or at least return the pictures.

Edited to add: He's been found. At least, he found me. See this blog entry:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim Moffitt taught at Blairs Junior High School in the fall of 1969. I had him for 8th grade Science. He had difficulty controlling his class. When he was a teacher he lived on North Main Street in Danville, Virginia. He played the guitar at the Folk Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Danville. I don't know how long he lasted at Blairs because I was at Tunstall High School in the 10th grade. No one seems to know where he is now... I cannot find him on Facebook.

Suzanne Mundy

1:55 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

He's been found. See my post for Sunday, January 25, 2009, here at this URL

2:24 PM  

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