The Journals of
J. R. Reid Sr.1958-1983

Customer Contacts 1958

During my working career of forty five years with the First National Bank of Boston, I started as a messenger. After six months, I advanced to the General Settlement Department. From there, a teller and in 1972 I retired after sev eral years as Sr. Bank Examiner.

During my nine years as a teller - commercial, note and sometimes foreighn, I met many interesting people, and interesting people create interesting incidents. Sometimes people that appear uninteresting also create interesting incidents.

I recall, in 1958, when a depositor came to my window and asked me if I would accept a large cash deposit. Notgurally, I replied that I would be glad to do so. Through the wicket, he passed two packagesof unmaarked strapped bills, with a deposit slip. I counted the abills, in each package, to ascertwin that there were one hundred in each, then I recounted them, with the reveerse side up, to make sure that there were no counterfeits included. Satisfied, - I time stamped the deposit slip and gave the customer his receipt for $200,000.

Our instructions equired us to report all large cvash transactions to the Federal Reserve Bank, so I went to the file to obatain the depositor's address. It proved to be Havana, Cuba.

It was my guess that this large amount of cash had abeen smuggled out of Cuba due to fear of nationalization of banks and industries in that country. "Could you offer a better explanation?"

Customer Contacts #2

For several years, 1951-1959, I was stationed at the Berkely Street Office of the Bank, which was located in the John Hancock Building One morning, a man came to my window and inquired "Will you accept some mutilated money?"

"What have you got to offer?" I asked him. He handed me a paper bag. On opening it, I found severala bills totaling $48. They were badly stained, had numerous small holes in them and, worst of all, they had an unbearable stench to them

"Where did these come from?" I asked him. He muttered an unintelligible reply. "Wait a minute and I will see if I can exchange them for you" I told him. I took the bills to the Head Teller's Cage, as it was his responsibility to handle and process all mutilated and/or counterfeit money.

He couldn't stand the stench either and, after paying me for them, he immediately took them down to his vault compartment and locked them up.

I returned to my customer, but before handing him fresh money, I asked him "Where did you say that the bills came from?" His reply left much to the imagination. "The morgue"

December 31, 1974

The old year now fades into history but not obscurity, for there is much that will long be remembered by Elva and I - much that was pleasant and some otherwise. Time is a great healer and from experience we know that while the joy and the pleasant happenings will remain with us forever, the pain and the unpleasantness will gradually fade from the memory. This is as it should be.

In March we flew from Boston to Seatlle with an hour stopover in Chicago. Joe, Barbara and children were waiting for us at O'Hare Airport when we landed and the time passed all too quickly. We spent seventeen happy days with Angel and Neil in this beautiful home overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades in the background.

These were memorable days, Angel and Neil took us to so many interesting places and we enjoyed Jeffrey and Chrisopher so very much. We shopped in the Old Market Place, browsed through the shops in interesting restaurants, enjoyed Angel's fine cuisine, took a a very rewarding trip with Angel,Neil and the children to Vancouver and Vancouver Island and, above all, enjoyed them, their home and their hospitality.

We flew from here to Grand Forks, N.D. on April 3rd, where we spent the next eleven days with John, Barbara and family. It was a shocker, leaving the beauty of Spring in Seattle and arriving in the snow and ice of winter that was reluctant to depart from Grand Forks. However, we dressed warmly and they were happy and enjoyable days in spite of the cold weather. We attended John's lectures at the University and were quite impressed on how he expertly held the attention of his students. We attended an opera "Giants of the Earth" as the guests of John and Barbara. Also, they gave us a tour of interesting antiques, junque and curio shoppes.

For recreation we took many walks along the banks of the Red River, anxiously awaiting the ice backup as snow and ice disappeared under the warmth of the midday sun. In this respect we were disappointed though, for the river did not crest and overflow its banks until a couple of days after we had left for Chicago.

Joe picked us up at O'Hare Airport on Saturday the middle of April, and half an hour later we were at their home in Arlington Heights. It proved to be a nice home with much warmth in an excellent residential location.

The next day we all took a trip to see some of the country in that locality. We visited an antique village and browsed throug the shops that were open on a Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful Spring day and we enjoyed the trip very much. Disaster hit on Monday when Elva came down with a sore throat, although we didn't realize the extent until the next day when she started running a high vever and we found it necessary to take her to the hospital for emergency treatment. Her infection proved to be strep throat, Group A and immediately an injection and massive doses of anti-biotics were prescribed. As a precautionary measure, all of us including the children were given throat cultures. Fortunately, they proved to be negative and we headed for home as soon as Elva was able to travel.

We spent eight enjoyable weeks in Nova Scotia during the Summer, three in June and five in August and September. We planted our garden and did some papering and ceiling work on the old house on our first trip down. We returned home the fifth of July and spent a month in Melrose. We enjoyed the fruits of our labour" from our garden on our second trip and returned home on the 15th of September on the Prince of Fundy from Yarmouth.

Disaster struck again in November, but this time I was the victim. Dr. Berg checked me into the Melrose Hospital for five days for X-Rays and tests to determine my trouble. On my discharge, I was put on a strick low-residue diet and 2000 units of anti-biotics a day for two days. I did not respond to treatments and on December 11th I entered the hospital for surgery. Dr Penta performed the operation on Dec 13th. He found an inflamed carbuncle on the bowel, also diverticulosis and diverticulites. Complications set in after the operation and Dec. 23rd Dr Jabokovits operated on me for prrostate obstruction.

Elva had Christmas dinner with me in the hosptial and on the 28th she broght me home. I have an appointment with Dr. Jakobovits on January 7th and on the 13th Dr Penta will remove these wires from my belly. For me, the hope and the aspirations of the New Year will definitely start then. Our children, Wally and Joyce, John and Barb ara, Joey and Barbara and Angel and Neil Bryant chipped in and presented us with a Magnavox colored television for Christmas. We appreciate their thoughtfulness and generosity very much as the gift will greatly help us to pass the time during my next two months of convalescence.

Prone #8 1979

The energy crisis being upon us, I, like everybody else, was trying to do my share at conservation. The old, wooden sash storm windows had been replaced by the more efficient three channel aluminum windows. Also, I had put 3 1/2 inches of insulation under the attic floor. Later, as the cost of fuel spiraled, son Wally and I added an additional 3 1/2 inches; which gave us the maximum amount that the space beneath the floor would permit.

In spite of these conservation steps, we found that the kitchen and the front hall were extremely cold in winter.

I had the roof reshingled in 1975 and, intentionally, the contract did not include the back porch roof, as I wished to strip the shingles and open up the area between the ceiling and the roof, in order to insulate there. Not being a roofer, I was hesitant about tackling the job alone, and it was the Fall of 1979, when my brother-in-law, Edgar Annand, came up from Nova Scotia, before I was able to get the work done.

When we stripped the roof, pulled some boards off, and climbed down into the area beneath, we found that the whole back wall had never been boarded in, which left a wide open space between the adjoining kitchen ceiling and the floor of the bedroom above. It was no wonder that the kitchen was so cold in winter.

Assuming that the same condition existed on the front porch, we cut a four foot square hole in the ceiling there and, using a six foot step ladder, climbed up into the space between the ceiling and the porch roof.

Our assumption was correct, there was an eight inch wide open space, running the whole length of the house. Apparently, there was no energy problem one hundred years ago, and our ancestors insulated themselves instead of their homes.

Before boarding in the open space, we wished to insulate the front of the house. So in order to give us better access to the wall, we decided to pry off another eight inch board.

Edgar was prying on the further end, while I was standing on the top of the ladder prying on the end above the hole; when, suddenly, the board sprung loose, the ladder flew out from under me, and I crashed down through the hole and fell flat on the arm of a chair and bounced onto the floor. The pain in my left rib cage and lung was intense; I could not move, and Edgar, up in the hole without a ladder, could not get down.

Climax: He pounded on the side of the house with his hammer, and attracted the attention of Elva and her sister, Roberta.

Anti-climax: Emergency hospitalization and X rays.

Prognosis: no lung damage or broken ribs."

Mt. St. Helens 1983

Elva and I had left Chicago about 4:30 pm on our way to Seattle from Boston. The occassion was a birthday party for our daughter Angela Bryant, which had been arranged by her husband Neil. He had phoned us early in January and informed us that he had rented a club house, dance orchestra and caterer already, in preparation for a surprise party for Angela's fortieth birthday on the evening of February 4th 1983.

He wanted us to fly to Seattle and come directly to the club from the airport as a surprise birthday gift for Angel. He also asked us to forward various snapshots and photographs of Angel that we had taken over the years, as he wished to have them enlarged and displayed around the club house on the evening of the party.

The trip sounded great to us as we certainly wished to be part of such a celebration. We promptly mailed the photographs to Neil at his office address, and then made our reservations through United Air Lines for a two week trip in February.

The sun was slightly above the horizon as we became airborne and headed west after our stopover in Chicago. During the next three hours due to the three hour difference between Eastern and Pacific time zones, it very slowly sank below the horizon. As we neared the Western mountain range, we were awarded with the most spectacular sunset that we have ever been priviled to enjoy. The whole western sky was a panarama of color. Furthermore, silhouetted in this glorious sunset was Mt. St. Helens.

It was a beautiful sight and we could hardly believe what we were seeing, for there appeared to be smoke or steam erupting from the crater. At that moment the captain announced tht the passengers on the left side of the plane were viewing Mt St Helens and that he would turn the plane around so tht everyaody on the other side could also enjoy the view. It was a marvellous experience, and I doubt that anyone aboard objected to our arriving fifteen or twenty minutes late at Seatac Airport.

The Seattle newspaper, issued the next day, confirmed that there had been a minor eruption on the mountain the previous evening.

Our son Joseph picked us up at the airport and drove us to Seattle. Arriving at the club house, which was located in a secluded section on the shore of Lake Washington, we were led through a rear door by Neil and his mother, Irene.

On the stage, behind a drawn curtain, we were ushered into a refrigerator carton, which had been prepared for the occassion as a gift package. The rear opened up like a door and, fortunately, the top had been removed so that we could get some air. The front of the carton was gift wrapped and tied with a ribbon.

Neil then played a cassette tape on which our son Wally wished Angel a happy birthday and expressed his regrets at not being able to attend his siter's anniversary party. Elva and I also had said that we wished we were there to celebrate with her and told her how much we loved her.

Several of the guest then announced in unison "Angel, we have a birthday gift for you" The curtain was then drawn revealing the gaily decorated carton. "I don't need a refigerator" Angel exclaimed. "Open it up, open it up!' She promptly pulled off the ribbon, ripped off the wrapping aper revealing our heads.

Needless to say, she was startled Her parents, whom she thought to be over three thousand miles away, were here for her birthday present. There wasn't a dry eye in the house as Elva and Angel tore away the remainder of the paper and the three of us embraced.

It was a wonderful birthday party with over forty of Angel's friends there and we enjoyed their friendly fellowship. Also we enjoyed the pot luck supper with many deliciious casseroles, accompanied by good music from the orchestra. After the supper hour they played for line and square dancing.

We flew home February 18th realizing that the trip had truly been a momentous occassion in our lives and that many times, in the future we would relive both the fortieth birthday celebration and the beauty of Mt St Helens sillouetted by that glorious sunset.

So there you have it readers: the rest of the story is up to you. Interview your other uncles and aunts, your mother sister and brother nd your cousins by the dozens. Place your information in the next chapter, and hand it it to your Grandnephew. Try not to be filiopietistic or chauvanistic.

Even more important, try not concern yourself with our ancestors on whom fortune smiled greatly, portraits of battlefields, and the life of kings and nobles have already been done. What needs to be done is to study the spirit, hopes and aspirations of our humble ancestors who tilled the soil, felled the forest and tended the loom - in short, who followed the occupations that fall to the lot of the less favored majority in our family tree.


offers shade
from the heat
fruit to nurture
roots for comfort
and security...
tall branches from which
to see tomorrow and
a swing from which we
may launch ourselves
into life.