The man who gave me my first paying job died last week.
Ted Noke was our next door neighbor from 1956 until we moved in 1967. When I was old enough to push a mower and shovel a driveway, I had a job. He paid me one dollar. Eventually he doubled my salary.
Of course, I didn’t know him as “Ted.” His first name was “Mr.” Every adult’s first name was Mr. (Or Mrs.)
The neighborhood was a development (Cherryfield II!) of small ranch houses built on concrete slabs. All of the adults were first-time homeowners, and they all populated their little ranch houses with two to four children, so cheap labor was plentiful.By neighborhood standards, Mr. Noke was a quiet man.
So who knew that he was a former military intelligence officer? Who knew that he was a school principal? Who knew that he was a poet, that he owned Mount Auburn Press? In a sports-obsessed neighborhood, who knew he was a golfer? (Actually, none of us knew from golf. Framingham Country Club was a rumor, for all we knew.)
Amazing what you can learn from an obituary.
I last drove through the old neighborhood a couple of years ago. That lawn that looked like it was the size of a football field on a 90-degree day? It was only worth a buck.