Veronica Berrill
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My mom told me that while she was nearing the end of her labor, the doctor went over to the window, opened it and said, “It feels like snow.” A few minutes later, I was born at home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, on January 9, 1926. I had one sibling, my dear sister Anne, who was three years older than I. A few years later, we moved to Flatbush in Brooklyn where my parents sought to provide my sister and me with many of the advantages they had so sorely lacked. Of course, I took them for granted then, only to feel immensely grateful when I became an adult. I attended the parish school, Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School and St. Joseph’s College. After my sophomore year, I became engaged to Jack Berrill, who had just returned from his service in WW2. While he returned to his job and adjusted to civilian life. I went to the Grail, a lay leadership school in Loveland, Ohio to prepare for what we hoped would be a life of joining with others to find a way of leading a Christian family life in a secular society. We were married in January, 1947. Our dreams and visions were indeed hard to live up to, so we were active in the Cana movement and worked with other couples to enhance family life. We had seven, wonderful children and, of course, many challenges. My husband Jack was a cartoonist who faced deadlines every week. So, like most other couples, we had many pressures and had to live a day at a time. I returned to night school to finish my degree which, of course, took many years. I was in my late forties when I began my teaching career which lasted 22 years. I retired at 70. Just as I retired, I lost my dear husband. I guess no one is ever prepared for that awful blow. I lived alone in our home for over 14 years when I decided to join the Pomperaug Woods community. My attentive and loving children are happy that I am in a supportive community.

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A Pre-War Memory Chip

When I was fifteen, I recall being asked to go to the Brooklyn Technical School 1941 prom. It was my first invitation to such an event and, of course, caused me much apprehension and excitement. I remember dressing in my new red polka dot organza formal gown in a state of anticipation and anxiety. It turned out to be a magical evening. It was held on the Astor Hotel Roof Room, and we danced to the Tommy Dorsey orchestra accompanied by the Pied Pipers and Frank Sinatra. [The Astor Hotel, long since demolished, was in Times Square. We were also served dinner which was included in the bid – and, as I learned later – cost $5! Little did I know that in five years – after a long painful war, my date and I would marry!

Veronica M. Berrill,
©2012
Southbury, CT

More of Veronica Berrill's story chips:

Holiday Story Chip - Woolworth's

Holiday Story Chip Woolworth’s 5 10 Cent Store was a very big part of Christmas preparation in the mid-1930’s. It was located about 10 blocks from my family home, and I was permitted to walk there alone to shop. I remember entering the brightly decorated store clutching a little purse with 50...

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Clothing From The Past - Garters

When my sister who was three years older than I, graduated from grade school, she became a member of the Sodality in our parish. The best perk of belonging to this youth group was the Sunday evening social which included dancing to popular records. I longingly watched a she dressed for the dance....

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Summertime A Sad Story

When I was eleven years old, my mom, dad, sister and I went to the mountains to vacation with friends and relatives. It was such great fun to play and to splash with the other kids in the swimming hole near our cottages. After a very active morning and a hearty lunch the girls sat with the women in...

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One Generation’s Heartthrob

During the very early thirties, I recall my mom taking me to the Paramount Theater in downtown Brooklyn, so she could see Rudy Vallee – heartthrob crooner of the day! My most vivid memory was that the theater was bathed in a lurid blue light which scared me a little. The place was filled with women...

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Back to the Line of Scrimmage

When I was a new teacher in 1974, some young male colleagues came up with the idea of having a faculty football pool which was designed to pick the winning teams each week. Now these guys were rabid fans and knew the teams, the players and their injuries, the coaches, the odds, etc. Nevertheless,...

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The Farragut Woods

My husband and I grew up just around the corner from each other in Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York. Although I was acquainted with his brother Larry who was my age, I didn’t meet Jack until we were teenagers. Jack lived in a home right next to the Farragut Woods, a large stretch of land at least ten...

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Chicago World's Fair

In 1932, when I was six years old, my family planned a trip to the Chicago World’s Fair from our home in Brooklyn, New York. The itinerary included a stop in Louisville, Kentucky, to leave two Dominican nuns, our parish school teachers, at their Motherhouse. One of my father’s big problems was the...

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The Catholic Worker

When I was sixteen attending Bishop McDonnell High school in Brooklyn, New York, my religion teacher, Sister Miriam Loretta, asked me and a few other of the girls to go with her to Manhattan to visit the Catholic Worker. Having been a rather sheltered young woman growing up in a quiet suburb, little...

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