Our assigned quarters 9B at West Point in the winter of 56. In the late 1800s it held a 1st Lieutenant and his family. Both levels. By the time we got there it was for two Captains and their families - one in 9A, we upstairs in 9B. It overlooked the Hudson River. And no, we did not have to climb those stairs from the front. There was just a short stairs from the road, parking, and garage behind the house which had been built on the steep granite slope that much of West Point consisted of.
Patsy with young David in front of our house about 1956 which fronted on Thayer Road between the Cadet area and the Thayer Hotel a mile+ away paralleling the Hudson River to the left. Where the band and cadet formations could rehearse long parades in New York or elsewhere.
Another Bundle of Joy
So Patsy became pregnant again. Which pleased us both, and especially Patsy, who said once before we were married that she wanted 'Lots of Kids'.
It remained to be seen how many 'lots' would be, but right here in the Post hospital just 100 steps from our home at the United States Military Academy at West Point, our second child would be born. A true labled Army brat if there was one.
And so, without fanfare or problems, Mary Rebecca Hughes was born, inconveniently, at 4AM on March 28th, 1957 - a year and a half into my 3 year instructional tour at West Point. First name Mary after Patsy's mother's name.
A joke I would never live down came from the fact that Patsy learned about from the Nurses about my not being there just at her birth.
The fact was I left young David in the care of a Classmate's wife who lived in the Central Apartments next to the Hospital, and went to the hospital after midnight.
But since nothing seemed to be happening, I first lolled around the building, and then, as far as the nurses were concerned I disappeared. They thought I went home where they would call me when the time came. The time came. But I didn't answer the phone. They looked around the hospital and I was nowhere to be seen.
Finally Rebecca was born. And they found me sound asleep sitting on the back stairs of the hospital where I had been all the time.
So, since I contributed nothing to the proceedings, nothing bad happened. And, like fathers' everywhere, I first saw her bundled up in the Nursery.
As soon as she was brought home, I took the above picture and turned out the announcement card as shown and mailed many.
Rebecca, much later, and a mom herself observed:
"David got a nice poem to go along with his birth announcement, I got the famous "Baby Basket".
Now I don't know where the basket and wheels came from (I suspect the West Point thrift store!), but I do know that heavily pregnant mom made the skirt from scratch and decorated it with light veiling and yellow ribbons using her trusty singer sewing machine.
I guess they did not know whether the baby was going to be a boy or girl, so went with yellow!
Anyway, the hard work was done, the skirt ironed to perfection with a lot of starch, the ribbons wound around and tied into pretty bows and all stood back to admire it.
While almost 3 year old David was riding circles around the basket on his tricycle, Dad got out the camera and took a picture of this masterpiece. His wife was so proud at her thriftiness.
Without further ado, David rode into the skirt and ripped a long tear along the front.
To this day, the tear is there, with mom's hasty hand stitches.
Edward graced this basket as a newborn (his picture comes later!), and so have my children, Jennifer and Lindsey. Their pictures will be included in this narrative when they were born in 1982 and 1985.
I think I was able to get Caitlyn Patricia Tilton 2003 (Jennifer's daughter and Patsy great granddaughter) in it once for a picture. I set it up for Nathan Tilton 2006, but alas, he didn't get into it before it was dismantled and put back into storage. Lindsey declined the family baby basket for Brynn (something about wanting something newer) , but yet it still resides at my home awaiting further babies.
Did Ed's boys end up in it for a picture?"
Mother Hughes Visits
My mother, Helen, still working in Denver and living alone, wanted to see her grandchildren. So we supported her travel out from Colorado, and she was able to make a nice visit to the growing Hughes clan at West Point.
One of the things really stuck in my mind happened during that 1957 mother's visit to us. She had her own room in our quarters, with a window that looked out across the Hudson River to the east of our home high on our hill. Most days that was a lovely view in the sunshine. And she could see the sizable ships going up and down the Husdon either coming from, or going to, Albany.
But sometimes also, the whole scene was fogged over, especially in the spring.
One night we had all retired to our rooms about 9 or later, when we all could hear the fog horns on a large ship honking away on that narrow waterway. Nothing unusual in that.
But that night the fog horns seemed more insistant than ever, and I could hear my mother chuckling to herself over the sound so close by.
Suddenly the house shook and trembled - twice.
The cargo ship had gotten lost in the fog wandered over too far, hit and sheared off what is called the South Dock. A quite small dock with its pier sticking out into the river about 100 feet. Right down below our house high on the hill above it.
The ship's prow had ridden up several feet on the bedrock beside the river, and then slid back into the river.
Now if anyone doubted that West Point indeed sits on a huge largely hidden granite stone on the west side of the River - the 'point' in 'West Point' - all they would have needed was an earthquake meter reader that night and they would have recorded the vibrations from the weight of a large vessel running aground on that granite mountain, causing the ground and houses to shake all the way - 300 feet higher up- to our house!
The accident did no great damage to the steel ships prow. It simply backed into the river channel and dropped anchor while the crew inspected the damage, and saw the wrecked dock in the morning, As we did also, walking down to the Thayer Road level below our house and peeked over the low stone fence down where the once-dock stood.
I really remember that night's proof of just how big the Point's granite was, and my mother's chuckle when she heard the mighty ship run aground after the fog horn sounded.
|And Patsy started out with the SECOND Carriage with Becky on the outdoor second floor porch to our Quarters 9B. Hudson River in view|
|Starting him early to help out.|
|Newburgh is just up river from West Point||And always Dressed up by Mom|
|Our Quarters in the New England Winter|