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Noreen's 7 Art Studio

Chapter 4 : Tough Times

Chapter 4

Tough Times

In 1960 Dick left the military and we saw the birth of our second child, Diana. But it also saw the beginning of a period of tough times for us.

I gave birth to Diana on August 4, 1960, barely 18 months after David. Too soon! And in response I entered a period of post-partum depression.

The painting crew

The Crew takes a smoke break …

And Dick… couldn’t find a job worth having. My father, Roy Appleby, took him into the family house painting business and that at least kept food on the table. Dick and my Dad had some difficulties working together, but on the whole got along well.

Painter Dick

Noreen Writes: “Dick at work… Loving it!!!”

Money was scarce and our first house – a rental place – found us across from a Fire House. Fine except for 3 AM fire alarms… and 1 AM alarms… and the occasional 3 PM alarm….

For relief there was a cemetery across the street where we could take walks. It was quiet.

Money was tight, but we were able to purchase our first home in a new Milford subdivision in Day Heights on Deblin Drive, at that time a cul de sac surrounded by woods, where the kids could play as they grew older.

By this time, Dick’s enthusiasm for telescopes and all things astronomical had become a principle activity. He built his first observatory in the back yard of our place on Deblin in 1968.

Dick's first mirror

The first Telescope Dick made with his own mirror – a predecessor of the YellowScope1

Evenings, immediately after dinner, he would disappear into the basement (where we shared the tiny space allotted for our personal projects). And there, every night, he would walk for miles around the barrel he used as a primitive lapping machine.2

Dick still smoked (unfiltered Camels) at this time and the notion of not smoking inside a house otherwise full of nonsmokers was unknown in the ‘60s. Plus Dick’s frustration at his seeming endless career as my father’s ‘assistant’ painter often made him irritable – he tried numerous jobs, ever hopeful of escaping from painting houses, including a stint as a Fuller Brush Man – but door to door sales were not his forte.

At one point we had so many cartons of DCW (a cleaner) that, since they weren’t selling, we joked we might try to invent ways to eat the stuff.

Family around ladder

Dick off to one side…. My Mother and Father are on the right…

Sometimes, when Dick’s frustration had peaked, the kids and I would move to the other side of the table in our Deblin home while Dick ate (and smoked) in grumpy solitude 3 feet away.

And yet, even during these tough times, Dick could be surprisingly caring and attentive to David and Diana, especially in those critical pre-teen years.

David & Diana, 1968

Then, a friend suggested Dick interview with a new company right here in Clermont County called U.S. Precision Lens. It seemed, the friend said, a ‘perfect’ match for Dick’s skills.

The friend was right….

1 See "Dick the Astronomer"

2 Used for polishing/ perfecting lenses and mirrors for telescopes – see the chapter on ‘Dick the Astronomer’

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