When moved to Mastic Beach from Queens in November of 1950, I was 3, my brother Butch 6 and sister Gerry was 12. The 2 story home had 1 master bedroom downstairs and two bedrooms in a separate sleeping lofts. It had one very small bathroom. For my Mom it was cramped from day 1 (little kids don't really notice those things) and she always talked about enlarging the bathroom. It only had a shower stall. By 1954 we had enclosed the front porch so we could utilize it all year round, but still it was cramped for a growing family.
Around that time my folks approached builder / realtor William Hickey who drew up a set of blueprints for enlarging the house. That was as far as that got. Then we seriously considered buying Mr. Hickeys house in section one on Washington and Cedar. That too did not happen. I recall many Saturday and Sunday afternoons riding around looking at homes on the market or new model ones. Most were in the Patchogue or Bellport area closer to where our father worked. I always enjoyed the artwork in the new home brochures and the smell of a newly built home. I still enjoy the aroma of new wood.
The Hickey House Today At Washington Dr & Cedar Rd August 2004
We had already staked out our rooms The one with the halfround window was going to be for Butchie & Me
In the fall of 1955, I was in the third grade, Butch was in 6th and my sister Gerry was a junior at Center Moriches High. Shirley was growing like wildfire and he was selling a lot of these new pre -fabricated homes. My Dad installed the phones in the new super deluxe model he put up on the corner of Smith Road & Montauk Highway and was really sold on them, but my Mom preferred traditional models like capes or ranches.
Now when my grandfather Jack Spooner got word of our interest in possibly moving to Shirley. He took my Dad & Mom over to the Stork Club in NYC to meet Mr. Shirley. The Stork was Shirley's second home in NYC. Butch and I had to wait in the car with grandma, but I remember vividly when we pulled up to the Stork on East 53rd Street, there was Shirley's Rolls Royce a Silver Cloud I with the license plate that read WTS-1. I think it was the first real one I ever saw. I had 15 cent a molded plastic Rolls like it from H.G. Grands 5 & 10 cent store in Mastic Beach.
Although they could not agree on a style of home they went and purchased land in Shirley. It was very close to the school on Heston Dr. and I remember vividly the first time we looked at our land. Lot 69 in Unit L. It was still completely wooded. Although we were all excited about the prospect of moving into a new home, I was not looking forward to moving away from our friends, both the winter and summer kids.
I remember the transaction at the Shirley Land Office. It was a very private wood paneled office with sliding pocket doors. Butch and I again had to wait away from the action..... most of the time out side. Shirley had a small zoo there with deer, but that got old fast and they seemed to take forever. I know Walter Shirley was not there because my Dad asked for him right off the bat hoping their encounter at the Stork Club would lead to a great deal. Although he dropped his father inlaws name to the salesman several times, It probably made no difference to what they paid for the land.
NOTE: THIS PAGE IS ONE OF THE OVER 30 PAGES & 250 PHOTOS & NEWSCLIPPINGS ON THE WALTER T SHIRLEY
SITE THAT STARTS OUT