This is by Harold's granddaughter Debbie Benko:
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When I make oatmeal in the morning, I often think of my grandfather Harold Kalloch. I remember the mornings when I was staying at my grandparent's house on 102 Bryn Mawr Avenue, in Auburn, Mass, that my grandmother would make oatmeal for him in her pressure cooker on the stove. It was the kind you needed to cook for a while, not the instant or minute oatmeal that we eat nowadays. I wonder if that was the secret of his (and his siblings') longevity. Or maybe it's because he never smoked and only drank on the rare occasion that he snuck a beer or two that someone brought into their home, but never in front of Marie. He was active all his life, both in his job as a custodian and in his large garden.
Other things that I remember my grandmother Maria cooking for him included stewed tomatoes and dandelion greens in vinegar. They kept the vinegar cruet on the kitchen table where they ate. They grew the tomatoes and dandelions - one in the garden the other in the lawn, I imagine. Harold had a wonderful garden. During the depression and WWII, they had a large vegetable garden where they grew much of their food. They had tomatoes, corn, beans, peas, carrots, rhubarb, among other things. Maria canned a lot of the vegetables and fruits. They stored them in their cellar, on rows and rows of shelves. They were ready for WWIII. I remember picking blue berries with Maria one summer. I remember walking around my grandfather's garden helping him water the plants and weeding. I imagine that I pulled up more flowers than weeds. He had a big aluminum watering can.
They lived on a corner lot and used to own the property behind the house, which when I knew them had been sold to a family who had built a house on it. Maria and Harold bought their house in Auburn in the 1920's. It was located on the trolley that ran from Auburn to Worcester. In the 1960's and early 1970's Maria worked as a nurse at the TB hospital in Worcester. She returned to work after Harold retired, when they realized that his pension from the town would not support them well.
My grandfather was a quite, easy going man who smiled easily. He often sat in his recliner in front of the TV with his TV tray eating dinner and watching Walter Cronkite or reading the paper. Other favorite TV shows: Gunsmoke, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, 60 minutes, and Red Skelton. He had a jar of hard candies near the chair. My brother Jim and I loved to eat them. My grandmother sat in a cushioned rocking chair nearby watching TV. I remember her either being in the kitchen cooking or washing up or in this rocking chair. Sometimes they both would sit out on the glassed in front porch reading the paper. It was sunny and warm there. Grandpa often would nap out there.
My brother, mother, and I lived with my grandparents for year while my dad was at sea with the US Navy. It was my seventh grade year, 1973-1974. My mom and I shared the bedroom that her 2 brothers had when they were growing up, my brother had my mother's old room, and my grandparents had the same room they'd had for 50 plus years. It was a year of walking to school with the son of my grandparent's next door neighbors, of doing homework in the kitchen as my grandmother prepared dinner.
That summer, we all drove up to Maine, a long drive even from Massachusetts. We went to visit my grandmother's Tolman relations. I remember Camden and Rockland as being beautiful, although the water was cold even in the summer. We went to church baked bean dinners around the area. What a wonderful tradition. Lots of wonderful homemade food.
Harold and Maria seemed to have a lot of friends. I remember many weekends going to people's houses or out to luncheons with them, my mom, brother and I tagging along. Their friends were all very old to me, but nice. We would hop in the car and drive for 15-20 minutes to nearby towns.
Other outings included going to Friendly's for a sandwich and ice cream. Or going to the Auburn mall and getting ice cream and sitting on the benches, watching people walk by. That was a particular favorite of Harold's.
He loved playing cribbage for hours and hours. He was always looking for a partner. My father and later my stepfather would play with him when they were visiting. I think this is why my grandfather had a fondness for my father Richard.