photos of direct relations of Larry Lachance - your host
Large oak tree Logo
The photo above is from 1948 - Grandmother Valdora Desjardins Lachance McKenna looking out the window of their 4th floor walk-up, one bedroom apartment.  There was no air-conditioning at the time.  The baby on the right is my brother Paul Lachance shortly after his birth.  The lady swinging the cat, just another image found online! The phrase "There wasn't room to swing a cat in there" essentially means - "Very little or no space; very cramped quarters or proximity."  The apartment building, remains pretty much the same today (2023) as it was in 1948.  641 Lincoln Ave. in Orange, Essex County, New Jersey.  CLICK HERE to see the building, from a real estate ad, in 2023.
Monroe "MonroMatic" John Wolff's Web Museum
Photo from: John Wolff's Web Museum
Following their marriage in 1946, mom and dad moved into a one-bedroom apartment at 641 Lincoln Ave. in Orange, N.J.  It was the same building in which my grandparents lived. 

Mom was working for the Monroe Calculating Machine Company in Orange and certainly she got lots of experience using that machine like thing in the photo!  See John Wolff's Monroe Calculator Museum HERE.

Dad was off attending Rutgers College of Pharmacy in Newark and working on aspirations of becoming a pharmacist.  He was taking advantage of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (aka the GI Bill) to pay the tuition.

And then, in a somewhat unexpected turn of events, my brother made his intention known that he would be joining the fray.  Mom just knew she wasn't eating too many donuts!
Rutgers College of Pharmacy - Bowers/Cowen
The Rutgers University College of Pharmacy: A Centennial History by Roy A. Bowers and David L. Cowen RC'30, GSNB'31
Nope, I wasn't the first; there's another Lachance running around on the planet!  That would be my older brother Paul.  Ok so I wasn't first but that meant I got to wear all of my brothers really cool clothes, right? And, maybe better, I didn't have to be the guinea pig for new parents!  It also means my brother had a head start on the game. This really does not matter because I've seen studies where the 2nd born child is typically a huge pain in the ass! This means Paul was the easy one. (smiling in an irritatingly smug way)
Paul came into the world in a blaze of glory, or at least in a hospital in East Orange, N.J., a full 5 years before I made my surprising appearance.  Back then godparents were important. Apparently, they did not need to be related to be godparents, but were still a "must have" when you were baptized. 

Paul's godparents were Harry Russell Colborn, Jr. (1921-1983) and his, soon to be, wife Theodora "Theo" Emily (Decker) Colborn (1927-2014).  Dad met them as classmates at Rutgers and would continue to associate with them until the Colborn's packed up and moved to a farm in western Colorado, eventually raising sheep.  I have more memories of the Colborn's than of my own godparents.  Harry, in addition to being a pharmacist and owning a drug store in Newton, was also a pilot and had an airplane (I don't know if he owned it or not) but I know that I flew with him, taking off from the field at the farm. This is one of the, very few, childhood memories I retain. Theo went on to become an environmental health analyst, and best known for her studies on the health effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Wedding Photo Ed and Betty (Filbert) Anderson
Photo courtesy of daughter Nancy in 2018
For my own godparents, I had to do a bit of research.  The church (at least at that time) did not record the names of the God Parents or Sponsors at the time of Baptism so there is no written record other than what mom wrote in the baby book. Conversations with mom and some research answered the question.
Larry's godparents were Edward Robert Anderson (1924 - 2015) and Betty (Filbert) Anderson (1925 - 2020). Ed and Betty are also in the list of "gift givers" in my baby book. 

The best I can make of this is from what my mom remembered about Ed and Betty. It seems Ed worked at NJ Bell around the same time my mom was working for the same company in the Yellow Pages department.  She met Betty while Ed was working there and they became friends. 

Obviously they remained friends until, at least, the time of my birth.  What became of the friendship after that, mom didn't remember. She thinks they simply went there separate ways at some point. 

I have no memory of ever meeting either of them.  I do know, thanks to their daughter, Nancy Bank, that they remained married throughout their lives and that Ed had passed away.  I would like to have talked to Betty, back in 2018, when I spoke with Nancy but alas, it was not to be as Betty suffered from alzheimers and was in a home. 
I know that Ed and Betty married sometime in 1944 in New Jersey as found in the New Jersey marriage index.  And, from old newspapers I found Ed had passed away in 2015 and from The Day Funeral Home obituaries online, Betty passed away 5 months before my mom in March of 2020.
Ed's obituary may be viewed by clicking HERE.  It was published in the Asbury Park Press on November 2, 2015
Betty's obituary may be viewed by clicing HERE.  It was published by the Day Funeral Home in Keyport, NJ in March of 2020
Paul shares a room
To Continue with Pompton Lakes - Something's Gotta Give
So here they are, mom, dad and baby make 3, living, somewhat, comfortably in a one bedroom apartment in Orange.  Life was good until my brother showed up. Once he arrived home from the hospital and found out he was going to be sleeping in the dresser drawer he learned to speak and immediately uttered his first spoken words ... "we need to move, there's not enough room to swing a cat in here!"

After all, maybe it's just fine to have a baby in YOUR room for few months BUT, sooner or later something has to be done to accommodate this thing.  Imagine it this way... how do you feel when you're getting undressed in front of the dog?  Uh huh... I thought so! It's time to find a place with 2nd bedroom!
Decisions Decisions - Where to Go? Pompton Lakes Sounds Homey
Welcome to Pompton Lakes NJ
Exactly how they decided on Pompton Lakes is unclear.  Of course, I wasn't around and my brother too young, so the only source of information was my mom.  She didn't remember why we went there; she thought maybe they heard about some new homes being built and decided to take a ride and find out more. It was only 20 miles up the road so why not. This took place shortly after Paul was born, sometime in late 1949.  What they found was a brand-new house, finally completed in 1950, at 718 Colfax Avenue in Pompton Lakes.  So, life in Pompton Lakes begins without me but I'll be along shortly!
718 Colfax Ave., Pompton Lakes, NJ (1954)
718 Colfax Ave. Pompton Lakes 1954
Click the button for a photo of the same house from 2010
By today's standards, it was a small house.  Homes built after World War II were dubbed "post-war", and you'll find homes built at that time came in certain styles, like ranch or Cape Cod. The basic post-war house is known for being, just that … basic. 

Being virtually indistinguishable from any other new house in the neighborhood, "these houses were more functional than fun." (see Lawrence Station below)

Much like the tuition at Rutgers, dad took advantage of the G.I. Bill to get the $9,500 (seriously?) loan to buy this house.
FACT: According to the Passaic County Tax Records, 718 COLFAX AVE, POMPTON LAKES, NJ Last Sold 2006-04-17 for $455,000 (too bad we didn't stick around huh?)
The only photo I have is a still frame from an 8mm home movie. This is what it looked like back in 1954.  A plat map image is also shown.  Click either image for a larger version.
Pompton Lakes Plat Map 1950
Located on Plat Map - 1950
Next Stop - Lawrence Station
I'm not sure about the correlation between function and fun as it relates to the house in Pompton Lakes … all I really know is that shortly after my brother was born, my parents wanted a second child (I'm pretty sure that was me).  Efforts to enable this desire were commenced almost immediately and mom had no qualms when she told me "We had to work at getting you and we had a lot of fun trying!"  And so, the conductor punched the ticket on the inbound train sometime between December 12, and January 2, 1952.  Mom swears it was New Years Eve - but really, as much fun as she says they were having at the time, who knows.
Lawrence Arriving
I took this photo while riding the subway in Toronto, Ontario (nice touch huh?)
Dr. Carrol R. McCune (before he was a doctor)
Dr. McCune photo from Ancestry family-tree - Wasko - Trenton, NJ - waskod originally shared this on 14 Aug 2011
According to mom, sometime around 11 PM on Tuesday, September 1st, she alerted my father saying, "it's time"!  After a quick call on the party line to Dr. McCune, the family doctor, who said, "I'll meet you at the hospital"; dad loaded mom in the car and headed off to St. Joseph's Hospital in Paterson, roughly 12 miles away via the Hamburg Turnpike. Today, this is about a 25-minute drive; back then, I have no idea how long it would have taken and most certainly I would not remember such a thing. 

It would seem that I was not happy being all cooped up and so I made my entrance into the world rather quickly on Wednesday, September 2, 1953 at 1:15 am. Somehow, I think my mother would have preferred a daytime arrival...but then I've never really been on time for anything. Weighing in at 8 pounds, my eyes were blue and my hair was a reddish blond.

Wanna See Me in 1953?? Just click ---- HERE OR it can also be found in the "My Life In Pictures" gallery on this site.

I was delivered by Dr. Carroll R. McCune (pictured during WWII) along with a nurse named Shirley who assisted during the tremendously exciting event.  Dr. McCune died December 7, 1987.  I have vague (not faded completely) memories of him making "house calls" toting along his black doctors' bag and coming to our house as well as mental flashes of trips to his office in Pompton Plains.  My mom said he was a great doctor and a very handsome man. He was the family physician for 10 years until we left New Jersey in 1963. His obituary is HERE
What Day Were Your Born
Find Out When You Were Born

Select the MONTH and DAY from the drop-down list, then enter the YEAR you were born.
Month   Day

Enter Your Birth Year  

You were born on  
Let me go home
Awww, c'mon, I just wanna go home!
Mom always told me the day I was born was the hottest day of the year!  In fact, on the day I was born, it WAS the hottest day of the year … a sultry 102°I've confirmed this with records of the National Weather Service for this day.  Who'd a thunk?
… Perhaps making it even more difficult for mom, not to mention making me a bit cranky, there was NO AIR CONDITIONING at St. Joseph's Hospital in 1953!
Larrys Baby Book
Baby's Early Years
The book was a gift from my Grandparents, Valdora (Desjardins) and Lawrence J. McKenna. They even signed it.
So, I finally get home and mom starts to make entries into this cloth, padded (pretty nice actually) baby book.  I have to give her credit here for even thinking about doing this.  While she only kept it up for 6 or 7 months, along with a handful of entries a couple years into it, this relic does tell me a little bit about my life before conscious memory.

There are some unusual, seemingly random (to me anyway) things in this book, for instance, the first toy I played with was a "rattle" … gee … I wonder if that has any meaning??

I find out the first time I ever left home was to go to Grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner on November 23rd, 1953.  I learned that my birth was registered in Paterson, N.J.  The book also tells me that "home" was at 718 Colfax Avenue in, Pompton Lakes, NJ, at one time just a small town in Passaic County. (
The population in 1950 - 4,654)

At the time, my dad was working as a Medical Service Representative for White Labs and he was 29 years old while mom had been a "typist" and was 27 years old. There's even a question that asks "Who does the baby resemble?" My Mother wrote … "Father".

Pretty amazing stuff, huh??   Well, I think so ... and here's a few more! Try not to be overwhelmed.
Graphic of the words Amazing Facts
First Babbled
Used a Toilet
First Pets
Got Sick
Here's a fact for you to ponder - Did You Know ...
If you put your finger in your ear and scratch ... it sounds like PacMan!
Of course, I received gifts from strangers when I arrived. As a side note...I am pretty certain that everyone was strange at that point.
I can only assume the gifts were nice! The people listed here gave me something...I have no idea what.
Mom and Pop Mckenna (Valdora and Lawrence Joseph)
my grandparents)
Betty and Eddie Anderson
Friends of Mom and they were my God Parents. My mother worked with Betty at some point in the late 1940's)
Lucien and Adrienne Sutton
cousins on the Desjardins side)
Antoine and Clarise Lachance
my "blood" grandfather & his 2nd wife)
Aunt Rose and Uncle Harvey Lachance
my great aunt and uncle on the Lachance side)
Florence and Norman Dube
cousins on the Lachance side, daughter of Uncle Harvey and Aunt Rose)
Mr. & Mrs. (Elaine) Eugene Wendling
my grandmother, Val,  worked with Elaine making hats)
Jean and Henry Anderson
friends of my grandmother...they had a daughter, Gloria, and later moved to Winter Park, Florida where they owned and operated a Mobile Home Park)
Joe and Janet Carhart
neighbors on one side of our home in Pompton Lakes ... they had two boys whom both my brother and I visited)
Mom Bussell (May Eleanor Eshleman)
my grandmother on the Bussell side...also known as "Nana")
John and Hazel White
neighbors across the street... had a daughter, Donna.  Donna was very close to my age. A picture of Donna with me, sitting on the front steps of our house in Pompton Lakes is below)
Pompton Reformed Church Cornerstone
This handy little book also tells me that I was baptized on the 15th day of November 1953, by Rev. Gerrit Heemstra at the Pompton Reformed Church in Pompton Lakes.  I do believe, however, that I do NOT remember. It made for a nice photo of me anyway.
The Reverend Gerrit Heemstra
The Reverend Gerrit Heemstra
born October 10, 1900
died in June 13, 1967
at the age of 66 years
burial - Church Cemetery
Pompton Reformed Church
He served the Church from 1931 - 1965
Photo -From the files of the Pompton Reformed Church, Pompton Lakes, NJ
Larry Lachance baptized
The Neighbors 53 - 57
Donna White with Larry Lachance 1955
Donna White with Larry Lachance - June 1955
photo also in the Gallery - Pompton Lakes
Back to the book - from here I learn that once I get home from the "Hotspital" (102 degrees, remember), I already have a visitor.  The first visitor I had would be "Gert Dailey" the neighbor next door, who, apparently, was waiting for my mom to bring home the newly acquired "bundle of joy" (that would be ME!).  I only found out recently that Gert was actually related to our neighbors across the street.  This is the way it worked ... 

There was a couple, Benjamin White and his wife Rose who had three children; 1) Gertrude "Gert" {born 16 Jan 1923 and died 20 Sep 2012}, 2) Benjamin Jr., {born 30 Dec 1925 and died 25 Aug 2013}, and 3) John, born about 1927.  In July of 1950 John married Hazel Doris Stanley {born 1929 and died in 1993}.  John and Hazel lived directly across the street from us in a two story white house.  They had a collie for a pet.  They also had a daughter, Donna. Donna and I are pictured on the front steps of our house on Colfax Ave, in June of 1955.

Gert, John's sister, married Charles W. Dailey in 1946.  He was always "Chip" to everyone.  Chip was {born 11 Dec 1921 and died 21 Feb 2008}.  They had a son, Bruce Dailey that was friends with my brother because they were around the same age.  We had home movies of my dad working with Chip to build the garage on the side of their house.
Besides the White's, Joe and Janet Carhart and their children lived on the side opposite the Dailey's and there was another couple, Frank and Dot Briggs also across the street.  Frank and Dot had two girls, one named Nancy.  That's it for neighbors that I don't remember ... but my mom did and she told me about them.
A Little more header
Photos from this page and more can be seen in the "Pompton Lakes Gallery" on this website
And The Winner Is - MOM
I came across a newspaper article (from sometime in late 1954) about my mom while we lived there.

She entered some kind of a contest and WON!!! (with "tears of joy") ... Amazing! ...

I play the Florida Lottery every week and yet....I haven't won ... except one time on a day I didn't play!
Click HERE to see the news article
Anna FEBE;
Sugar Ray Robinson and pink Cadillac
Mom has a very clear memory of Sugar Ray Robinson driving around town in his pink Cadillac convertible.
My dad told me he used to watch Joe Louis, (who in 1949 was the undefeated heavyweight boxing champ), jogging around and training for fights.

My mom confirmed this when she told me she could see the training camp from their bedroom window.

Apparently Sugar Ray would visit as well!
Joe Lewis Training Camp Pennant
You can trust your car ad
The Big Bright Texaco Star
Yes, my friends, there was a time when gas station employees wore uniforms and they actually serviced your car. My first job was just that!
That brings me to another Pompton Lakes memory, that of Selsors Texaco at the corner of Colfax and Lakeside Ave.
PHOTO - Russ Selsor at Station in Pompton Lakes
Photo - Russ Selsor at work
He was the "go to" man for everything car related!  And for 10 years of my life, he was always there.  He always paid attention to me and treated me like he would his own family.  I'll never forget him.
Actually born "James Russell Selsor Jr", he passed away on March 2, 2006. You can read his obituary HERE.
Gone Fishing graphic
And finally ... as the story goes, dad was trying to go over a fence to get to the lake to go fishing.  In a rush, he slipped and this was the result.

Guess he didn't get to fish that day!
Dad breaks leg trying to fish
The One That Got Away!
So now, I'm in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey... I have little to no recollection of actually living there. I suspect there may be several issues involved as to why I can't remember it, but primarily, I don't think I even knew I was alive yet!

I know we didn't stay in Pompton Lakes very long...well, not in my life anyway...I guess Dad had ideas about a bigger, newer house, or maybe it was my mom...but someone got the idea so here we's 1957 and we're to the next town over...Oakland, NJ.
(Click here to go on to Oakland, NJ)
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Larry Lachance
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