Marriage and the Return of the Native Son

During the  time he was stationed with the Navy in Rhode Island  Walter met his wife-to-be, Sylvia, at a band member’s party in Fall River–just a half an hour from Newport. (The proximity of Fall River girls to the Naval base greatly facilitated romance and marriage among the young people.)  “I was playing piano when the doorbell rand and in came Sylvia. The first thing she noticed about me was my back–and that I was playing piano.  I liked her right away when she complimented my keyboard style, but I thought she was the host’s date at first. She told me that she wasn’t, so we spent most of the evening in each other’s company. I’ve often thought how it was Destiny that lead me to that party.  We were married in Newport in June 1943.

      Since the mid 1930’s Walter has lived in Katonah: on New Street, on High Street, on Orchard Lane and now on Pleasant Street (dead end house).  He spent his last two years of high school before John Jay existed at the old K-12 school where the Firehouse is now located.   He chose Ithaca College, where he majored in Music; after graduation he taught Music at Gilbertsville High School near Oneonta, but he hated the school which was nothing at all like his Katonah High School. When he got a love letter from Uncle Sam, advising him to pick an armed service or join the Army, he enlisted in the Navy like his father in WW1.  In fact, his Honda’s license plate proudly displays the words, USS ALASKA, on the plate holder.

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