From Chris Houghton

From Chris Houghton

(Bergen County, NJ)

Hi Arnie,

You asked for me to remind you of the stuff I had sent before and I’ve copied that stuff here.

I remember many of the names of those you pictured on your website.  As others come to mind, I’ll let you know.  I use Chris now, rather than Kit… J

After I left Kallman in about 1955, I was put into Leake & Watts Children’s home in Yonkers, on the Bronx/Yonkers line near the Hudson River.  I was there 2 years, and it wasn’t as good as Kallman, especially at Christmas time…J  They had a big campus, and individual cottages each with 7-15 kids and it was Episcopalian.  It was a colder environment though.

From there I went to live with my mother and stepfather in NYC on 33rd Street and 3rd Avenue!  True!  I went to school on the schoolship SS John W. Brown that was moored at the 25th Street pier.  They taught Merchant Marine trades.  When I was 17 ½ I enlisted in the USCG and did Search and Rescue for 5 years on 5 different ships.  I was stationed at ports along the Atlantic coast and then the Gulf coast in Texas.  I worked in the engine room on large diesels and other machines like refrigeration equipment.  When I came back to NYC I lived on the upper west side on 87th Street and I got into computers.  I worked my way up from apprentice operator to Senior VP of Company Operations, then became a consultant to companies in New Jersey where I live now.  I did that for many years, until a couple years ago.

I remember Mr. Persiko taking over from Sacher, and what a difference it made.  I think I was most familiar with the kids in the Church room while I was there in 1950-1955.  I remember you, but I think you were in the Barnavaennen room at that time, yes?

A random memory comes to me that there was a houseparent named Smith that was called ‘Smitty’?  He was a shorter black man, and he loved to whip up on kids that were bad with his garrison belt while we had to stand at the foot of our bed and take it.  Sound familiar?

I remember your mother as the nice lady in the laundry room… J

And on the ‘humorous’ side, I remember breakfast one day when we had gotten a donation from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  It was some kind of hot cereal.  When they made it and served it out, all the kids were going ‘Yuck’ and choking.  There were 6 legged bugs in the hot cereal.  Probably some kind of weevil that made the cereal go bad, and the Navy got rid of it to us.  I remember someone in charge announced to everyone that the cereal had been cooked so it was sterilized and was safe to eat.  Not too many ate that morning though… J

I remember the Cameron twins, and Heather, who had to do a gypsy dance with me at PS 185 in the auditorium.

I remember many people like a guy name Tony Rasmussen who I hung out with for a while.  I also remember Dave Suominen who had a birthday one day before me…mine was November 13th, and his was 12th.

I remember everyone wanting to be chosen for a donation run to the local bakeries when they had day old bread to give us.

I remember at about age 10 that I was hanging upside down on the slide in the back area, and I fell and landed on my mouth and chipped a tooth.  Boy, did I yell…J  There was no dental repair at the time, and I lived with that chip for years until I was a teen.

I remember one Christmas many of us going to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and going aboard the USS Oriskany, an aircraft carrier.  The sailors gave us a great big Christmas meal and lots of presents.  I saw on TV the other day where they sunk the Oriskany at sea to become a reef for fishes.  It was too old to serve.  On the bus trip out to the ship, the bus was going along the dock and it was very old and a large timber ran over the rear wheel and slammed up through the floor of the bus and popped girls up out of their seat and the timber stopped 2 feet in front of my face.  Scary

Just between you and I, I was one of the fellows that used to go to the roof at night after lights out and look down the skylight.

I remember going to Robert Hall near Easter each year and getting a suit, then wearing it the rest of the year.

Memories come back to me on a casual basis and at random, but I’ll keep in touch… J

If anyone remembers me, tell them to email.

Arnie, you can edit anything here that you might need to…I’m looking forward to seeing all that stuff in print…J

See ya,



Phone: 201-497-5515

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