Paul Zorn, Sarah Zorn, and Martha Zorn

Recorded December 1, 2008 Archived December 1, 2008 41:15 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX004657


Sarah (Sally) Zorn (77) and her husband, Paul Zorn (81) talk to their daughter, Martha Zorn (50) about their own parents and experiences growing up and their passion for bicycling.

Subject Log / Time Code

Paul remembers his childhood in Hartford and Windsor
Sally talks about her father and his great affection for her, love of ice-skating and tuberculosis
Sally talks about her father’s aging and the experience of committing him to the hospital where he died shortly after Paul and Sally married.
Paul talks about first getting into bicycling and doing it throughout his life.
Sally talks about getting into bicycling and the cycling trips she and Paul have taken and hope to take in the future.


  • Paul Zorn
  • Sarah Zorn
  • Martha Zorn

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:00 You start with Dad.

00:05 Modmarket a little better not my name is Martha Zorn. I'm 50 years old. It's December 1st 2008 and then were in Northampton, Massachusetts and I am here with my parents.

00:20 My name is Sally Zorn and I'm 77 years old and today is December 1st 2008 in Northampton, Massachusetts, and I'm here with my husband and my daughter Martha.

00:35 My name is Paul Zorn. I'm 81 years old. It's December one 2008. We are in Northampton, Massachusetts and I'm here with my wife Stanley and my daughter Martha.

00:53 Had

00:57 What are some of your earliest memories earliest memories are the earliest memories?

01:03 Oh That's The Way We Were.

01:06 We are living in Hartford. We had to run run to the first floor of a place in Hartford. This was.

01:16 Maybe kindergarten or summer or before I can remember having a

01:23 Sandbox is small sandbox in the back on the back porch. I can remember.

01:30 It was a park nearby and I can remember walking there with.

01:36 My aunt. And she was asking me is this the right way back to the house and I said, well, I'm sure but I don't think so. So anyway that followed me for a while walking to school. I think I think my mother accompanied me, you know that I had a feeling it was about

02:05 Have enough boxers out on the way the first time and then from there on I was on my own because I guess by that time if I was five when I bet he was born so we had she had someone you know, she has a child at home to me walking back and forth. Someone gave me a watch some Mickey Mouse watch house that early. Well now doesn't doesn't admit it seem shorter. I said, I don't know actually, it seems pretty long if you want that little hand car.

02:39 Tell your aunt that was she your mom's sister nearby. She lived at that time. She probably lived in New Haven and Hartford at that time. So she must have been visiting. I don't know. Maybe it was when when buddy was born or something or the Big Chief. Is it a lot all the time. So bye-bye. So, what was your mom like

03:08 My mom

03:11 We have that picture, you know that I pulled out of the family files of her holding me in her lap. I think I know when I was it's a beautiful that was when none.

03:27 Oh my mother and father while I was born.

03:33 You're relatively early in the marriage and

03:39 The

03:42 So they were I think just getting used to being married and obviously very early getting used to having this little baby and she she looks just young and happy and I remember my dad looks in in the younger. What and what on Earth did I get into the look on his face?

04:11 But he was very nice. My dad was so pretty much of a disciplinarian and she was the calm restful part of the Christmas tree with a cross around most of the time so that was

04:28 I don't remember doing much of anything with her. If you want to know, you know, she took care of the house we had.

04:38 We had she always had that there was always a young kid around.

04:45 What do you mean by Young Dolph?

04:49 Hi Betsy, Sue and Betty and I were the last three years apart. So that's it.

04:59 By the time I was but I'm Soo with 6, that would make me wet 6 9 12.

05:07 And she died a couple years after that. So I never knew her.

05:14 You know I got cuz I was probably

05:17 My freshman sophomore high school or something like that when she died. So I had I wasn't adult enough to kind of relate to her as an adult and she was always knew she was around the house cooking although I

05:34 Hey this diary, you know that I kept for several years. So I guess you're we're mostly in elementary junior high.

05:44 61

05:47 Probably 59 6061 somewhere and I right.

05:51 And I noticed she was I'd have this notation mom and dad went out to dance or Mom and Dad went out to this. You know, it was a good it was once a week or something like that so that

06:13 Play White she was she was very she was very nice was just a very loving relationship, but I think

06:22 My dad was sort of a strong.

06:25 Strong force. I don't think he would have let you carve the carbs in the food or serve the food at dinner like I seem to be letting you

06:42 Okay, let's see what this year. She had a nice voice.

06:50 Yeah, they accept.

06:54 Let's say where are we now move to Windsor? We look we rented an old.

07:03 Farmhouse sort of a thing in Windsor

07:07 I don't know it.

07:08 Built in 1787 it was

07:13 And I had a bunch of apple trees and then just big fields running out right in the back. It wasn't being farmed even after she got married. She moved to Granby Granby which would be sort of south of Northampton and

07:39 West of Windsor

07:43 We talkin about something groups of people in and spent a lot of time singing are we had a piano sheet play the piano she had a night. I don't think she's

08:09 I don't recall that she did an awful lot of the singing But but that in the group there was there was there was a lot of singing I meant we would be upstairs in bed and frequencies are with someone playing a violin and there's something like that. I don't know. It was some of your mom's. Well, I think my mother was more of the more music. Oh, she played the piano Titanic once in a while. She played the or go to church or something like that if they were stuck.

08:39 Dixie was a kindergarten teacher for a bit of a scrapbook.

08:48 I guess he used it with a heart was probably it was probably one of these things he had to do when she was learning how to do. You know what she was taking teacher training or something like that, but it do

09:00 Memories to look through the head that you know how to fold up pictures and poems and a bunch of things like that. I haven't haven't seen that for a long time. I thought I would say she was trained as a kindergarten teacher. My guess is she probably taught for a year or two. I couldn't

09:20 I'm not sure about that. You never talked about it very much, but there was or kindergarten stuff around.

09:29 No, I'm assuming you guys went to the Lutheran Church.

09:44 Yeah, that way I could imagine that would be prepped where they met, you know, I could imagine the meeting at the Lutheran Church or one of the Lutheran Churches. There were a couple of them in New Haven that would be so they both grew up in The Raven.

09:59 Now my father grew up in Ohio and the but he went to Yale, you know.

10:07 And I graduated in 23 and I suspect I don't know how else he would have been.

10:18 The Stephan family with their 5 girls or whatever they were.

10:25 But the pipe I suspect church was probably a good against his ID and they didn't look like the kind that hung out at bars.

10:36 Right

10:40 Create anything else. You want to tell me about your mom.

10:46 Oh, my my dad will let

10:50 Let these little nuggets of something-or-other out periodically.

10:58 I think I was talking about.

11:06 We went went to the Friends conferences at Cape May and stayed at the youth hostel. I think I don't know if you remember that at all. Yeah, I was like we camped at the youth hostel and that but they had a communal kitchen and

11:28 Remember at 1 I think the keeps minutes were there and then there were a bunch of people from Reading meeting. And so it was a really nice arrangement, but I can remember him being there and started cleaning up the the kitchen or something like that.

11:47 Martha keeps saying look like I would be a good catch as a husband or something, I guess because I cleaned up and

12:00 Dad saying something

12:03 Open I talk to him about this later and he said something about I'm not sure if this is related the

12:12 Oh, that's see. Well, let's

12:16 If you let see about basically dating a bunch of girls in the family and then marrying the one he got pregnant.

12:28 He told you that.

12:31 I think I think he put it in a more General sense. But yeah, I didn't I didn't know that much of the time so as much history as my sister since revealed to me.

12:46 Yeah, I thought that and there were some interesting relationships between the girls in that family cuz Billy Younger I think thin mom.

13:07 I think

13:09 There was always a strained relationship with Billy.

13:22 I thought your dad actually telling you you're not Betty or soup tell me what I'm about to going from girl to girl. Yeah.

13:34 And the kitchen one side we were cleaning up or something like that how it would start growing. I took it in a very general Santa Anna very general sense, but then I began adding up slowly one and one and two and all those things and done.

13:53 Wonder. That Jesus might be slightly autobiographical.

14:00 Very interesting. It's okay. Well, that's what happens when you ask question.

14:05 All right, Mom. See if you can top that.

14:11 Your dad my dad.

14:15 Well, he was I always felt that he loved me very very much. I think I came into his life just after my older sister died and he was sick with tuberculosis. I have the chronological. I thought I thought you were born before she died. No, I was born six months after she died.

14:35 But anyways, I was his baby and he cared a great deal of for me. And that was I always felt that right up to the end. He was a meticulous dresser. He cared a great deal about probably too much about appearances, but he bought very good clothes and he took very good care of them. I think he polished his shoes every single day before he went to work or whatever he was doing he dressed.

15:10 For dinner, I mean put a jacket and tie on for dinner every night. Of course. It was a more formal.

15:18 I'm open.

15:21 And it being formal. Yes. It was it was so then

15:30 He was a real athlete. He played football and crude and played ice hockey in school.

15:40 Polly was yeah, he was not tall. He was he looked very very much like your cousin John which is funny about that height and he was maybe not as quite as he was always relatively you come packed and not overweight at all, but he was he was not talk and he was very always very proud of the fact that he won the all School metal and the all athletes metal when he was at st. Paul's academic. He played football.

16:18 And yes, oh, yeah, he went to Harvard. He was he was a member of the Harvard Hasty Pudding Club putting Club.

16:32 And oh, yeah, I mean he would have you would have been a little appalled to have a grandson but he was always active. I mean he played when I knew him he played tennis twice a week all summer and he played badminton and Racquetball all winter belonging to the Chicago Racquet Club.

16:57 Play any sports with him. He would tried very very hard to get his girls to be athletic. And yes, he spent hours on the tennis court trying to teach me to be a good tennis player. I think it was a great disappointment to him that he didn't have a son who was athletic he would have loved having had grandsons. I was very very sad that she didn't ever know his grandsons and he loved ice skate and we did a lot of ice skating. He loved to to Walton ice and he taught us.

17:38 He always taught us to the walls. I knew how to wall son can't do it anymore. But I used to be able to and I have picked a picture of him and mother Waltzing. They went on a for their honeymoon. They went up into Wisconsin to a place where there was a big lake and he gave mother as a wedding present he gave her custom made ice skates, and they went skating essentially for their honeymoon.

18:10 And and Ice boating know you have a you have a sort of a sleigh with a sail and you go across the ice on it fast. Yes. No, but I've watched.

18:32 He loved animals. He was we always had a dog and even when he got ill at the end, his dog was always with him and was terribly important to him and you know, he was in the Cavalry in the first world war and and went to the Somme you're riding school and he loved horses would have loved to have been able to have a horse but he used to he had friends who had horses and he when they would go away or were riding. He would ride their horses for them exercise limited used to ride with the hunt sometimes. Oh, yes.

19:16 And so

19:22 Wait, yeah, he he was ill. I mean when we were in New Mexico, he was in bed. Most of the time, we have tuberculosis bedrest was the cure for tuberculosis at that point and but we all as soon as we stopped going to Mackinac.

19:42 After my grandmother died up till she died. We went to Mackinac every summer for his vacation. But after he died we after she died. We we went West so he could ride and fish.

20:00 My mother was scared of horses, but she went along and she always

20:06 Managed to go where we went, but he loved.

20:13 The west and wished he'd known about the West before he settled down and he said he would have moved West.

20:22 And we did a lot of fly-fishing. He taught me how to fly fish and was again disappointed that I wasn't better at it. But never you know, it was always very loving it wasn't and he was he had a temper.

20:40 I really it was very quick. I mean he it was we used to say he would get mad and it was over in 2 minutes. And if mother got mad at lasted for weeks didn't happen very often.

20:55 Well know she's well, she didn't get mad very much. But if you can imagine Helen had a temper and so he and Helen Wood.

21:10 Exploded each other and I didn't like that. So I learned very quickly how to avoid those kinds of things but

21:21 Well, I tried to do what he want me to. Yeah, I don't I don't know. Well, it's anyways, he was then it was more difficult. Of course. He got ill which was what I think now would probably be called at Alzheimer's was then called hardening of the arteries or arteriosclerosis temper worse. No, but he became very forgetful. He would go out with walked had he had to retire early from work.

21:55 And I delete retired when I entered High School. Okay, and so I really didn't again like Dad. I didn't know him as with when I was an adult. He was not. Yeah, he was at home through high school, but it was

22:17 It was difficult. I mean we didn't want him driving because nobody knew his his most motor control got very bad still play tennis played tennis really right up almost to the end, but he couldn't light a cigarette required more precise controls. All of its other thing. I would want to add. He smoked a pipe and I still the smell of Pipe smoke just makes me feel comfortable and love you know, that was the way he smelled of both your mom and dad does smoke. Yes.

22:57 So I have a lot of second-hand smoke in my room. So I guess but his illness was hard and and I think it's particularly hard for mother.

23:12 She tried to Shield it from Helen and Mia could bit. It was my mom taking care of my dad. But she made sure that we got off and do things even though she and he couldn't yes. I think that's why we went to Europe together and then and then it got it just got worse why I left college early mine. Well, I left I know I put the year.

23:47 I got my junior year when I got engaged to Dad. I left two weeks early. I looked I didn't take my exams because at that point dad was in bad enough shape that mother decided. She had to have him committed to a hospital and I thought I got to be with her and I went to the

24:13 Commitment hearing which was awful.

24:17 And said her I mean with your dad there no, no. No it was done in the hospital. They were this panel. I don't know whether they were doctors. I don't even know who they were and they had examined him and then they came and talked to us and and but it was very difficult. And then I never saw my father again after that you can go and you couldn't go and visit him. They did not want us to visit him. Even your mother didn't go until just before he died that was not very long because he died just shortly after we were married and this that was in that was in

25:00 The end of May that he was committed and then we were married in August and he died in September.

25:09 So it was not no dad nevermind.

25:19 So

25:28 Let's move on.

25:31 Do you feel like you have anything to say about when you were young or should we talk about when you were new parents?

25:38 The

25:46 We moved from that farmhouse in Windsor to a little Bungalow that my parents bought on Preston Street, which was

25:57 That's a bottom of Stony Hill. We're still in Windsor.

26:05 Are you going to the Stony Hill school, which was a one-room school if they go by the grace?

26:11 Make sure they had a k I think was one through three, but then after that I went into the center Windsor to the

26:20 Elementary school and

26:27 Stony Hill

26:29 The street we ain't that we lived on with sort of fits the back.

26:34 The back of the Stony Hills, it's still there. There was this big big hill that you walk to the end of the street and then a little bit more and then started climbing up the hill which was

26:48 Are good for sledding the old the older kids in bobst. I think sometimes put a bobsled run in.

26:56 And the Young

26:59 So the end they would really they wouldn't iced.

27:04 Ice to pass and then it would really tear down and I never got to be rather dangerous. I think for the and then there were I guess there were a couple of different ways of going down I took

27:16 But I I took Sue down once I think and we rammed into a tree which didn't.

27:22 She didn't appreciate if she was in the front.

27:28 But it was up.

27:32 It was like like like where you live now where we could go out of the house and then there'd be this group of kids to play with so and I think it was relatively well defined group because there were a few just went to block in another Direction where there was another group and thanks so far.

27:53 I guess we probably moved in and like

27:57 Maybe fourth fifth grade fifth grade and through eights or something.

28:03 Cuz I the end of

28:08 Eighth grade. We move down back down to New Haven again.

28:12 But it was said that again like your kids go out there be someone to play with and we weren't as much into baseball. There wasn't enough.

28:25 There wasn't as well. Anyway, we weren't in the baseball played a little football at one time. So tonight.

28:32 Pick up.

28:34 Type thing but we know it's true Rotten Tomatoes at at one another and things like that and

28:43 Tell her with this.

28:46 Betty Betty was part of the of the group. She was 3 years younger. Okay, so say I'd say I was in like 7th grade. She would have been in 4th. I sue at that point then would have been in first and when my Betty and Sue and I I don't know what you were wrong, visited the neighborhood.

29:12 A year or so ago and

29:16 I would say we were talking back hadn't changed. I think there was one new house in the empty lot across the street well in our little neighborhood then once you got into the into the woods in the fields why it said there's no more woods and Fields. It was all houses, but

29:37 In our little neighborhood all the all the houses that they hadn't been added on to her. I mean our little Bungalow is all still a little Bungalow. It looked just the way we left it except for this one house in in the empty lot and

29:54 I must have told you this and I saw that then we were just sort of standing and taking pictures of the House Of The Bungalow and Betty and sue a right and a woman came up and we lived in the house and we started talking with her and we sit on any snelgrove's around here. No, yes. Yes. I'm married to the gym and then we live here and an NG rattled off names of the other piano sound like a lot of the other people either had lived there, you know, and remember you're not but anyway, it was a

30:36 It was a tight little neighborhood and we

30:41 I don't get played out in the fields by the member picking wild flowers.

30:49 Are plants I guess we dug plants out of the woods and went around the neighborhood trying to sell them Jack-in-the-pulpit. That's her to start if there was always starts a games that would you say it was in that neighborhood that you got into bicycling.

31:08 I was

31:12 Yeah, probably from from the from The Farmhouse. I took I took the trolley to school unless I got a ride from and I am the Milkman my teacher or someone like that, but from from from Preston Street, we either walked or took the bikes and

31:34 Yeah, I can remember riding into on my own.

31:39 Did I surprise you know, I look back and

31:44 Did a surprising number things on my own but I rode into the there was an airport in Hartford and I was interested in airplanes. So I asked my dad and you said don't sure you ride the bike at the Hartford to South Haven no from Windsor, you know, but it was still good.

32:10 So I did that and then I went according to my diary and then I came back and rode up to Windsor Locks and

32:20 In the afternoon or later in the day. So anyway, I did a lot of bike riding.

32:25 Nothing that would you say that you continued your bike riding.

32:29 What are the continuous things throughout your life. And go fix it up when we move to Concord Park and we had one car and

32:40 How did you get the scoop I guess I had a bike and I think we did a little bit of bike riding in Cambridge. But that would have been after Concord park at the school. I would say I rode to school.

32:56 Oh half the time or something like that. I'm already got killed at the

33:11 Well that was sent that was on some terrible row every time on

33:16 Route 1 and drive down that and see accidents, you know, either on the on the way down or on the way back. We going to carpool tonight, and I didn't have a carpool going to school.

33:34 So what was what was it? They like about biking?

33:39 No is utilitarian, but I got so I like the exercise when I bicycling to school. It was I could get my

33:50 I from why come anyway, I could get my my head sort of in order.

33:56 And not be coming back. I could sort of burn off the various tensions and nasty attitudes and I could get home in a moderately sane Manor.

34:11 I think I'd like to emphasize.

34:21 Hydron, the bicycle on my life cuz we rode bicycles all the time on Mackinac cuz that was the only way to get around and I'd always had a bicycle but then when I had small children not to do much bicycling my eyes matter fact, I didn't have a very good bike even but then Dad got really interested in bicycling and got a better bike and thought it was well, then he said, you know, he's is sabbatical was coming up and he said he wanted to spend it on these bicycle. So I thought I better I started riding my bike more cuz I thought I better have enough muscle to do it. So that was when I really started bicycling again, and then we took a

35:15 A short trip over to New Jersey for weekend on bikes and I think Dad really realized that I needed a better bike and the friends of the library all my volunteers at the library got together and bought me a new bike. Oh, yes. I picked it out, but they paid for it and it had a brass plate on it said was from for me from the friends of the library. And that was the bike that got stolen. I always very sad about losing the brass plate.

35:50 About how possessive I feel of my bike right now. I did it feel really like somebody was stealing like, oh it was awful in our bikes were stolen it. Just I mean we were the first of all it was are we were out there in California and it was our transportation and the but it was our it was our it was our life because we were living off the bikes at that point. We had nothing with this except when we could carry on our bikes and we lost half of it and the bike whether we didn't we didn't lose any of our camping gear or closed cuz they were in our 10th, but we lost our camera binoculars and all that stuff. But oh, yes, I will I certainly have one with my present bike to cuz that one was custom-built for me pretty much. I mean it was a standard bike, but then you know, I know

36:50 Start neighbor was the rent a bike shop sort of rebuild it just for me and I really would hate to have anything happen to that cuz it's it's just a wonderful bike.

37:03 But living on our bikes was was a wonderful wonderful experience. It really was she feel like that's sort of over. Well, we keep hoping we could do at least one more bike trip, don't you think Paul?

37:22 With such a thought we hadn't thought of that we would still keep talking about wanting to go from from Montreal to Quebec. But I think you should by kehlani m.

37:37 Holland Canal that is decided that he's just passed breaking bikes down packing them in boxes getting to the flying over night. So not getting any sleep and then having to spend three hours reassembling the bikes in the airport. We've done that too many times and he doesn't drive to but our biking are biking has been I think it's it's just been wonderful for both of us are Health our marriage everything.

38:25 I was out I feel a little guilty about having gone off right when Betsy started college cuz I think it I think she felt deserted but it was wonderful for us. It was absolutely wonderful.

38:42 Anyone add dead North Kitsap

38:47 Life on the road is is now we are on the road for six months and

38:58 It's a different life and it's

39:02 Really interesting to see the kind of people and to just

39:07 You know, what? Is it? Like right after a while ago. We were very ready to go back home, but and I have a house and neighbors and take part in a community, but it's also just really interesting a different to be traveling light and going where you want when you want and seeing different people and knowing that you can live comfortably with just what you can carry on your bicycle. I was always glad to know that their house was back there with all my other stuff, but

39:43 It's also there's something about seeing everything on your bike versus being in the car. So yes, everything everything is so much more aware and people I think being on a bicycle you're not scary people are very very have been wonderful to us on bikes, you know, giving us directions offering us meals letting his camp in their yard. I mean, we've had one and very willing to talk to us wanting to know where we're going, but we're doing it's been wonderful.

40:18 And we still the Rockies are still our favorite Canadian Rockies are more accessible at this point.

40:41 3 seconds. Okay, what's up? We have to wrap it up. So thank you very much, Mom and Dad. I don't know whether we're on your stuff.

40:51 No, thank you for getting us all set up for organizing this in your normal efficient manner.

41:01 It is just wonderful living up here near you. Yes, it really is.

41:11 Set it, okay.