Mary and Geza
Collecting Motorcycles Is An Incurable Disease
Welcome
About Us
Mary's Bio
Our Trips
Geza's Bio
Our Life
Pictures from Our Trips
Pictures from Hungary
Our Motorcycles
Minutiae
Misc. Photos
Russian
I Return to Hungary in 1972
We Take Catherine to Hungary
1987 - The Beginning of the End of Cherry Hill
Notable People
Our Life

We Get Married in 1968

While my career was being shaped my relationship with Mary and the kids was developing as well. I bought a 1960 Rambler American (faded British racing green, baby!) with which I traversed the New Jersey Turnpike more often than I can count, traveling between Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey. While I worked second shift I drove to Trenton after work, saw Mary for an hour or so, then slept in the car and saw her again in the morning. The car’s front seats reclined all the way to make a somewhat comfortable bed. Once I caught a bad cold which was bad enough that Mary wouldn’t let me sleep in the car, so I got the couch. Her mother was furious the next morning and told me she didn’t want me sweating on her couch. 

I was going home on the New Jersey Turnpike one afternoon, when I noticed an unusual car coming up fast behind me. When it got closer I saw the big trident in the middle of the grill. It was a Maserati! Then I saw that it was Wilt Chamberlain behind the wheel all hunched over. He didn’t look comfortable at all but he was driving the Maserati and playing for the Seventy Sixers basketball team.

Then one night when Mary and I went driving we parked to talk and necked a little. It was then that she got tired of waiting for me and she asked ME to marry HER. I happily accepted. We had our wedding on June 1, 1968 in Willingboro, New Jersey in a Methodist Church. There were very few people invited and after we were pronounced “man and wife”, I cried many tears of happiness. John Ferguson was my best man. He had a full-sized Chevy convertible in which he chauffeured us around. There were very few people at the wedding and the reception, none of us had any money. Owen Duffy and Jerry
Branco came down from New York.

After the ceremonies
Norman and Dolores Fox, Michelle with Elsie, Mary and I, Catherine
and Don Harrison with
baby.
A deer caught in a headlight and a s**t-eating grin Mary, I, Elsie, Don and Mary's brother Ty.
Posing in front of the Methodist church. Notice the "Ginzery stance"
inherited from my father.
Our version of the famous Grant Wood painting American Gothic.
We didn't have a pitch fork at the time.
John Ferguson's car

We rented a small, three-bedroom house in Levittown, Pennsylvania. A short time later we moved into another rented house, slightly bigger and in 1969 into a four-bedroom, two-bath house on Quincy Drive. An interesting, albeit useless fact is that we had TV cable from the first day of our married life. The coax entered the house from the pole into an A and B splitter.  The A side had all the Philadelphia stations, while the B side had most of the New York City stations. This is the reason we got to Mary and I in the backyard in Farmbrook.  We still look at each other like this.watch the first-ever live performance telecast from the Metropolitan Opera of Giacomo Puccini’s La BohemeRenata Scotto sang Mimi and Luciano Pavarotti was Rodolfo. It was a memorable performance by both. The whole family watched (there was only one TV downstairs, so we all watched the same program) and a few members even enjoyed it. Mary bought me the entire opera on vinyl, which came with a booklet containing the entire score in both Italian and English. Catherine actually listened to the whole opera, following each line.  Ask her now and she'd probably deny it, especially if you asked her in front of husband Don.

His camera was always within close proximity.Mary had a short errand to run one day, so assignments were given to the children to make sure they were busy during her absence. The boys’ task was to rake leaves. When I arrived home from work and drove up the driveway, I saw the boys with some matches in their hand. I could tell they were trying to light the dry leaves they raked under the carport. As soon as they saw me they tried to hide the matches, so they knew they were doing something wrong. I parked the car in the driveway and while walking over to them I decided that a severe punishment was necessary to make sure they don’t even think about doing something this stupid and dangerous. I calmly told them what I thought they were doing wrong and why. Then I told them that they were going to get the
haardestpunishment of their lives. I made Roger get my father’s old riding crop and they each got whacked on their behinds a couple of times. I gave them each a hug and all was fine.

The first time my parents came for a visit we lived in a three-bedroom rancher. The rooms were very small and of course the American ceiling height is 8 feet, as opposed twelve in their apartment in Budapest. I never thought about it but they must have felt very claustrophobic. The other thing was that, to my knowledge, they never slept in one bed. Yes, just like Lucy and
Desi. Due to space limitations they shared a bed while they stayed with us. Of course they never said a word. 


We spent a lot of time playing cards. They taught Mary and me how to play bridge and were typically paired males against females. Most of the time the males won but there were a few times when the females were victorious. Every time that happened we proved over and over again that they were bad winners and that we were very poor losers. Sometimes the night ended prematurely when the females won too many times but all was well the next day and we’d start all over again.


When we didn’t play bridge it was solitaire with two decks of cards. It was very addicting and there were many weeknights when it was after midnight and my father was still saying “One more. Then we’ll go to bed.” 

There were trips that we took by car. We visited the Martonfalvays in Jackson Heights in Queens, we took them back to There was much love in our family.Brooktondale and Ithaca. We visited a Hungarian couple who lived in-between Brooktondale and Ithaca. He was a horticulturist and worked for Cornell University. His passion was playing bridge, so my parents played with them. He had a habit of taking a long time in making tactical decisions, all the while saying “Life is difficult!” (Nehéz az élet). At my mother's request we always had to visit the pigs on Cornell property and ogle the latest batch of piglets with their huge mother. Whenever in Ithaca we always had ice cream at the Purity ice cream store to sample their vast assortment of flavors. My mother could never pronounce the name Purity and we always enjoyed her trying and laughed a lot at her expense. It wasn't until my Hungary trip that I discovered that the Hungarian ice cream flavors tasted sooooo much better. The fruit flavors tasted exactly like the fruit they contained.

We took them to Sarasota, Florida several times. The first trip was in Mary’s mother’s car, which had no air conditioning. My parents and the five of us were in the car and it was brutally hot, worse as we got closer to Florida. I remember stopping in Georgia somewhere on Route 301 (Interstate 95 did not exist in all of Georgia) to fill up. The thermometer at the gas station She was always ready to clown around.read 103 in the shade. Luckily we had a small cooler with us with some cool water in it. Mary dipped a wash cloth into the water and put it around our necks to keep us cooler.

Once we got to Florida I was fine and lived to be out in the sunshine. I could, and did, lay on the sand at the beach for hours.

There was a large faction of Hungarians in Sarasota. My uncle, Frank
Padar, was the president of the Hungarian club. One Hungarian couple owned a hotel and perchance my parents were there for the official opening of their pool. One of the pictures taken of the pool showing my parents lounging at poolside became the picture on the official postcard offered to all hotel guests for years to come.

It was the first year Disney World opened and my parents were in Sarasota. A Hungarian teacher’s class had planned a trip to there and due to a late cancellation there were a couple of openings. My parents were asked if they wanted to go. Neither really knew anything about Disneyworld but my mother accepted right away. When my father learned that they were to travel on a school bus in which no smoking was allowed, he declined. That night when my mother arrived back home and raved about all the sights and sounds she had experienced my father was really disappointed. My mother talked about those experiences to many people and for years thereafter.


 

1969 - Off to Cherry Hill


The twenty years I spent in Cherry Hill were the best years of my working career.  I had more fun, worked with, and for, more nice people than anywhere else, resulting in decades-long friendships.  A group of twenty-plus friends and acquaintences still attend the yearly reunions.

The datacenters were named Information System Center / New York (ISC/NY) and ISC/WC for West Coast. They were thriving, so much so that a third was to be opened, this one in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. It was called ISC/SJ for South Jersey.


Next thing I know I was given a promotion to Shift Leader with a 15% salary increase and was transferred to Cherry Hill. Owen Duffy said he thought I would happier with a shorter commute. He was absolutely correct!

My new workplace was located right across the Cherry Hill Mall, the first mall in the country. They were separated by an always-busy multi-lane Route
An early picture of the RCA Cherry Hill facility. In the foreground is Building 207, directly behind is 205; to the left is 203. At the top of the lower parking lot is a little white structure. It was intended to be a bus stop, I think. This is where I parked my motorcycle during the days I commuted on it. Directly behind that is 204, where I finished my days in Cherry Hill. Behind 204 was building 202 and to the right of that was 201. On the other side of the row of trees at the top of the picture is the Cherry Hill Inn.
38. There was a pedestrian bridge built to enable us to walk to the mall on nicer days. The RCA facility was built on, I’m guessing, at least fifty landscaped acres, with mostly grassy areas and hundreds of huge trees. Employees of other RCA facilities in the area referred to it as “The Country Club”. The Cherry Hill Inn was right next door and served as an overnight resting place for many visiting the RCA facilities. The Cherry Hill Inn was a famous landmark and I had spent many enjoyable hours playing tennis on their courts with Bob Schreiber, Bob Carelli, Al Hazell and Ginny Davis. 

The park-like RCA Corporate Staff facility consisted of multiple buildings, all connected to each other and were designated as 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206 and, ours, 207. Building 207 was built specifically for the datacenter and when I first arrived at the facility, it was not quite complete, so much so that I had climbed up a ladder leaned against the awning for the front entrance (which was not in place yet) and walked on top of the awning, through an open window, into the building.

For the first two weeks until the building was finished a few of us worked in the RCA facility in Camden, New Jersey. This was the birthplace of RCA and Nipper whose huge statue graced one of the red brick buildings. All the buildings here were very old. The curtains smelled very musty. Each room had a window air conditioner and I couldn’t wait for our center to be finished. I worked with Andy Gattuso (a man I respected very much), and Cathy Johnson. It is here that I met Norm Katz and Bill Ewer, who ran the Camden computer center. Bill Ewer transferred over to Cherry Hill a couple of years later and became my supervisor.

I was one of three shift supervisors, sharing the thirty-plus operators. RCA was consolidating computer centers into large computer centers to save the corporation much money by eliminating duplicate equipment, people, effort, etc. It was nice being on this end, for we didn’t feel the pain of all the people who’ve been laid off because of this effort. 

Our computer room was nicely filling up with computers and other equipment and the work was starting to trickle in. It didn’t, however arrive at the anticipated pace for which all those operators were hired, so one of our initial tasks was to select the operators to let go. This was a difficult task for me because during the few weeks we were together, favorites have been established, some of whom had to go. We got through it, though and, as always, life went on.

 

We all had to wear jacket and ties during working hours and the computer room was a showcase. The white walls and the almost antiseptic air-conditioned environment reminded one of an operating room. There were guards at the two entrances and no unauthorized access was permitted. As a new facility it was shown off to groups of visitors from other RCA locations and I am sure, we were the envy of many, further living up to the name of “country club”. There was a wall of glass in the main lobby on the second floor through which the computer room could be seen.

I was working on the third shift when a couple of the operators, Bill Hughes and Tom Fatale bought motorcycles. Bill’s was a Honda 350 and Tom bought a Honda 450. I remember thinking how BIG these machines were! One night they both drove them to work and once we got all our work done and it was light out, they offered to take people on rides in the parking lot. Another operator, Lemuel
Newmus, sat behind Tom and they took off. Lem got scared and he was yelling like a banshee to put an end to the ride. This, of course, spurred Tom on to go even faster. The access road in the parking lot was rather close to a development and the ruckus awakened some of the people and before long we had to put an end to the fun. Luckily, no reprimands were needed. As Bill was coming in for a “landing” heading for the main entrance to the building, he misjudged his speed and panicked and hit one of the metal posts supporting the awning over the entrance. That dent stayed there for decades. He was shaken up, so I offered to follow him home.

The RCA facilities are just to the right.  Building 201 is visible.
An early aerial picture of the Cherry Hill Mall in the background. One Cherry Hill Mall, a tall office building my mother-in-law worked in, has not been built yet. The buildings in the foreground comprised the Cherry Hill Inn. The RCA 201 Building is all that's visible of the RCA complex.
By this time I had lusted after Porsches for years, thanks mostly to my friend John Ferguson and that ride in his Speedster. Mary would nightly peruse the local paper’s used car section to see if there was one for sale. There either wasn’t or it was out of our price range. One night she called me excitedly and told me that a small car dealership not too far from home had one for sale. I couldn’t wait to come home from work and Mary and I drove to the dealer. We left the kids at home to fend for themselves. It was after 1 AM when we searched for the car in the lot. It wasn’t there but a couple of policemen were and they wanted to know what we were doing there. They politely told us to come back after the sun came up, so we did. Turns out the owner drove it home that night and later, when his son found out that we were interested in buying it, he was very disappointed. So we bought the car, a 1969 Porsche 911T. Compared to American cars it was expensive at $5700. We postponed buying a house for this car! This took place at a time when the term “foreign car” was always said with as healthy dose of disdain; always scoffed at and looked down upon. The standard comment to the price was “How can you pay so much money for such a little car?” to which my comment was always “This is not bologna. I didn’t buy it by the pound!”

The access roads at work around the parking lots were oftentimes the favorite route to take people for test rides. I took my current boss at the time, Jim Lawless, for a ride. I always made sure the passenger wore the seat belt. After exiting Route 38 there was a short straight of a few hundred feet. Building 201 where the big money-makers resided occupied that beautifully furnished building. As you headed straight for it, you had a choice of going left toward 207 or to the right. The car was going at a pretty good clip by this time, so a turn in either direction was exciting. I usually turned left (there were speed-bumps to the right) and went straight for a few more hundred feet, still accelerating. There was a wonderful 90 degree right-hander at the end and taking this at 40 or more really got the passenger excited. After this was the back-straight and by now we’re whizzing by Buildings 204, then 207, still gaining speed. In sight was the road going straight, with Chapel Avenue just out sight and the water tower to the right. But before that, shortly after 207 was a not-quite 90-degree right turn, which most of my passengers didn’t even look at, thinking that we were going straight. I took that right-hander with Jim sitting next to me. Actually he wasn’t quite sitting, he was trying to stand up by this time. When we turned to the right he was yelling at the top of his lungs from the surprise and the excitement. He was the most fun of anybody I’ve taken for a test-ride in the Porsche.
 
My office in 206. Jeanette Wood was next door, Bowker, Kellum around the corner.   My cubicle while supporting CICS for Greg Kelley.  
 I shared this office with John Graebner.  My office in 206. Jeanette Wood was next door, Bowker, Kellum around the corner.  They made us abandon single offices in favor of cubicles. This one was in Bldg. 206.  What a waste of paper those system dumps were!! Notice the "G" in the window.
       
 This is the RCA 501 computer. This was the bigger of two at Fidelity with a capacity of 77K!   Some of my co-workers in front of Building 207:

In the front from left: “Reds” our janitor, Gerry Cooney, Dave Dobish, Cathy Johnson, Dennis Huebschman, and Donna Pease.

In the back: Lois McKenna, Forrest “Smokey” Smoker, Bill Ewer, Greg Kelley, Jay Hurst and Jack Bannan.

 There was always troublle when those three got together.
 Another Cherry Hill landmark gone forever: the Garden State track.   Al Docimo and Kathy Cheyne-Hamilton in front of the 207 building.  The RCA "golfball" was a local landmark for many years.

Some time later I took my new boss, Bill Ewer, for a ride. He was quite impressed but didn’t say much about the ride. Afterwards he asked if he could drive it. The car had a five-speed transmission at a time when that was rare, so I felt obliged to tell him at least that fact about the car. He thanked me and we both got in and buckled our belts. Next thing I know he slammed it into first gear, popped the clutch and in a cloud of tire smoke, he shifted into second weaving around parked cars in the parking lot. Then before I had time to tell to park it, he did and said it was nice a little car. It was only later that I found out he used to drive stock cars. It was pay-back time and now I knew how Jim Lawless felt sitting next to me.

I loved that car. It was my daily commute in all kinds of weather, including snowy days. Rear engine, rear-wheel-drive is a good combination for traversing slippery roads and I never had any problems. That part of New Jersey never sees much snow, so people don’t bother with snow tires. They also don’t know how to drive in these conditions, which can be a deadly combination. Haddonfield Road was always very icy on a section that was slightly up-hill. People would try to make it but would get stuck halfway up, preventing the next person from trying it. I loved motoring past these people in the car, just to see the expression on their faces. Route 295, a major six-lane highway was another trouble-spot for some people. When it snowed the snowplow only removed the snow from the right lane-and-a-half, leaving the left lane for me. I never slowed down.

By the way, I took the aerial pictures when a man named Ken, who worked for the NBC Elections, took me up in a single-engined plane, after I bugged him for months. I had to call Mary to ask her to bring my camera bag so I could take these. I am glad I did.




Our First Motorcycle, the
Benelli

A few years back we had a little 50cc Benelli, which we purchased at a Grant’s department store in New Jersey. For the time we had it we enjoyed it very much. Oftentimes both Mary and I would ride it on the streets of Levittown. I never bothered with a license; in fact I don’t know that you had to have one for such a small vehicle. 

We bought a carrier that fit on the car’s bumper and the two of us could lift it high enough for the wheels to fit in the carrier. We quite often took it to Washington’s Crossing State Park in New Jersey, where there was enough room to go as fast as it could go. The little bike was an on and off-road motorcycle, possessing a headlight as well as knobby tires. During this time Mary’s brother, Ty had a 250 cc BSA and Mary’s younger sister, Sharon’s husband, Don had a 305 cc two-stroke Yamaha.

Ty bought the BSA in Burlington, New Jersey, across the Delaware River from Levittown. He didn’t have a motorcycle license at the time, so he asked me to drive it home for him. I agreed, even though I didn’t have a license myself. Driving it home meant traversing the infamous Burlington-Bristol Bridge. This bridge was very narrow, it had a metal grade surface and at the Pennsylvania end of it there was a 90-degree turn. As you approached this turn, all you could see was the twenty-something-foot wall, giving you extra incentive to make that turn. The bridge was so narrow that once I followed a truck whose driver got a little too close to the center and his mirror was knocked off by another truck coming the other way. 

The BSA was a great-looking motorcycle. Unfortunately, it only had a kick-starter. After successfully navigating across the bridge I arrived at the first traffic light, which happened to be red. Once the light turned green I let the clutch out too fast and stalled it. I quickly jumped off it and pushed it to the side, feeling embarrassed, of course. The kick-starter was on the right side and every time I kicked it the inside of my right calf caught the filler cap of the oil tank. This was starting hurt me after a while but before any blood was shed, the engine finally came to life. The rest of the trip was uneventful but I subcontiously vowed not to buy a motorcycle with only a kick-starter.

One weekend we were at the park I mentioned before, having a wonderful time. The guys were having such a great time that the women wanted to join in. My wife, Mary mounted the Benelli and took off like a pro, quickly disappearing over the hilly horizon. By the way, we were not on public roads, but rather in a grassy field. We waited for her to come back but there was no sign of her. Finally I took off to find her. I did, she was laying on the ground, pinned by the weight of the motorcycle. Luckily, the muffler didn’t burn her and only her pride was bruised a little.   

Sharon arrived wearing new “motor-sickle pants, motor-sickle boots and a motor-sickle jacket”, which she proudly modeled for us. Remember that this was right after we all went to see the movie “Easy Rider” in the drive-in. Sharon even shed a few tears when the main characters were killed at the end. Our theme song became “Get Your Motor Runnin’” from the movie. Mary and I painted the walls in Catherine’s bedroom shortly afterwards and as we started I painted a likeness of a chopper on one of the walls. I made a mistake of letting it dry after which it required multiple coats of paint to cover it before you couldn’t see it anymore. 

Anyway, Sharon wanted to ride the motorcycle. A few short instructions were given to her and she was ready. She revved up the engine too much, popped the clutch and took off with legs flailing, heading for a clump of bushes, which she successfully plowed into, going over the handlebar. Luckily, only her pride was hurt, but, to my knowledge, she never mounted another motorcycle. Sharon’s new theme song now was “Spirit in the Sky”.

The next chapter is:

Russian 






Welcome
About Us
Mary's Bio
Our Trips
Geza's Bio
Our Life
Pictures from Our Trips
Pictures from Hungary
Our Motorcycles
Minutiae
Misc. Photos