Artifact: Photographs of Patricia Geyelin, Garry Moore, and Sandy Geyelin, circa 1938, 1953, and early 1960s.

Description: Maggie Hays talks about three photographs – one of her mother Patricia Geyelin at age 17 in 1938; one of Maggie’s older sister on the high dive in 1953; and one of Maggie’s mother Patricia with celebrity Garry Moore on a boat in the early 1960s.

Oral History:

Oral History Transcription:

History Harvest Oral History with Maggie Hayes (MH). Interviewed by Tim Garrity (TG) at the Sound Schoolhouse on August 24, 2018.

TG: Maggie, thank you for coming. Tell me about the three photographs you’ve brought us.

MH: The first one is my mother, Patricia Geyelin, and she is sitting in the Northeast Harbor Tennis club in a dress and heels, so she is obviously not going to play tennis with her dog on her lap.  She is looking very coquettish and she’s 17 years old. It’s 1938. The dog is Michael, apparently; that’s on the back. She loved dogs.  Her family had Copper Beeches [the cottage] that they bought 1920 and she was born in 1921, so she came up all her life at Copper Beeches at the corner of Joy and Manchester, right across from Joy’s corner. There used to be Branscom’s Coal and Wood right across the street, and that’s how you’d always describe where you were. Copper Beeches is still there, still looks pretty much [the same].

TG: Would you tell me something about your mom at age 17?

MH: I wish I knew more about her at 17. I think she wasn’t into schooling. She ended up getting tuberculosis and she had to go into a sanitarium. When my uncle got it, he got to go to Switzerland to the sanitarium, and mother had to stay in New York –– that’s where she was raised –– and go a sanitarium for at least a year. I think she was probably over it by then and I think she was pretty young when she got tuberculosis, so she never went on to college or anything else. Education was never her strong point.

I think there are pictures of my uncle in Switzerland in his sanitarium, when he had tuberculosis. It always irritated her that he got to go to Europe and she was stuck in the states, so I’m not positive.

My father died so there wasn’t much talking about the past. She married Daddy in 1945 and he had just been commissioned in the Army. He was a doctor. I have wonderful wedding pictures of both of them. They met up here and they got engaged, like “within a week”-type thing. She just adored that man. And he adored her. But then he went off to war. He was a doctor at the Battle of the Bulge and Dachau. And he came back just a wreck.

You know, he never really got over it and, so, he killed himself in 1958. Yeah, yeah, and mom — you know, in those days we were never told. We were told he died of a heart attack. There’s a big article in the paper, because he was sort of a well-known doctor in the area of Philadelphia, and it said he died “giving himself a shot.” She really mourned him forever. She had lots of beaus because she was quite lovely, but nobody until Victor. It was really cute. We had came back from St. Maarten, Mom and I — and as Victor said, I was very hungover — and we’re waiting in Puerto Rico for our flight to Philadelphia. I was at the University of Denver at this point, and I had taken the whole quarter off so we could do the six weeks down in St. Maarten. And so we’re sitting there waiting for the flight and she looked over, she goes:“I think that’s Victor Drexel and I think his wife just died.” And then Victor looked over and his eyes just lit up and as he says, “Maggie was very hungover.” And I was, I was just like “throw up and get me.” So on the plane ride to Philadelphia, he kept coming back [to our aisle] to visit. Mother was all agog. And they went out the next night and decided they were going to get married.

So 13 years after Daddy died, she got married and 30 years they were happily married.

TG: What was your father’s name?

MH: Lincoln, Lincoln Godfrey. The Godfrey’s house was right next to St. Mary’s church and that was in their family even longer than Copper Beeches was. I had all the grandparents’ old furniture, and down in the basement I found this old crappy bureau thing. I opened it a few years ago and there was this folder and it was all my father’s papers, [which were] sent to him in 1944. All his medical degrees and his residency. He was supposed to send a postcard saying he received it all, but everything was totally intact. Nothing was touched since 1944. So it was very cool. I took it down to Gail’s studio and she did a beautiful job of framing it all and put the letter and everything on the backs of everything. It was just really cool. I gave it to my son, because he’s a doctor and his middle name is Godfrey.

TG: Tell me about the next photograph, the girl on a diving board.

MH: So this is my sister, my older sister. She wasn’t the bravest soul so I can’t believe she’s on the high dive. Back in the day, you know, Mr. Jordan used to do a Sunday dive off the high dive. She was horrified on the high dive, but it looks like Sandy hasn’t quite gone off it yet.

This is 1953. Yeah, she was like five and we were all good swimmers. She would die if she knew I had brought this. I think she would love it. Isn’t that fun? Sandy still lives in Bryn Mawr. She was married to a beautiful, beautiful gentleman and he had gotten very badly hurt in the Korean War. He died ten years ago, maybe. He was just so special and so wonderful. He’d had his stomach removed from his injuries in the Korean War but he was just a lovely man.

Sandy has one son, Sam. Sam is heaven on earth. I love Sam. He had a big wedding two years ago. So she’s good. She’s fatter than fat and don’t tell her I said that.

TG: Oh, it’s just going on the web.

MH: She’d be the first to tell ya. She gave up drinking but she didn’t give up smoking.

And this one is Garry Moore. Garry’s real name is Garrison T. Morfit. He and my mother are out on the water together and I’m sure this is Mr. and Mrs. Newhall they’re old old Northeast Harbor families. This is early 1960s, I guess. Garry Moore was one of the nicest men in the whole world, and he was very short and he’d always make fun of himself and he’d come over and make us all stand back to see if he was taller than any of us, and he rarely was. But they just had such good time and his wife was divine and she died of lung cancer. Anyway, yeah. So they just…. Mother had a great time. She had a great sense of humor, and she didn’t play sports but both her brothers did.

I wish I could think of more funny Mother’s stories.

Her mom died two weeks after my father died. She was brought down from New York in an ambulance and she died two weeks later after Daddy. So it was quite a Christmas, “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Frickin’ Christmas,” you betcha. And we did go wild at Christmas. My poor husband. He was raised really poor and his whole thing was, “If ‘ifs and buts’ were candies and nuts, what a Merry Christmas we’d all have.”
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