Edward B. Trombley
September 28, 1929 - December 22, 2020
Ed's funeral service will be celebrated on Saturday May 1, 12:00 PM at the funeral home, 1411 Vintage Lane (Between Rt. 390 & Long Pond Rd). All are asked to wear masks and hand sanitize at the funeral home.
BIOGRAPHY, NAVY STORIES AND OBSERVATIONS FROM PATRICIA
Biography of Ed Trombley
I was born in East Rochester, NY on a Saturday September 28, 1929 at 8:30 AM The doctor charged my father $5.00 and dad couldn't wait for my birth because he had to go to work. It was a second-floor apartment at Cedar Pl. In the winter the snow would accumulate on the window ledge [on the inside]. I already had two older sisters who were born in Syracuse. Eleanor and Marge, 1 and 2 years older. Eleanor was profoundly deaf but it wasn't discovered until she was almost two.
We moved from Cedar Place to Lincoln Road in East Rochester. I used to ride my "Harts" cart up and down the sidewalk. The cart was my mother's "station wagon". She used to put the 3 of us in it and go shopping about 4 blocks away in East Rochester. I remember the Hoselton Chevrolet dealer on Commercial St. He only had 1 car in the window. Now in 2003 he has 17 acres of cars on Fairport Rd.!
When we lived on Lincoln Road a runaway horse died in our driveway. It scared my mother but I don't remember it. The "Gum Caper" happened when I was less than 3 years old (according to sister Marge). A Congressman(?) Joe O'Brien lived nearby and he used to give the kids candy and gum (start us young). Myself, Marge and Eleanor went to his house one day and knocked on the door. When Joe opened the door, Marge asked him if he had any gum. Now we were tiny kids wandering the neighborhood! Mom had a fit when she found out.
We used to go to Hart's grocery store run by Mr. Clark. He was a wonderful man. He carried us on the books for many years. This was before credit cards and during
the Depression 1932-34. I would watch him with amazement while with a stubby #2 pencil he would add a column of figures on a brown paper bag. Years later when marge married and had kids, she was shopping at Star's market in Irondequoit when a man came up and called "Hello Punchy". He told Marge he was Mr. Clark from Harts. He was amazed that mom would send Marge to the store shopping at 4 years old. Mr. Clark said she was so tiny but liked to punch me!
We moved to Ivy St. when I was about 4. The photo of me holding the cat was taken there. All I remember was that our dog was sick. Grandpa Beloni took him down cellar and the dog died. We used to go to a store on Commercial St. for our food allotment and they had small alligators in the window. My mother used to tell me to play with them. Years later I wondered about that.
We moved again to 508 S. Garfield when I was 5 and lived there until I was 16. Grade school and high school was a living hell. I spent most of my time in the swamps with the gang. There was 14 of us and called ourselves "The Deadly Dozen" after a comic strip. Smart we wasn't! We went swimming in the Barge Canal and sometimes had to wait for a dead cow or deer to float by. Jumping of the bridge span was fun because you had to jump out far enough to miss the bridge walkway. Jumping off the locks by the spillway was scary. We would wait for a tug with barges to get close then jump, swim to the bank and get out of the water before the barges. That tug boat captain really used foul language! I had to cover my ears! My dog Bucky "a WWII war dog", would go with us sometimes and would stand on the bank barking at us. When I got home Bucky would go up to my mother crying and whining. My mother told me "it's a good thing Bucky can't talk!". During WWII PT boats would use the canal to get to the Hudson River.
During the early 1940's we used to play baseball across the street in the empty lot. This was real baseball not the stuff they play nowadays. We had no uniforms, no adults,
no mowed playing field, no equipment. And we made our own rules! 1st base was a rock. No catcher. The batter would catch the ball and hit it. Whoever caught the ball would have to roll it to home base (the bat) and hit it. If he did then it was his turn to bat. No arguments. One day a kid about our age was watching us. He was very pale and thin. But most unusual he was clean. I mean spotless, with nice neat clothes! He wanted to play baseball. We had never seen him before although he lived just down the street. We gave him some easy pitches. He could hardly lift the bat. After a few pitches his mother came running and yelling and took him home. We all stood still watching a truly sad child walk away. We never saw him again. My mother said he had heart trouble and died later on. Today it would be a simple operation to fix it. We made money by shoveling snow, sticking pins at the bowling alleys, working the farms for .35 cents per hour. All the young men were in the war. I worked at the car shops one summer. They stripped railroad refrigerator cars. It was the hardest and dirtiest job I ever had. But I made more money than my father. Sometimes they would find a dead body locked in the car! The smell would tell you not to open the door. When I came home from work my mother would make me go to the back-cellar door, stand in the washtub and clean myself.
I also worked at various grocery stores which was nice, clean and easy work. This was during the war. Cigarettes were 10 cents a pack or 90 cents a carton. Bread and milk 5 cents, movies at the Rialto 10 cents, Hershey bars 5 and 10 cents, city bus fare was $1 for a weekly pass. Graduated from East Rochester high school (just barely) in 1947. I know I flunked English but my teacher was also my track coach and football coach so he probably gave me a 65. Best teacher I ever had! We already lived in the city of Rochester in 1947 and I went to work at the Times Union newspaper for 18.75 per week as a copy boy. I could have had a job for over $40 a week but it was more fun. I knew all the news people of the day and helped set up the noon radio news. The reporters gave me free passes to all the movies, fights and wrestling matches. My press pass would get me in any door. It was a great time to be 17 years old! I was the 1st one to know the news since I ran the teletype machines from all the news services.
I then distributed it to the city financial sports or society editors. The sports photographer once snapped a picture of a star basketball player sitting on the john. It was in the paper showing him from the chest up! Cute! Then in Aug.1948 I did the dumbest of dumb things in my entire life- I joined the @#$% Navy! (delete bad word) I signed on for 3 years but Pres. Truman tacked on another year because of the Korean War. The wanted me to be a parachute rigger(you pack a parachute and jump out of an airplane). I was dumb but I wasn't stupid. So, I became an aviation mechanic because my father was a machinist at Gleason Works(go figure). I slept thru most of the classes (I can sleep standing up with my eyes open, honest). On the final exam which included one week on jet engines, we had to draw the fuel system of a F4F fighter. I didn't know it, so I drew a picture of a 1930 Ford model A gravity feed system with wings. I passed!!!!!!! Another test we had was at the air field in Memphis full of thousands of WWII fighter planes. Our test was to pick out a plane, work on it, and start it up. I picked out a fairly good one(not too many bullet holes), cleaned the engine, swept the cockpit....etc. I got in and it started immediately. I gunned the engine and tried to jump the blocks holding the wheels. I was going to taxi it down the runway but the chief ran over and pulled me out of the plane...but I passed! I didn't even have a driver's license yet.
Then we left Memphis and went to Corpus Christi, TX by train. I don't remember much about Texas except why would anyone want to live in such a god forsaken place. We were on the Gulf coast, 90 miles from Mexico, and it was snowing and the swimming pool froze. Tumbleweeds blew down the street. We were assigned to bases all over the world. A list was put on the wall with the best places (USA) first and losers last. Of 100 or so choices, Libya was last and Panama was next to last. The personality boys all got the type choices. I got Panama! It was like and action video game only live. And for over 2 years. It was my dark time.
My 4th year in the Navy was on a ship. I was assigned in Norfolk, VA and we immediately sailed for Panama. I am not a lucky person. We hit a big storm off Cape Hatteras and I was on the fantail all the time. Everyone down below was sea sick, including the captain so I stayed on deck and didn't get sick. It was night time and I was tied to the rear stanchion. I looked up and saw a giant, I mean BIG, wave way over my head. This was an old ship carrying 70,000 gallons of aviation fuel. One squeak and we were history but the wave didn't break. It lifted the ship up and with such force that I almost fell to my knees. Then we twisted and fell gently downward and then it was calm. Very strange! The next morning for breakfast the cooks had greasy pork chops. All the guys looked green and barfed again! I had 2 chops and they were very good!
I was discharged in July 1952. I was riding the train into Philadelphia and saw all the antennas on the roofs of homes and buildings. I asked the conductor what they were and he said for televisions. I had missed it all. I got home and burned all my stuff except for my Pea Jacket that I gave to Marge, one white hat to little Eddie Koehler, and the duffel bag to my mother to store rags. My rifle I kept but later sold it.
I ended one life and started another. It was difficult to get used to glass windows again since the tropics do not use them. Looked up some old friends but they were married, had ulcers and were changed persons. I went to the Rochester Business Institute for a few months but in February took off for Florida and drove cars for the rich tourists. A woman in a bar on Collins Ave wanted me to move in with her and she would get me a job at one of the ritzy hotels, the Fountainbleau. That didn't appeal to me so I drove a rich guy's big black Caddy convertible to Buffalo. This was before the super highways. Driving thru Georgia, I was very careful. You would see the chain gangs working on the roads. Mostly smart-mouth college kids. Never sass a Georgia trooper.
I was very restless and worked menial jobs, then I applied for a job with Stromberg-Carlson. Norm Fox, a wonderful person, hired me as an Accounts Payable Clerk stapling
receivers to invoices and posting them to ledgers. This was before computers. Eventually we merged with General Dynamics and I worked on the Apollo Space program and many other contracts for 17 years being promoted to Senior Financial Analyst.------------ ta-da ! now for the big finish
In March 1953 I went to a dance at the Rochester Business Institute on Clinton Ave. It was torn down many years ago. The dance was typicalin those days. The girls were all seated in chairs by the orchestra and the guys were all standing in the foyer by the front door bragging about what great lovers they were. What a bunch of losers. I walked in the RBI with my nice blue suit and blue suede shoes, walked up to a bunch of girls and asked the most beautiful girl in the place for a dance. It was Lee. When I went home that night, I told my mother that I met the girl I was going to marry.
When I first asked her to dance, she gave me a look that you can see on the drawing I had made by a local artist. You can see that drawing in our living room. 47 years later we still are complete opposites but I think that is why I love her. I needed someone to sit on me with some discipline. Let's hope we have many more years together. ------Ed Trombley 11-18-03
Panama stories-Navy Days, Korean War:
In no particular order by date or time. Just Dad telling me his stories and me writing them down. In Dad's words:
A Bit of Background:
I was a bit of a loaner and spent a lot of time in town. We didn't wear our uniforms in town. Always wore pants, never shorts though. Across from our barracks was a pool but I only swam in it once. We usually went to a private beach on the ocean and swam there, wearing neither pants nor shorts.
I only saw the canal once the whole time I was stationed in Panama. I grew up near the Erie Canal so canals were not a big deal for me. The PBM planes watched the canal and patrolled.
I worked on the planes while in the Navy in Panama. They would land in the water. I would swim out with a rope and use a tractor to pull the plane in and work on them on the bay. Planes were on submarine patrol all day. At night we would go into town to the bars and see Russian sailors. They were probably from the submarines the planes were looking for. We would buy them drinks because they never had any money. They always said they were "Norwegians", not Russian! Lying? The Norwegians had no Navy? I always wondered where they parked their submarines!
School Bus Guard
I had school bus duty for the Navy kids. The Admiral's kids sat up front on the bus. The kids knew the rank of their parents. One day one of the kids tried to bring an iguana on the bus. Another kid tried to bring panther kittens he had found on the bus. I told him no and wondered where the mom of those kittens was! Our driver was an old Panamanian who didn't talk much. The school was in the middle of the jungle. I did not carry a gun. I was more worried about the kids than getting attacked. While the kids were in school us guards would just sleep in a chair and rest. I never met the teachers.
We had a pet monkey that drank out of shot glasses at the bar. A coatimundi lived in the barracks in the overhead pipes. Everyone would feed him. There were parrots everywhere. At night you could hear the panthers in the jungle. They cried like human babies every night.
Not sure how or why I ended up in jail for a couple of hours. A mysterious American embassy guy came, got out an envelope out of his pocket, whispered to the jailer, handed him the envelope and then he turned to me and said "Next time I won't be able to help you". So, I was out and told to gather my things and get on a plane. I was dropped off in Jacksonville, Fl. I then took a train to Philly to meet up with my ship. At that time, I was a 3rd class Petty Officer. Got on my ship and immediately we headed right back to Panama. We first stopped in several ports, such as Puerto Rico and Haiti.
The town bartender had a cigar box on a shelf. It was full of marijuana cigarettes that he sold for 10 cents each. I only had one and thought it was dumb cause it did nothing for me.
My dad always had a joke and a smile! Everyone loved him. My friends all called him "dad". He was a man of varied interests.
Growing up he had his own darkroom equipment in the basement and loved taking and developing his own photos. He had a Canon 35 mm which I still have. My dad also took his video camera everywhere. All those VHS tapes!! He cataloged them all and would always "send a copy to Texas."
He loved camping with Ron and I in the early days of our marriage. We tent camped the Adirondacks with dad and the dogs and hiked several mountains. We always put our dog Nikita in his tent because she, like dad, was up at the crack of dawn. My dad never liked to dawdle. He was always up early and never late for anything.
Some of my best childhood memories are of us biking. One time we rode our bikes from our home on Carter Street all the way to the Port of Charlotte to see the tall ships. Another time while camping we rented a two- person bike, which was very cool.
He also enjoyed turning the garage into a family fun area, complete with a homemade ping pong table that he loved, and screens in place of the garage door!
One of dad's other loves was visiting his grandkids in Texas. He went as often as possible and his grandkids were his pride and joy. He tried to make every graduation and life event. My brother always enjoyed showing him the sites and I think he saw it all....downtown Dallas, Reunion Tower, Las Colinas, Kennedy Memorial, Dallas Zoo. So many good memories! It was also fun when the Texans came to visit them. How all those people fit and slept in that 900 square foot house I will never know but all were welcome. And there was always the obligatory trip to Niagara Falls or a Rochester museum to show the latest grandkid! Whenever out of town company arrived, all other plans were dropped so as to show the out of towners a good time!
When we bought a fixer upper farm in 2001, Dad was here every day that first winter working on it. He pretty much single handedly tore down our old barn. That was the winter we did not get much snow and he was able to work straight through.
Dad was so proud of our family history and genealogy. He was extremely well read and my brother would buy him the latest Civil War book every year for his birthday or Christmas.There were several genealogy trips with his sister Eleanor and I that felt like we were treasure hunting. When we found ancestral Civil War letters in a box in a Syracuse library, we all became extremely excited! Headstone hunting in Woodstock, Ontario was another great trip, complete with a tornado warning, reminding us eerily of a story we had read of our ancestors surviving one in that very location!