Note: N1 Joseph Alexander Cook (1888-1972) Aleck and Louise’s son was called Alec by family, and then Joe by his school friends. According to a note in the Book of Days of Louise Crane Cook, his mother, "27 November 1901 Aleck put on long pants (for the first time) with a new suit the day before Thanksgiving. " (At age 13!) Since he was only 14 when his mother died after a long illness, to a large extent Alec was brought up by his three older sisters and was used to being told what to do and when to do it. Alec/Joe and Marion Fenimore Engle (1889-1980) married in 1912 and for a few years lived in Newark. Before 1920 they moved back to Montclair to raise their three daughters in the family home, along with father C. Aleck and sister Aunt Ginny. Alec had majored in Greek at Princeton, but that wasn’t very applicable to supporting a family. Alec worked in New York City as a salesman for a paper supply company, and then as a traveling salesman in New Jersey for a rubber products company. His World War I Draft Registration Card is dated June 5 1917 and lists his occupation as ‘Salesman for West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, 200 Fifth Ave New York’ It states that he was married with two children 3 years old and 3 months old. Money was always tight, and during the depression in the 1930’s, in order to help out financially, the extra bedrooms were rented to boarders, and the guest parlor was set aside for their use. There were still boarders in the 1950’s. When Aunt Ginny died in 1954 the big house at 100 Park Street was sold. Today the house consists of doctors' offices and apartments. The wide front porch and side porch were removed, and it is now painted blue instead of white; it looks quite different from the big white house I remember. In 1953 Alec and Marion moved a dozen blocks away to 350 North Fullerton in Upper Montclair, where they lived for about 25 years. That is the house I visited as a child and then lived there off and on while in school. The house expanded to hold children and grandchildren for many holidays and welcomed whoever was able to come visit, or even to live for a year or two. There was a bountiful flower garden lovingly tended by Alec and a huge tree, which provided shade for outdoor garden meals. Alec had a crowded workshop in the basement where he could fix or make anything. And he had shelves and jars and drawers of string or paper or screws or wood, saved to be used when needed. He was a gifted gardener and spent many happy hours outside growing all kinds of flowers. When his children were growing up he also had a large vegetable garden, including sweet corn. Corn on the cob was a specialty in that household; it was always extremely fresh because ‘you didn’t pick the ears to eat until the water was boiling.’ Over the years he had various cats and they always attached themselves to him especially. He would put out some cat food, if the cat didn't like it, he'd put it back in the can and put out a different kind. Alec had an aquarium on his desk, and the cats would sprawl across the desk watching the fish. Alec would be working on his stamp collection and contentment was the word of the day. For many years Marion did not allow alcohol in the house, but in Alec’s desk drawer was a bottle of Wild Turkey, which was shared only with special visitors, like beaus visiting a granddaughter. Marion probably knew, but never said a word of protest. Marion ruled the roost, but Alec got along by getting along, never arguing. He was a talented craftsman and could fix anything. His small workshop in the basement turned out four doll beds for his granddaughters for Christmas 1954, while Marion made the bedding. Alec and Marion also reupholstered their own furniture. Alec and Marion often entertained and enjoyed playing bridge with friends; Alec never counted a point, but had great card sense and played very well. He taught the grandchildren to play Canasta, Samba, and Bolivia and many happy evenings were spent around the card table. Alec was not a great earner, but he was a canny spender. His knowledge of all the streets and roads in that part of NJ, allowed him to avoid paying the tolls on the Garden State Parkway. He would get off, go around, and get back on. He would check the grocery store sales listed in the newspaper and go to each store that offered the bargain he wanted, often visiting three or four different stores for a single shopping trip. When finally ready to retire from household chores, about 1969, they moved to a comfortable retirement apartment at the Navesink House in Red Bank, New Jersey. It was very hard for Alec to give up his home and garden and cats to move to a retirement home. He was relatively healthy, in spite of having smoked Camels for over fifty years, but he was too old to drive safely; most of their friends had either moved or passed away; and Marion wanted to move, so they did. He was his usual charming self and made many new friends, played cards, and puttered in the communal garden. In 1972 he developed “plumbing problems,” (most likely prostate complications,) and died in January 1973. Marion died seven years later in 1980. Alec and Marion are buried in the Shrewsbury Meeting House graveyard and are remembered with two dogwood trees, one pink and one white. His daughters and grandchildren all missed his comforting presence very much. From Family History Stories January 2017 Bonnie L Hamilton __________________________ Note in Book of Days of Louise Crane Cook, his mother : "27 November 1901 Aleck put on long pants with a new suit the day before Thanksgiving. " (age 13!) In 1909 Joseph Alexander Cook, Joe to his classmates, graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Greek. In 1974 one of his classmates put together and published "One Hundred Memorials, The class of 1909 Princeton University." In the introduction is stated: "To the extent that the memorials celebrate the lives and accomplishments of more than a hundred different men, each born in the late 1800's and each a member of the class of '09, the book reflects in microcosmic form a small fragment of Princeton's history and of the history of this country." This tribute was printed originally in the Princeton Alumni Weekly. "Joe Cook, who joined our Advance Guard on January 23, 1972 was the very embodiment of loyalty and affection. He dearly loved his wife and his three girls and the husbands and all the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren, and they certainly did love him. The class of 1909 came next. At reunions and all class gatherings, large and small, Joe was always there. He did not make much noise but he was probably the best loved man in the class. Everyone knew just where Joe stood for all time - he was for his family and he was for us and for Princeton. That was it. When the great book is closed and we have all gone to our reward, Joe will stand out as one of our best. The rest of the story about Joe is mere detail. He was born in Montclair, New Jersey January 11, 1888, prepared at Montclair High School, graduated from Princeton A. B. He married Marion Fenimore Engle of Newark, New Jersey on June 19, 1912. They had to wait until after reunion to get married. The three girls, Peggy, Marion and Betty, were Joe's pride and joy. Peggy married a Haverford chemist. Marion was invited to West Point in June a long time ago and she took Betty along for a blind date. Joe relished the story of how the two girls snared two wonderful future husbands before they came home. Later on as the two Lieutenant Colonels traveled all over the world on their tours of military duty Joe and Marion caught up with them here and there and as many as could crowd into a Volkswagon sallied forth. And then the excitement of a grandson as a West Pointer and another one graduating from the Air Force Academy. Joe's cup was full to overflowing. And when the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary it was at Ft Monroe, Virginia, where Betty and her Lieutenant Colonel were stationed. There isn't much more to say about Joe. He was a good salesman and he worked hard but he cut loose from employers as soon as he could and did all right. When circumstances were propitious he quit working, sold the car and the house in Montclair and moved with Marion to a nice little apartment in Navesink House, a retirement home in Red Bank, New Jersey, where they made friends and lived happily until Joe became ill, went to the hospital and it was all over. We never shall forget Joe. To Marion Sr, Mrs. Henry Tomkinson (Peggy) U of Delaware '36 of Sayreville, New Jersey, Mrs Chester R Ladd (Marion, Jr) Wellesley '38 of Westtown, Pennsylvania, Mrs Charles R Hill (Betty) of Colorado Springs, to his 10 grandchildren and his 6 great-grandchildren, all of whom survive, the class extends its profound and heartfelt sympathy." World War I Draft Registration Card June 5 1917 Salesman for West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company 200 Fifth Ave New York, York married with two children 3 years and 3 months
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