Remembering My Brother Walt
by Francis Lussier

My mother asked me to go and get Dr. Hoeyt and bring hin over as fast as I could. So on my little scooter I went pedaling to Dr. Hoeyt's office. I knew my mother had to be sick for me to go get the doctor. When I returned with the doctor, Ma asked me to wait out in the kitchen just in case the doctor needed me to possibly do some errand for him. Very shortly afterwards there was the cry of a baby. This was my brother Walt. He was born in the middle of one nice afternoon at 2 Highland Terrace, Needham, Massachusetts. This address was a 3 family house and we lived on the second floor.

Photo of Uncle Walter

Our family moved from North Needham to East Needham shortly after Walt's birth. Our moving was accomplished with the aid of Uncle Steve and Laurie with the Express truck. The only thing that was lost in the move was our cat, who jumped out of the truck.

Walt had a God Father whose name was Gus Oliver. Gus was a daredevil and had his own plane. He would walk the wings of his plane and stunt fly at different carnvals. He also had a trunk of gadgets and was quite a magician as well. He entertained us a lot especially during winter evenings. Gus was also famous for his crossingof Niagra Falls, hanging by his teeth biting a leather tong which was attached to a wooden pulley that rode on the cable suspended across Niagra Falls.

Somewhere around 1939 Walt wanted to start driving brother Ed's car, which was a 1935 Chrysler Airstream. At this point in timeWalt was not tall enough to see out the windshield with his feet in position for the clutch, brake and gas pedal. This one afternoonbrothers Walt and Ed came to pick me up at the Wellesly Country Club and take me home. Ed asked me if I wanted to see how Walt could drive. Sure enough Walt responded to all of Ed's commands. These commands were from starting the car and following the commands all the way home to Sherman Street. This went on for several months until Ed shipped out for the service.

Walt and I made a kayak one spring and had a lot of fun fishing, camping and trapping with this kayak. We would venture up the Charles River up to Mosquito Island and down to the Quinopiak area. On one of our trips up the river to go trapping for the weekend, we encountered a mishap about 2 hours after leaving Kendrick's Bridge. Somehow we acquired a severe cut through the canvas on something sharp. The cut turned out to be 3" long and 3" wide, and we were taking on water fast, Had to think fast. Remembered reading about repairing with pine pitch to patch a canoe. Some pine trees were spotted across the river to the east (now Mt. Ida College property). I explained to Walt why we had to paddle across the river for pine pitch. Didn't we paddle! What a relief when we hit the shore and emtied out our kayak a weekend of supplies, etc. Walt made a small fire while I looked for the pine pitch. I had to melt this pitch in something so I emptied my Prince Albert can and gathered pitch in the can. It took awhile to gather the pitchand now the test...will it work. We melted the pine pitch and ripped a hankerchief into pieces large enough to cover the entire cut snd placed the cloth and pitch in about 3 layers. We then tested it and resumed our trip. This patch lasted for years later.

Aunt Francis

At our Carter Street home Walt, Ed and I learned how to shoot Ed's .22 rifle. We used to do all the old tricks like lighting matches and putting candles out with the rifle. While we lived at Carter Steet there was a small field across the street where all of us would participate in one thing or another . Older brother Fred used to be there to pass the football and baseball. We used to have scrub games of most anything at this little field. One of Walr's favorite hobbies was shooting. He tried deer hunting a few times up in New Hampshire but never really enjoyed it.

I taught Walt how to trap fox which even today is an art according to today's Maine Sportswrites. We used to trap 4 - 5 of these animals each season. One of the best locations was at the base ofthe WBZ Television and Radiotower up in Webb's Woods. Another time I was showing Walt how to catch muskrats. This one morning we followed a fresh set of tracks to an old foot bridge crossing the brook. I took a peek under the bridge and sure enough there was a muskrat. I told Walt what I was going to do and I reached umder to get him. I got bit good right thru my good gloves.

Tapping maple trees for sap to make maple syrup was another one of our ventures. A couple of seasons we boiled down with Ma around 22 pints of syrup. Ma used to take us blueberrying and taught us the good mushrooms from the bad. We liked doing this even though we didn't eat them until later in life.

Walt was too young for the service for WWII and I remember him seeing me off on the train from Needham Square. Walt and Ma always wrote and I always remember a picture he had sent meof a hog he had raised during some part of the war. It was at least 6-700 pounds.

After the war Walt did some caddying at the Wellesley Country Club. Walt and Ed were great mechanics and would make a few extra dollars on weekends. As an example, they would take in a car that neede a complete engine job and strip it down on a Friday night. On Saturday morning they were first at the machine shopto have anything altered and then acquire new parts, bearings, etc. Before noon on Saturday they would start assembling the engine and usually finish by mid-afternoon on Sunday. This would enable them to put a few hours of slow time on the engine prior to the owners picking their car up at 5. Walt also worked at a custom auto body workshop up in Wellesly with the owner named Adam. They did beautiful repair work with custom lacquer painting. Some of these repairs were finished with as many as 10 coats of lacquer and each layer sanded by hand.

Walt went to work with me at the Woodbridge Country Club in Woodbridge, Connecticut. We roomed together for awhile in West Haven, Connecticut. Most every weekend we made it back to Needham for awhile. A year or so later, Walt attended the Turf School at the University of Massachusetts. His first job was to construct a driving range and putting greens. This was at the Newark Airport at a site that was supposedly the busiest road in the world. The range was used 24 hours a day. Later, airport expansion eliminated the range.

About this time in Walt's life he joined up with the SeaBees and served a few years in French Morrocco, Africa. This was with a heavy construction battallion. During this time Walt learned a lot about handling and running heavy equipment like bulldozers, etc. Ina few years, Walt, Ed and I started our golf courde construction operation. We built many courses together. Both Walt and Ed becake true artists with the bulldozers, scrapers, or whatever equipment they operated. Stephen Smith, Ralph Ajello and Ed Bis work for and with Walt at various times. they were all great people and skilled operators. Walt's construction of golf courses took him through Connecticut, Long Isaland, New York state, New Hampshire and 1 in Portugal for Bill Mitchell. Here are some of the golf courses constructed by Walt, Ed and I:

  • 1954 - Hyfield Country Club, Middlebury, Ct. 9 holes.
  • 1954 - East Hartford Golf Club, East Hartford, Ct. 9 holes
  • 1955 - Deercrest CC, Greenwich, Ct. 18 holes
  • 1957 - Village of Lake Success GC, Long Island, NY Reconstructed 18 holes
  • 1958 - Western Hills GC, Waterbury, Ct. 18 holes
  • 1960 - Harry B. Bronson CC, Huntington, Ct. 9 holes
  • 1960 - Great Hills CC, Seymore, Ct. 9 holes
  • 1961 - Riverview CC, Milford, Ct, 18 holes
  • 1962 - Prospect CC, Prospect, Ct. 9 holes
  • 1963 - MiddleField, Ct. 9 holes
  • 1964 - Stony Brook CC, Litchfield, Ct. 9 holes
  • 1964 - Twin Hills CC, Longmeadow, Mass. 19 holes
  • 1964 - Elmcrest CC, East Longmeadow, Ct. 18 holes
  • 1965 - Glastonbury Hills CC, Glastonbury, Ct. 18 holes
  • 1965 - Highland Greens CC, Prospect, Ct. 9 par 3 holes
  • 1966 - Heritage Village, Southbury, Ct. 18 holes
  • 1966 - Lakeover CC, Bedford Village, NY. 18 holes
  • 1967 - Woodhaven CC, Bethany, Ct. 9 holes
  • 1969 - Timberlin GC, Constructed greens and tees

Walt worked on many more golf courses rebuilding greens, tees, making ponds or whatever was wanted at numerous other course. Walt took over the Sleeping Giant GC somwhere around 1975. He gave up the construction and started playing the game all over again.

Through the years brother Walt has made many friends through his kindness and generosity. To the best of my knowledge all Walt's family and friends that have passed on ahead have everything ready up in heaven for a great reunion.

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