Marjorie (Arnold) Hattersley
Marjorie Arnold was born on October 28, 1914, and grew up in a little house on Hopedale Street between
Freedom and Chapel streets. It had been the chapel and school of the Hopedale Community in the 1840s
and 1850s, but was later made over into two apartments. Her grandparents, Leslie (Uylesses) Grant
Newman of Brockton, MA, born in Providence, RI and Jennie Amanda Brown of Mendon, MA, had been
married by Rev. Adin Ballou at his residence on August 10, 1889. One of her childhood memories was that
there were gaps in the floorboards and she could sometimes look down through them and see rats
running around down below. Her father, Gilbert Arnold, Jr. was a pharmacist. His pharmacy was in the
Harrison Block. He died at the age of 42.
Marge graduated from high school at the age of 16. She never got a degree in library science, but she took
courses and received professional librarian certification from the Division of Library Extension in Boston. By
the time she retired, she had worked for ten library directors.
One of Marge's best friends from her younger life was Paul Gibbs. She sometimes referred to him as the
brother she never had. Years later he would come up every year from Key West, Florida to visit. His father
had been the owner of the pharmacy when her father worked there. He'd take several of his friends from
earlier days out, including Marge, Helen Shimkus and Mrs. Grillo. Another of Marge's friends was Zeta
Snodgrass. Zeta worked at the library. Stuart Catherwood was another friend she'd mention a lot.
Marge's family would spend the summers at Lake Nipmuc. They'd sometimes take the trolley to get there.
One of her memories was of a stripper (or fan dancer) who lived two doors away. She performed at the
theater at the lake. She had a regular visitor; a judge from Rhode Island. On Sundays she'd be out in the
yard and lots of men would pass by for a look. Marge's friends at the lake included Helen Harvey, and
Jesse White's wife When Marge was married and spent summers at the lake with her family, the Dedham
police chief, Jack Cahill, his wife Helen, and their children lived next door. The Cahills and the Hattersleys
became good friends.
Martha Bell was one of Marge's good friends. They had gone to Alliance Meetings together for years. Marge
and Sten would often get together with Martha and her husband, Bayard. Later in life they traveled to
Bermuda and other places together.
Marge's first date with Stenson Hattersley (b. Nov 16, 1908) was on April 11, 1933. He actually asked her
out two weeks previously to this date. They went to a weenie roast at Moroney's Grove. They double dated
with her friend Zeta and Stuart. She was 19 and he was 24. "Had a swell time," she wrote in her diary. As
they dated, they enjoyed going for rides and getting ice cream. They also spent a lot of time at her summer
residence on Lake Nipmuc where they went out in the canoe many nights during the summer.
Sten had grown up on Freedom Street, just a short distance from where the Arnolds lived. He had been a
very good ball player. He was always helpful in the years when Marge was working at the library. He'd make
dinner for the girls when she was working evenings. He'd often go to the library to take care of a problem.
When Connie Clark was the library director, Sten drove her to the library and brought her home every day for
Marge and Sten purchased her diamond in Boston on Feb. 13, 1937. It was a 1/4 carat yellow gold with a
"perfect" stone, and it cost $40.00. Their engagement was announced on Feb. 15, 1937. They were married
on July 3, 1937 at the Hopedale Unitarian Parish parsonage by the Rev. J.B. Hollis Tegarden. "The big day at
last!" she wrote. Both of their parents were in attendance as well as her aunt and uncle. Stuart Catherwood
and Kathleen (Sten's sister) were their attendants. She wore a navy blue net dress embroidered in white with
white accessories. Sten wore a dark suit. Her corsage was of gardenias. Pictures were taken at Adam's
Studio in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, followed by dinner at the Uxbridge Inn. They went to Oak Bluffs,
Martha's Vineyard for their honeymoon and took a boat to Nantucket for the day.
Marge first worked at the library in 1928. She was in high school at the time. She made twenty-five cents an
hour for shelving books and doing other library tasks. She graduated from high school in 1931 and
continued to work at the library. Her first story hour was on Feb. 21, 1933 and she read two stories to 34
children. She read "The Seller of Dreams" and "Millions of Cats". Not surprised at all about the second
book as she loved cats.
Marge left the library in 1938, when her first daughter, Sandra, was born. She left to raise her family,
including her second daughter, Judy, and then went back to the library. On August 28, 1953 she received a
letter stating that she had been appointed the Children's Librarian. Mrs. Day had contacted her and offered
her the position. On Sept. 9, 1953 she started with a $100.00 a month salary.
On December 30, 1961 she was notified by the State Board of Library Commissioners that she had
successfully passed an examination given by them, at the Division of Library Extension in Boston, that she
was now certified as a professional librarian. Her certificate was dated Feb. 6, 1962.
Marge retired in March 1994. She loved the library. The library was her life. She loved the children and saw
many grow up and return with their children. In some cases she saw a third generation. She used to tell
them, "I came with the building."
Kids would go into the library and tell her all kinds of stories. She'd never repeat the ones the parents
wouldn't have wanted to be spread around. One little boy once said to her, "Mrs. Hattersley, you've got blue
ink in your hair." The next time she went to the hairdresser, she said, "Wanda, no more of that blue rinse."
She never did that again. She liked the kids and they liked her. She had a nice way with them.
When Drapers closed, that really bothered Marge and her generation. The grass wasn't mowed on the
Chapel Street School block. Things like that bothered her. She loved her town and she loved her church.
She was very active in the Unitarian Church. She was on the Alliance for years. She was the secretary right
up to the time of her death.
Marge and Stan took a great deal of pride in her two daughters, Sandra and Judy, their three grandchildren,
and their two great-grandchildren. Her daughters and grandchildren always spent the holidays with her.
Friends and family were there for Christmas Eve.
Marge and Sten loved to go dancing. They'd often go to Chicken Pete's and the Rock Garden for that.
Lucile Damon was a proofreader for the Milford News and a good friend of Marge. Marge's name was
Marjorie E. Hattersley, but when Lucile would write an article that included her name, she would always put
in a different middle initial. That was her way of saying, "Hi, Margie."
In April 1968, Marge and Sten were heading south on a trip with their friends, the Damons. During that
time, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. They were told that there was a sniper in the area and they
couldn't leave the motel they were in. That was a frightening and memorable time. She went to Bermuda a
few times, but not with Sten. She made those trips with Zeta. She and Sten went to Martha's Vineyard years
after their first tip, but it was much more commercialized by then and they were disappointed in the change.
Hampton Beach became a frequent vacation spot for them, and Plymouth became a five-generation
destination for the family.
Marge wasn't one who wanted a lot of attention, but she really shined the day of her retirement party. It was
at the Canoe Club on Lake Nipmuc, which was a wonderful choice, because the lake had been such a big
part of her life. Among the items presented to her at the party were two scrapbooks with messages from all
the elementary school children in town. She kept those books and the plaque that she had been given
right with her on her couch until the day she died.
The memories of Marge, above, were recorded by her daughter, Judy Oldfield, and her grandson, Fred
Oldfield in the spring of 2015. It also includes some items from Marge's diaries.
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