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 years.
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,
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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Sten at work at the drug store