by Marian Munson Pasquet

Anna Georgine Lee and Lawrence Josiah Munson were married on September 2, 1903. Their families had been friends for years, and Anna was one of Lawrence’s piano pupils. She was nineteen and he was twenty-five when they got married. In 1905, Lawrence went to Paris for a year to study with Alexander Guilmant (organ) and Moritz Moskowski (piano). They gave up their apartment at that time, and Anna went to live with her parents at 446-8th Street.

When Dad returned, he joined Mother at the Lees, where they stayed until 1914 when Dada and Mormor sold the 8thStreet house and built a lovely home at Hempstead Gardens on Long Island. Alexander (July 8, 1907), Marian (February 7, 1910), Henry (October 11, 1911), and Gertrude (Anna) (February 10, 1914) were born during the years at the eighth Street house, so our earliest memories are there. Amy helped Mother take care of us. She would take us to Prospect Park to see the sheep and play on the grass. Sometimes when we got home, she would fix a "party supper" for us at a small table upstairs. That may have been when the grown-ups were having guests, since I can also remember sitting in a high chair when the family was at dinner.

   Alex started School while we were at 8th Street, and I remember feeling very envious. In 1913, he and Henry were isolated with the measles. I felt put out because I couldn’t go into their room. One day, Mother said I could go in and stay with them. I had the measles, too! Some months later, I came down with scarlet fever. I remember being isolated on the top floor for a six week quarantine. Those brownstone houses on the Park Slope had a cellar, a ground floor (for the kitchen and dining room) and three more floors for the living rooms (parlors) and bedrooms. Christmas came and went during those six weeks, and Mother fixed a small Christmas tree in my room. She was the only one who could come in. My only request for a present was a pop gun that shot corks. I think the corks were attached to a string. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Toward the end of the six weeks, Mother scrubbed me with Sapolio to help get rid of the rash, so I could join the family again. When I finally got downstairs, I found a tricycle that Dada had given me for Christmas. I loved it, but I can remember being a little disappointed when my feet didn’t reach the pedals, but I grew into it, and we had many journeys up and down 8th Street.

   Gertrude Louise was born in February, 1914. She was the first of the Munson children to be born in a hospital. They allowed us to go and see Mother and the baby in the Norwegian Hospital (KMC: on 44th and 4th). The baby was in what looked like a clothes basket behind the door. As a teen-ager, Gertrude read "Anne of Green Gables," and decided she should be called "Anne Louise." We had to go along with it, because she wouldn’t answer us unless we did. As the second of five children, new babies were welcome and exciting additions to the family. Amy was partial to Henry. He was beautiful, with big blue eyes, and an abundance of curly hair. As we went on our outings with Henry in the carriage and me walking alongside, Henry attracted a good deal of attention. Years later, Aunt Helen (Mother’s sister) told me that I once asked, "Why don’t they say I’m pretty, I’m his sister?"

   When the Lees moved to Long Island, the Munsons moved to 9th Street (529). I had my fifth birthday there, and could start kindergarten. There were several long blocks to walk to get to P.S. 39, but I had Alex to escort me. Since he was two and a half years older, I was sure that he knew everything, and I believed him when he told me that at midnight my dolls came to life. I tried so hard to stay awake to see them, but I never could.

Alex, Henry, Anne Louise and I were born while Mother and Dad lived at 446—8th Street with our Lee grandparents. Mother went to live with her parents in 1905 when Dad went to Paris to study with Alexander Guilmant and Morite Moskowski for a year. Then when he returned, he Joined Mother and stayed with the Lees. In 1914, Dada sold the 9th Street house and moved to Hempstead Gardens, and the Munsons moved to 529-9th Street. They stayed there a year, and then Dad bought the Kellerman Institute of Musical Art, which became the Munson School of Music, at 357 Ovington Avenue, in 1916.


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