Doris Jennie Palmer Norton
As I grew up, I learned to do my homework faithfully (being careful not to neglect my Physics homework), practice piano every day, and go to the Methodist Church on Sunday. All of these tasks were reasonably pleasurable, but being a normal kid, I usually complained about homework and practicing. The Methodist church was easy to like because I had fine girl friends and a really nice Sunday School teacher (the wife of our Pennsylvania Senator). I admit that sometimes my girlfriends and I would sit in the balcony during church then sneak out and get a coke at the nearby drugstore. Actually, my experience at the Methodist church for 10 years while I was growing up was probably my reason for seeking churches in the cities where I lived when I left Butler.
Graduating from Butler High School expanded my ego because I was Valedictorian. Later, I found out that college was full of valedictorians and most of them were a lot smarter than I was. My college of choice was the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, NY. As a piano major I was required to practice 4 hours a day. This was an experience in discipline; and my teacher was very encouraging. However, at the end of my first year, I decided to do a double major in piano and business administration so that I would have more job opportunities. Quite honestly, I didn't know how boring the business courses would be. Then, I met The Boyfriend, Clint Norton, who liked all my courses better than I did so he helped me with my business administration homework. I learned that Clint was a theory /flute major but was interested in performing arts management as a career. Clint and I soon discovered that we liked each other well enough to get married, so I accelerated my studies and completed my BA in Piano and Business Administration in January and we got married in March.
The marriage was 11 March 1951 in Butler. This wedding photo shows Clint Norton with his father William Wellington Norton. Doris' maid of honor was Jeanne Moore.
Wedding of Clinton Norton and Doris Palmer
I love this story of their first apartment and the life of a newlywed.
Being borderline penniless, we were on the look for a free lunch, as well as family nourishment, so we stopped in Smethport, PA, to see Aunt Virginia and Uncle Leo (my mother’s brother), for lunch. Then, we moved on to
. We found a free sleepover and dinner at the
Hedwig Highway House where I had been a waitress during our summer at Perry,
You might think that we had no plan. Not
true. Both of us had found jobs in Silver Lake, NY Rochester after
graduation, before our wedding so we were on our way back to the city where we
went to college, The University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music. Clint’s job was Assistant Manager of the
Riviera Movie Theatre. My job was
nebulously defined—something in the office of Taylor Instruments (maker of
thermometers). The “something” turned
out to be deadly boring. Clint wasn't
exactly thrilled with movies and box office every night. But then there was our cute little furnished
apartment where we could relax—as long as we didn't stretch out too far. The bathroom was neon pink so no nite-lite was
needed; the bedroom was mostly taken up by the mattress. The kitchen and living room were the
same. Next to the breakfast table was an
old upright piano. For lounging we sat
on the back porch and talked to the neighbors’ whose back porches were
connected to ours.
The Nortons lived a peripatetic lifestyle. Fortunately, Doris has compiled a list of where they lived and why.
5. Duxbury, MA 1951 summer theater
6. Hopewell, VA 1951 Dad music store; Mom teaches 3rd grade; Mom writes copy station WHAP
7. Olean, NY 1953 Dad at paper company; Eve born
8. Wichita Falls, TX 1956 Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra
9. Columbus OH 1957 Phil born; Dad managing Symphony
10. San Antonio 1959 Mom teaches K-6 music; Dad manages Symphony; Chris born
11. Baltimore, MD 1963 Dad manages Symphony; Mom teaches at Peabody Prep school for Music (piano)
12. San Antonio 1965 Mom teaches K-6 music; Dad sells Real Estate
13. Fredonia, NY 1966 Mom gets her Masters Degree in Organ from SUNY-Fredonia; Dad works at SUNY-Fredonia in Arts Management (Rockefeller Performing Arts Center)
14. Akron, OH 1970 Mom gets Ph.D. from Kent State; Mom teaches at University of Akron and Walsh College (Private college in Canton, OH); she also takes on some private piano students; Dad works managing the EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall
15.Austin, TX 1979 Mom was instructor in class piano at UT; p/t clerk at Foley's department store when she first got there; Dad worked at UT Performing Arts Center and then retired to take on position at International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA) as Executive Director; Mom was the Administrative Director of ISPA and ran the conferences throughout the world.
Last week, Doris celebrated her 85th birthday! She continues to play the piano several hours each day, takes a daily walk at the nearby mall and loves attending the movies. She also keeps up on all the antics of her 8 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Happy Belated Birthday!