Marion Sandra Cassidy Baird

December 7, 1935 -



Marion Sandra (Sandy) Cassidy Baird was the second child born to Marion Knell Cassidy and Charles Raymond Cassidy. Her arrival on December 7, 1935 was an unexpected surprise to her parents who had another daughter, Gloria, almost twelve, and were considered at that time to be a bit old to have a new baby (Marion was 35 and Charles was 42). The family lived at 333 Longshore Street in the Lawndale section of Philadelphia when Sandy was born.

Of her younger years
Sandy wrote:

“As I was 12 years younger than Gloria, you can imagine that we didn’t have a lot in common. I’m sure I must have been a nuisance as she had boyfriends (and girlfriends) and I guess I’d butt in a lot. We slept in a double bed and I vaguely remember complaints of being kicked (not intentionally) and taking all the covers.”
“We lived in
Lawndale (northeast Philadelphia, PA) in a corner twin house with three bedrooms. Aunt Elsie (Sandy’s mother’s sister) lived with us for about the first five years of my life. She was really like a mother to me. She spoiled me, but Mother was quite strict so I got some discipline. My father hardly ever said anything.”

“When I was six I was knocked down by a sled at the bottom of a hill-on a street-and must have fallen on my head and shoulder as I had a concussion and broken collarbone. I was knocked out but was vaguely aware of being dragged home on someone’s sled, then lying on our sofa and later being in the hospital. Don’t know how long I was out, but was in the hospital for two weeks, including Christmas. I had to lie flat on my back-no pillow-the whole time. A little boy in the next bed (for a few days) kept spitting at me.”

“My parents went to a Presbyterian church where they used to live but Gloria and I went to the local Episcopalian church. I went to Sunday school and I think Gloria did too, and we met afterwards to go to church. She used to say to Mother, ‘Can’t you stop her from yawning all the time?’”

While Aunt Elsie lived with us, she played the piano a lot, which was in the cellar. That’s how I got started with the piano and took lessons for 8 years. Our cellar was great-had a linoleum floor and furniture - the playroom and party room. We always had Christmas there. The tree would be up on a platform on which was a train set. Perhaps my father hoped for a son? One Christmas morning I remember coming down there to find a shiny new tricycle, then promptly bursting into tears, asking, ‘Where’s my kiddie car?”

Sandy remembers during World War II that her parents were air raid wardens. "(It was) exciting to be allowed to stay up when the sirens went off, and watching out the windows of our enclosed front porch. My parents had white metal helmets and one or the other had to walk the neighborhood to make sure everyone’s lights were off. Mother also did some plane spotting on the roof of a big Sears and Roebuck building somewhere in the northeast (Philadelphia).” In 1945 when Sandy was nine, the family moved to a stone twin home at 333 W. Durham Street in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia where they lived until 1958.

Sandy attended Germantown High School and was very active in various clubs and activities. She was chairman of the senior class luncheon, secretary of Y-Teens, a senior advisor, member of the Latin Club, Dramatic Club, Bowling Club, Poster Club, various dance committees, Class Organization Committee, and Career Conference Committee, and a member of the yearbook art staff and photo committee. She received two Activities Awards and a Citizenship Award and graduated in 1953 with a Liberal Arts diploma.

Sandy graduated from Averett College in Danville, Virginia in 1955 with a junior college diploma in merchandising. While there, she was a feature editor of the newspaper, a member of Dramatic Club and Delta Psi Omega (national dramatic fraternity), and publicity chairman of the Women’s Recreational Association. Sandy next attended Hines’ Business College in Philadelphia, earning a certificate in shorthand and typing in 1957. She took evening courses in advertising design at Philadelphia Museum College of Art and also dabbled in French at The Junto School in Philadelphia. A course at the June McAdams Modeling School, also in Philadelphia, elicited a “ha-ha” in her autobiographical writings.

Sandy loved to travel and began solo excursions in 1958 with a one week trip from New York City to Bermuda on the Queen of Bermuda. In 1959 she took a two week cruise to the West Indies and in 1961 she spent six weeks in Europe, visiting England, Ireland, Holland, and France. 1963 found her in Bermuda again, this time with recently widowed sister, Gloria. In 1964 she again spent six weeks in Europe where she visited Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Paris. It was on this fateful trip that Sandy had an experience that would change her life.

Upon arrival,
Sandy joined a tour in Hamburg, Germany. This particular tour had originated in London and was already into its third week. The participants include a young Scotsman by the name of Alexander Baird. He had originally planned to go on a cruise but the ship to be used on this cruise caught fire and sunk off the coast of Portugal. He chose this particular bus tour to Scandinavia instead. It wasn’t long before Alexander, whose nickname happened to be Sandy, and Sandy Cassidy became more than just acquaintances. At the end of the tour, Sandy Baird went home to England and Sandy Cassidy continued on with her trip, a bus tour of Austria and then on to Paris. Sandy Baird told her he would meet her in Paris two weeks later.

Sandy Cassidy wrote:

“I didn’t think he’d actually turn up, but he had written to tell me when he’d arrive at a
Paris station. Needless to say, he did arrive and we had a couple days before I had to leave on the boat train to catch a ship back to the U.S. During that time, he proposed, I accepted, and we bought a ring. I remember seeing him off when he returned to London and crying as I walked out of the station, as I knew I wouldn’t see him for a long time. When I got back I didn’t tell my parents for a few days. I was so nervous. I called to tell Gloria and she was very happy for me. When I did tell them, Mother said, ‘Thank goodness, you won’t be an Aunt Elsie’ (Aunt Elsie never married), but my father went very quiet. Even the next day he still hardly spoke and he looked crushed. But after that he was okay.”

In January of 1965
Sandy made a one month trip to England to spend some time with Sandy Baird and meet his parents. A beautiful wedding took place in Philadelphia on May 29th of that year and after a honeymoon trip to Washington DC and New York City the happy couple sailed to England on the S.S. France.

Sandy & Sandy Baird  May 1965

 

"The Sandys", as they called themselves, lived in Banstead for many years, then moved to a home in Epsom Downs and finally to Haywards Heath, all near London. They adopted a son, Jamie Douglas Baird, who was born on December 14, 1972. Both Sandys are very talented in art, Sandy Cassidy with watercolors, and her husband with pastels. After retiring, Sandy Baird busied himself with charity work, golf, and his painting. Sadly, he passed away in November 15, 2006 after a battle with lung cancer.

At the time of this writing (2007), Sandy Cassidy still lives in their home in Haywards Heath but is planning a move to a retirement community nearby. She still loves to travel and no doubt will continue to do so as long as she is physically able. Her son, Jamie, eventually went on to University to study engineering and currently works in the nuclear engineering field. He is single and owns a home in the town of
Chester which sadly he rarely occupies since his job requires a great deal of travel. He tries to visit his mother whenever he can.

 

Sandy Baird, with Kathy Lawrence & Jamie Baird   2007