Linda Piccerelli Hayden

Class of 1960

   

I was born July 26, 1942,  at the New York Hospital .  My Father missed my birth but had it announced to him via loudspeaker at a Red Sox Game. He was a catcher in a minor league game. My early life was one of going from one ball field to another, then another, then another…they were all a blur to me. I met some very well known players but did not know they were well known until I was in my teens.

We moved to Hicksville via Levittown .  At Gardiners Ave Elementary school , I had a very memorable cello teacher, Mr. Scalzetti, the father of my 1960 classmate Diane.  He was a true gentleman and an excellent teacher.

It was 1952 when we moved to Division Avenue down the street from the soon to be built high school.  I loved when ground was broken for the school and enjoyed watching it being built. I have many great memories of Hicksville as a child. It was a time when you could ride a bike anywhere and be safe.  Had a great love for the Hicksville Library and could be there for hours. Mr. Evers was my favorite teacher.

After schooling was finished, I worked at Sperry Gyroscope for 5 years. My bosses were the heads of Doppler and Search Radar for the B-58 Hustler. Everything we did was reported to General Curtis LeMay.  The General was a very formidable gentleman but I made him laugh once.  We had a conference at Sperry's with him and I was warm.  Took my angora cardigan off and put it over the back of a chair before the conference. General Lemay walked in and sat on that chair. Need I say there was angora all over the back of his uniform jacket. The engineers that saw him sit there turned white and you could hear a pin drop the room got so quiet.  I fessed up to him and he thought it was funny. The courier that brought the jacket to the 1 hour Martini zing Cleaners made the mistake of telling him who the jacket belonged to.  They told me the poor dry cleaner was so nervous they were sorry they had told him.  Everyone at work told me I would probably be fired OR beheaded!  However, the General was most gracious about the whole incident.
Sperry's loaned me out to Dr. Werner Von Braun's Team to work on the Lunar Landing Module. I was the only woman and we were sequestered for several months putting it all together. When we finished and I went back to my Sperry Team they were full of questions that I could not answer - everything was still classified.

It was an experience that I shall never forget.  However, the day of the landing in 1969 I closed my eyes because I was terrified as to how it would sit on the moon.

1964 was when I married Claude Hayden who had just left SAC under the command of you know who - The General.   We have been married 46 wonderful years and have two sons and one grandchild.

We moved to New Jersey and started a business that still goes on today. When we moved to Jersey my family acted as if we were moving to another country.  My Husband told them they didn't need a passport to cross the George Washington Bridge and there wasn't an oil refinery within 35 miles of us.

Once in Jersey I became very politically active and became the youngest and first female party head in the country.  The irony of that was the Organization of NOW showed up at our home and said they came to liberate me. I told them I did not need liberation as I had always worked as an equal with men and never had a problem.  My thinking was if you did your job the best you could it didn't matter what gender you were and it has served me well.

The year 2000 and I met Pat Koziuk Driscoll on Classmates.  That was the year that we started the Hicksville Newsletter.  We worked many hours each day getting it together.  Never did we envision what it has become. Once we took on Bob Casale and Bob Wesley it really took off.  Their work and dedication as well as our new editors and YOU the readers has made it so wonderful.  This Fall will be our 10th Anniversary.

I have been fortunate to meet many famous people, Mrs. Babe Ruth, The Nixon Sisters, Mrs. Douglas Macarthur but the one that stands out in my mind is Ann Morrow Lindburgh.  The thought of her grace and bearing has carried me thru a broken back, cancer and most recently an aneurysm of the aorta.  My motto has always been "this too shall pass". My favorite song and mantra is "What A Beautiful World" by Louis Armstrong.

A note from HixNews editors…this biographical sketch was written in 2010. Linda, unfortunately, lost Claude several years ago and is still living in Sparta , New Jersey . In a conversation with her recently, she told me she is now the proud parent of a rescued Beagle.