Tribute to Arthur Peterson

by Phil Johnson

Squeaky Pete

I was sad when Norma Peterson of Cape Canaveral, Florida, wrote telling me of her husband Arthur’s death, the family’s beloved “Pete.”

Arthur (his given name rarely passed my lips) picked up the nickname “Squeaky” at North Park Junior College in Chicago. “Squeaky Pete” is a little poem on its own. To understand the origin of the name, one only needed to hear Pete speak a few words.

Squeaky Pete loved working for Ivar Wistrom, Maintenance Engineer at North Park. He was proud to be one of Ivar’s crew, as was I about a decade later. We often talked about Ivar and the guys we worked with on the crew.

Most Wednesdays afternoons beginning in the Fall of 1962 through Spring 1964 I drove from Worchester, Massachusetts, to Newington, Connecticut to spend the evening with Pete and Norma and their three young girls and my friend, Louise, Pete’s sister-in-law.

Pete and I frequently went out for pizza. When we returned, Squeak would launch into a story about the tough guys we had to fight to get the pizza and bring it home safely. The girls might laugh but they were not much impressed.

From the first moment we met, Squeaky Pete and I were friends. I cherish the time we spent together during those years. The beautiful, wonderful daughters, Lynn, Lisa, and Debbie grew up and Pete and Norma moved to Florida. It stretches my imagination to picture them there. They are great Connecticut Yankees whose being in Florida is for me about like Tom Sawyer imagining Mark Twain in Hartford.

Pete’s sons-in-law were as close as sons. They wrote: “The summer’s not as much fun without you, Pete. We miss you and we love you. We’ll save a seat for you at the diner.” Your loving sons.

Squeaky Pete read Pietisten. Once in a while he wrote and sometimes he called. I miss this good friend and comrade. I regret I will not cross paths with him hereabouts. Peace to Norma and to the family he has left. He leaves them and the rest of his many friends with a huge blessing and rich reservoir of good will. Peace to Squeaky Pete’s memory.