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1) When I was very young, I was in the hospital with meningitis-very seriously ill. Mom told me once that only immediate family could visit. I don’t remember the hospital stay but I do remember something that happened soon after I came home. I was sitting on the back step, behind the house, and one of the neighbor’s dogs got ahold of a stuffed animal, a get well present, and ran off with it. Older brothers and sisters got it back for me. Wonder who that was? Wonder who that was!?
2) I remember lots of fun times at the Candlelight Pond-cooling off in the water and eating chips and drinking soda that we bought at the Candlelight Pub on the way to the ‘beach’. The Candlelight sold candy and chips and popcorn and soda-a great place to spend our nickels and dimes! I also remember the summer the gypsies stayed in the small cottages near the pond. I also remember older siblings pulling blood suckers off me now and then! And in the wintertime, we had great fun ice skating and building huge bonfires! And our brother George got injured there while trying to jump over several obstacles on his skates. He didn’t quite make it; one of the neighborhood friends picked him up and carried him to the house and then it was off to the hospital for George!
3) Conant and Ball was just up the road from our house-right next to the RR tracks. Sometimes we would go up there at night and we would go on the inside rounds with the night watchman as he checked out the factory. He would have to punch a card/clock in each area we went through. Pretty exciting for a young teenager.
4) Summertime meant lots of games of hide and seek at our house. The outside lights would be on and all the neighborhood kids would come to play. And during the day we would play marbles right outside the back door. We’d dig a pot (scoop dirt out of the driveway) and shoot all colors and sizes of marbles-especially ‘pumas’! We’d also play ‘Red Light’ and ‘Giant Step’ on the banking of the side yard. And everyone liked to throw balls over the roof. We’d try to catch them but I think the chimney got the most! One summer, when I was a teenager, I got to go with Eddie and Carolyn and Normyle Mann and the Boy Scouts to Lake Winnipesaukee for a week. Chuck was a toddler then. While there we got to see Hugh O’Brien-Wyatt Earp himself!
5) I remember our neighbor, Clyde, coming down to put the number plates on my first car-a 1952 Plymouth. Wish I still had that car!
6) Jim and I use to go to a friend’s house (Doris) to play guitars.
7) On Sundays, I would take the Sunday paper out to Dad’s car to have a nice quiet place to read the comics!
8) We all liked to watch westerns on our black and white tv-shows like The Lone Ranger, Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers and Dale Evans-and singing along to ‘Happy Trails to You…’ Many of these shows were on Saturdays-and we always had franks and beans for lunch on Saturdays.
9) I had a great time buying clothes for Debbie, my first niece, in the kids’ department at JC Penney on Pleasant St. in Gardner. (There’s a Billiards Parlor there now!)
10) We had great times as teenagers with our church youth group-CA’s (or Christ Ambassadors). We met in a small room on the 2nd floor of the AG church on Central St. in Gardner. The names Dottie, Jane, Queenie, Janet, Kenny, Frankie, Pat, Butch and so many others bring back lots of great memories. And we always looked forward to swimming and games and lots of food at Sunday School picnics at Laurel Lake and Packard Heights!
11) Every July 4th, we would all go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Waterford St in Gardner to watch the fireworks from their front porch. The older ones could walk down to the schools’ field where we got a better view of the ground fireworks, the cannon’s going off and the American flag flying high. And racing over to Gerroirs (spelling?) around the corner for penny candy or an ice-cream…those were the days!