South Sudbury

When I was nine years old, the folks couldn't afford to keep running the house on a bakers wages, so we moved to South Sudbury on Concord Rd. just two houses up from the Boston Post Road.

So. Sudbury house on Concord Rd.  The set back part of the house upstairs was
rented out as an apartment.  Our kitchen door is the right hand door on the bottom floor; Dad's bakery eventually ended up where the bay window is on the left that used to be the living room; the small bay's behind the bush in the middle of the picture was our dining room and the  staircase to the apartment was the door right in front of the left hand car.  The bulkhead door to the basement was just to the left of the dining room windows.]

This picture shows the big sugar maples in the yard. That corner set of windows is where my bedroom was when a tree fell on it during a hurricane.  It really was the hall way to the attic. The fence around the front yard wasn't there when we lived there. 

One Thanksgiving with our Grandma and Grandpa Straitiff.  Notice the tiny, tiny turkey sitting along side of the dish with the silver handle.  I have both of them. I do have a lot of little things but they only have a value of sentiment as most of them have a crack, etc.   Left to right: Grandma, Charlie, Mum, Grandpa, Freddie, Bobby, and Sonny.  I can't figure out who is  on the far right but I think it is my Auntie Ruth...Mum's younger sister. 
You won't see me in many holiday family pictures as I was either at someone else's house doing 
dishes or out in the kitchen doing ours.

To help make ends meet, the folks had part of the upstairs made into a small apartment. Herb and Dottie Hines lived there for a while.  I remember Dottie Hines giving me a perm with those old fashioned perm machines where you are hooked to wires from the curlers on your head. They remained friends of my folk's for many years.

Herb and Dottie Hines are on the right corner with Herb's twin brother 
to his left.  His wife has her head turned towards the camera. 
Mum is on the left.

Memories of my Childhood

Just across the street was and still is, the Goodnow Public Library. A bunch of us kids in the area used to climb all over the statue that was in the front of the library.  I never did quite dare to do it though as I have always had a fear of heights. Sometimes on Halloween, it would be found having toilet paper all over it and all the hanging lanterns from the road crew the kids could find.

Library across the street from the house.  One of the
worst snow storms while we lived there.

My favorite spot in the whole world growing up was "my pond."  I really wasn't my pond but I felt that it was. I can be still and feel the feel of it. It was back behind the boy scout house that was directly behind the library.  In the winter time we used to skate on the pond  and I even got to the point where I could jump over a sled while skating. During fall times I dearly loved to walk behind the public library where it was, and just sit and sit under a tree and think.  Sometimes think about troublesome stuff and sometimes just day dreaming the hours away.  Just sitting there I could imagine myself with white figure skates and a pretty skating outfit twirling around on the ice come winter.  Or perhaps having a wiener roast at the boy scout house just before the pond with the other kids. Making sure that I kept warm by staying close to the fire.

 At the time, the pond look really big to me but in my adult life when I went back, I couldn't believe that it was hardly any bigger than a big deep puddle!

Here is "my pond"!  It is full of fall leaves so if you look at the dark line about 1/4th the way up from the bottom, that's where the water starts.  Just behind the row of trees is the river. The train depot is off to the rear left of the picture. (It can't be seen in this picture). The way you are looking at the picture puts the Scout House and Library to your back.

 My Dad always used to say that the olden days were the best and in some ways, I agree with him.  Gone are the days of being able to enjoy the sweet, smokey smell of the leaves as the burn in their piles heaped on the lawn.

Many times I would beg my Dad not to burn these leaves, just yet, as I hadn't finished playing in them.  I would take the rake and make pretend rooms by outlining areas with piles of the leaves.  Windows, doors and even closets were placed just so with imagination.

My brothers would often times wrestle me for the rake as they wanted the pile of leaves to be under the swing that hung from our biggest sugar maple in the front yard and not be a silly play house.  They would swing high and then jump and land in the leaves. The pile had to be big so that they didn't hurt themselves when they landed so they wanted the ones that I had.  They most generally won as it was four against one.

It was a trick to see Dad throw the rope up every year for us to have a swing as the limb it hung from was at least 15 or so feet high.  It got so that we weren't allowed to watch him as we would laugh when he missed which only made him miss more. So miraculously it appeared each year when we least expected it.

My friend, Lilly Lane, used to have the biggest pile of pumpkins I had ever seen nor seen since, at a person's home.  Her dad raised them and he put them in every inch of space around their yard, and what a sight to behold.  Talk about imagination going into high gear. I could picture so many of them being carved with everything from funny faces to scary ones.  Of course, dried corn stalks were in abundance along with the varied sizes of pumpkins.

Nothing at all in the world like the smells of autumn.  Burning leaves; the candles in the pumpkins scorching the top of the fleshy meat that still had some of the pumpkin strings on it; the rustling of the dried up leaves still hanging on ever so fragile on their branch when the wind dances through them; the clock in the church steeple ringing out the hour just as a group of geese silently drift high above heading for their winter home.  The pot of corn chowder on the back of the stove waiting for the family to come in to eat; and the wonderful smell and taste of a fresh picked apple from it's tree.  Of course it has to be cold, tart and crisp!  Later some of those apples will have a coat of caramel that will stick to our teeth while we enjoy the goodness and catch the drips by wiping them off our chin with our tongues and maybe even our sleeve if mom isn't looking.

Oh, autumn time, What a blessing we have in those moments when we can reflect upon the things that are really the most worth while in our lives, memories.

My blueberry patch up past Edie Eaton's was a favorite place to go to pick the berries. I have spent many a day playing Chinese Checkers with her and even now I have a Chinese Checker board that I play with my grandkids. A dear lady friend that we met about 4 years ago made it for us and it is beautiful!  It has hand painted dragon's etc all over itI I hardly ever play a game of Chinese checkers that I don't think of Edie and my friend Cathern. 

Across the street from Edie's was the Eaton greenhouses.  Whenever I went there, they always managed to have a few carnations that somehow had a short stem that I got to take home.  I would stand and watch how they package them to be shipped out. The smell from those carnations I haven't found since as they seemed to have a wonderful cinnamon odor where the ones now, barely smell at all.

Then further up the road, by the Burn's, was a play house. I was always granted the privilege of playing in it and it was right next to a wooded area.  Behind the playhouse was a sign that said, "This way to the springs."  You followed along using the signs as there wasn't really a path to follow. When I reached the end, sure enough, there was a nice big dipper to use at the springs hanging from a tree.  Only one problem, the springs was a giant truck spring just sitting there. Even though I knew what was at the end of the trail, I still always enjoyed taking that little journey and still got a chuckle from seeing the truck springs instead of water.

The kids used to get together across the street from our house to play ball, but now it is covered with stores.  Also in the winter I would put on my white figure skates that I got one Christmas and just skate, and skate and skate by myself on those frozen puddles that were all over the field.

New Favorite Neighbors

In this house, I had really wonderful neighbors too. Mrs. Joseph Way on the north of us and right next door on the other side of us was Mr. and Mrs. Woods and the Twitchell family up the street.  I called Mrs. Way, just, Way and the Wood's, Woodsies but for some reason Mrs. Twitchell, was always Mrs. Twitchell. I always enjoyed visiting with Mrs. Alice Davidson and kept in touch with her off and on over the years until I lost her a while back just as I was going to visit her. Mrs. Wahlrab the postmistress was a dear and here is her recipe for Lemon Sponge Pie. 

This is a copy of Anna's recipe that was taken
from "The Sudbury Cookbook" published in 1950
by the Sudbury Public Health Nursing Association.

The Bradshaws; the Giles family on the street where the church is.  In fact, Beverly Giles was a wonderful artist and she had the patience to help me paint an oil painting one time.  Bringing it home, I dropped it while it was still wet and to this day it still has tiny little stones embedded in it. The Fellows, Priscilla Pittman and the list goes on and on.

I can picture the faces and the experiences with so many more of the people who helped raise me, but my age is showing with senior moments here, as for the life of me, I can't seem to pull their names out of this old head.  But I still smile when I think about the times I had there and how good every one treated me. I was basically a loner and enjoyed visiting with adults much more than playing with the neighborhood kids.

I remember Carl Burland, Dorothy Hawes, Alan Tallant, Kippy Giles, Donna Gould's Christmas trees;   Joyce and Priscilla Fellows:   Squeekie, the preachers twin sons, and the gentle, sweet, Lilly Lane who had the biggest blond braids I had ever seen.

The parades, oh the parades, that we had!! Truly wonderful and always so many bands in them too. I missed them after we moved, as California didn't have the patriotism that I grew up with and it was a missing link from then on.

    This is the "Joseph Way" family.  My "Way" is the tiny lady on the right  in the left photo!

I have to laugh a little bit when I think about Way.....when I went back for the first time when I was an adult, I went and knocked on her back door (never did use her front one) and there stood this tiny little lady.  I just stood there looking at her and not saying a thing.  She knew right away who I was and I can't believe it, but the first thing out of my mouth was,  "When did you shrink?" She laughed and laughed and said that she didn't shrink, I just had grown up!

Now the Woodsies were a wonderful couple that had the very first black and white television in the whole neighborhood.  Sitting on her living room floor was where I was when I first saw Howdy Doody on television.  They used to let me mow their huge lawn for a little bit of spending money, too.

Mrs. Twitchell, was also a nice lady.  My folks bought her daughters bicycle for me on one Christmas, my very first two wheeler!  Mrs. Twitchell was a wonderful seamstress and made lots of different kind of dolls.  I still have one big rag doll that she made me that wears a size 2 child's dress. The doll is badly in need of repair, but I still have her. When I went in to get my tonsils out, Mrs. Twitchell made me, what I called, my upside-down doll.  It was a black nanny on one side, flip the skirt over and it was a southern bell on the other.  That doll brought me many hours of fun and pretending.

We kids, by that time we had grown to five of us, first Lloyd Jr. that we called, Sonny; then Frederick, better known then as Freddy; then myself and seven years later Charles, called Charlie, (after Charlie McCarthy) and last but not least, Robert (Bobby). We all attended the First Congregational Church on Church Street just two doors, down next to Way's.

My brother Sonny is directly behind the candle being passed
with Freddy to the right, the one with his head cocked. I have
the boy scout patrol flag pole that my brother Sonny
hand carved in 1947.

The church had a Tom Thumb wedding where my brother, Sonny, was the groom; Freddie an usher and myself a bridesmaid.  If I remember right Jane Flynn was the bride and John Hall, the minister?

I am the one in the back on the far left with a bow in my hair, 
Sonny is the groom and Freddy is on the far right. 
 Aren't we all gorgeous!

One Halloween, the church put on a party for all of us kids and believe it or not they had it down in the basement!  Dirt floors, and all!.  One of the ladies had her head hanging through a sheet  with blood all over the place, and big chains kept rattling, scary music and lots of groans. Isn't it funny what we remember about our childhood! Sometimes our mind adds things and sometimes it gets confused, but the basic's are there!

First Congregational Church, South Sudbury, MA

Behind the Bradshaw's grocery store down on the Boston Post Road at the end of Concord Road, was a trestle over a  river. For some strange reason, whenever any of the kids that my brothers were playing with, wanted to try something, guess who was the one to do it?  Yup, me. From walking over the trestle, to having to hold metal handles from a machine they found in the dump after they put a battery in it....ouch!.......  I was their guinea pig. But I did catch some neat fish in that river by using the night crawlers we used to catch.  I even baited my own hook and cleaned my own fish.

Sonny used to tap the sugar maples in the early spring that were in our yard  and I can even conjure up a smell of it sitting at the back of the stove becoming maple syrup.  How many of you can remember the sound of emptying the pan under the ice box?  The kids now would probably say, why did it make any special noise? Ha ha ha, called dirt, kids, and the pan running over it was almost as bad as scraping your fingernails over a black board.

Dad was still baking bread and rolls for famous restaurants, etc. Plus that he also picked up the mail sacks from the train station and took them to the various post offices in the area. I remember one time when he threw a big bag of mail into the car, the metal lock on it broke the car window.  He sure wasn't a happy camper on that one.  Dad's bakery was down on the corner of Concord Rd and Post Road.  

Mum worked at the Svensk Kaffestuga,  a Swedish Coffee House, (restaurant) and she wore a costume to work in.  They served coffee in individual copper pots that they took to the table.  I still have one that served four people and one that served two. I have their original Swedish Meat Ball recipe that is unbeatable.  The restaurant, Paul was the cook and Anna was mum's boss, also served their own style of salad dressing that was used for either fruit or vegetables.  It was basically made from oil and finely chopped onions, sugar and some spices.  Aren't I lucky to have that recipe too!  They are all in my own cook book that I had printed up.

Mum and Sara taken a week before Christmas in 1966
at the Svensk Kaffestuga when Mum was there for a visit.

George Halloran was the gate keeper at the railroad tracks just next to the restaurant.  He had this tiny little building that he would sit in all day long (no tv in those days either) and when the train was coming, he would hand crank down the gates to stop the traffic. We had kept in touch over years too. Aren't keeping life long friends a wonderful experience!

George Halloran

One winter we had the worst snow storm ever and the winds were terrible.  At least the adults thought so but not us kids!  The wind drifted the snow so high against the house that the neighborhood kids went up to my bedroom window and slid down the drifted snow (when the folks were at work of course)!  Then under the snow on the ground, they dug out an igloo and covered the whole thing with water.  It was so cold, that the water froze and it kept the igloo shaped like that for a long time.

That winter was the first time I can remember being able to walk on top of the snow!  It had gotten so cold that the snow had a hard crust on it, but if you broke through, it sure would hurt!  Dad one time hooked our sleds to the back bumper of the car with us on them and took us kids up to North Sudbury where there was a real big hill that we played on for a long time.  Can you imagine being able to be pulled behind a car now?  For one, too much traffic, for another, they would claim it too dangerous and outlaw it.

I remember: swimming classes by the Red Cross up at the pond in North Sudbury;  putting potted geraniums on the soldiers graves on Memorial Day with the Girl Scouts; having baton lessons and being able to actually lead a band at one of the town's parades. 

Can you believe this? Notice Dad's car in the back......

Flying box kites up at the Fellow's place on the hill across the street from Mr. Curtis' garage; sledding down the long street that the city blocked off for us kids to use and they had put sand at the bottom so that we wouldn't go into the traffic on the Post Road which was right along side the garage;  visiting Priscilla Pittman; going over to Donna Gould's house and getting water out of the old pump in the yard; getting soda pop out of an iron box that kept it cold at the store;  looking at the amazing balcony in the library and seeing all of those neatly lined up books and the wonderful friend, Elizabeth Atkinson, the librarian was and remembering Mrs. Adams my first grade teacher.   

This is Curtis' garage and the street where we did our sledding
was to the right of it. The drug store was on the left.

I remember walking up to the dairy to get an ice cream cone that had sprinkles on it and it was in a sugar cone and my brothers playing hockey on the frozen pond across the street from the dairy.  The pond isn't even there now as it has been over grown with trees.  Pulling radishes at a farm and my hands getting soooooo cold; learning about classical music during one of my Girl Scout meetings; almost drowning when a girl pushed me under the water while at swimming class and being afraid of having my head under water ever since.

Going to Girl Scout camp one summer and making a linoleum block picture of a dog which I still have (can you tell that I keep things); vacationing by myself with Auntie Isabel in Goffstown, NH where she was a housekeeper for the Sargeants and me being bit by blood suckers when I went swimming in the creek while I was there. She starched and ironed my dresses so that I felt like a princess.  That was the time when little girls looked pretty and feminine and didn't wear slacks very much except in the winter.

Auntie Isabel, my Grandpa Bancroft's sister.

 Reciting a poem at the local town hall when the kids had to perform from each class at school; finding my white figure skates while looking for presents under my parent's bed and ruining my whole Christmas; sleeping in the front door doorway during the summer to get a little bit cooler;  dancing around dad's counter in the room that was his bake shop after he closed the other one, while twirling my baton to the George Washington Post march on the Victrola; not ever daring to climb up to the top of the barn where the boys had their own secret place; Sonny's little duckling following him down the sidewalk.

A view of Sudbury's Town Hall.  Looks basically the same today.

Sonny sitting on the bulk head 
door with his duckling.

 Me slipping on some ice and to this day having a wonderful scar on my left knee; smelling the huge wonderful lilacs in the spring and seeing the iris's come up through the snow just in time for Memorial Day; seeing a skunk with a bottle over it's head at the neighbors; our dog Betty having to stay in the cellar during the winter months. 

Betty our dog.

The sound of the coal going down the coal chute in the cellar; the funny sound the radiators made when they got hot; bathing in the claw bathtub; Freddy pushing  Charlie in the wicker baby buggy and me combing out his beautiful blond curly hair. 

Freddy pushing Charlie in his buggy.  (Wouldn't that buggy be neat to have now?)
My Dad on the right at almost the same age as Charlie.....both had blond curly hair!  
How come guys get the curls?

The sound the car made when driving through the covered bridge up by Grandma Straitiff's home; Dad piling us kids in the car and honking the horn, driving up and down the streets and yelling, "the war is over, the war is over" when the Second World War came to an end; throwing our tin cans over the wire fence down in Wayland for the war; saving bacon grease in coffee cans also for the war effort; buying home made fudge from the man who you could always find selling it out of the back of his Woodie station wagon across the street from the area for the tin cans;  always having enough of the staples that most found hard to get as dad was a baker and got more ration stamps to buy them. 

My first taste of Moxie; loving the chocolate sprizzly soda pop; watching the huge bonfire at the Fourth of July activities up at the high school field and decorating my doll buggy for the doll carriage parade. They always had a HUGE bonfire after the festivities and I even got to twirl a baton with lights in it!

4th of July activities behind the High School.

Seeing dad dressed like an Indian in the parades.

Dad as an Indian, I had forgotten he rode a horse!

 Riding the bus to Marlborough to see the movies by myself and getting a dish to keep and waving to the Greyhound bus drivers as they went by.  Boy, did my memory button turn on when I started this!

I think I need to add right now, that I wrote all of this story up to this point and then went looking to see what pictures I could find.  I never in a million years ever thought that I would find most of these.  Some of them I swear I had never seen before, like the "Way" one and others.  I guess I must have been meant to include them.

School Life

What a fitting way to start this section but with a first grade picture of me and 
my senior picture.  I thought about leaving them out, but "I is who I is"!  hehee

My first grade teacher was Miss Esther Adams and I got to visit with her in 1980 which was a wonderful visit.  I couldn't believe that she remembered me and I didn't even have to tell her who I was!  She even remembered my two older brothers names!  Unbelievable!  Here she is in 1980 at her home in Sudbury.

Esther Adams

This is the school at Sudbury Center that we attended.

My two older brothers and I had the wonderful opportunity of being able to attend the Henry Ford's Little Red School House down next to the Longfellow's Wayside Inn between Marlborough and Sudbury and the Southwest School. We were picked up in a white school bus that had red and blue strips around the bottom of it. 

Our school bus.

 Mrs. Jane Bennett was my teacher as she taught first through the fourth grades.  The school came complete with the iron woodstove up by the teachers desk to the bathroom reached by walking a path. The original "Mary Had a Little Lamb" poem originated at that school before it was relocated to that area.  


Inside the school house.

My Mum and my oldest daughter,
Kathy, standing in the doorway of the school.

 The Martha-Mary Chapel, a beautiful white exquisite building was behind the school on a slight hill.  We would learn Longfellow's poems and recite them to the public every Friday morning at the Chapel.  You know I can still remember some of them........... ".under the spreading Chestnut tree the village Smithie stands," etc...........

Outside of Chapel.

Inside of Chapel

 I will add a picture of Mrs. Bennett and all of us kids that went to the Redstone school one year.  It was taken out in front of the Chapel It is here somewhere and when I find it, I will post it.

Then across the street from the Chapel was the Old Grist Mill that is so beautiful! 

The Old Grist Mill.

Every Friday afternoon, all of us kids, even from the SouthWest school, which was the fifth through the  eighth grades just down the street towards Sudbury, would attend dancing class in the ball room at the Inn.  Mr. Haynes was our teacher and he always wore a black tuxedo, complete with those shiny black patent leather shoes.  He would stand with his head held high because we figured his collar was too stiff, and he clicked his heels together when he started to talk to us.  But he gave me a love for dancing that I still have to this day.  We learned all of the old type dances, like the Virginia Reel, etc. At that time the boys didn't seem to mind having to dance with a girl.

This is the ball room upstairs in the Wayside Inn.  Not a very good 
but you can see the bench that goes all around the room where
we sat.  Oh, what fun we had!

Longfellows "Wayside Inn".

Every month a small magazine came out, published by the students of the Edison Institute Schools in Michigan, called "Herald."  All of the schools that the Ford's financed, had sections in the magazine where they published a small paragraph from different students from the schools. Yup, you guessed it, I still have some of them!

About 1944-45

Our benefactor of the schools were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford, and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford II. When Henry Ford died, his son closed the schools and then we went to the school building in Sudbury Center.  I was in the 7th grade at the time and we left for California while I was in the 8th grade.  But while attending the Sudbury school, everyone in all of the grades had penmanship every week.  There was a special lady that came in to teach us and she always made a colored chalk picture on the side wall blackboard using the letters of the alphabet.  I attribute my handwriting being easy to read from Mrs. Bennett and then the classes at the local school.  The old, 'readin', written' and 'rithmatic' really were the mainstays of daily school life.

Just down the road towards Marlborough, after the side road that the Wayside Inn, the school, etc., was on, met with the Boston Post Road, there was an old country store called Wayside Country Store. There was a lake with a dam and so the store's sign said "Best by a dam site!"  They sold those wonderful penny candies. Remember the wax bottles with the liquid in them?  The candy make believe cigarettes complete with a red end that made them look like they were lit?  The plastic lips, the horehound candy, the tiny, tiny ice cream cone shaped candy with the marshmallow for ice cream and all that good stuff that most of the time we can't find now. The last time in the 80's that I went back, the store hadn't changed a bit!  It was so wonderful to walk in and feel like it was just yesterday that I was there.