I post “Random Memories of ………….” randomly. These memories are from Ced, who you’ve heard of mainly through the “Life in Alaska” story line. That is where he will remain for the next six and a half years. He was 23 when he and his older brother Dan (25 and back from Venezuela) drove to Alaska to build a life for themselves.
We smoked corn silk and cigarettes here and there. Art Christie was the oldest, your father was next, then Dan and me, the four of us. I like to presume, and it’s probably true, that Art Christie got the idea. I guess my mother wasn’t home. I don’t know how we did it, but anyway, we got money out of Mother’s pocketbook.
We went to Kurtz’s – Mother smoked – most of her sisters smoked – of course in those days you didn’t think anything about it. Anyway, we went to Kurtz’s and said we were buying some cigarettes for our mother. We bought a pack of cigarettes, I don’t remember the brand.
Right about where the cemetery gate was, there was a carriage road. There was a fence at the end, and a field beyond, which was probably Harold Beech’s field. But right at the gate there had been, at one time, a mill. They had dammed up the Pequonock River. They had a dam there, probably 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. They had a big stone wall that pretty much went all the way to the cemetery. Near that wall, there was a big, square hole, I guess that’s where they had the mill wheel, but that space was a perfect place to go smoke cigarettes.
We sat at the front of that square and we started smoking. We had a whole pack of cigarettes and we wanted to enjoy it. Well, we were merrily smoking away and Dan said “I
think I’ll go home.” He got right up and left. We suspected that he was getting sick, which he was. Art and Lad and I hoped he wasn’t going to make a fuss. I guess we talked about it and decided it was time to stop smoking, so we did.
We thought maybe we ought to go down to the brook, pick up some poles and pretend to be fishing, in case Mother came looking for us. So we did. We went down to the brook and were playing along the side of the brook, and pretending we were fishing. I don’t know if we could have made that stick, but anyway, sure enough, about 15 or 20 minutes later, here comes Mother and, gulp, gulp, gulp.
She came up to us and said “What are you doing?” “We’re fishing,” we answered. “Well,” she replied, “Dan told me you were smoking.” What could we do? “You know your father and I both smoke”, she said. “I don’t like it that you boys smoke, but why don’t you just come home and smoke if you want to smoke.” Not one of us wanted to smoke again until we were 18 or 20. Not one of us. Now, if that isn’t psychology, good psychology… we weren’t even punished.
A bunch of us would walk over to Pinewood Lake, you know, it was all forested with pine trees. We’d play in the tops of those trees. We’d go from one tree to the next.
We used to play the piano. We had a player piano, we got it from Aunt Anne, she had it in New Rochelle and they didn’t use it anymore so we got it.
The Young People’s Group in the church was led by Doug and Emily Chandler. Long after Chandler left, we kept on with the Chandler Chorus. The only two people who ever
directed the Chandler Chorus were Doug Chandler and Laura Brewster. He was good, very good with young people. There must have been 17 or 18 kids. He played the piano beautifully and we’d have these meetings once a week. He played really jazzy music for us, too. He was very fond of music, and started the Chandler Chorus. We had everywhere from 10-year-olds to 60-year-olds, maybe higher. Maybe not 10-year-olds, but we had young people. We sang quite frequently. We went all over the place, up to Shelton. We were good. In fact that’s where Fannie and I met.
Anyway there was this young group, as I said, our house was the center of activity all over town. It drew practically everyone in the town of Trumbull. Mother said every Tuesday night we could have an Open House for all the young people. We played the piano, and we’d sing. We just had a ball, and then we’d have cookies and cocoa or something. That was so much fun.
You’ll hear more about the player piano because it played a role in the lives of all the children as they grew up. When you were growing up, did you have a place where you and your friends “hung out”? For me, it was Briarwood’s, a hamburger joint with a big parking lot, well lit and a friendly neighborhood cop who dropped in quite regularly. That was “the” place to go all through high school. What memories…..
Mrs. P. – I don’t really know but that is something I will pursue. I believe all her siblings have passed away, but I don’t know about any children they had. Thank you for the advice.
Hey! I’ve nominated your for the Liebster Blog Award. Check it here: http://allthosesmallthings.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/hello-liebster-we-meet-at-last/
Cheers :D x
What a wonderful mother they had. Life there sounds just like, Leave it to Beaver, the show that typified the ideal family image.
Although these letters cover ordinary life you do have an extraordinary family.
When I was growing up, I never thought that my family was any different than any other family, but from this distance now, I see that it was unusual to have so many family members living in such close proximity. Three of the boys and their 12 children lived in the same property with my grandfather until his death in 1964.
The children were all teenagers when their mother died, except Dave, who was 7, and they didn’t know much about what ws going on with her illness.I would have liked to have known her.
It makes you wonder if there is anyone out there from her extended family who might have some insight on her. I know that I have been lucky to have found several people who explained big gaps in my family history and kept clippings and photos that weren’t part of my collection.
Dad and I used to use the basement. He said that he was forced to listen to my radio all week, so on Saturdays, for at least an hour, usually I stayed longer, he’d play everything from Opera to Dixiland music. It was great.
You are so lucky. While I was young, my father either owned or ran the local gas station. He would come home for supper with the family but then he’d go back to work doing car repairs and maintenance. The only long period of time we spent together was when he taught me to drive. He was a very detailed, conscientious and consistent. Today, I still love to drive. I’ve even driven across the country 5 times, twice all by myself.
I used the same techniques with my daughters and they are very good drivers.
See – you do have fond memories.
How lovely that their mother encouraged them to have an Open Night every Tuesday. The choir must have been fun too. What do you mean by a player piano? Is it the type of piano that comes with music scrolls and plays by itself?
Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. That piano was still in the house when I was young so we had it in the house for at least 37 years.My mother played the piano so that’s when it might have been replaced by a old upright piano.