Before they died, I was able to record childhood memories of five of Grandpa’s six children. When Uncle Dan passed away, I knew I had to start the project quickly before we lost any others. These are some of their memories.
CED – In Trumbull, I went to the old Don Sirene’s house, which was a school. It had two rooms with a sliding door between them. The first, second and third grades were in one room, the fourth, fifth and sixth grades were in the other. The teachers were two sisters, one in each room. Miss Hawkins taught in the second building. That was the building that was moved. They put a basement under it and made some minor changes and made a firehouse out of it. We had outhouses outside – one for the boys and one for the girls. We had a water cooler, a 10 gallon jug with a pushbutton on the bottom, no ice and a wood stove. Both buildings had a wood stove – we kids used to get the wood for it.
When they opened Center School, I was in the fourth grade. It had four rooms upstairs and four rooms downstairs. It was shaped like a square.
At the Trumbull house, one of the things we used to do, one of the high points, had to do with the little trap door over the barn. We opened the door, tied a rope to the beam at the top of the barn, ran it down and tied it to the big Maple outside the Summer Terrace. We used to have a wheel on it and we would go out the door and hang from the wheel. We’d slide all the way down and get off by the Maple tree. A pretty fast ride, too.
We had a swing on the upper end of the property, near the stone pillars. We’d take hold of the rope, take a run and then swing out almost over the road. Don Stanley fell off and broke his arm. His father never really forgave us.
BISS – I really liked the Principal, at Center School, and I couldn’t wait for eighth grade to come so I could be with her. She retired to get married, either one or two years before that. I was in the sixth or seventh grade when she retired to get married. I was always mad at her, as I wasn’t able to have her as a teacher.
LAD – I don’t remember very much about any trouble I got into. Dick and Ced used to get into trouble. Mother would get a call from the police, or Constable, as they were called at the time. What their problems were I don’t remember, but they did get into trouble….Mother had to go get them a few times.
I do remember I used to ride one of the horses we had frequently, possibly every day or two, to go up to a house on the top of the second hill beyond Middlebrook School. There was a girl living there that I really liked. In fact, Bill Hennigan and I liked this girl very much. Ruth Moy was her name. I used to go up there on the horse and invariably, my mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”
We started high school in Congress High on Congress Avenue in Bridgeport. We went there for two years maybe, then they closed the school and made it into a junior high. All the high school kids moved across the street to Central High. Years later, some of the Trumbull kids went to Harding High, some to Central and some went to Bassick High School.