These are the memories of my Father and his siblings, recorded over several years. When my Uncle Dan passed away, I realized that I had better get started recording the memories of Dan’s siblings before they were also gone. I was able to have two recording sessions with my Father, Lad in California; two with Uncle Ced in New Hampshire, a three-day cruise in our boat with Aunt Biss; one session with Uncle Dave in Stratford, CT and one hand-written session (I forgot my tape recorder going up to the Island in New Hampshire, where Uncle Dick lived) with Uncle Dick. I transcribed them once exactly as they were spoken, again removing the ums, ahs, half sentences started over, etc. I then produced a final copy that was easier to read, but it still needs work getting the chronological order correct. Memories are not recorded with a date stamp. I created 75 binders for family members which include all three translations, pages and pages of photos and memorabilia and the actual recording. Now family members can actually heat their ancestors speaking. It was my first project with all the material my Father saved for me and a true Labor of Love. I hope you enjoy these memories of A Slice of Life at a different time and place.
CED – The Island belonged to the Heurlins (Rusty Huerlin’s parents) and they let us use it. We used it long before we bought it. Through Rusty, we met his family. His mother and father came over from Sweden, his father spoke with a strong accent. He was a Customs Agent in Boston. They were a nice couple, they lived in Wakefield, Massachusetts, in a nice house.
The barge on the left
When we first went to the Island, probably about 1924 or 1925, there was nothing on it at all. We would take a tent. My Dad would load up the big old touring car. To begin with, we used a canoe and a rowboat to get out to the Island. Later, Lad and his buddies built the barge, which was hand-built in Trumbull. It was 15 or 16 feet long, it had a square bow and a flat bottom. It was always nice to have when you were moving your stuff out to the Island. Then the guys started getting motorboats, outboards, a lot handier to go here and there.
BISS – My first recollection of the Island was when I was twelve or thirteen, somewhere along there. At that time, Rusty (Heurlin) or is family owned the island. He took us kids up there, and of course, there was nothing on the Island. I picked a rock to sleep on. It was probably the big, flat rock near Bathtub Rock. That was my bed.
Current picture of about half of the Big Flat Rock
One night, Rusty and two guys from around the lake, named Eustis and Sully (we kid’s called them “useless” and “silly”) went to a house on the mainland where some Irish policemen were on vacation. They were going to help them celebrate. Rusty came back three sheets to the wind, oh, he was really out of it. He staggered up the point.
DAVE – One of my earliest memories of the Island was running around naked. There were no buildings on the Island when we went there, there was a tent. We put up a tent and that was it
When I was a kid, I remember it was the first time I was up there – in the first place, it was a two-day trip to get up there – we used to leave, drive up to Rusty’s parents house, stay overnight, then drive up the rest of the way. Rusty had a couple of friends who were at the Island one time I was up there. We had spaghetti for supper that night. By sometime around two or three o’clock I no longer had that spaghetti. I don’t know what they had in it, but something made me sick.
One guy’s name was Eustis and Rusty used to call him Useless. I don’t remember the other guy’s name. Rusty is the last one in the world to call someone else silly. I remember one time he decided to make himself a meal. So he got a piece of bread and he proceeded to put anything and everything that was edible on top of that piece of bread and ate the whole thing, stood out on the rock and belched loud enough so people on Red Hill could hear him, I’m sure. He was a character, a funny guy.
Red Hill taken from a Sunset Rock, right next to the Big Flat Rock.
I remember Rusty picked on Dick a lot. I don’t know why. I guess Dick was at that age,, fifteen, sixteen or seventeen, and Rusty didn’t have much patience. Rusty was a man’s man. He wasn’t too much for kids. I just remember he picked on Dick a lot. I just remember feeling sorry for Dick.
For the rest of the week, I wlll be posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.