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.
Planting a garden in the back yard – back row: Dorothy Peabody (Arla’s youngest sister), Biss, Lad, Dan, Ced, Dick and Grandpa. Front row: Donald Stanley and Dave, circa 1928.
CED – A bunch of us would walk over to Pinewood Lake, you know, it was all forested pine trees. We would play in the tops of those trees. We would go from one tree to the next.
DICK – One time, Lad, myself, Dan, Gib (Arnold Gibson) and Nellie Sperling (Nelson Sperling) went to Pinewood Country Club. They had planted lots of pine trees to hold the soil. We climbed a tree and moved from tree to tree. Every once in a while you would hear a crack, thump, “ugh”, as someone fell out of his tree.
One time, me and a couple of my delinquent friends did some malicious mischief (at Center School). We broke some windows. Charlie Hall ran across the stage with a stick and broke all the stage lights … Pop … Pop … Pop … Pop.
LAD – 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 a horse and invariably, Mother would call and say, “Send Alfred home, it’s time for supper.”
CED – in Trumbull, I went to the old Don Serene’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. Ms. 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 push button 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.
BISS – At Center School I fell in love with the Principal, very much and I couldn’t wait for the 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, because I wasn’t able to have her as a teacher.
LAD – 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 of 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 High and some went to Bassick High School.
BISS – When I was twelve or thirteen, Mother sent me to Kurtz’s Store to get some groceries. We had always charged it, so when I got to the counter I said, “Put it on our charge.” He said, “Go home and tell your mother and your father that we can no longer carry them on the charge. They will have to pay cash from now on.” I felt like I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me. I know it took Dad from then until 1954 before he could get out of debt and put a gravestone at Mother’s Grave. (Since Biss was born in January 1919, this would have been in 1931 or 1932. Her mother, Arla Mary (Peabody) Guion, passed away June 29, 1933. She had been severely sick for quite a while before that.)
For the rest of the week I will be posting more Childhood Memories of Trumbull.