(a continuing story by my mother about growing up. see
Rag Dolls and Purple Coaches: A Memoir part 4 )
*****When it began to be spring we made maple sugar and
syrup. Then we always had Jack-wax. That was good! You
had to go out and . . .
get pans full of clean snow. The snow was clean there. All that
good country mountain air had no germs in it. Then we would
drop spoonfuls of hot maple sugar on the snow and pick it off
with forks. It had become like soft caramel candy and was
We always picked lots of berries in the summer. Sometimes the
whole family would go up the mountain for all day and pick
blueberries. We ate a picnic lunch and brought home bushels
of berries to be canned for the winter.
In the fall we went in the wet lands by the river and picked cranberries.
Some of those we strung with popcorn to make garlands for our
Christmas tree. Of course, we made paper chains, too, miles of them.
There was always a Christmas party at school and a community party.
Everyone would go. We always put on a play for that and some of
the children would recite or sing alone. Not me! I was very bashful.
From listening to the other grades in their classes I got to know quite
a lot. When I was eight Miss Meade let me take the fifth grade exams
and I passed them. Then I went right on and that was how I came to
start High School when I was not quite twelve.
But there were other things before that. We went to school every day
of the week but one day we started out with our books and lunches but
didn’t go to school. For some reason Francis didn’t want to go so he
said we were going to skip. So we stopped off in Bates’ pasture and
stayed the whole day! It wasn’t bad at first. Francis read to us out of
our reading books (Rollo and Dick again). Then we ate our lunch
early and walked around. We ate choke cherries which are sweet but
bitter, too, and pucker your mouth up. There was no water there.
I had a long nap finally and then we climbed a high hill where we
could see the road to town and the school house. When we saw the
other children going home from school we went out to the road and
went home, too.
Well—our mother had found out we didn’t go to school all day! The
teacher had sent word home by someone going past. My mother gave
Francis a good switching. Dennis and I expected it too, but she said
I didn’t know any better. Dennis was sick all night from all the
choke cherries and that was punishment enough for him.
to be continued . . .