“How strange it is to view a town you grew up in, not in wonderment through the eyes of youth, but with the eyes of a historian on the way things were.”

The morning is delightfully chilly. The sun, though, is warm and has drawn Fern and the dog to the mat by the front door. The deck is in shadows so I stayed inside to read the papers. My lawn got cut this morning. The noise scares Fern so she sits on the floor between my feet until the lawn is done. The deck cleaning is after the lawn and that noise is right by the window in here so Fern runs for cover. Now that everything is quiet she’s asleep in the warmth of the morning sun.

My mother did her grocery shopping on Friday evenings. She didn’t learn to drive until she was in her late 30’s so she had to be driven to the store by my dad. The weekend was always errand and chore time for my dad. Taking my mother was first on his list. We always liked   their going grocery shopping because cookies and treats were back in the house. Though they never lasted long, it was still nice having them for a while. Oreos were a staple, no fancy double stuffed or orange at Halloween, just your regular Oreos. My sisters were famous for eating just the middles and feeding the rest to Duke, our dog, a Boxer of course. He knew to stay close to my two sisters.

Saturdays my dad went uptown in the mornings to drop off his shirts at the Chinaman and to get a trim at the barber shop. It was a small shop with either two or three chairs. I can’t remember which. After an Italian deli opened up, my dad would stop there to buy cold cuts. The place was called Angelos.

I swear my dad knew at least half the town. He had lived there since high school, was an usher at church and was also a member of the Red Men; he was even Sachem once. It was an all male club which had meetings and did some charitable stuff but mostly I think it was a place for guys to get together and have a few drinks. The Red Men building was a nondescript gray square with only a door in the front. It was on a side street and had an unpaved parking lot beside it. You had to know what it was because the front gave no inkling. The downstairs was for drinking while the upstairs was for rent, and I remember going there many times. We even had my aunt the nun’s anniversary there. I think it was her 50th.

The Red Men building was razed as were several others including the Chinaman’s laundry when that part of uptown became the victim of beautification. The town built a park and a parking lot where those buildings used to stand. I was sorry to see them go. The ones on the Main Street were not the prettiest, and they needed some tender care, but they were old and had been a part of the town for decades. A bit of local color disappeared for the sake of beautification. I figure that’s the definition of irony.

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14 Comments on ““How strange it is to view a town you grew up in, not in wonderment through the eyes of youth, but with the eyes of a historian on the way things were.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    He is 7 today, our Prince will be arriving soon. He is such a joy, I love being his Pumpa. His gifts are wrapped, his cake has Super Heroes, heck I will even watch the Turtles if he wants.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I wish all joy and happiness to the young Prince today. I already know his wishes are going to come true!

      • Hedley Says:

        He walked in to a house decorated by his Grandmother and announced that he didn’t know that it was going to be this cool…..that Prince
        You know where to find the photo !

      • katry Says:

        Such a wonderful compliment from the Prince!

        I checked out you Facebook page thinking there but no picture!

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat, I sent it to Facebook, I think that Mr Austin is clogging everything up..give me a couple of minutes

  2. katry Says:

    I will check back to see it!

  3. olof1 Says:

    We’ve had a wonderful day here, sunshine, warm and a weak breeze. But it was only 37,4F when I got up. but it was enoughn to wear a fleece sweater to keep me warm enough.

    They tore down most of the old beautiful buildings during the sixties, seventies and eighties here in Sweden. They could have been repaired but it was probably cheaper to tear them down and replace them with ugly concrete buildings.

    They had to stop when too many people started to protest and it all started when they wanted to cut down some elmtrees in Stockholm city. The protests got so striong that they didn’t dare cutting them down in the end and then people started to protest about tearing down all the old beautiful buildings we still had left. Politicians wants votes on election days and they became so impopular that they stopped tearing down the houses 🙂

    The fun thing in my old home town was that they started to build houses that looked almost like the old ones but with bricks instead of tree. Almost as beautiful and so much safer if a fire would start 🙂

    I watched Oblivion just now and even if it¨’s very well done and actually quite good it’s still rather boring 🙂

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      I’m glad your lovely days continue. Winter comes too soon for you so you deserve as much of summer as you can get.

      The town still has old buildings, but even those few were missed by me. They were such a part of my childhood memories.

      People here have the same reaction when old houses and historic tress are set for demolition. An old house was taken down without permission in one town and the fine the guy got was enormous.

      The cape has so few brick they look out of place. Here they are all wood frames, and there are certain types: the single cape, the double cape, the 3/4 cape and the full cape. Each depends on the number of windows in front. My house has four front windows so it is a full cape. My friends have a salt box identified by the slope of the roof. The architecture is interesting.

      I got bored with it too.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My mother’s shopping day was Thursday. My dad got paid then and they would go to the First National, cash his check and shop. Wednesday night supper was always something odious like kidneys in gravy on toast. My brothers and I were glad to see Thursday. 🙂 No Oreos, though. Hydrox.

    My father was a firefighter in town and before that he worked on the local paper. He knew everyone. Walking around downtown with him was a constant meet and greet and chat. You’d think he was the mayor which we don’t have one of. 😀

    My maternal grandfather was a Redman. He and another man who really was a red man (Native American) started the Redmen’s Band in Wakefield. They were fairly well-known locally and marched in many parades.

    I love it when they tear down the old buildings and then build new buildings that try to look like old buildings. One of the larger grocery stores purchased an 19th century factory site, tore down everything and built a new building. I drove by after it had just opened and noticed that on the blank brick wall that faced the streets the architects had put the large Palladian style windows that old factories had to have before electricity because they needed daylight. Then, to be true to the metaphor, they had bricked up the new old windows just like the old factories did after there was electricity. Fake bricked-in fake windows. I LOL’d. 🙂

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      My father got paid on Friday, and on Thursday we never ate kidneys. My mother never served kidneys or liver. My Dad loved Hydrox but my mother bought Oreos while we were still kids. When it was just the two of them, she bought Hydrox for my Dad.

      I know exactly where the Red Man building is in Wakefield, but I didn’t know they had a band. I must have seen them in the July 4th parade in Wakefield.

      It isn’t just buildings. They are now building ballparks to look like the ones they tore down. None of it makes sense: the buildings or the ballparks.

  5. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    Just came by to wave and read all the news that’s fit ( or not fit) to print.
    On to some music…
    Lori and Lily

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