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Memories of a Maine childhood
To the Editor:
The following was a Christmas gift to my elderly father who was a country doctor in Northern Maine where I grew up in the '40s and '50s. Maybe it will recall some fond memories for some of the readers as well. Merry Christmas.
Happy Memories of a Maine Childhood
Raking leaves into piles and jumping into them.
The smell of burning leaves.
Making houses with rooms, doors and windows out of leaves.
Sunday dinners with cousins and Gram.
Stargazing and observing constellations with Dad on moonless nights.
Annual journeys to Worcester with Mom, Betsy and Billy on the overnight train to visit Aunt Lucie, Uncle Karl and Grammie Aldrin.
Semi-annual excursions to Bangor to buy seasonal clothes and the anticipation of staying overnight at Cobbs' Lodge and eating dinner at the Atlantic Grill.
Summers at the lake and having to take a dip in the lake before breakfast each morning.
Whiling away the hours on the cabin porch playing "Author," "Parcheesi" and other games.
Gathering around the piano as Mom played and the family sang.
Being lulled to sleep in the evening listening to my parents singing and playing at the piano.
Flying down the stairs to greet Dad after his long absence due to major surgery.
Being rocked and cuddled by Mom in a creaky rocking chair by the kitchen stove when sick. To this day I love a rocking chair that creaks.
Old-fashioned Christmases with cousins and Gram.
Walking in the snow, making snow forts and going in the house to get warm and put on dry mittens.
Getting a television set, one of the first in town.
The hired man Sam sitting at the kitchen table while Mom offered him cold lemonade and a listening ear.
Picking and eating raspberries from our raspberry patch.
Going barefoot all summer.
Swinging so high up over the driveway on a swing that Dad made and hung from two giant pine trees.
Keeping house in our playhouse in the backyard that Dad made and painting the inside pink and green with leftover paint.
Endless hours playing dolls and dress-up in the attic.
Being allowed to play with Billy's electric train.
Visiting Gram in her big, old house.
Playing in the barn chamber.
Christmas plays and musicals performed by all the cousins for all the adults in Gram's living room.
Summer picnics down in back of Gram's old house.
Going in the car with Dad to make house calls.
Eating homemade bread fresh out of the oven and topped with lots of butter.
Community concerts in Presque Isle.
Trips to Quebec with Mom and Dad.
Kool-Aid and comic books stands in the summer.
Walking home from the movies on a summer evening.
Saturday afternoon cowboy matinees for 25 cents and popcorn for 10 cents a bag.
All the snacks made and left on the card table for Santa along with letters written to and from Santa.
Lining up for the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.
Betsy, Billy and I singing Christmas carols outside my parents' bedroom door on Christmas morning.
Three dachshunds and several parakeets.
Listening to basketball games on the radio with a big bowl of popcorn.
Youth Fellowship at the Methodist Church.
Sleeping on the front porch all summer long with my dog.
Taking dancing lessons and being in a recital.
Mom's Easter bonnets made by Dad every year for her to wear to church.
Listening for Dad's footsteps on the back porch as he stomped the snow from his boots.
Going into the country to cut down the Christmas tree.
Coming downstairs to the kitchen on cold, dark winter mornings to find Mom with a pan of hot cocoa and hot cereal to greet us.
The snuggies, garter belts and long, brown stockings worn on winter days.
The first hints of spring when the snow would start to melt and out would come the jump ropes and balls.
Taking horseback riding lessons and the many days of after school riding "Chummy."
Picking potatoes every fall and then coming home to a hot supper, crawling upstairs to a hot bath and bed.
Decorating the cellar every Halloween for a costume party.
Playing Fox and Geese in the snow.