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Fun in Granny's Back yard
Jim, Lu Dawn & Wilburn




When I  Look Back Through Time,  there are many visions that come to mind.  Some are vivid and I can see them with my eyes open or closed; others are elusive and no matter how hard I try, I am unable to call them to mind.   Some of the earliest are of riding in a car with Daddy.  He is telling us about his fake eye and how he got it.  He sometimes would tease us and tell us he was going to take his eyeball out.  You see, Daddy was born with a wee small formation of an eyeball, leaving his eye socket basically empty.  When he first attended school he was sent home immediately with a note informing his mother, our grandmother MacKay (Mary Ann ‘Maggie’ MacLean-Ross-MacKay), not to send him back to school without an eyeball prosthesis.  It sounds like he would play the same trick at school that he played with us on our driving trips with him!


Another is of Grandmother MacKay sitting on her front porch knitting.  Her fingers would fly and we were amazed at how quickly she could knit.  We would be sitting in front of or to one side of her and would ask her to slow down so we could see what she was doing.  She would always tell us that if we wanted to learn we needed to watch.  Later we found out her hands shook and if she slowed down she was most likely to drop stitches.

Another memory of Grandmother MacKay's home:  we were not allowed to go into her bedroom.  She had a plant in there, a large tree-like plant.  I do not recall the name of it, but I do remember her teling us that the leaves were poisonous.  She was worried we may eat a bit of it and become sick or worse.

Also, she kept fresh fruit in a bin in the refrigerator.  Hmmm, yummy good!  I especially remember those fresh peaches.  We could hardly wait to get us one!  Yummy!


 My earliest memories of school start with the sixth grade in Laconia, New Hampshire.  I played girls baseball and the principal was our coach, Mrs. Cashon.  She was a lovely person and I remember I liked her very much.  There was Karen Anderson,  she could hit a homerun most every time she came to home plate.  Sylvia had frequent nosebleeds.  Bobby Cole played the drums.  Tommy Kidder always knew what time it was and would tell us the correct time right down to the second.  I remember faking I knew how to play the piano and later the drums.  I have always wanted to learn how to play a piano!  This talent has eluded me to this day.  I took a few piano lessons from a mean older woman who would hit my hands with a ruler while I was playing for her at piano practices.  Needless to say that did not last very long before I quit going to piano practice!  And there was Sylvia R., who all she had to do was to bend over and she would have a nose bleed.


I remember learning to ride my bicycle in Granny Hurd’s (Minerva Edith Thornton-Hilton-Hurd)  back yard.  Someone took the training wheels off my bike and guided me,  pushing me along and while I thought they were still there.  I was pumping my peddles all by myself.  How surprised I was when I learned I was doing it al by myself!  There are many fond memories of that backyard and Granny’s home!  We would sit on her front porch and watch people walking and driving by.  Many summers we would walk to the end of the street and watch the motorcycles coming in for the Championship motorcycle races.  We hardly ever missed the big motorcycle parade that passed by the end of the street at the foot of Hospital Hill.


Many days we would get our bathing suits and a towel and head out to Lake Opeechee.  Ernie would be sitting on the porch and he would always tell us to be careful and not get our feet wet!  We laughed and wondered how we could go swimming and not get our feet wet.  I remember the walk to the lake was a lengthy one; probably a couple of miles, more or less.

The goal at Lake Opeechee was to be able to make it out to the big raft!  This was a feat I worked on every summer.  Granny had one rule – that was to stay away from the big raft.  She knew it was quite a ways out in the water and that it was difficult for us to swim that far.   That did not keep me from trying.  I finally figured out that if I floated on my back and did a back stroke I could get far out!  Needless to say I did a lot of floating!  I remember the day I made it out to the big raft with al the big boys!  I did not stay long; just long enough to get my wind, watch the big boys having fun diving for a while, then I headed back to shore.  It felt like forever before I could finally touch my feet to the bottom of the lake once more!  Granny was correct!  It was a long way out there and even longer to get back to shore!


Then there were the ducks on the river at the other end of the street (Jewett Street).  We were told that a couple up the river had fed a pir of ducks one year and that ever since that time the ducks returned to the river.  Each year more ducks would come until there were several hundred swimming up and down the river.  We would bring bread down to the river and had fun feeding those ducks and watching several of them swoop in, land and gobble up the pieces of bread.

Then there were many days spent trying to catch crayfish down at the river.  That was filled with fun and excitement.  We sometimes caught a few.  We would always throw them back into the river and keep trying to catch more.  We used a simple piece of  string with a hook on one end   It seems to me we would use pieces of bread or worms to lure the crayfish in.


Granny did not have pets as such, but she did have guppies. She had a fish bowl and she kept it sitting on the countertop between the stove and the kitchen sink.  The guppies were brightly colored and it was a joy to watch them swimming around in that fish bowl.


Sally lived next door.  Her grandmother lived on the bottom floor while Sally and her parents lived upstairs on the second floor.  I remember playing ‘onesies-twosies’  and hopscotch with Sally.   Sally’s family spoke French as did many families in Laconia, N.H.   Her grandmother had lovely ‘Bleeding Hearts’ growing in the flower bed in the small area in front of the house.  I fell in love with those bleeding hearts and have tried, down through the years, to grow and keep them myself.  I never had any luck growing them, so I had to finally giving up trying!


Mother told me that I use to sleep walk.  She told me about one occasion when we lived on High Street in Laconia.  We were in an apartment building on the second floor.  Mother told me that one night as I walked past her bed to the front porch, she asked me where I was going and that I told her I was going out on the porch.  She told me it was the middle of the night and to go back to bed.  She said I turned around and went back to my bed.


Our brother Wilburn would take care of us sometimes when mother had to work.  Mother was working at the hospital then, just a couple of streets behind our apartment building.  This was the same hospital sister B.J. was born in. I remember one occasion when we had a pillow fight. It was fun and lasted for some time until one of the pillows broke and feathers went flying everywhere!  That was when Wilburn came up and threatened to beat us with his belt that had a great big buckle on it!  We thought the idea of him beating us with that belt and hook on the buckle was so funny, all we could do was laugh.  Perhaps this story is a bit turned around.  Perhaps his threat to beat us  is what caused us to laugh so hard and start the pillow fight.  That sounds like the way it really happened~!  I remember Wilburn laughing with us!


Another apartment we lived in was rented from a French woman and her son.  They had a small Chihuahua dog.  The son always gave the dog a bone.  I was out on the porch one day when he gave the dog one of these bones.  He told me I could take it away from him.  I told him no because he would bite me.  He reassured me that the dog would not bite me.  So, needless to say, I foolishly reached for the dog’s bone and was promptly bitten!


Another apartment was located at the foot of a high hill.  One day Sissy and I had what one could cal ‘a bad day’.  Or more appropriately, Mother had the bad day!  Sissy had watched these guys ride their motorcycles up and down the hill.  She wanted to ride a bike down the hill the same way, so she took my bicycle out and started at the top of the hill.  By the time she came flying by the house, or perhaps before she got to the house, she tried to apply the brakes.  Something happened and she went flying of the bike and got all banged up.  That same afternoon, I had been down the street at some older teenagers home.  These guys were playing baseball.  I was standing on the steps behind the batter.  Yup, you guessed it.  The batter took a big swing and when the bat came back over his shoulder it struck me right in the head, hitting me in the right eye!  I arrived home with a big black and blue eye!  Mother then had two of us to care for!  Whoever said girls were easier to raise than boys!



There is a road near Lake Winnipesaukee called Roller Coaster Road.  Believe me, a drive on this road is just like a ride on a roller coaster!  I remember these fun drives with Mom!  Wee!  Screaming for her to stop but wanting her to go faster!


Dad would take on trips up to the White Mountains sometimes when he visited us during the summertime.  On one of these trips he took us to the various places up there in the White Mountains, like the Flume.  We crawled in and out of many of the rock formations in the area.  And we visited the bears.  We could buy some sort of bear food and feed the bears by filling the tin cups and watching the bears pull them up to them and eat the food inside the cups. The bears were sitting on platforms high on poles.  This was a big part of our trips to the White Mountains.  The other thing we looked forward to was seeing the rock formations, The Old Man of The Mountains and Indian Head!  Back then the Old Man of The Mountains was in very good condition, unlike today when his nose is falling off.  They tried to repair him, but it is my understanding they have since given up and are now letting nature take its course.





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