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Growing up in Belmont 1932-1960

This is an oral history open to anyone to contribute memories.

Edition of  November 2013

We lived at 24 Edward Street when I was born in 1932 and my brother claimed I cauld almost remember coming home from Mount Auburn hospital. Not true but I do recall a summer photo being taken at our cottage in Rockport when I was probably 2 and 1/2. I still had blond hair as did my April 1999 born grandson for his first 3 years.

My family about 1936 Father easily outweighing his three kids, our mother is holding my hand, my brother "Robbie"has his often wary look and our sister Harriet on the end. The place was one of the sites we drove to for day picnics.

Compared with my brother I was a quiet, inquisitive, happy being alone kid in a neighborhood with more girls and older boys than my age group. A handful of us were the babies of the families. I was so relaxed and peaceful as a little kid my brother worried  about when he'll ever get over being a rolly polly happy little ball and get going.

Nearly all the neighborhood kids started school ahead of me, so  I absorbed enduring memories of the quiet, nearly empty streets, yards, cars, houses, hedges, trees, etc.

I can readily recreate the interior of "Johns", the small store for local errands , corner of Waverley and Cherry in the block of stores at the intersection of Thomas, Beech and Waverly.  My short term memory hasn't improved much since those days when if my mother asked me to pick up three items at "Johns" (Natoli) I usually forgot one and John had to call my mother or a second trip was in store. Dead end Cherry Street beside John's wasn't paved then, but covered with a cinder gravel mix. Why? I don't know. Dick Betts recalls being intercepted by the Atlone gang on that corner and warned it was their territory.  I only have a vague memory that we kept moving when older boys were lounging around the corner. I think slipping in from the east on Waverly wasn't a threat to the Atlone's turf'.

Roy Scammell and I have reminisced about Hoodsie' cups, pushups and the ever sticky, sugar and water dual popsicles. I think all of them were a nickel each. Two popsicles may have appeared as a bonus for a nickel but you had to be quick not to have the second one melt down over your hand.  We remember tearing the pushup paper tubes apart and licking the insides. Another summer time welcome treat would come from the pony pulled ice cream carts from Medford.  We wonder if they trotted from their stable in Medford to Waverley Sqare.  Roy wrote, "There was an old Italian variety store in Waverley Sq., that made hand packed ice cream sandwiches.  The old guy would pack ice cream between a waffle cone like wafers".

The sidewalks on Waverley Street had a hard time staying even and not split by tree roots. For my brother they were an opportunity to count how many ants he could crush with his shoes. We always figured he drastically shortened the life of his leather soles which were usually 'resoled' a time or two by the cobblers in Belmont Center.

A memory came back after reading on Page 153 of Footsteps Through Belmont about the former Belmont Tennis Club property sold in 1939 where numbers 250 and 254 Waverley Street were built. I had forgotten where the excavations were where my brother and I got monstrously dirty sliding down the freshly dug dirt. It was the first time in my life I had gotten that dirty. One of my sons did the same thing in Anaheim California in about 1965, also on new home construction.

I was always impressed by the Belmont Tennis Club on Thomas Street, assuming it 'had always been there', not realizing it may be the longest existing one in the U.S. Someone who played there had a '36 blue Ford Phaeton similar to Miss Noye's car at the Kendall school but the hubcaps or wheels were different.

Across from Clover Street on Waverly and a bit to the east was a neat  little house with a trimmed privet hedge with a one car garage set  to the rear side. It was a house with significance to me every time I passed since it was the home of John O'Brien, manager of C.J. McGinnis oil Company in Waverley Square. I could relate to someone who dispatched trucks and sent you a bill for fuel to heat your home.

Another related impressionable factor was Mr. Obrien also wrote a  weekly column for a Belmont  paper, called  'Salamagundi'.  I don't  know the signficance of the title but it struck me as very  important that a businessman would  also write a weekly column. Kevin O'Brien emailed me in Jan 2004 after reading this page and said he being born in 1943 wasn't aware of his father's columns but his brother Jack, b: 1940 and others in the family were.  The column always featured aphorisms about life and  keeping your house  warm. I carried them in my head.  Six years later I had some 'canned' columns also in the local paper over my byline. And writing continued to be integral to my employment and 'life in general'.

There was an open field west of the above house until you got to three older houses, one set in back, probably a farm or orchard at one time. We played 'cowboys and indians' in 'forts' in that field with the kids from those houses. The family names were Looney and King.  We 'cut through' someone's yard on the west side of  Edward street to get to that field. Maybe four houses on that side abutting on the field. For years I had dreams associated with that fence and 'the wilds beyond' which had fascinated me. I had to vary which yard I cut through to evade a 'knock on the window'  trespass warning. There was an open stand of what I now would call 'fescue' but I don't recall any grazing. I am surprised the current town map does not show any streets 'cut into' that area.  My brother reminded me in 2006 that we were members for a very short time of a boy scout troop meeting in the home of the leader, the 'back house' in that enclave.

We also reminisced of another short stay in a scout troop, one sponsored by the Catholic Youth Organization that met in the Burbank School. We have chuckled many times about 'not fitting in' to the Boy Scouts. I recall selling my BSA handbook in the 70''s in southern California.

Another 'open space' play area was the old Chenery orchard in back of the houses on Slade Street where Brentwood Rd is now. I had forgotten about the Orchard until I read Richard Betts comment in the Belmont Historical Society Newsletter of June 1998 where he said in an article on the Strand Theatre, "Following a Johnny Weismuller Tarzan movie, we returned to the Chenery orchard in the rear of my Slade Street home to swing on vines from tree to tree."  My brother and I accessed the Orchard through the Graham's yard on Slade since Joae Graham was a friend of our sister, Harriet. I recall climbing the vine covered old apple trees and the dusty or maybe even partially 'sandy' soil between the trees. I became lifelong 'hooked' on visiting open spaces from those early childhood days,  a major reason I live now surrounded by open pastures.

Those quiet streets in the '30's carried horse drawn milk wagons,  'clopped-d-clopping' along Orchard Street early in the am. Some produce delivery vehicles were chain driven with solid rubber wheels. Roy Scammell and I recall one big dark red van with a scale hanging on the back to weigh vegetables. We think it started out horse drawn. There was 'the ice man' truck, delivering blocks of ice held when carried by 'pincer' tongs. Front windows would have an 'ice' or 'no ice' sign showing.  I can recall the 'iceman' coming up the walk to our back door on Edward Street. In summer, kids would gather around the back of the truck for chips of ice. Seems we got such to suck on someplace else, maybe some stores.  Probably about 1939 we got a refrigerator with a large condenser visible in the lower section. It stood in a small entryway pantry off our kitchen and 'gave off' funny odors. After me moved to Alexander Avenue I recall we got a 'real nice' refrigerator but were cautioned not 'to open the door too much'.

I have many fond memories of attending the Kendall School from Sept 1937 to June 1942.

I can recall the Principal, Chester Robinson with his glasses, who seemed fair and what was considered in those days, 'professional'. I had forgotten the long, long time head custodian, Mr. Duncan till I read some Belmont Historical Society newsletters. He was 'unassuming' and always friendly, seems he had duties guiding students when out of our classrooms such as coming back in from recess. I recall him holding the door to the playground open as I was often the last one in. This was caused by love of being outdoors.  I took for granted the splendid flower arrangements and small shrubs Mr. Duncan maintained till I transferred to the Winn Brook school which was notably barren, although with a very large lawn to mow.

I spent many classroom hours gazing out the  windows with 'one ear' to classroom activity. Many teachers thought they were 'catching me' not paying attention by calling on me 'out of turn'. I don't recall being 'caught' but I must have been a few times.

I recall Mrs. Waite, the school nurse. When I was in junior high and mowing lawns all over Belmont I mowed the Waite's lawn. At that time they lived across from the Junior high, corner of Goden and Washington Street. I believe teachers back then were encouraged or obliged to be single or widowed since there were few 'Mrs' such as Mrs. Lois Prentice, my fourth grade teacher.

I recall our air raid drills which probably started in 1940. We would either get under our desks or go to the cafeteria/gym and get under tables. Of course we had the mandatory fire drills, lining up outside to file back when the 'all clear' bell rang.

I can still sort of sense the sweet aroma of flowers and newly mowed lawn with the fresh air from open windows which probably was quite welcome in spring after being closed up for winter.


I started kindergarten in September 1937 at the Kendall School. I had become 5 years old in February 1937 and my mother told me she could have started me September 1936 at 4 years 7 months, however she decided (wisely I believe) to hold me out till I was 5 years 7 months. I never gave it much thought till writing memoirs after the year 2000 and noting I was older than many Class of '50 from B.H.S. Even more startling was to learn I was a year older than many Harvard '54 classmates who had attended private schools and had always assumed they were a year older.

That fall of 1936 my brother, Robert was going into the 4th grade at Kendall. He had started and attended the Mary Lee Burbank School for kindergarten and first grade but the district boundary was changed making Common Street the new divider. He started Kendall in the second grade with Miss Noyes. We lived about 8 houses from Common. Our sister Harriet attended Burbank through the 4th grade, then fifth and sixth at Kendall.

My kindergarten teacher was Miss Sweetser. Joe Balsama wrote in the Belmont Historical Society Newsletter of December 2004 of the end of our half days in kindergarten. At 12 noon the class would sing “going home songs". One he recalled had lines like: "Now our school is over and we are going home. Goodbye, goodbye, be always kind and true." Another feature he wrote about and which I recall was the milk, crackers and rest period. Older students would deliver a half pint bottle of milk for each student. I guess the teachers supplied the graham or saltine crackers, puled the shades so we could rest our heads on our desks and 'be quiet', of course. I recall the classroom was below ground level so the windows were high near the ceiling.  I've always recalled the small airplanes, even a biplane I molded from clay in that classroom.  In 1980 via a battery of basic aptitude tests I learned I scored high on 'spatial relations', the ability to envision physical shapes. I had always wondered why I was quicker than many engineers on the Apollo program at 'conceptualizing' designs as well as tests and space flight.  My fondest memories of the Kendall School have always been the walk home. Guess that tells you something about me and 'the outdoors'.

Mark Olken added this memory in July 2007; "a Spring project (Kindergarten?) was decorating baskets which we later used to carry lunches as we walked all the way to Waverly Oaks."

GRADE 1 1938-'39

I don't have my report card for the first grade but I have a hunch my teacher was Miss Linda Betts. If I could recall the first name of the other first grade teacher, a Miss Barry I might be more positive. Our school day started at 9 am and we had an hour and half for lunch from noon to 1:30 P.M. So you can see I got to 'walk home' twice a day but it was the quieter noon time walk I enjoyed the most.  Kicking accumulated leaves on Beech was a favorite 'sport'. Wednesdays was a half day. I would assume every child's mother was 'at home' in those years. There wasn't much vehicle traffic. I knew every car make and model. Trucks sort of 'lumbered' along, the side streets saw mostly delivery trucks.

When we left at 3:00 P.M. there would be streams of high school kids on Beech and Orchard streets going in the opposite direction. I know many walked from Waverley so I doubt there was any school bus. None that I can remember anyway. I think some took the 'white bus' and got off at the corner of Waverley and Common. The 'bus stop' there consisted of a sign on a pole and a bench which I think eventually acquired a cover.

Since I was the youngest of three my brother and sister 'identified' many kids passing by. Until we moved to the Winn Brook, aka 'the swamp' in 1942 we  'identified' with kids from the Butler and Kendall elementary districts.

My guess is my 1st grade room was on the front of the building and if so I can recall dutifully bringing in a good example of a tree leaf and 'mounting' it on paper for display. Also all the cutouts we made and pasted in the windows befitting each season.

September 21, 1938 was the day of the big hurricane which I have written about in Growing Up in Belmont. Joe cited that school was cancelled for over a week. I recall many images of that storm's damage. I was 6 years and 7 months old.

Joe Balsama cites that we had gym classes with Miss Leonard on Fridays. I have no recollection of that unless it was outside, kickball on the baseball field.

Another activity I have erased from my memory were our spring field day on the Town Field. I think I have a very vague memory of being bored, waiting for the event to end.

Joe cites that at recess time we went to the school/gym cafeteria for a half pint of milk and crackers served by sixth grade girls. This is a very vague memory of 'lining up' etc., so I'm sure I've erased most of it. I think this was the grade in which the teacher asked me why I wasn't singing with the group. I responded with, "Oh I'm singing softly so I can listen to the other kids".  In truth I was bored with the singing, particularly my voice and was more interested in listening to the others.

Reading the list of supplies to bring to first day at my grand daughters school in southern California, I recalled that we brought nothing, a lunch maybe and supplies were passed out with the warning they were expected to last through the school year and be handed in at the end. I recall securiing my gum eraser in my desk as the not easily replaced item it was. Also, of course, most  of the items on my grand daughers list didn't exist in 'our day'.

GRADE 2, 1939-'40

My teacher was Miss Elizabeth Noyes of '36 Ford Phaeton and bestowing stars and kisses as rewards fame. Already being a 'car nut' Miss Noyes could 'hardly have done anything wrong' with her blue four door convertible with whitewalls and red trimmed wheels parked on the Town Field side of the school. Apparently the congratulatory kiss and 'gold star' stuck to my forehead were rewards for my reading, progressing from S, a bit slow, to H in the fourth reporting period, March to May. I was pleased that my final report card remarks were; "I have enjoyed Joseph very much this year."  I think the room was on the second floor on the playground side of the building. I recall the closets being called 'the cloak room' whereas they were only sliding doors on the inner wall of the room, hiding from us our coats and wet weather footwear, in those days called rubbers and overshoes. My brother  followed Miss Noyes around the room so much  she  had him sit in her chair, then sat on his lap. That stopped him.

GRADE 3, 1940-'41

My teacher was Miss I. Clark. I think the I stood for Ida. This was the grade when the third grades formed an 'orchestra' with triangles, tambourines, rhythm sticks, cymbals and drums. Joe Balsama brought back the name of the music teacher, Miss Ida Marie Bunting. Our afternoon sessions were a half hour longer, to 3:30.  I think part of the motivation for this was to 'stagger' the groups of kids, nearly all of whom walked home from school. Joe wrote:
"One day, shortly after December 7, 1941, everyone in school was sent home because of a possible air raid." Sending us home brought a negative reaction from parents so from then on either with  air raid warnings or drills we went to the basement. Miss Clark wrote only one remark and that in the first period. It has become a 'classic' which I have retold several thousand times, "Joseph's conduct could be better. He is very talkative and interested in other's affairs." Some things never change. I weighed 61 lbs at the end of the year.

GRADE 4 Sept 8, 1941-June 19, 1942

My teacher was Mrs. Lois Prentice whom I recall I liked and apparently vice versa since my report card is all H's with one high S in the first period. After we moved to the Winn Brook district in April '42 I recall Mrs. Prentice excused me from most of the afternoon sessions. I recall riding my bike from near Belmont Center on Alexander Avenue to the Kendall school and feeling quite privileged going home at noon and not having to return. I had a whole new neighborhood to get into. Most of my bike ride recall seems to be of Royal Road and Thomas Street.

I clearly recall having a lemonade stand on Waverley street near Edward and 'selling out' when some men were digging a major trench along the side of the road. The little white buses ran along Waverley so if we wanted a neighborhood excursion to 'the Duck Pond' and 'Waverly Oaks' we could ride the bus. Brad Atwood lived on the corner of Edward and Waverley and moved to 'the swamp' on Lake Street about the same time we did. The Traceys then moved into that house.

There were some old houses on Waverly between Edward and Common with big barn like garages on large lots.  John McGreenery and I traversed those large lots frequently as a 'shortcut', visiting each other. We actually skiied on the slope at the back of one, the family name I think was Lord. Mr. Butler, my 7th grade English teacher lived next to the Atwoods. Before I started school Betty and Jimmy Ahlquist lived opposite the Atwoods at 5 Edward.

A dim memory of the Hittinger greenhouses east of School Street came back to me when I read on Page 188 of 'Footsteps Through Belmont'. I had a memory of seeing some greenhouses from the back seat of our car. The mental picture had rows of greenhouses separated from the road by a fence and some tall grass and I conclude it was the Hittinger's, destroyed in the 1938 hurricane.

Roy Scammell sent the following to me after weathering another hurricane in Florida in 2004.

"I remember the hurricane that passed through New England in 1938 fairly well.  Us kids were running around the street chasing a dog and the wind kept blowing our hats off.  Later up in the house one could hear the wind whistle around the old windows and the trees being blown around.  Later that week my father took me and my older brothers down to Waverley Oaks where we cut fire wood from fallen trees .  We filled the long unused coal bin in the cellar with enough wood to get us through another winter, at least that's the way I remember it.  There was huge old Oak tree next to the toboggan slide at the "Oaks" that got blown over.  In later years the MDC reset the stump and attached an engraved brass plate stating that the tree was growing for something like 300 years.  I forget the details of that now, but it left an impression and we kids used to try and count the rings to identify the actual date, but that was nigh on impossible for us.  We couldn't count beyond 20 I bet." Roy sent me the following in about 2003.

Page 164 in 'Footsteps Through Belmont' has a picture of the burned out Plymouth Congregational Church on Common Street. The March 8, 1941 early morning fire woke me up with both the noise, heat and red glow on the walls of my bedroom on Edward Street. We didn't go out to take a look since with the crowd of 1000 that gathered we wouldn't have any better view than from our house. There had been a church fair for some weeks before the fire and my brother and I along with neighborhood kids had been playing the skill games such as a 'roll a ball', miniature bowling alley.  My brother had been been at it so intensely he was winning so many prizes we think he was requested 'not to come back'.  I can clearly recall looking up close at the burnt out building in the stages of it's removal.

A very sad memory from Edward street is the image of Paul White pitching to his dad in the driveway of their home. Paul was killed in the Battle of the Bulge not long after he had been signed for professional baseball.

We had memorable 4th of July displays in that neighborhood. The Howards on Orchard Street being the leaders. Mr. Howard's business was something to do with supplying meat to restaurants on Cape Cod. I considered my job to clean up, that is set off all the unexploded fireworks I could find the next morning. One year, someone's errantly discarded cigar set off a large box of fireworks in front of Howard's.

Their house had a steep, asphalted driveway which was fun to coast down on a trike or scooter and skid around at the bottom to stay on the sidewalk.  If no cars were coming you could scoot out on Orchard St.

Reading others memoirs on firecrackers of the 30's and 40's, I recalled the 'parachute' launcher thing, that caused a little metal figure to float back down attached to a small parachute.  The holes in wooden telephone poles for linemen to use in climbing were a favorite place to light off larger 'salutes', pinwheels and roman candles. I recall some pleading in the newspapers to stop this practice. The poles were getting burned and the holes enlarged enough not to be useable for their purpose. Picking up unexploded fireworks was of course a challenge. If there was no fuse showing I'd save them till after dark, break them open and use the powder for small bonfires. If there was a fuse showing I'd light it with a 'glowing' piece we called 'punk' and hope I got distant enough not to be burned. There were three sizes as I recall, the larger ones were '2 inch salutes'. I think the last year I did this one went off in my hand.  There was also something called a 'M80', maybe there still is. When set off in the pedestrian tunnel by the RR station in the center, they were 'most impressive'.  Larry Maletta wrote; "During the summer months when fireworks were legal a store would open  every year on Trapelo Rd  about one or  two stores down from Palfrey Pharmacy corner of Bartlett Ave and Trapelo rd. (Mary Hart BHS '51 worked at the Palfrey Pharmacy). A joy for me was my older brother home on leave from the Army late '30's to early 1941.  I would help him carry large bags full of fireworks. My mom had a metal laundry pole into which he would drop, I  guess a one inch salute, quickly put a tennis ball on top and up it would go. I remember we  never lost one but after a few rounds it would kill the ball. Out would come another."

A rainy day pastime for we Nix kids was riding tricycles, 'the scooter' or roller skating around the poles and stairway in our basement.  There wasn't much down there, sinks for laundry, a not often used bathroom, some trunks of books of our father's and on the side by the garage, a furnace and 'coal bin' changed over to oil in the late 30's.  I recall laundry stretched across one half  blocking our 'paths'. There was a door to the back yard opening at grade level since the backyard sloped to the driveway. It sloped enough so I tried to 'ski' down it on toy skis with poles and I think I 'got stuck' most of the time. It couldn't have been a very expensive toy set since I recall the dye or paint on the poles rubbed off on my gloves.  We didn't have coal chores since a handyman would come around to do that. There was a lot of unemployment in the '30's so such services were readily available. I only recall "the man"being there and I was not afraid to watch him.

I can readily recall the sidewalks of Common Street to Belmont Center, where I the library was often my  prime destination when I was alone. Those summer reading contests remain clearly in my memory. Parking my bike behind the library in the shade of the big trees. The relatively quiet streets around the Town Hall and library, 'upper' Concord Ave, Pleasant and Moore streets.  The Underwood estate always fascinated me, the neatness, the gravel driveway, the little motorized cars some family kids about my age drove occasionally on the long asphalt drive towards the Wellington Brook.

Another poignant memory because I told people over and over about it was passing Norbert Weiner of MIT fame. The remarkable bit in the tale was that he very rarely wore an overcoat. I would prepare my "Hello Mr. Weiner" in advance.

I alway's admired the English look of the All Saints Episcopal Church at the corner of Common and Clark streets. One summer Brad Atwood introduced me and we attended some 'summer activities' for boys, crafts and such in a group I think was called Squires. After several weeks the counselor mentioned that all the boys would sit together at Sunday service.  I realized I needed to speak up, so I said I wouldn't be able to make it. The gentleman very pleasantly asked why and I said, 'Well, my church is across the field and on Common Street', ergo St. Joseph's. I believe I was assured I could continue with 'the Squires'.

Page 36 of Richard Bett's 'Footsteps Through Belmont' has a picture and history of the World War 1 memorial on Common Street. As a little kid walking to Belmont Center, maybe to 'Olive's' for a newspaper for my mother, I would stop and look at the names on the memorial. It impressed in me the image of men going 'over there' to fight a war. My father and one uncle were 'over there' in WW One via the Navy, two others stateside so I had never heard any 'war stories' other than a few shipboard or Boston Navy yard incidents. I can recall the decorations for Memorial Day and I know I witnessed at least one ceremonial remembrance at that site. It was also a 'gathering' area for Belmont's parades so we might have sat on a stone wall where Common Street 'jogged' behind the triangle 'park' around the memorial.

I remember watching parades from the sidewalk by the Underwood estate. Naturally we couldn't sit on that splintery black board on top of the stone wall around the estate. I recall on parade route near the Underwood Pool where some quite old veterans were still marching.  If they had been Civil War, say 1865 and the year was 1939, that's 74 years so if they had been 'bugle boys' at age 16 they would have been 90.  Spanish American war veterans needed to be only in their 50's and 60's. I always 'got emotional' at parades; drum rolls, marching steps, pageantry. In my 'adult life' in 1953, I actually enjoyed parades at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

A memorable walking experience was the tunnel under the RR tracks at the foot of the stairs to the station platform. Before the town put in blockade pipes trying to squeeze a Model A Ford or such through there was a local challenge. Someone did get one stuck there but I can't recall the name. Probably six years older than me. If the 'way was clear' it was a great bike ride down from Leonard Street, round the 90 degree corner and into the tunnel but dangerous, of course.

The Underwood Pool was my first 'outing' where one mixed with kids from other neighborhoods in one's age group. I never liked the pool nor the bathouse but enjoyed sitting on the swings or under the pine trees watching 'the rest of the kids'. Since the pool was located in a natural amphiteatre the lifeguards hardly needed megaphones' since up on the slope you could pick up pool area voices as in an 'outdoor theatre'.

It wasn't a long walk to the pool from our house so I often went there for 'something to do'. I recall Hubie McGuire lived on School Street in a house adjacent to the upper playground. He was a jovial guy and I believe went to a special school. His mother kept a 'close eye' on him from their house.

It was a bit of farm country to hear the chickens in the coops in the far southeast corner of the  Underwood property. There was a unique fence and stone wall and a hedge in front of chain link on the Underwood playground side. Once a year we would gather fallen chestnuts from some trees along the north side of School Street, across from St. Joseph's property. I think they were on Underwood property. Someone we knew was the son of a caretaker and we would say "hi" when passing by.  In high school, the boys used to gather at that corner before committing themselves to home room, entering via the squeaky stairs of the old Wellington school annex.

Roy Scammell emailed me the tale of the long walk from Waverly to the pool as hardly worth the effort for 40 minutes in the water. He cited the warm water from the drinking fountains and how the one on the Town Field seemed to need suction to draw water. I concurred in the memory and replied that the ones on the Winn Brook field seemed to be the opposite, possibly due to higher pressure down there.

My mother worked out some picnic auto trips to Ashby, where there were some 'falls' on a small stream. Because we have some kodak brownie snapshots of skinny kids I can recall wading in the stream and looking forward to a choice of sandwiches from our basket, egg salad, ham, etc. It wasn't a neighborhood 'thing' but collaboration of some of my mother's friends. At this moment I can only recall  Ruth Burns and Jimmy Brine in attendance. I know there were probably 8 kids and four adults, two car loads.  I know we also visited the Burns in their cabin at Canobie Lake Park, Salem N.H., a popular spot for Belmontians with some amusements or a carnival or such, but memory is vague on those, never did go for carnivals. 

The cottage, "Knoll Crest". Ruth, my sister Harriet, my brother Robbie. We think the figure reading the paper on the left is Mr. Burns. On the back  it says  Gilmanton Iron Works, N.H. a reference written by my brother.

Charlie Daunt emailed on April 5, 2010; It was "one of 12 or more cabins at Crystal Shores on Crystal Lake in Gilmanton Iron Works NH.  My family and I stayed in this cabin on several occasions.   Also re Sky Bar candy.  My uncle (by marriage) was Vice President and general manager of the manufacturer, NECCO for many years.   He lived across the street here on Emerson St. Belmont.  My favorites were the Sky Bar and Bolster Bars". 

I read an ad recently which reminded me of the introduction of the Sky Bar candy bar with a skywriting campaign in 1938 by the NECCO, the New England Confectionary Company. I can recall watching skywriters of those days flying slow biplanes. We would stand where there was an open view and watch the letters form until we could guess what the rest was. Often the first letters were obscure, dispersed in the air before the last letters were written. Sometimes two planes would work on the same message. It was easier, of course, at the beach to read the letters.

A memorable event for the Edward Street neighborhood was the September 1938 Hurricane when trees fell across Orchard Street and one of ours on our sunporch roof. I can clearly recall putting cardboard in our eastside back living room windows where the glass had blown in. My father was off on a sales trip and was safe. I can't recall whether he drove home or called to say he was staying in probably Providence R.I.  I can recall crews along with the help of some neighbors cutting up fallen trees. The smell of fresh cut wood was prevalent.

Richard Betts in "Footsteps Through Belmont" mentioned the April 19th and  July 4th bonfires by the Clay Pit Pond and a memory came back of a huge stack of RR ties. I vaguely recall going to a "big one" in our new '37 Plymouth which my father bought out of the showroom on Trapelo Rd when the '38 models were coming in. That would mean my vague memories are of a grand bonfire with the streets lined with cars in 1938. Unlike my brother I never liked crowds.

Nix kids coasting on Edward St. Me, "Robbie"and Harriet. About 1936.

Better coasting was on Franklin and George Streets, one of which might get blocked off for coasting, although making sure you did not race out on Orchard Street was a challenge.

Most of the streets closed off for coasting weren't safe for driving until some melting took place and the town had time to sand them. The ones I can recall were those between Slade and Orchard. Drew Road is the one Dick Betts recalls coasting on almost every available evening. After we moved it was the top of Winn Street between Pleasant and Claflin.

Mark Olken who lived on Holden Road reported in 2008: "There was very tame sledding at the foot of Carleton Rd with sand  deposited at the lower end junction with . Washington Street. to prevent our sliding  onto Washington. Much better sliding (when older) to start at the top of  Oakley Country Club near Mt. Trinity Academy
down  toward Brighams on the  Belmont side....occasionally over the stone wall, flying into the street.

Reports that a coasting street was sanded  was unwelcome news between kids in those days.

  February 14, 1940 Saint Valentine's Day Blizzard left up to a foot and a half of snow and several indelible memories with me. Somehow we trudged to the train station for my birthday present a few days after the storm and got to Boston Garden for the Ice Follies, if that's what the show with Sonja Heinie was then called.  I was astounded at the scene in the garden. 28 years later I had a long chat with Cliff Odson, then manager of the Burbank California Pickwick'Ice Arena about that show in Boston. I think he was a manager type with the follies, not a skater then but he recalled tales of the drifts at the North Station. It was actually dangerous to go out to play in the partially frozen high snow banks the street plows left. Althought that's probably when as my brother recalls, we took dives out our front sun parlor window, ran back in the open front door and dove out again.

My brother and I would take our two or three child capacity toboggan to ski slopes within long walking distance. I'm guessing one was the the Arlmont Country Club as well as the Oakley Country Club off Belmont Street, somewhat in "alien territory", i.e. Watertown.  We loved winters with lots of snow. The roads were not cleared to the pavement in those days and the sidewalk on Common Street was usually roughly ploughed open so the two boys, 6 to 10 years old could trudge up Common street bundled up in mackinaws, gloves, overshoes, heavy socks and corduroy knickers to try the slopes.

One memorable "outing" for the two Nix boys was to tobaggan down a steep slope, ducking under at least one fence by laying back on the toboggan. My guess is that it was a side slope off the main Arlmont ski slope on which we were sort of in the way of skiers.  On one 'run' after ducking under one or two fences we were approaching a pond at the bottom of the hill, the ice of which we were not sure. My brother was in front and he said 'lean' so we leaned to one side and rammed the toboggan into a snow bank. Ha ha, what a lark. Some people observing were shaking their heads. I believe after that day tobogganing got banned on that slope with some low ropes and a sign.

The Day brothers lived on Franklin or George street as did E. B. Rideout of Boston radio weather forecast fame. His house was on the east side at Orchard with a backyard of weather reading instruments and a 'ham' radio tower. Passing that scene from pre-school to 4th grade years may have had more lasting effect on me then school since I ended up in communications intelligence in the U.S. Army, surrounded by radios, antennas and listening to 'the ether waves' for entertainment.  However it was not till 1995 that I got my ham radio license, 'should have' before that. On that same influence subject, a radio facility on Concord Ave Cambridge, just east of the 'Fresh Pond' rotary also had my attention for many years. If was Harvey Radio a brick building with antennas. If there had been a 'ham' in my neighborhood I probably would have 'gotten into it' at about age 12 or so when I was building model airplanes in our cellar, somewhat with the guidance and certainly the encouragement of George Winkler of Farnham Street.

Mark Olken recalls:
"The first models were by needed only to be  sanded & the glue was a casein added to water.  When older we  assembled planes with parts cut CAREFULLY from sheet balsa, glued and  cover with tissue paper (very difficult) and then lacquered.  After a  few weeks., boredom and a need for capital for a new model kit required  selling the assembled model (possibly, arranged in a crash scene)  back to the Hobby  Shop on Common St, Cushing Sq.   Lindsay Walker in  pursuit of a rolling basketball crashed thru the large plate glass  window of a nearby store.....only the glass was harmed.

 Over Winters Hardware they had ballet classes (teenaged boys ogled & hoped not to  be discovered).  I also attended Friday nite dancing school for  several yrs. there and still don't dance.  Also, Jewish High Holy Days  services were held there."

I can recall when given permission to "go beyond Kingston's hedge" on my tricycle. The Kingstons lived next door on the corner of Orchard and Edward and Bill Kingston maintained a nice privet hedge along their street frontage.

MeonporchMe on porch on our not complete back porch, 24 Edward St. Kingston's house in background. Picture makes me think of that phrase, 'what me worry?, I've got the funnies'. 

I had many nice quiet days riding a trike, scooter and a wagon along Orchard's north side, 'all the way' to the corner of Common Street, as long as I did not cross Orchard. David Rico who lived at 200 Orchard emailed me in August 2002 that he and his brother Paul owned the 'Irish Mail' I had mentioned envying. We estimate that our times in that neighborhood overlapped by about 3 years in '38-'42.  He wrote that he used to play with Joey Donahue (who lived on Common Street next to the McGreenerys across from St. Josephs) while riding down Orchard to Common  and also with Robert Fitzimmons, son of the minister of the church which burned down.  He mentioned Robert's older sister, Faith. They lived  in the last house on the south side of Orchard behind the church.  John McGreenery added that when Pastor Armstrong replaced Pastor Fitzimmons he was a pal of 'Jocko' Armstrong.

David wrote that he was invited to watch "Uncle Miltie" on the Kingston's TV when they had the only one in the neighborhood.  I went to Kingston's from Alexander Ave one year to watch a Bruins-Detroit hockey game, a nothing to nothing tie I believe.

The Walsh's lived behind us, adjacent to the Kingstons and I think I still have dreams where I can see the back of our house from in front of Walsh's. I know I did for years. Catherine Walsh was a close friend of my mother and aunt for the rest of their lives. Terry Walsh was an only child, my brother's age, another member of 'the older group'.

John McGreenery lived on Common Street across from St. Joseph's . also 'the baby' of his family. 'Joey Donahue' with older brothers and sisters lived on the south side of the McGreenery's. Our mothers were soloists in St. Joseph's and our fathers together in the American Legion so we 'found each other'.

After our dad was hospitalized Paul McGreenery, John's dad introduced my brother and I to a Legion meeting in the Homer School. I believe we were members of 'Sons of Legionnaires' but I recall only one meeting, my first visit to the Homer School building by then Town Hall annex.

Larry Maletta's memoirs of the WW2  era:
"December 7, 1941, while  reading the  comics in front of our  fireplace at 709 Belmont St Belmont. The first news  bulletins  started  coming in over the radio. Japan  had bombed Pearl  Harbor. I remember my mother crying when my father told her what was  happening. I can just about remember her  asking where was my brother Edward (  appointed to West Point 1938, spot on lung denied his entry,  transferred to regular Army, made  Tech Sgt at age 20). He  was home for Thanksgiving and had left for Fort Benning, GA on November
30.  For the next 4 1/2 years I saw my folks grow old worrying about  their 3 sons in the service.

Some things we did during WWII. We saved cooking oil (grease) and brought it to the butchers for ration stamps. Crushed food cans ( I still do  that today  cut out both ends and flatten them), went around the neighborhood to collect scrap metal. Top of all car headlights ( our black 1937 Plymouth) were painted  black to reduce exposing light to aircraft. Black drapes were hung on windows. When the Air Raid Siren went off we pulled them over the windows so no light showed. My father who was an Air Raid Warden would always scare us my tapping on the window. We also had a pile of sand and a large pump by hand water  sprayer in our cellar just in case of fires. Of course we had one of the largest  Victory
(veggie) gardens around."

We  8 to 10  year  olds  identified  with the war very  closely. Bradford Atwood's grandmother  knitted scarves for the  RAF.  My mother was one of the local air raid  wardens. My aunt followed to the fullest all air raid preparations, painting over the cellar windows, keeping a sterno stove, a bucket of sand, some canned goods and taping over the top of the '37 Plymouth's headlights. I did some of these tasks.

But  our burgeoning  imaginations were shortchanged by such preparations.. We wanted experience, so our XDX secret commando group was formed.  With two Nix's and one Atwood,  XDX wasn't very 'crypto' but it provided a clandestine aura. We printed some sort i.d. cards with a rubber lettering and ink pad set which I still have. We planned our night time field work. It was fall, not too cold yet, late September so we decided to get right  down into  commando work  and crawl  along neighbors  hedges maintaining silence  and blackout. For this we wore  dark clothing with some actual military olive drab. We had  visited some surplus Army-Navy stores and I had a  helmet liner and a small knapsack. My brother gave out the assignments,  his 'assumed' normal neighborhood role. We would meet quietly to the rear of our houses and furtively crawl or duckwalk, heads down along the Kingston's hedge. We were 'commando smart' enough not to bunch up and each had assignments  of footage of hedge to travers on hands and knees, until getting close enough to a comrade in the dark, a hushed signal would be given and we would move on to the next pre-arranged rendezvous.

With this we didn't feel as left out of the war. We had experience and if our turn came  we knew we had a  jump on a lot of  kids that stayed inside on those crisp, pre-TV,  fall evenings. If our parents or the neighbors ever knew what  we were doing they  didn't  mention it at the time.  I can imagine Mr. Kingston standing on his sun porch roof having a cigarette, the same roof he used  for his air  raid warden efforts, and hearing a slight rustle along his  hedge, laughing  to himself, he would think, 'what are those characters going  to do next to entertain themselves.'

Brad's father was a regular Army colonel, Coast Artillery, a West Pointer, went to Command and Staff College with Dwight Eisenhower so we strove to be authentic.  This meant blackening anything that shined, including rubbing burnt cork on our faces.  Brad attempted to enlist the Butler kids next to him but I don't think he got beyond stretching a string to their house from his room  to send messages via some tin can gimmick I can't clearly recall at this moment.

For my brother this training was tame since he had led "ranger camp excursions" up the rough steep side of Belmont Hill, southwest of Snake Hill Road.  From these outings some neighbor kids came home with skinned knees, sunburns, scratches, bites and were told not to join Robbie Nix on any more 'picnic hikes.

On those 'excursions' I can only recall being spooked by the hushed warning that there's a bum ahead in a cave.  They were what are now called homeless, sleeping or resting in the woods, very likely having arrived via a freight train on the RR tracks. Another 'high adventure' was  coming upon  'warm campfire ashes'. I think at times we may have exchanged rock throwing blindly in the woods with Roy Scammell's group coming up from their neighborhood. They went up there for the same 'adventures'.

In addition to the 'bums' campfires there were some 'bogs' reputedly burning up there and I can recall seeing and smelling the fires from my Kendall School room. I can also clearly recall the views of neighboring yards, gardens and houses from both elementary schools I attended.  Fortunately the teachers let me sit near the windows.

I know I turned back once from one of my brother's hikes after he  had led the group over such a large fallen tree that I couldn't make it and decided I had enough.  Undaunted by neighborhood displeasure with 'ranger' excursions on foot, my brother organized bicycle 'tours' to Walden Pond. The 10-11 miles were enough to diminish enjoyment of swimming in anticipation of the ride home.  There are scenes along that route which for many years were stronger in my memory than now. I believe the route was Mill Street, then Concord Ave, then Trapelo across some flat area in Lexington and into Lincoln. We had two or three bikes, one speed and thin tired for those days. I think on the way home we used Concord Avenue, that is if it had a large rock on the west side with some trees close to the road. I recall saying to myself, 'well it looks like I'll make it'.  My brother was always far ahead as in 'gotta be first'.

We took our bikes for repairs, usually having to 'walk' them to Norcross bike shop in Waverly Square on Trapelo Rd near the 'five and dime' Mrs. Atwood drove us there once or twice in their Buick and I can recall her 'getting on Mr. Norcross case' about what she considered overcharging for  Brad's bike repair.

After awhile I got tired of the trip and started fixing and eventually rebuilding the bikes during WW2. They were my first restoration, sanded the frames bare, base coated and sprayed on two colors, separated by 'masking tape'. I learned some of this by watching George Winkler restore an Indian motorcyle.

Roy Scammell recalled how the older guys had  "The Cave" in the rocks up in the woods on the hillside over Pleasant street.  The name invoking mystery and secrecy. I got a glimpse of 'the cave' once or twice and vaguely recall it. My brother would 'follow up' on these trips  with ghost and mystery tales he would create. He would 'try them out' on neighbor kids under a tree in the summer or when I was hoping to go to sleep without getting too terrified. When Vincent Price made very similar movies later on we figured my brother was first. Turns out it was Edgar Allan Poe and other readings he had done while 'winning' library reading contests in the summer.  One tale I had to tell him to cease relating had  'walls of clay' with creatures coming out of the clay.  I think a movie did that one also.

My brother whose nickname should have been "gotta win", practised backing up his trike on our narrow cement sidewalk to the back porch. I don't know whether I was the only one to 'take the challenge'. I'm not sure he invented 'minus points' for running over the Iris leaves or not, but I know if you dropped one wheel off you 'lost'. It was a pleasure for me to be off alone, away from his 'competitions'.

For many years I had dreams of my wandering through the tall grass of the empty lot at the foot of Waverley at Common Street. There was a diagonal foot path 'shortcut' to the bottom of Clark Street. For a little kid that tall grass, daisies and probably some 'wildflowers', offered an imagitive 'jungle'. I could hear 'the Tubby girls' playing in their back yard on adjacent Clover Street.  It was many years before we got to know them. One of my 80's visits to Belmont included a 'lawn party' by Clara Tubby. I know have my own fields of tall grass for my neighbors cattle and wildflower and native grass patches and beds which I've planted. 

Pre school, on Edward street,  Johnny, Jimmy and Joey were so bored one summer day, they 'attacked' all the windows in the Waghorne's garage doors. Our fathers paid and I think we dug up dandelions or picked fruit or something in their yard as punishment. Not one of us could explain why we did it.

An excursion I thoroughly rejected was to the carnival at Pequosette playground. I hated it with a passion. The noise, dust, confusion, waiting in lines. My brother and sister took me there when I was probably 6 and I simply rejected all the chaos and went to the gate and somehow my sister found out. My brother was totally involved in throwing baseballs and competing. Some friend of my sister's, maybe Patty Lynch or  Joan Howard wanted to go home also so they walked  me home.  I can recall the walk along Beech Street since I always got a kick out of that little toy shop a block or so west of the Kendall school.

I tried to go back when older but never enjoyed it. My brother and I would salivate, however, over going to Revere Beach during the week and becoming first class pests on the motorized 'crash 'em' boats and cars. We 'gave no quarter' to each other so were 'practiced' when any other kids 'attempted king of the ride'.  The monitoring guys let us bang it out since it was midweek and there were not many riders. Dick Betts mentioned there was a 'nickel day' at Revere. That must have been when we made the long but interesting street car ride.

My kids in California were astounded many years later at their father and uncle still 'being a disturbance'   at Disneyland  and Knotts Berry Farm rides. At Revere we always watched the sidewalk closely for dropped money. My mother always let us go off by ourselves, even when she led us to Nantasket or Revere with a picnic basket. She would make an agreement to meet her by the clock at some time. Her enjoyment was to sit  and yak with ladies on the benches, out of the sun, never on the sand which she hated (as I do). We rode the boats to Nantasket, Hull and Provincetown many times during World War 2. There were always sights in Boston Harbor to enjoy.

But our favorite day trip was to Rockport by train. I am guessing we first did that in 1940, then every year till maybe 1944.  A  'steam locomotive' pulled the passenger cars and at all the stops mail was loaded and unloaded. We rode with open windows as much as we could until the soot became bothersome.  My mother and aunt would pack wooden picnic baskets with sandwiches and tin thermos of hot coffee since we often went 'in the off season'. A good egg salad sandwich to this day reminds me of those picnics 'out on the rocks'. We would walk all over Rockport, sometimes separating so 'the ladies' could peruse the shops and my brother and I could explore Bearskin Neck and the main dock. I believe our 'meeting place' in time to walk to the RR station was a place that sold incredible fudge. I don't recall riding that train again until the late '80's when I visited the late Mort and Nancy Robinson in Beverley Cove. I rode it again in July '99 to visit my cousin Priscilla in Gloucester. The scenes from the window brought back many memories.

The Belmont Historical Society Newsletter of June 1997 listed Waverley section stores in 1937 as listed in the Boston Globe. I had a vague memory of Napoli's market and there it is on the list at 326 Trapelo Rd.

Our friends in Belmont on Orchard street were the Boyles, who moved to Teaneck NJ in 1942. Mr. Boyle had played for the Boston Symphony so he was home during the day and took us on 'excursions' in his little '36 Ford sedan.  Charles 'Binky' Boyle was my age, Barbara my brother's. Our mothers got along famously via their common interest in music. The Boyles house was almost a 'studio' with constant practising of singing, cello, violin and piano. Bob Moynihan, Bob Koslowskly and Eddie Comeau should remember 'Binky'.  Also Fred Dudley who lived at the corner of Beech and Orchard. I had only a dim memory of Fred but Roy Scammell refreshed it via someone contacting Fred in Florida. He had moved from Belmont after the 9th grade.

A memorable event at 'Binky' Boyle's backyard on Orchard Street was hanging laundry to dry on several clothes lines. My mother would be there talking with Helen Boyle so some times 'Binky' and I would be given the task of turning the 'clothes wringer's crank in the cellar with the water going into a large 'stone' type tub. There were so many lines of sheets and 'linens' that we could pretend it was a maze.  We could go out the back fence and down Cherry Street to 'John's' corner store.

The Belmont Historical Society Newsletter of March 1991 stirred some very vague memory 'impressions' with the history of Belmont-Waverly non high school Thanksgiving Day football series.

The series last game was apparently in 1938 when I was six. I always wondered why the Town Field had football yard markings. We either spent Thanksgiving Day at grandmother Nix's in Arlington or they visited us so I probably was unaware of the games existence. I do recall the 'townie' baseball games, that is post high school teams in 'The Twilight League' and I think there was a corresponding football league of sorts. If we had convenient articificial ice rinks, no doubt there would have been 'townie' teams of high school and post high school players.

We visited the Boyles in New Jersey, my brother alone in 1942 and together h in 1944 and 1945. It was the first time I had seen a 'skinned' baseball diamond. We also went to a Yankees game in NYC. My brother and I rode the train at least one way. A memorable event was having the 'joisey' kids have us sit on the curb 'so they could hear us talk funny'.  Now can you imagine, THAT accent being amused by our Boston suburbia accents.  We ride down one time and in and out of NYC to Jersey  in Mr. Boyle's new green 1941 Pontiac sedan. They moved so he could work with his brother manufacturing rubber life rafts and parachutes.

Before they moved Mr. Boyle took us to Benson's Animal Farm, Hudson, New Hampshire near Nashua as had our family, including an uncle before he moved to Florida. I can vaguely recall that when Mr. Boyle  drove us to some event in Boston we were impressed that footmen, lot attendants, cops seem to know him, probably because we were near Symphony Hall but then he was the type who was at ease with everyone. Helen Repetto Boyle was a Philadelphia Quaker of Italian and German origins, educated in Vienna.  Ray Boyle's genealogy was Irish and German.

The Boyles were very close with the large French Canadian Massie family who owned a hardware store bearing their name in Cambridge. I recall visiting the Massies on some occasions. When I was in the Army at Fort Dix in 1953 I drove over and briefly visited Mrs. Boyle. Binky and Barbara had gone to the Julliard School in NY and became professional musicians in the north Jersey, NYC area.

Some other day car rides 'out in the country' were for apples and to see the 'fall foliage', leaves turning rather quickly to many shades of brown.  The smell of a box of apples or the taste of a good 'crisp' one still reminds me of those rides in late '30's sedans to Massachusetts towns such as Harvard and into southern New Hampshire. Roadside stands would sell out. I can recall my mother coming back to the car with 'they are all out', after she would have yakked or 'visited' some with the proprietor, never one to 'turn and leave'.

I can recall the kindergarten room in the Kendall School being on the west side below ground level. I also can clearly picture some clay modeling we did. I made one of a biplane, having been fascinated by them on our summers at 'Camp Mayflower' in Chatham on the Cape. I have a photo of that kindergarten class but my brother has it in his albums in Boston.

Some other Kendall School memories are of my brother, three grades ahead 'being kept busy' running all the 'corridor' activities, notes to teachers, milk delivery, running off, delivering notices, etc. This resulted from our mother telling Mr. Chester Robinson, the Principal  to keep him busy. He was assigned two   'assistants', Doris Mills and Edith Terrengi whose names off hand I don't recall.  I can recall an 'assembly' or 'play' where we acted out the Plymouth landing. I might have been 'Myles Standish', not sure. I am sure that in the 'toy orchestra' I 'played a triangle' and my brother was the 'very self assured' director conductor.  He was handed a tambourine when a girl was asked to conduct.  I can readily envision 'Officer' Eddie Holden guiding us across Beech. I think that was a Harley he rode. It was a kick start, of course.

My second grade  teacher for 1939-40 was reddish blonde haired Miss Elizabeth Noyes who  would plant  a  lipsticked kiss on her favorite boys  foreheads for H's and a star on the girls.  I think the boys  were supposed to get  stars also, but I remember more poignantly the kiss  and the lipstick (which didn't rub off easily). Fresh in  my memory is the sight and  sound of her 1936 blue Ford  4 door  'phaeton' convertible with  red hubcaps. It was always  parked by the Town Field fence.

The Belmont Historical Society Newsletter of April 1999 on the history and demise of the Kendall School  rejuvenated some memories. I had forgotten the 'custodian', Mr. Duncan's name. In fact the name had lodged in my mind as a 'generic name' for school custodians.

A major 'lesson' was how people played 'king of the mountain' on the sand pile which resided for a long time beside the swings. I believe that's where I 'befriended' Hubie Maguire who transferred from the Butler school when his parents moved. David Rico recalls playing the same game on the Burbank school playground.

While attending the  second grade  I  would  walk home  for lunch, about 2/3rds  of a  mile  and  return an  hour later  for the afternoon session. As we boys and girls walked  along, often kicking leaves or snow, the knots of kids on the sidewalks thinned as we progressed to the outer limit of the school district. One  block further and I would have gone to the Luther M. Burbank school as my brother and sister had done for their first few grades.

I recall clearly the  little girl walking beside me  after "the gang" had thinned down to just us.  We walked alone, side by side. We chatted.  Black patent leather shoes, neat  short white socks, freshly starched dresses, apple pink cheeks, snow  white skin, coal black hair, Martha Cheever. We were the youngest of  our families.  Our 5 siblings, parents, aunts and neighbors reported on  observing the 'cute little couple'.  We attended the same church. I tried to remember  if we  walked together on all fair days. And  I  recalled the  stream of  kids on  Orchard street split at Poplar and some would go  up Poplar and along Slade to their homes.

There was a 'woodsy' (tall weed trees I think) at the Beech Street/ Waverley junction end of the Town Field.
Whether it was the heat or what I know I had dreams for years of some ball games at that end of the field before we moved to Winn Brook. I think they were 'neighborhood pickup' and probably some of my first experiences 'off the block' with 'other kids'.   I can recall Eddie Comeau being there, living across the street. Those were rather carefree summer days when you would 'ride over to some friends', knock on the door to see 'if he could come out to play'. It seems I did that almost all over Belmont, my brother claims I did, anyway.

Richard Betts in the June 2002 newsletter of the Belmont Historical Society under 'Recent Gifts';
"From former Belmontian Joseph Nix of Freistatt, Missouri, an eleven page article 'Growing Up in Belmont 1932-1960' and a seven page article 'Pond Ice Hockey, Belmont Mass. 1940-1953."

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St. Joseph's 1944 Altar Boys photo

Copyright, 1996-2008 Joe Nix where applicable

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