Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Center Lisle, Part Two: By Aunt CB

Continue on the Caldwell Hill Rd. a little bit and on the left is Aunt Florence's farm. She was a sister to Byron. She had married an older railroad conductor and lived a good many years in Scranton, PA. Returned to Center Lisle in 1920 and since early '30's, had been a widow. She milked her own cows, churned her own butter, and Adin hayed her fields for her as they were all on a hillside. In her front yard she had kids' playground toys (she never had any), a seated swing and a 'round a-bout' which we used to run around on. However, she was a crusty old gal and scared us so I visited her usually with Mom. She was the one who helped Mom paint her wedding dishes and did all the fancy roses on special pieces.

A little further along, on the right side, you'll see a small woods, smaller now than it used to be! I was scared of these woods (shadows and ghosts lived here!) and always scampered past rapidly. One time, when Doris and I were walking up by these woods to Grandma's, I had to go to the bathroom, and Doris said 'Go in the woods'. Well, I 'd bust before I'd do that, so she told me to go in the middle of the road, she'd keep watch (when will I learn not to trust her?!). Just as I squatted, mid road, and mid pee, around the bend in the road came a car, and of course, it was Adin, back from Whitney Point with bags of feed. As he stopped and let us crawl up on them in back he said quietly, “Better not do that again.” From him, that was a big scolding, and I was crushed!

Further along up the hill you pass, on the right, Belle Barrow's farm. An old neighbor and friend of the Bakers, her daughter and son had attended school with Ethel. We used to stop and visit here, also, as we trekked up and down between Grandma's and the store. Her place was famous for the privy which was attached to the house by the woodshed. On your way out to it there were stacks of newspapers and one of the Sunday comics. We used to make a special trip to take them with us to read as we visited. We never missed the privy as it had three holes in a row, two adult size and one a step down, child size. We loved it!

Usually our vacations with Grandma were in the summertime and the number of times we walked the two mile road between our two main points of interest were legion. The road was gravel or crushed stone with a heavy layer of tar over it, and in the heat of the summer, blisters would form on the puddles of tar between stones. We'd hop all over the road, stepping on them, shoeless or shod, to hear the loud pop they made. This is where I learned to walk on the side facing traffic. Mom insisted! Just a bit past Barrows, before the top of the hill, was where I looked every year for the money tree.

One time, Uncle Elmer had given me a quarter and I had it clutched in my hand as I walked to Gram's. Just at this spot, a huge truck had hurtled down the road, making loud screeching noises. It scared me so that I dropped the quarter, and then couldn't find it. Doris was with me too, and she couldn't either. To quiet my tears, she told me that never mind, a money tree would grow there. I'm still watching that spot!

Picture One: Ethel, Florence Baker, Kate and Adin, 1950


Diana said...

How wonderful to hear the old memories or stories - it's almost like being there!

Kathryn said...

I have made that walk, up to the farm, many times, usually with Gail. Just so you know, we never saw a money tree. bummer.
You missed out when you avoided those woods. I remember finding strawberries at the edge near the road. Just a little refreshment on the walk to the farm. As I remember, they were real good!