The Henneberry home on Warfield Street.
Betty (Knights) Henneberry
My grandfather owned a lot of land in the Warfield Street vicinity. He left some of it on this side (the side
toward the airport) to my father and the other side to my aunt. My father sold the land that became the airport.
My house was the last one on this side, and the land went down to where he put Thayer Street in. He gave us
the deed to the lot where we built our house, but to be honest this isn't where I wanted to go. I wanted to go
look at houses and buy one, but I never told him that. I couldn't turn down his offer.
My mother was a Goodnow from Mendon. We had many relatives in Mendon years ago, but now Warren
Goodnow is the only one left.
This was a nice, nice neighborhood. We all had children the same age, and we were all friendly. I'm the only
one left on the street from those days. Well, the Blatzes and me. I remember the Wilcox, Chilson and
Fitzgerald families from when I was a kid. The Chilsons raised their grandson, Stanley Tiernan, who became
a well-known runner in this area. The Albees and the Thayers also lived in this area. We were somehow
related to the Thayers. When Clara Thayer died, it was in her will that her house and land would go to her
nephew, Howard Thayer, but if he didn't want it, it would go to my father. Of course Howard took it.
I had two sisters, twins, Theda and Thelma, who were several years older than me. Their married names
were Theda White and Thelma Smith. Theda was my mother's middle name. I also had a brother, Davis. He
was three years younger than me. Davis was my Grandmother Knghts' maiden name. I was a twin also, but
my twin died at the age of three months.
I was born in the older house across the street, and later we moved to 374 South Main Street, which was
where I grew up. The people at this end of town weren't treated very well by the people in the center of town. It
was worse for my sisters than it was for me. I can remember them coming home crying because of some
little thing. It was better by the time I was in school; not great, but better. By the time my brother went to
school, it was much better. I can't say they weren't good to us, but you knew there was a division.
I'd sometimes go to the South Hopedale Branch Library. It was in different homes at different times. I
remember that Connie Jones had it in her home on Mellen Street at one time.
Our house on South Main Street didn't have an indoor bathroom when we were first there, but my father was
a plumber and he put one in.
My sisters had gone to the South Hopedale School for some of their elementary schooling. That was closed
by the time I started school. For some of my elementary years I went to the Chapel Street School, and for
others I went to Park Street School, and for fifth through eighth I went to Dutcher Street.
We were near the town lines of Mendon and Bellingham, which was where my closest friends were from.
Howard Thayer had a grocery store in Bellingham. He would go to the houses around here and take orders.
Then later he'd deliver the groceries. That continued up until the war. During and after the war a lot of things
changed. By that time, my mother was doing her shopping at the First National in the center of Milford. She
always drove as far back as I can remember.
I don't remember what kind of fuel was used for our kitchen stove. I remember that it was always hot. My
favorite cake that my mother made was a two-layer cake with chocolate frosting.
When I was a kid, all the girls thought Chet Sanborn was wonderful. At the Dutcher Street School when we'd
go to the park for recess, the girls would be thrilled when Chet was at the intersection to get us safely across
the street. He was always very nice to us. All the cops were nice. Of course the kids were good then too.
My favorite subject in high school was English. I had a very hard time with geometry. I talked to the principal,
Mr. Dennett, about it, and he suggested that I switch to the business course. When I tell people that the
whole school would begin the day in one room they're surprised to hear it. It was called the main room and it
had desks for more than 100 students. We had rhetoricals where'd have to get up and give a memorized talk
to the whole school. I was a little nervous, but not too bad. Some kids really suffered over that. Dexter Whiting
passed out when he was up there for his speech.
The Minasians had a gas station on 140 at the intersection of Hartford Avenue. They lived at the house
behind the station.
We went to church at the Green Store. Every Sunday a minster from one of the Milford churches came to do
the service. Different ones took turns. I went to Sunday school there, along with most of the Protestant kids
from this end of town. My kids did, too. You got a good religious training there. One of my sisters taught
Sunday school. Myla Thayer was very active in the church. I think she was the one who really kept it going.
Eventually they were able to get their own minister.
During World War II, long convoys of Army trucks would sometimes be seen traveling along Route 140. They
may have been going between Camp Edwards and Camp Devens. It could take 25 minutes for them all to
pass by. My sister and I would stand by the side of the road, watch them and wave to them. One time a
couple of the men threw out papers with their addresses on them. We wrote to them and got letters back.
It was often hard to get meat during the war years, and my mother had to deal with rationing. Sometimes she
would give my father the meat, and give us kids something else. She figured he needed it for his work. I don't
think we cared. Sometimes he would have steak and we might have hamburger. Later on he gave up his
plumbing business and went to Drapers where he became boss of the plumbing department.
I graduated from high school in 1946. I worked at Drapers for about a year, and then I went to South
Middlesex Business School in Framingham. When I look back, that was one of my favorite years. Everybody
accepted everybody, no matter who you were or where you came from. I made two or three lifelong friends
there. I didn't have a car then. My friend, Marilyn Souls and I would get there on the Johnson bus. Before
going to the school, my job in Drapers was in the shop. When I went back, I worked in the billing department
in the Main Office.
The way I met my husband, James Henneberry, is a funny story. I had spent the summer in Auburn where I
worked at an inn. The job was connected with the 4-H Club. I had stayed there for most of the summer, doing
housework and other odd-jobs. One night after I got back here, a group of us decided to go to a movie at the
State Theater in Milford. We sat up in the balcony. Why, I don't know. I had never been up there before. There
were two guys behind us and they bothered us all through the show.
When the show was over we left and got on the bus. We had to take the bus for everything. The two guys
followed us and they got on the bus too. They had no idea they were going to get down here, and they were
from Medway. They were going to have to get back there at some point. When we got off the bus, they did too,
and they followed me home. There was really nothing to it, and it was probably months and months later
when I got a letter from one of them. I don't know how he got my name and address. He was in the Navy by
that time. The other fellow called me and wanted me to go out with him, but my mother wouldn't let me go. I
was probably 16 or 17 then.
James and I were married in 1950, and over the next few years we had three boys - Danny, Larry and Charlie.
My father built the house next door. My mother didn't want that, but that was his dream. They were older when
he did that. We were all grown and out of the house by that time. He only lived four or five years after he built
that house. He was 58 when he died.
In 1972 there was a plane crash at the end of the runway and all five on it were killed. Two of those killed
were the Melin brothers who lived near the airport. My youngest son came home that day, all excited, out of
breath, and almost in tears. He had been delivering papers when he heard the crash. He went over to the
wreckage. One of the Melin brothers was his classmate.
When my youngest son was still in elementary school our neighbor, Jim Ronan, told me that there was a job
at Drapers available that I might be interested in. It would be at the Main Office for a week and a half or two
weeks at the end of each month. I took the job. It took a while for my youngest son to get used to the idea that
I wasn't always here.
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