Our house on Bancroft Park had large soapstone (I think) set tubs in the kitchen. The original
purpose, along with a copper tub in which whites were boiled, was for laundry. A portable wringer
attached to the separation between the tubs allowed clothes to be transferred from the wash half to
the rinse half, then back again (after the first tub was emptied) to be put in a basket and hung on the
rotary line in the back yard. In winter, many frozen clothes came off the line.
There was a large copper tank (which my mother kept polished) heated by the kitchen stove. This
was our source of hot water. When we got gas, there was a special attachment to the tank. More than
once, we were awakened at night by boiling - or near boiling - water in the tank. This meant getting up,
opening hot water faucets and, of course, shutting off the gas for the tank. Someone forgot to turn it off
You could take the Johnson Bus Lines and go to Worcester, Framingham and Boston. The bus
service to Milford came around Bancroft Park.
In winter, the town closed Northrop Street to traffic and it was open for sledding. If you were brave
enough, you could slide right out onto the pond. Some kids had pungs, which were sleds large
enough to hold several people.
I enjoyed watching the Coal and Ice employees cut ice on Hopedale Pond and store it in the icehouse
which was located where the Gannetts live now.
In summer, before we had electric refrigerators, kids would gather around the iceman's truck as he
delivered to the homes in our neighborhood. Usually we would be given ice chips. I remember
emptying the pan from under the icebox where the water from the melting ice collected.
The fish man would come around once a week. The milkman would deliver also. In winter, the milk
was often frozen when we brought it in.
Mr. Bosma from Mendon would peddle fresh fruits and vegetables from a special truck. Mr. Munroe
delivered bakery products.
Bulbs and fuses were supplied by the Draper Corporation to those of us who lived in their houses.
Once a year, painters would come in and do one room. If you wanted to do more, you could do it on
your own and Draper's would supply the paint and paper. My dad paid four dollars a week for rent.
I bought my first pair of 'heels' from a shoe store where the pizza place in the center of Hopedale is
now. I bought fabric for my first sewing project from Maisie Moore at the Henry Patrick Store. The
meat department wasn't in the main part of the store; it was in a separate room. I can remember
watching chops, etc., cut to order. They did that at Meade's Market also. That was below the Town
Until the present Post Office was built, it was in the Town Hall.
On May Day, kids would "hang" May-baskets on friends. "Baskets" were usually small boxes
decorated with crepe paper. Once my friend's brother left me a frog. "Hanging baskets" meant leaving
them in front of the door, ringing the bell, and then running off to hide.
Near Memorial Day, we'd scour the woods for 'swamp pinks' (wild azaleas) to place on graves. It
seems that every kid in town marched in the Memorial Day parade. We'd each carry a small flag. After
the parade, we'd go to the Legion Home, where the Police Station is now, for lemonade.
On Field Day and the Fourth of July, there would be fireworks over the pond and movies would be
projected onto a screen on the back of the Main Office. We'd sit on the hill next to the back of the Fire
Station to watch.
Sometimes in the summer, we'd hike up the abandoned car tracks to Mendon and go blueberrying in
One Christmas (I think I was in the fourth grade that year) all school kids received a gift from the
Drapers. I think it was a paint box and candy.
There was a soda fountain in the old drugstore where Mr. Gibbs was the druggist.
Swimming in the pond and playing in the Town Park weren't allowed on Sunday.
Sometimes we'd take a ride on the streetcar and go over Hopedale Pond. The cars were open in the
summer and had cane or straw seats.
I remember going to Boston on a trip or trips sponsored, I think, by the Community House. We visited
Chinatown, the Christian Science Building with the walk-in globe, and the Agassiz Museum at Harvard
where we saw the glass flower exhibit.
My grandfather [Sam Olivant] worked at Westcott's Mill in Spindleville and I'd walk down to visit him
there. He worked all day forging spindles. The hammer was automated but the heat and the noise
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