Beverly (Sparhawk) Orff

    I was Hopedale’s New Year’s baby of 1931. The doctor couldn’t make it through the snow on time, so
    I was born at home. My father delivered me. Our home on Hopedale Street became the Sacred Heart
    Church rectory four years later.

    My father had a barn up near the railroad tracks where he kept a cow. He had a big garden behind
    what used to be the school, which is gone now. Sometimes he’d have a few piglets that he’d raise,
    through the summer and into the fall. We had a chicken coop with quite a few hens. Down to the right
    there was a brook. Against the brook was the outhouse. My great-grandmother, who was an
    American Indian, lived with us for a year or two. I was too young then to remember her, but I have the
    rocking chair that she sat in and a quilt top that she made. I finished it and hand quilted it. It’s all

    During the Depression there wasn’t much work, but my father worked for Draper families and for
    Tom West. Tom became president of Draper Corporation in 1944. My father could do anything from
    embroidering to building furniture. He was an all-around man. He used to sell the extra milk from our
    cow.  We’d sell the extra eggs. The basement of the house was made of stone. There’s an addition
    there now. We had shelves all around the cellar. He’d raise chickens until they got to be about three
    pounds. My mother would can them in a huge glass canning jar. We’d have a big shelf lined with jars
    of chicken for the winter. She’d cans loads of fruits and vegetables. Sometimes they’d get together
    with our grandparents and aunts, load our car and theirs with buckets, and go to Winchendon to pick
    blueberries. My mother would can great big jars of blueberries. She’d do apples and all our
    vegetables. My father had a root cellar in the basement. In the fall he’d put root vegetables that down
    there. We were more self-reliant in those days than people are now.

    My mother did sewing for the Drapers. She also did a lot of sewing for Tom West’s mother-in-law,
    who lived with them.

    There were two Patrick’s stores in town. One in the center and one at the corner of Route 16 and
    Hopedale Street where the furniture store is now. That was called Patrick’s Corner. When I’d go
    there, they’d let me open a glass container. I’d lift up the lid and I’d take out some crackers. That, to
    me, was a big deal. They had a big pickle barrel and they’d give my father a pickle. On the end, they
    stored the grain. My father would get grain for the chickens and the cow. They delivered it. For quite a
    while we didn’t have a car. The grain would come in bags, and my mother would use them to make
    dresses for us. Those bags are now prized by quilters for making period quilts.

    In 1935, Drapers bought the school from the town. They gave it and the house where we were living
    to the Catholic Church. The school became Sacred Heart Church and the house became the rectory.
    When that happened, we had to move. We moved up Hopedale Street to where the barbershop is
    now. I think it was Fred Loeper who bought the house and put the brick part that’s there now all
    around it, but that was after we lived there. That was a pretty little house. We had a big one-pipe
    furnace. There was no heat in the bedrooms upstairs. When we’d get up on winter mornings, my
    sister and I would draw hearts and write our names on the frost on the inside of the windows.

    Then we’d race downstairs with our clothes and fight over who was going to be able to stand on the
    big register where it was warm. My father would have gotten up before that and gotten the hot coals
    going. They “banked the fire” at night. The furnace would have a crank, almost like the ones they had
    on the cars. They’d crank it and it would drop the dead coals through a grate and they’d have to
    shovel them out. Then they’d put a few shovelfuls of coal on so it would last overnight. First thing in
    the morning, my father would go down and shake it, and put a few coals on so it would keep burning
    hot. The furnace was quite a bit of care. We had an icebox for food that had to be kept cold. That also
    was in the cellar. Under the icebox, there was a large pan to collect the water from the melting ice. It
    had to be carried up out of the cellar and dumped outside every day.

    There were many salesmen and deliverymen who would come around. Milk, eggs, bread, ice, fish,
    Cushman’s Bakery with bread. My brother went to work for Cushman’s on the Cape later. That
    helped him pay for his second year of college. There was another salesman, too. I think they called
    him the Watkins man. He sold lots of different things. He’d have vanilla and all the extracts. He had
    salves and that sort of thing. He was a walking drugstore. The insurance man would come to collect
    once a week. Sometimes the rag man would come down the street looking to collect rags.

    My father loved dogs. We had a beautiful white Spitz. That dog was my dog. The minute it came into
    the house, it stayed with me. One day when the insurance man came, he looked at me and said I
    looked about his daughter’s size. He picked me up to see if I weighed about the same, and the dog
    bit him. We had to get rid of the dog. I felt terrible about that.

    The house had a beautiful porch right across the front. It had granite stairs. There was a bathroom
    upstairs. We had a space heater in it, because there was no heat up there. When we’d take baths in
    cold weather, we’d used the heater. I don’t remember if they used it to heat the water. It was a basic
    three-bedroom house, with an ell that went out the back. When you went in the front door, to the left
    was the living room. When you went down the hall there was a family room, and to square it off, was
    my parents’ bedroom. The register was just before you went into the ell. From there, you went into the
    dining room and then into the kitchen. There was a pantry there, and around the pantry, like an ell,
    was a hallway. At the end of the hallway, there was a two-seater.

    My father got the okay from the Draper person in charge of the houses, and he tore the walls down,
    which made another kitchen area. I remember someone coming and dumping dirt where the two-
    seater had been. My father built a huge pantry with loads of cabinets. There were three bedrooms on
    the second floor, but the third bedroom was what they turned into the bathroom. I loved that house.

    Polly Shanahan lived next door, in the house where the Herons have since lived for many years. Polly
    and I were the greatest of friends. She was a little lady, and I was a little tom-boy. I’d go up the steps
    to her house, and jump from the first step, and then the next, and so on. Polly would try that, fall, skin
    her knee and go in crying. There were bushes all along between her yard and Adin Ballou Park. Up at
    the end, there was a lot of poison ivy. I rubbed it all over myself, and chewed it. Polly did the same
    thing. She got poison ivy, even in her mouth.

    Polly and I would go over to the Adin Ballou statue to play dolls. Each side of the statue was a room.
    Before we’d go in to the house, we’d wipe our feet on the foot scraper that’s there. Then we’d push
    our doll carriages up there and put our babies to sleep in our bedroom. We’d take dishes in the
    bottom of the carriages and we’d pretend we were eating in the kitchen. Then we’d go and sit in the
    living room, which was the front of the statue.

    My sister Ginny was six years older than me, and my sister, Cristelle, was eight years older. The
    Nealleys lived across Union Street from us, upstairs in the Water Cure House. Behind them on
    Union Street were the Bridghmans. They had one daughter. June, Ginny, Helen Nealley, Arnold
    Nealley and I used to go out in back and play kick the can at night. I was the youngest one there. I
    was about five then, but my mother always let me go with my sister, Gin. Ginny was my caretaker.

    We were brought up in the Unitarian Church. I remember Christmases there. The Christmas party at
    the church was wonderful. In those days we didn’t give presents. It was still during the Depression,
    but things were looking up a little by that point. My father was working full time. At the Christmas party
    we’d get a little box of candy like the boxes animal crackers used to come in. The candy was
    absolutely beautiful. One I remember was round and it was red on the outside and white on the
    inside, and there’d be a flower in the center of it. We’d get a coloring book and a box of crayons. It
    was wonderful! We didn’t get much in those days because there wasn’t any money to spare.

    My father was born and brought up in Sherborn. My mother’s family was from Mendon. She was a
    Darling and my grandmother was an Irons. The Sparhawk name goes way back in Sherborn. We’d
    usually go down there on the Sunday before Christmas. My grandparents didn’t have a car. To get
    from Sherborn to Hopedale, you had to take a bus to Framingham, get another bus from
    Framingham to Milford, and then get the Worcester bus that went through Hopedale. When we went
    to their house on Sunday, the paperboy would come, open the door, and put the paper in the front
    hall. That paper wasn’t touched until Monday. Sunday was the Lord’s Day. We kids couldn’t play with
    toys. There was a beautiful barn with a workshop there. We’d play hide and seek in it. We couldn’t do
    anything in the house on the Lord’s Day.

    When we were at Sherborn, we’d sit in a front corner room. My grandmother would sit in a big old
    Morris chair. The furniture was all oak. My grandfather sat on the other side on a rocking chair. He’d
    pull me up to sit on his lap. I was the little one compared to the other kids. He had a big white beard,
    and I used to sit and braid it. My grandmother would have a fit. “George,” she’d say, “she’s going to
    have that all twisted.”

    “Now, don’t worry about it, I’ll get it out,” he’d reply.

    In addition to my grandparents, there was Sarah, my unmarried aunt, who taught school in Sherborn.
    She had graduated from Framingham Normal School and taught one year in Holliston before
    teaching in Sherborn. She didn’t retire until she was in her late sixties. At the age of 68, she took a trip
    to California with a group of Grange members and met a man from Maine.  She married him, and
    they lived long enough to celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary. She died at the age of 95. Aunt Sarah
    always gave a box of pencils with our names on them! That was a big deal, going to school after
    Christmas with a pencil with our name on it!

    Before I started school, after the others had left for the day, my mother would say, “Come on, Bevie.”
    We ‘d run into the living room and open our Christmas presents, and then wrap them up again. That
    was a secret between my mother and me. I didn’t have to unwrap the pencils. I knew what it would be
    every year from Aunt Sarah. From my grandparents I might get an apron or some small thing like that,
    but to us at that time, it was wonderful.

    There was no Scotch tape holding the wrapping paper on presents in those days. They’d fold the
    paper and then they’d tie it with ribbon. It would be a very narrow little ribbon; almost a string
    sometimes. Once my mother wanted me to go in to her bedroom and get a pair of shoes out of her
    closet. It was near Christmas, so I moved some clothes aside and looked up on the shelf. There was
    a doll! I was thrilled to pieces. It was a Shirley Temple doll! Polly had gotten one for her birthday. Her
    father was always working, and Mrs. Shanahan at that time was a secretary at the mill in Uxbridge. My
    mother took care of Polly for a while, and then she went up with the Creamers. My mother was sick a

    I remember the time I had saved my money and had bought Ginny a pair of mittens for Christmas. I
    think they cost ten cents. I’d gone over to the Five and Ten in Milford for them. I was so proud that I’d
    bought my sister Ginny something. She went under the tree and said, “Look what I got. It must be

    I thought, “Oh, it’s wrapped just like mine. Must be a pair of mittens.” It was the one from me. I was
    so mad at Ginny. But Ginny was a sister that most girls would envy me for.

    Ginny was taking piano lessons as long as I could remember. I loved to sing. She’d play the piano
    and I’d sing. Entertainment was what we made for ourselves. My father was very active in the Grange,
    Hopedale and Upton. They used to take me and my sisters to Juvenile Grange every Saturday. They’d
    have Ginny play. When I was big enough to sing there, which was when I was about four or five, I’d
    sing my heart out. They’d have “the Sparhawk Girls entertain us.” At Christmas for the Sunday school
    party, each class had to get up and sing a song. I remember my class singing Silent Night. Reverend
    Tegarden was there then. He had a movie camera. He took movies of all the kids singing. He
    showed it once, and I was the only one you could hear singing. I loved Reverend Tegarden. He was
    such a nice man.

    One year Polly got a pair of sneakers. I wanted a pair of sneakers! My mother said, “Beverly, your
    shoes are still good.” I got my sneakers. I was spoiled for the times, I guess. The Wests and the
    Drapers used to call my mother and ask if she’d like a couple of coats. She’d take those coats and
    turn them inside out. The wool in those days was beautiful on both sides. She’d make new coats out
    of them for us. She made my father’s dress shirts. She made all our dresses and all her dresses. I
    think she had one boughten dress. I had one good dress. We’d wear the same dress to church every
    Sunday. That’s the only place we could wear it.

    When I went to school, one of my friends was Priscilla West. She was the same age as Polly and
    me. There was Joanne Kearsley, also. We all used to hang out together. I don’t know how I fit in
    because we were poor. My father had one of those shoemaker’s things and I remember him putting
    new soles on our shoes.  After Dad died, there was a time when, if there was a hole in the bottom of
    my shoe, I’d put cardboard in there until my mother could save up enough money to take me to
    Milford and buy a new pair. We got them down on Central Street, where I guess there were about
    eight shoe shops at that time.

    During the summer, I’d go swimming at Hopedale Pond every day. Well, every day except Sunday.
    The pond and the park were closed on Sundays. Mornings were for swimming lessons. We’d take a
    towel and put our bathing suit in it, roll it up, put it under our arm and walk up to the pond. Ginny like to
    swim. I was going up there when I was real little. Carlton Miner was in charge there. He was the
    physical education teacher in the schools during the school year. He’d say, “I don’t know why I have
    to give that kid swimming lessons.” My mother called me her water bug. I could swim before I took
    lessons; under the water and on top of the water.

    In those days, boys and girls didn’t swim at the same time. The pond was open for two hours in the
    afternoon for the boys, and there was another two-hour session for the girls. They opened the pond
    after dinner, too. I think it was from six to dark. I’d put my cold, wet bathing suit back on to go
    swimming after dinner. I lived at the pond all summer. A lot of people would bring their little tots
    down, maybe two or three. They’d paddle around with them and maybe stay a half-hour or so, and
    then they’d go. As soon as all the adults were gone, Mr. Miner would say, “All right, Betty Boops, up
    and at ‘em.” I’d climb up on the raft and go off the diving board. I was only about five years old. He"d
    let me go over my head, because I could swim like a fish. I wish they’d open the pond again. I wish
    they’d dredge it, too. If they don’t, it’s going to become a swamp. They have all these sports, but no

    I went to kindergarten at the Chapel Street School. Once there was a pet day and I had just gotten a
    kitten. Polly and I took turns carrying it to school. We used to stand in line in back of the school to go
    in. The boys would be in one line and the girls in another. One of the girls was really homely and I
    remember one of the boys asking her if she was wearing her Halloween mask. She cried. I felt so
    bad for her.

    I loved going to the library. The first time my mother let me go by myself, I came home with two books.
    I read them that afternoon and wanted to go back for more. My mother told me that two books a day
    was enough.

    We’d go down to Patrick’s store a lot. They’d tear a piece of paper off, put the hamburger on it, wrap it
    and tie it with a string.

    Once when we went to the Five and Dime in Milford, my sister Dorothy saw some rings and asked my
    mother to buy one for her. Mother told her that we didn’t have money for that. When Mother turned
    around, Dorothy took a ring. After they got home, my mother somehow discovered what Dorothy had
    done. She felt like it was wasting gas, but they drove back to Milford and she asked to see the
    manager. She made Dorothy hand the ring to him. That’s the way it was for us then. I was a devil, but
    I wasn’t allowed to get away with anything.

    My father died in November 1938. They carried him out of Drapers on a stretcher. He had pneumonia
    and he died within the week. My future husband’s brother and sister came to the funeral. They had
    known the family through the Grange. Years later Dick’s brother told me that it was one of the biggest
    funerals he had ever seen. My dad was well liked.

    I remember Christmas the year my father died. I don’t think there was any insurance. The church was
    so good to us. I remember Reverend Tegarden coming with boxes of food, and he gave my mother
    money a couple of times. She wasn’t working yet. I don’t think Drapers charged her any rent at that
    time. I always loved Rev. Tegarden, he was such a dear man. Once when he and Mrs. Tegarden had
    come and we were sitting in the parlor, I said, “Mr. Tegarden, why don’t you divorce Mrs. Tegarden
    and marry my mother?” I never heard the end of that one. Mrs. Tegarden got the biggest kick out of

    Our place on Hopedale Street was pretty big for a widow to support. The first of the year, Drapers
    moved us down to the last of the Seven Sisters on Freedom Street. In those days a woman couldn’t
    work at Drapers unless she was a widow, or before she was married. The move was such a change
    for me. Such a change.  

    There was no bathtub in the bathroom.  When the house was first built it didn’t have a bathroom.
    There was a big pantry by the kitchen and at some point, they cut it in half and put the toilet in one of
    the halves.  Just a flush toilet; no tub or sink. We had to wash and brush our teeth at the kitchen sink.
    We took our baths in a big galvanized tub on the kitchen floor. That was a lot of work for my mother
    and my sister. All the water had to be heated on the stove, and brought over to the tub.  After we were
    done, they had to bail half of it out before they could lift it to dump the rest into the old black kitchen

    We had a wringer washing machine. It was electric, but even so it was still a lot of work to wash
    clothes. You’d have to heat the water on the stove and then fill the machine with it. It would agitate the
    clothes, and then you’d run them through the wringer into the sink, which was filled with rinse water.
    Then you’d wring the rinse water, and then you’d hang the clothes on the line. During the early fifties,
    when Dick and I were first married and living in an apartment on Main Street in Upton, I was still
    doing the wash that way.

    After Dad died, my mother and my sister, Dorothy went to work at Drapers. It took the two of them
    working to keep the family and that little five-room half duplex going. They worked in what was called
    the roll room, which was part of what was called the temple job. When they’d come home, there
    would be little bits of steel in their clothes. They’d have to wash those clothes separate from the rest.
    We had a car when my father died, and my mother said we had to keep it or we’d never see our
    grandparents. Her parents lived in Shrewsbury. We all pinched pennies. I’d get all of Priscilla West’s
    hand-me-downs. Clothes, shoes; nice Buster Brown shoes. My mother never could have afforded
    them. She’d take them to the cobbler and have them resoled. He’d put a stain on them so they’d look
    brand new.

    When I’d hear the train coming, I’d go out and wave to the men. Beyond the tracks there was a
    wooded area and we kids had a bird cemetery there. They put in the ski hill the year I was there. They
    didn’t have the rope tow then. Some kids had skis with the good bindings, but I had an old pair with
    just straps. I skied down that hill with them, though. When I’d go to the pond in the winter, I had an old
    pair of skates that I’d have to stuff newspaper in the toes, but I had as much fun as the kids with the
    really nice skates. I think I was happier than some of them. My mother and my sisters were always
    there. On weekends we’d always do things together. We’d take a ride to see my grandparents in
    Sherborn, and then another weekend we’d go to Shrewsbury. I had cousins there. I remember the
    big swings they had on the trees. Four or five kids could be swinging at once. I had lots of good times.

    I know there are reasons why kids can’t do some of the things we used to do. A few of us would
    sometimes take our tricycles up Saltbox Hill (Freedom Street near the Mendon town line), take our
    feet off the pedals and roll down. I never fell off of that tricycle. I was very lucky.

    There was a family named Gaskill who lived way up Dutcher Street in that house back from the road.
    They had been in the Grange with my parents. We used to walk up there sometimes. I’d call Mrs.
    Gaskill Auntie Ruth. When my mother was sick, I’d be up there after school. Sometimes I’d sleep
    over. The year my father died, Mrs. Gaskill gave my mother the doll carriage that had been her
    daughter’s. My uncle spray painted it for me for Christmas. That was a big deal. At Christmas, my
    grandfather would make all the girls a piece of doll furniture. I had a doll’s bed, a highchair, a little
    dresser and a chair, and now with a doll carriage, I was pretty well set.

    There were a lot of kids in that neighborhood. Across the street, near where the Andriotti’s live now,
    there’s a big rock. We used to take our sleds and slide down the back side of it. The kids in that area
    used to like picking the dump.

    From the last of the Seven Sisters, down to where the railroad track crosses, there were a lot of
    brambles and quite a few trees. They’re all gone now. We’d build kips between the tracks and the
    street. My mother had some leftover wallpaper at the house. I took it down to a kip we had built, and
    we wallpapered the inside with paste made from flower and water. Once I took some of my father’s
    tools down there. I didn’t bring them home that night, and some kids broke down the kip and took the

    The old icehouse was still there, where the Ellis house is now. I’d go there to watch them cut the ice.
    When they’d deliver, the iceman would use an ice pick to make two little holes in the block he was
    delivering. Then he’d pick it up with a pair of big tongs, and carry it into the house on his back. He’d
    wear a piece of rubber over his shoulders and partway down his back to keep from getting wet.

    A truck had come into the yard and made a half-circle in the dirt, so my mother made a garden there. I
    was digging worms in that spot one day, and a neighborhood boy came by. He grabbed the can of
    worms and started off with it. I ran and tackled him. Nobody was taking my worms! He started
    punching me, and I hauled off and gave him a good one, right in the face. He went home crying. After
    supper, his father brought him over to make him apologize to me. My mother pointed out that he was
    the one who was hurt, but his father said he started it and he should apologize.

    Sometimes I’d take the worms and go down by the icehouse at night. There were two or three old
    men who would be there fishing. I’d sit with them and fish.Not long after my father died, my mother
    traded the old tin lizzie in for a newer car at a place down in Medway. We had to pinch pennies so that
    we could have that newer car. My other grandmother, my mother’s mother, lived in the Morningdale
    section of Shrewsbury. We’d go up by where UMass Hospital is now. I remember going by a big poor
    farm that was near Route 70. There were animals there and big gardens. It’s long-gone. My
    grandfather had died before I was born and my grandmother remarried. My step-grandfather was a
    sweetheart. His name was Bosworth. He loved kids. He made doll furniture for all the girls in the
    family. Their house was on a very steep hill. It was a gravel road and we had to take a sharp turn into
    the driveway. I’d be scared hearing the wheels causing the stones to hit the underside of the car.

    My grandmother used to make root beer. It was really good! My grandfather had dug a well in the
    cellar, and there was a big area dug out near it where they could store the root beer to keep it cold.
    You had to go down a ladder to get it.

    We’d walk to the Park Street School by going over Freedom Street and through the park. One day
    when I got to school, Priscilla said, “Hey, Bev’s got my shoes on.” I was so embarrassed. My mother
    called Mrs. West and told her we wouldn’t need any more of Priscilla’s things. We’d get by. My sister
    Ginny had started babysitting. Cristelle was a junior the year my father died, but she didn’t go back to
    school after Christmas vacation. With Mother, Dorothy and  Chris working, we were getting back on
    our feet. Mother would make birthday cakes and decorate them and sell them. This was when she
    was working eight hours in the factory.

    Ginny took piano lessons at the Gaskill house on the corner of Gaskill Street and Providence Road in
    Mendon. In good weather, I’d walk up there with her so that my mother wouldn’t have to spend money
    for gas. We’d walk up Saltbox Road (Freedom Street) to North Avenue, down across Route 16, and
    though the center of Mendon to Providence Road. Then we’d walk home after her lesson. I was eight
    years old. We only used the car when we really had to.

    My mother made all our clothes. When you hemmed a dress, it had to be even all around the bottom.
    My father had made a box for us to stand on when she was measuring. My mother would take a
    yardstick and put a pin in it. You’d stand on the box and turn around and she’d mark the dress. There
    was a woman they referred to as the nurse who worked for the Wests. She used to bring Mrs. West’s
    mother down to our place. She was tipsy when the nurse brought her down one day, and she fell off
    the box. My mother sent me out to get the nurse. She told her, “Take her home, and don’t bring her
    here in this condition again.”

    I got to know Priscilla through church activities. The church was really the center of people’s social
    lives. Sometimes I’d eat and sleep over at the Wests’ house. They lived on Adin Street at that time. I
    was in one of the poorest families in town. In the thirties, if you didn’t have a father, you were poor.
    The Wests were among the richest. But Priscilla and I were best friends. When eating there, you’d sit
    at the table and one of the kitchen help would serve dinner. Of course, I didn’t shut up then, either. My
    mother told me years later that Mr. West once told her those were the best meals when I was there
    because I’d have the whole table laughing. Priscilla always liked to come to our house. She’d stay for
    dinner and then later the nurse would come and pick her up. She loved it because Ginny would play
    the piano and we’d sing with her. She didn’t have things like that at home. I liked to go to Priscilla’s
    house because she had a doll house with electric lights and running water. I didn’t have a doll house
    There was an elderly woman in one of the Seven Sisters that Chris used to help out. She’d go over
    and help her and get her dinner. Then she dropped out of school for six months and worked taking
    care of her. Mother wanted Cristelle to go back to school, but she didn’t want to go and do the whole
    junior year over. We met Mrs. Temple at the Junior Grange in Upton. I think she taught in Hopedale.
    When she heard about Cristelle’s situation, she said, “I’ll tutor you.” She did, and Cristelle took a test
    and passed. She graduated from Hopedale High with her class.

    I was a latchkey kid back in 1938. My mother and Dorothy would go to work, and Ginny and Cristelle
    had to go to school earlier than I did. I had to make sure the teakettle was off the stove. We heated
    that half-duplex with the two-burner oil stove. I’d make sure that the back door was locked, and I’d go
    out the front door, lock it, and put the key under the rug. I think Mrs. Riley on the other side kind of
    watched and made sure I was okay.

    We were on Freedom Street for about a year and a half. During the second summer that we were
    there, there was an invasion of crickets. You’d take your clothes off at night, and the next morning
    when you picked them up….crickets! They were everywhere. It was horrible! My mother said, “We’re
    getting out of here.” We moved to Warfield Street.

    On Warfield Street we had a backhouse. My mother would light the oil lamp and we’d go out once
    before we went to bed. There was an Albee couple who lived down at the vee on Warfield Street. My
    mother was friendly with them. They had a beautiful black and white cat. So we went out to the
    backhouse one night. There was a shed in front of it and it was in the back corner. I used to keep my
    doll carriage and things like that in there. We were walking in and I happened to look down. “Ooooh,”
    I said, “there’s Mrs. Albee’s cat.”

    Two of my sisters were already in there on the two-seater.

    “It’s a skunk!” my mother yelled. I was first in line getting out of there. We always laughed about that.

    We all made it out okay.

    Across the street, where Ronans live now, there was a beautiful flat house lot with a stone wall all
    around it. Ginny and I used to go blueberrying down in back there. The blueberries were gorgeous.
    When we lived down there, we took the school bus. Ginny was never ready on time. I’d go out and get
    on the bus. She would tell me that she’d be right out. We’d sit there and then the driver would honk
    the horn. Then he’d say, “She’s going to have to walk.” We’d go down to 140 and on to the Green
    Store. We’d turn around and pick up the kids on the other side of the street. In the meantime, Ginny
    had gotten ready. She’d run through the back yard. There was a house behind us that was on 140.
    She’d go through that yard, cross 140 and get the bus.

    One day, coming home on the bus, a boy behind me pulled my hair. He pulled it so hard, a lot of it
    came out. I turned around and gave him a good whack. He sat there laughing. When he got up to get
    off at his stop, he grabbed my hand and gave me the hair and said, “Here, take it home for a

    I told the bus driver and all he said was, “Don’t sit near him.”

    “I didn’t sit near him,” I said. “He came and sat behind me.”

    All the driver said was, “Then move!” That’s the way it was in those days.

    I could go on with more, but enough is enough. These are many of my memories of my childhood
    here in Hopedale. Beverly Orff, March 2013.

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    Bev in front of the house where she was born. When she was
    four, the  house became the rectory of Sacred Heart Church.