The Beginning 1933 - 1987
My Long Trip Thru "The Dale of Hope"
How could you not believe it? With a library, four great schools, a Community House (complete with a
bowling alley where my father-in-law [Stan Barrows] would eventually be in charge), and most
important, lifetime jobs in the "shop" for anyone who applied, men or women, and with the availability of
half a house, where the rent on Cemetery Street was, as I was told, three dollars a week, and Draper
fixed everything, plus painted or papered one room every year and even provided the light bulbs.
Even if you weren't ready for the grown-ups work, you could, if you were sixteen, get a job at
Patrick's, working for John Lahive or Ernie Nason, delivering forty or more boxes of groceries to
customers in Milford or Upton, who had called in their orders. I fit in well for this job, as growing up (so
to speak) on an island off the coast of Maine, I learned to drive a pick-up truck at a very early age (10
or 11). I was privileged also to help Bobby McCully with his morning paper route, starting at 3:30 a.m.,
before we got ready for school.
And, of course, best of all, in the winter, working for the Hopedale Coal & Ice Company, harvesting
the ice from the pond between Lake Street and where Tom West, Draper president, was to, many years
later, build his home. I can see the men now, with their long ice cutting saws and chisels, (no chain saws
then), cutting the foot or more thick ice into blocks about three feet by four feet and floating them to the
powered ramp which dragged them up about 10 or 12 feet on the side of the long icehouse where they
were guided by us boys, with more hooked poles, down into one of several large insulated rooms to be
stacked and covered with sawdust and put to bed until the spring and summer when they again might see
the light of day, going into the houses, carried by a robust delivery man with a 25 or 50 cent piece,
depending on which side of the sign you had displayed in the front window of your house that day. It
would be hanging from a rather large clamping tweezer, layed across his rubber covered shoulder, soon
to be placed in the top of the customers icebox, to drip eventually into a pan at the bottom, which you
had to remember to empty every day.
I can't recall having "in-house" ice cream in those days. Ice cream meant the Town Hall Spa and Norm
Hanley, or Hixon's (Route 140, Milford, where McDonald's is now), or turning the crank on the ice
cream maker for what seemed like hours.
These are just some of "The Tales from the Crypt" trip, leading up to December 7, 1941, the day that
forever changed Hopedale, our lives, and the whole world...!! Perhaps not for the better, but we have
survived.....grown old and blessed with the memories of our upbringing......How Great Thou Art!
As I recall, while I was busy chasing a bunch of very angry Germans back across the Rhine, Bobby
McCully, as a Marine, got hit while landing on a beach at Tarawa or Iwo Jima. I never saw him again.
Roy Rehbein, March 2008.
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