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 after bathing!
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 Hall.
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
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 the woods.
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 were terrible.
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