Monday, September 28, 2009

Bela and Stella

I have fond memories of visiting Bela and Stella's home at Locust Lawn. Inside a small run-down barn, they had created a cozy and beautiful home, and they welcomed us --little girls from down the hill-- cheerfully. Bela was Hungarian; his wife was German.

I wish now that I knew more about how they came to Danvers and what their lives were like as they became American citizens and moved on to raise a family elsewhere. My role in their story was short-term, yet significant, said Stella, who credited me with helping her learn English. I do know that they were D.P.s (Displaced Persons) sponsored by my grandfather after World War II. Today I found this webpage that provides some context: Displaced Person Transports: Cargo of Hope (American Merchant Marine at War, www.usmm.org).

[Note added 12/09: see my December column, New inhabitants in an old barn, about my experience visiting Stella and Bela.]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Granddaddy's yard

I now attend a weekly writing class called "Fun with Writing" at the local Senior Center. Recently we chose to write about childhood games we remember. I wrote about Kick-the-Can, an active game played in summer evenings with my family. We always played it in the yard next door, where my grandparents lived. Granddaddy Nichols was a good sport and often joined the game. How lucky I was to have Granddaddy next door! Visualizing those games of Kick-the-Can helped me visualize his house, driveway, and garage, and the little playhouse he built for us. For this month's column, I wrote about playing at Granddaddy's:

Playing at Granddaddy's was great.