Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Swinging branch

While looking through a pile of old photos,  I found one of the swinging branch   -- the subject of my November column.   See The Swinging Branch, published in the Danvers Herald the first Thursday in November and posted online recently.

In this photo three little girls are enjoying the branch: my sister Jean, a visiting friend (Mary Nutt), and myself.  Our dog Heidi is being patted by Babs Nutt, a long-time friend of my parents.  Babs and her children were visiting from New Hampshire.

The hillside doesn't look as steep here as I had remembered it.   Today this hill is called Conifer Hill, part of what remains of the former "Dale's Hill" or "Nichols Hill"  -- location of the old Wentworth estate known to us as "Locust Lawn."

I understand that a new housing development (Conifer Hill Commons) is proposed here.  At right is a photo of an earlier construction project, the colonial house that my parents had built not far from the swinging branch tree.

This was taken in 1956.

My grandfather, mother, Aunt Millie, and I are standing in what would become the new driveway from Nichols Street.   I had lived for 13 years at 120 Nichols Street, just down the hill and across the street.  Our new address became 121 Nichols Street when we moved there in 1957.    It could have been called "1 Speedwell Place" because the new driveway came out at the corner of Nichols and Speedwell, named for the Speedwell School that had been run for some years in the former Wentworth mansion at this location.

Aunt Millie

I'm sad to learn that my Aunt Millie has died.  Last summer I wrote about Aunt Millie's encounter with my wild pet.  See Milk box holds surprise for Aunt Millie.

She and my Uncle Edward, picture here in 1996 during a family gathering in Danvers, lived in Florida during their retirement.   Edward died in January 2003, age 95 and a half.  Millie died November 11, 2010.    May they rest in peace.

While looking today for other photos of Aunt Millie, I found this family shot, copied from a slide my father had taken in the 1950's of family members posed near his portable ski-tow at Locust Lawn.  I'm on the left holding skis. Beside me is my cousin Janet Nichols Derouin and one of her sons. Next are Aunt Millie, Jed Derouin, Millie's son Bob Peters, my sister Jean (holding the Derouin's dog, Tuffy), my mother Janet "Cut" Nichols, and my grandfather William S. Nichols.     A happier time!