Friday, August 31, 2012

Sewing Machine

This week I pulled out my sewing machine and began to make a pair of curtains. As I sewed, I remembered the arrival of this fancy machine into our home in Danvers years ago. It was such a wonderful upgrade from our old black Singer machine!

The curtain project was delayed as I stopped to write about my memory of this practical gift. I am submitting my next column on this subject. It was a birthday gift to me, but with the clear understanding that it was for the whole family to use until I grew older, married, and moved away from home. I was 16 at the time. When I married at 21, I think my parents were a bit chagrinned to lose the sewing machine so soon. I did make good use of it over the years, and it still runs.

Update:  My column titled The practical birthday gift was published on Sept 7, 2012.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

1945 photos

I've posted these photos to accompany my previous post about song fests and this month's column about the fun of singing with groups of friends.  Dick and Beth Best, pictured here in 1945 in the yard of our Danvers home, edited and produced The NEW Song Fest (copyright 1948) a few years later.

My parents and friends relaxing after skiing on a sunny winter day, March 11, 1945.
Dick Best on guitar, his wife Beth below. My mother on right. John "Ace" Nutter, left.
[Click on photo to enlarge.] 
My mother, Janet Cutler Nichols, on right. Dick and Beth Best, center.
Note stone wall along Nichols Street behind them.

Dick Best on guitar. Nick Nichols, right. Wives and friends resting on tarp. March 11, 1945.
Note my father's ski pants, skiboots, and the Kodak camera resting in his lap;
Nick almost always carried that folding camera in the pockets of his ski pants.

I found these photos in an old family album that I had put together in 1969. I hadn't really looked at them closely at that time, other than to note the handwritten date on the back of each photo, and to put them in sequence in the album.  My parents had always kept their photos in envelopes in the lower drawer of a desk in our living room. Many became jumbled over the years as various people pawed through the piles of envelopes and pulled out ones of interest. In 1969, pregnant with my first child, I was looking for photos of me as a baby. I found piles of unlabeled, undated baby photos, which could have been me or my sister Jean.  I had to do detective work --using the film codes printed on the back of the photos-- to identify each roll of film and thereby find clues to the context. Thus I created my own "baby album" and added select photos to show scenes from my childhood.

I liked these photos because they showed my parents relaxing in our yard, leaning on Daddy's overturned sailboat and a rowboat, and they showed the familiar wooded view across Nichols Street into the Locust Lawn property (from our front yard at 120 Nichols St).  
[That end of Nichols Street is now called Conifer Hill Drive and the house site is now a parking lot.]  

Here is one more photo from that SAME day:
-- a skier schussing down one of the trails on that Danvers hill 
(on the north side, beyond the Locust Lawn fence, I think). 
Imagine that! The hill had enough snow to ski on, 
yet at home on the southwest side of that hill, 
our yard was bare and warm enough for guitar-playing outdoors! 
 Do I remember that day? No. I was too young.  Here's a photo of me a few weeks later, April 1, 1945.