Sunday, December 10, 2017

First snow

Fresh snow, the first real snow of the season, covers our yard. About four inches fell yesterday and another two during the night. The eastern sky has lines of pink as this Sunday begins.

I awoke very early and spent two hours reading in bed before dawn. I'm reading the draft of the Pine Knoll story, a book of family history written by my cousin Janet Nichols Derouin as she compiled entries from old letters and family diaries.  The year is 1860...

By the fourth of December Mr. Daily was working full time on the cellar hole and North Danvers had its first snow fall of the season, four inches which came in the night, and Andrew commented the next day:  1st. sleighing of the season.  I staid in office and washed Harness with castile sope and oiled Boots in AM. 
 On the eighth he wrote: went skating for the 1st. time  On Mill Pond 2 hours in PM. 

I smiled at the phrase "1st. sleighing of the season." Yesterday, as Ken and I drove home through gently-falling snow, most of the well-travelled roads were partly slush, with some wet black pavement showing.  But when we turned onto our street, the roadway was evenly white, with the snow cover rather smoothly packed into place. "Ready for sleighing," I had commented. Packing snow down, rather than plowing it or spreading salt to melt it away, was the old-fashioned method of dealing with snow on roadways.  Ken and I have neither sleigh nor horse, but we have sometimes, after snowstorms, skied along our road before the city plows arrive to spoil the fun.

Historic note: the cellar hole mentioned above was the beginning of the house that my great-grandfather Andrew would build on his newly-acquired farmland in north Danvers. That house would come to be known as "Pine Knoll" and I have many memories of it. Andrew was 23 at that time, engaged but not yet married.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy-I much enjoy your recollections of Danvers and Nichols Street. A couple of questions: 1) Is the Mill Pond referred to the same one behind the Danvers Public Library? I have great memories of learning how to skate there with my uncle Fred Clay helping me. 2) Do you know when and how Janet will publish her Pine Knoll story? I would love to read it, as I have fond memories of visiting and "great aunt sitting" on occasion. At Christmas time, I was in a small brass choir with several high school band mates and we always stopped by Pine Knoll to play a few carols.


Paul Clay

Sandy said...

Hi Paul,
Glad to hear from you. Good questions. I can't be sure what he meant by Mill Pond, but I make the same assumption. I'll ask Janet. As for her book, she passed all the files, paper and some digital, to me for safe keeping about 5 years ago. She hadn't worked on it in years, and realized that she wasn't going to return to it. (She's having too much fun painting, and selling her "Barn Board" art!) I've been too busy to finish reading the whole draft yet, though I am determined to do so THIS month. I agree that it would be great to publish and share the P.K.Story, but in what format? How edited? The draft is too long (over 900 pages) and incomplete (stops on 1880's). Janet didn't ask me to finish it. She gave me all her boxes of files relevant to the not-yet-written years, plus some diaries. It would be a HUGE project for someone to undertake. Janet just asked me, as retired librarian, to PRESERVE the treasures she'd assembled. I'm taking notes (re possible edits) as I read the draft. My notes fill 25 pages now, and I'm only 1/2 way through. LOTS of great info, and yes, we should figure out how to share this with the family and beyond. I can, and will, share short parts in this blog (I'm collecting good ideas as I read), but that is only a small step forward. A student at Salem State College now researching M.H.W. (sister of our great grandfather Andrew) has asked for access to MHW's diaries. Her project is inspiring me to dig into Janet's draft and the boxes. Stay tuned...

Sandy said...

I welcome ideas about how to share/publish the Pine Knoll Story, or the many stories connected with our family who lived at "Pine Knoll" 98 Preston St, Danvers from 1861 to the 1960's. Too many stories for one book!