Monday, December 25, 2017

Snowy scene

This snowy image, which I just discovered in an old box of my father's slides, triggers wonderful memories of my childhood in Danvers. What a treasure to find today, on Christmas Day 2017!

Instantly I recognize our grandparents' house, garage, and the little playhouse (on left) that Granddaddy had built for us. I see the hedge that bordered their lawn and marked the edge of a large vegetable garden that my mother and my grandfather shared. The path from our backyard ran through the archway (in foreground), across a small brook, and then alongside the garden until we passed the end of the hedge. The bushes visible on the left side of that path are blueberry bushes Granddaddy had planted. He was very proud of the large cultivated blueberries produced on those modest bushes. (My mother preferred wild blueberries that grew in abundance on tall bushes to the south of our house.)

Note the birdhouse attached to the archway. We had several such birdhouses around our yard, and enjoyed watching, in spring and summer, the comings and goings of bluebirds and wrens.

The white line across the front of the picture is a clothes line running from a large shag-bark hickory tree (out of view, left) to something (our pear tree?) on the right. Concord grapes grew on a fence to the right of that archway. So many memories! How lucky I was to grow up (for my first 14 years) with loving grandparents next door and all this space available.

Historic and geographic details:  My father, Nathan P. Nichols, took this picture looking west from our backyard at 120 Nichols Street, Danvers, where he and my mother had lived since their marriage in 1940. His father, the Rev. William Stanley Nichols, had retired to Danvers in the mid 1930's and lived in the house shown here. Its front door faced north (to the right in photo above) toward the road then called Preston Street. The address was 123 Preston Street until 1950 when that segment of Preston Street (cut off by the widening of Route 1) was renamed, and the address adjusted to 124 Nichols Street.

These houses no longer exist. An office park covers that area now. The street is still there, but under a new name: Conifer Hill Drive. You can still find Preston Street west of Route 1, and Nichols Street south of Route 95. If you look at an map and imagine the continuation of those original roads, the spot where they used to intersect is where my home was, on southwest corner of that junction. When I was 15, my family moved across the street, into a new larger house built up on the hill (northwest of the junction) and given the address 121 Nichols Street. That house has also disappeared, and the hill on which it stood has been carved down to make way for the multistory apartment buildings of Conifer Hill Commons, 121 Conifer Hill Drive.

Given all those changes, you can imagine why I am so happy to find this photographic image that matches my memories of the place. The old colored slide was terribly discolored and faded, but my husband was able to scan it and convert it to black and white, which looks much better.  I'm so glad to salvage that image and post it here to share with others.

(For comparison, see a 1937 photo of my grandparents' house, described in my blog entry dated September 4, 2017.)

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