December 14, 2011

Growing Up in Union

Yep, you guessed right.....That would be me, and my younger brother Leigh, circa 1973-ish. When I was about 7, we moved from Norwalk, CT, to a sleepy little village in NH. I don't remember much about living in CT, a few bits here and there. But I remember growing up in this little area, where I still live, in living color. This was a summer camp on one acre of land, attached to my parent's 16 acres. My grandparents bought this so they could come up in the good weather and spend time with us. After my grandfather passed, my grandmother sold it to my parents. It has since become my parents home, with lots of love and hard work put in, to convert if from a 4 room, no insulation, no bathroom a 3 bedroom house, complete with all the luxuries. (I was a junior in high school when we got a FULL, working bathroom with a shower!).

back row: my older brother Don (14), my mother, my grandmother, my dad
front row: me (7), my younger brother Leigh (4)

We lived in this 2nd hand trailer that friends and relatives helped my parents put on the land, just a hundred yards or so behind the camp. It was tight quarters for six people. It had a master bedroom that I shared with my grandmother, my brothers had the tiny second bedroom with bunk beds, and my parents slept in the living room on a fold out sofa. I don't remember when, but sometime shortly after moving up here, we added another room to the front, and had a wood burning fireplace in there. It was used as an extension to our livingroom, and I loved playing out there in the sun (lots of windows). I remember our Christmas trees being out there too.

It amazes me, when I read the history of Union, how much has changed and how much hasn't.

Union is actually a village, part of the town of Wakefield. When I was a kid, there were 5 villages....Union, Sanbornville, Wakefield, East Wakefield, and Burlyville. It covers a pretty large area on the edge of the NH and ME border. I love it here. I will miss some parts of it when I move from here. Most of it is nostalgia though. Memories.

Memories of things like skating here every winter:
This is directly across the street from my parent's home. Each Christmas, one of the exciting things we looked forward to was getting new skates. Although we usually couldn't use them until January, after my father was sure the ice was safe, we knew, without a doubt we would get new skates (kids feet grow fast!). I also remember many lazy days of fishing here. I gave up that hobby when I reached about 10 or so, because my father told me "If you aren't going to eat them, you can't catch them". Since I don't eat fish of any kind, I stopped going.

I also remember the gardens and animals we raised....every year my parents planted 3 huge gardens. Mom would send us out to pick veggies. Whenever we got to green beans, I always ate more than I brought in lol.

I wish I had a picture of it, but I don't....on our property was the original house. It was a one story home with 5 rooms. We couldn't live in it, it wasn't great. So what do resourceful people do? Use it as their barn. Yep, we had one room, that used to a bedroom, that became our room for hay. I remember as a kid, waiting for my dad to throw in a big forkful of hay from the back of the pickup truck, and it was our job to jump on it, and pack it down. We used to fill that room to the ceiling every year. My dad bartered for our hay most years, working to hay fields, in exchange for some of the hay. This was on top of his full time job as a mechanic.

The larger room in the front of the house (formerly a livingroom/kitchen area), was where we kept assorted tools and our grain. We learned the hard way after just a few years here, that we had to keep our grain in metal trashcans with cinder blocks on the tops, holding the lids down. More than a few times we would have mice in them, or worse, water rats from the Meadows across the street. Ick!

In the other rooms we kept our animals....cows, a pony, a horse, sheep, and some pigs. Lots of stories could be told about those animals!! I will save that for another post though.

I remember being old enough that my mother used to let us cross the highway to go "downtown" to hang out with our friends. This was a huge milestone! And don't waste any time crossing when that light turned green.....the tourists heading north or south weren't known for always stopping when they were supposed to. Funny to look at this picture of main street and know that 30+ years later it hasn't changed much at all. The old funeral home is now being converted into a duplex, and the old mill building and general store both burned down in 2004, but the drive down this road looks very much the same. I wonder if when I move away, and come back for visits in 10 or 20 years, will it still look the same? I hope so.

I was just tumbling around on the internet this morning, and ended up going down memory lane. Hope you don't mind. Thought you might like a little view of where I grew up:) (and as a little side note: NO! I will not miss snow:P)


  1. I always find it so interesting to hear about other people's childhood or the places they have lived so the trip down memory lane with you was very enjoyable.

  2. Those ice skating memories have to be something else! I have childhood memories of skating a "whole" lake too....only after my Dad deemed it safe :-)

  3. They are Dr Momi:) The only bad memory I have of it was one year some out of state kids that were staying locally, tortured us with their snowmobiles, and even ran over my leg with one. But other than that, nothing but good memories:)