Growing up on North Road
(Susan Barber Drummond)
I remember the years
that were beautiful, light, fun and happy. I remember
my older sister Gloria and there was not a time when
Sonny, my brother Henry, was not around. I remember
that Sonny used to rock so much that he actually busted
two cribs. Probably a let me out thing. Then there was
Thea, my younger sister. After several years there followed
Charlotte, my baby whom everyone thought would be a
boy because they just wanted one -- and I knew she was
a girl; Daniel, the finally second boy, and Nancee the
youngest and most independent of all.
I remember the mornings in bed when I awoke early and
crawled into bed with her, and eventually everyone crawled
in bed with her on numerous mornings and how she let
us put our feet between her legs to get warm. Mother
was happy and very loving. Dad was also, although he
always was cheerful and good-natured. I was sent to
a private pre-school with my best friend Rosemary Poole,
Nelson Brown -- whose family Nanny ran the preschool
at their home, Gary Kocsis, Charlie Kirchofer, Marilyn
Reynolds, and Corinne Clark -- to name a few. All I
remember about that time is nap and story time where
I sucked my thumb with my blanket, and snack time where
I would not drink milk, and play yard time. It was fun,
and God Bless mother and father for sending me there.
I was still inseparable with my blanket and thumb until
a bit through 4th grade. That and bed-wetting. And,
for all the nightmares that I awoke from and also had
wet my bed, mother was always there changing me and
remaking thy bed with never a reprimand or anger. Her
patience was admirable.
I do recall in first grade my big sister Gloria brought
me to my first grade classroom and teacher. I recall
our head-desk naptimes because I again could suck my
thumb with my blanket always in my desk. I do not recall
reading much. However, I had an excelling memory. In
second grade I remember that reading was very difficult,
and at some point during that time, I did get fitted
for spectacles. I vividly remember the clarity of the
leaf definitions in the treetops. Oh, the world of such
clarity. I had not known the difference. Loved my spectables.
They may or may not have helped my reading. Years later,
as a teacher myself, I think some of it was my complete
immaturity; I was a preemie, and possibly a little dyslexia.
I always reversed one of my "s'" in my name,
Susan, and had an "s" going the other way.
I suppose to get all the coverage I could get. Ho. Years
later, I also discovered that I am left eye dominant,
and have always been ambidextrous. There is a good possibility
that I might have been left-handed like my brother Hank
but was changed over to my right hand of purpose by
I always told the truth. I was never quick-minded enough
to fib and telling a fib had the Mother-Big-Hand repercussion
that was to be avoided at all costs. Mother and Father,
meanwhile, always stressed honesty, and that is what
I was. As I grew older I would occasionally figure out
a siblings version of their truth-bending, and I could
just never figure out the worth of fibbing to begin
with, and all the cover-up fibs for the original fib.
As I said before, I just never had the mind nor mindset
to fib. It pertains to today as well.
I remember my parents being friendly with Aunt Emily
and Uncle Frank Stone. We used to go to their cottage
house on Tyler Lake in Goshen to go swimming and sometimes
boating in a canoe set up with a sail. They would occasionally
go out dancing, my Father was a marvelous dancer that
not everyone could dance with, and mother would get
dressed up in their lacey white Spanish type dress with
tiers of black lace on it. She looked beautiful -- hair
done up and nails painted and heels and an evening jacket
and purse. Dad always looked terrific in his suit. He
was a very handsome man as Mother was lovely -- always
trim and fit -- even after 7-8 children. Also, this
was a rare time when they would hire a babysitter for
us, which just was an occasion. It was usually our neighbor,
Jean Kelly that lived a little ways down the road. And,
everyone loved her Mother, Ma Kelly, as we called her.
But, Jean was fun and we always sang and played music.
She and a brother or two came to our house and played
the first rock and roll record, "One O'Clock, Two
O'Clock Rock" and showed Gloria how to dance it.
I was too shy and inhibited and could not compete with
my older and most incredible sister. By then, Thea was
also with us, and she and Gloria were the dancers.
At some point, Mother sent me to ballet along with Gloria
and Thea, and I never could seem to put my body where
the instructions verbally as well as physically were
given and shown. Then, add to that a recital, well I
was just disastrous. So, Gloria and Thea were the dancers.
Hank was in his own special category and never had to
compete or mold up to. And, he was definitely an original.
Hank was also my buddy; he was either the same size
as me or bigger even though he was a year younger than
I. We almost grew up like twins. He was my instigator
and inspirator -- well into my teens. When I finally
became 16 and remained alive growing up in Mother's
house, I thought it was gosh darn near miracle. When
I became 21 -- off to college at this time -- I figured
the world and life was at my feet. I Never thought that
I would reach that age. At my teenage point, I figured
if brother Hank could do it, then I could too. That
also included my driving his Lambretta that he bought
from Doc Schoennemann whose son drove it throughout
Europe while in the service. At some point it just would
not start, so I had to push it to the top of a hill
to jump start it, or find someone else to push me along
until I could jump start it. Life became a breeze when
Father bought Hank a new Lambretta for helping him paint
our house exterior.
I did take the newer one to the big city of New Haven
-- I just wanted to ride with the breeze and probably
was told to not go to the city. I was all right for
awhile until I was at an intersection and saw 40 plus
what looked like Hell's Angels on motorcycles one street
away going the opposite way. I tried to high-tail out
of that city, and of course, ran into one street and
dead-end after another, in other words, I became lost,
but eventually found my way out promising myself to
never go back. I only had two other incidents with the
motorscooter. One was in Bennington, Vermont, where
I was visiting my college friend, Susie Riley. I was
stopped at a side street and another car who did not
have the right away decided to take it. Since the car
was bigger than me, I acquiesced. The other time was
in Torrington when I was going home from visiting my
Aunt Eva who had her own apartment since divorcing my
Uncle Charlie. I was alone at a stop light, and two
motorcyclists came beside me and said that they would
escort me home. Well, all 110 pounds of me said, "No
you are not Buddies, " and I sped off to the center
of town where I knew there usually were police. They
did not follow me, and probably meant no harm, but I
skedaddled as quickly as that accelerator would go.
And, I was not beyond driving at top or fast speed.
I must admit that I was a bit of a speed demon. Apologies
-- good rules and regulations. I could not be goody-two-shoes
all the time.