Growing Up On South Road
Roger Plaskett

I grew up in the house that I currently live in on South Road. Now, at age 63, I get out and walk the road fairly often. Each time I do, I come up with childhood memories of every area that I walk past.

When I’m up at the center of town I remember so many things. Things such as the Barber Reunions that were held in the Community Hall. The Grange meetings held there. I don’t remember a whole lot about the meetings but I do remember that Elof Johnson was the Grange Master. The house where the Tilly’s currently live was a great place to hang around as a child. Back then it was the Brown family who lived there. Nelson Brown was my age and for a period we were pretty good friends. Hobson Brown was the Father and he lived there as a widower I believe. I remember hearing that his wife was from the Piels family. (beer fame). Anyway it was big estate back then. Prior to 1955 I can remember going down into the woods behind the barn (the barn now converted to a house where Gary Arnold lives) and swimming in Leadmine brook. There was a dammed area and it had a bath house right there next to a nice pool. The bath house had a full length porch on the front (river side) of the building. After the flood of 1955 the dam is gone and only a shell of the bath house remains. It is still visible when you walk one of the trails at the recreation area off of Rt 4. Playing “war’ on the part of the property where the “tea house” is was always fun. The Tea House was considered a WWII “Pill Box’ and we killed every Nazi and "Commie" that tried to over take the hill. Inside the barn there was a neat fort on on the second level of what must have been a hay loft.
Down the road a bit was Paul Pekhams farm, that big beautiful house where Skip Day and his wife now live. When I was a kid he would hook up his horse to a wagon and bring it down the road picking up kids on Saturday mornings on the way for a short ride down to Swimmimg Hole Road and back. You could always hear them coming with the wagon wheel on the tarred road. Mr. Pekham would always yell ‘heaww” when he wanted his horse to start. Across the street, in the old academy lived Mrs Roe. Not sure what the deal was but she had tin foil on the trees everywhere. Trying to ward off evil spirits was the rumor. I guess it worked as I never saw an evil spirit on the whole road. She also had a tennis court on the left hand side of the road heading south. The court was all fenced in and she would have occasional party’s for the neighborhood kids. I remember being inside that fenced in area with the gate shut and locked. While everyone was having fun, I couldn’t wait to get outta there! I remember when Village Lane was being built and the hopes of some new kids in the hood. It was the Swoyer family that provided Buzzy and his sister Cathy to the neighborhood. Our neighbors were the Cables. Walt and his wife Luella and their kids Patty, Kathy, Rodney and Bobby. They had a dog named Laddy who was the scourge of the neighborhood. I don’t remember seeing him untied very often but I sure remember him being mean. Next to them was a little cottage where Gary Johnson lived. We had a lot of fun together while they lived there. Gary’s place was flanked by his Aunts and Uncles. The Cables on one side and the Petersons on the other Mrs Peterson (Elsie) was the daughter of Elof and Lulu Johnson who lived one house down from them. From the Deremus house (Brick house across from Tennis club) to the South cemetery, there where no houses on that side of the road. Next to the cemetery it was fairly open there and Mr. Pekham used to keep his horse inside that area. Parker Boylan now has a house in there. Across the street from us was all an open meadow full of blueberry bushes. We used to spend hours with a quart jar hung off of our belts, picking blueberries. I used to try and time it so I was in there when Kathy Cable was in there, I always had a crush on her but I guess she didn’t like younger guys. She was a real sweetheart. In the far corner of that lot is an old road that leads down to Leadmine Brook. I’ve spent hours down in that area as a kid. Once, about two days after a thunderstorm, I was walking down there and found a huge maple tree that was smoldering from an apparent lightning strike a few days earlier. I called the Fire Dept and felt like a real hero. That is until I realized I called West Side instead of Center. There was a rivalry between the two organizations back in those days. My cousin, Fire chief Norman Barber sure let me know about it.

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