I recently read that as we grow older, we are only older on the outside; inside we are forever young. In reflection of that adage, I wholeheartedly agree. As I approach my 89th birthday on Aug. 25, it seems only yesterday that I was a barefoot boy with a mop of blonde curls and blue eyes that made the girls sigh!

It was a time of unlocked doors, bottles of milk on the door step, running boards on automobiles and the smell of new mown hay on a summer afternoon. Churning ice cream on the back steps. It was a time when you became old enough to wear long pants, you were 10 feet tall on the first day of school.

Coming from a family of eight children we were raised in my grandmother’s house, which was an old original salt water farm, a stone’s throw from the ocean. With a wonderful old attached barn. The barn was weather beaten and covered with vines. The field across the way would often find artists with their easels set up painting the scene. My father’s lobster buoys and a stack of traps, along with my grandmothers chicken clucking about adding to the bucolic picture.

The barn had a huge attic filled with wondrous items. Old trunks filled with vintage clothing, books, and an old wind up Victrola with records. My grandmother’s childhood sleigh and an old wagon. I would spend hours under those old timbers, with fantasies only a young boy could summon up.

My first school was one mile away, and we attended the first few weeks barefoot to save on shoe wear. The school house had a wood stove for heat, and an attached shed sported two outhouses, one for the girls and the other for the boys. The one room had a slate sink with a hand pump to bring in the well water. When I was in the fourth grade I would arrive early at the school each morning to fire up the wood stove and heat some water to thaw out the water pump.

Our teacher, Miss DeCorsey, a jolly and kind lady (guess who was the teachers pet?), rewarded me with 10 cents a week for this frosty morning chore. In those days 10 cents bought a lot of penny candy. Needless to say I was very popular with the other students when I shared my spoils.

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