Thursday, January 13, 2011

cows and ... ducks?

We used to live in the town of Maynard, Massachusetts. That big white house on the corner was where I spent the first seven years of my life.


My grandfather, my mother's father, died in that house five days after his wife, my grandmother died. He was 96-years old when he died and he was the picture of good health. He just decided once my grandmother passed away that he didn't want to live anymore.

So he stopped.

This was my very first friend, Amy's house. She lived a few houses down the street from us. I'm still in touch with her family and love them. Very much.


This is the old Corner Store directly down the hill from where we used to live. I remember going in to this store, all the time, when I was a child. I can still remember enjoying my Dip-N-Stick on the front steps. Or was it a Dip-N-Lick?


All I remember is that my teeth would tingle when I'd eat it, probably because the sweet and sour sugar, smothered over a solid sugar stick, was rapidly decaying them.


This is the Coolidge School which was a two-minute walk at the end of our street.


Now it's an administration building, but years ago, all seven of us, attended at least some school at Coolidge. My mother has fond memories of sending the kids off to school in the morning, and then we'd be home for lunch, what seemed like 10 minutes later. She tells me the story of dropping my brother, Wally, off for the first day of Kindergarten and by the time she got home - he was already there. He'd beat her home and said, "I'M NOT GOING BACK AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME."

Oh, but she did.

So he retaliated by shaving the identical neighbor twins totally bald. But only after he shaved the head of every single doll his five sisters had amassed.

Directly behind Coolidge School is the first hill that I ever sled upon in my entire lifetime.


I remember that hill being SO HUGE when I was a child. It still is big, but when we took our children sledding at Coolidge during our recent trip to Massachusetts, they thought it paled in comparison to Jericho Hill in Marlborough, where Uncle Wally had taken them sledding earlier in the week.

(Bridget, that link is for you!)


Speaking of school, and to respond to a question that Kelley posed to me, earlier today, our children are doing fantastic in kindergarten. While we didn't have much of a choice as to whether they'd be in one class, or separate classes (there are only two kindergarten classes at our school), we opted to keep them all together.

Despite the fact that they are all in the same room, our children are thriving.


The all have their own *gasp!* friends and they very rarely interface with each other during school. I'm not sure, yet, what we'll do next year, but I might pursue keeping them in the same classroom. Not because I don't think that they wouldn't be perfectly fine in their own separate classes (they were in their own Montessori classrooms), but because it would make life considerably easier for us if we only had one teacher with the same curriculum and homework to deal with each day.

Also? I know that my children aren't ALWAYS going to be in the same class for their entire academic careers. Why I'm sure they'll each pursue their very own PhD tracks. But I don't think it hurts to keep them together for the first few years of elementary school. As time progresses and we can see that we need to make a change, we will. As for now, we subscribe to the philosophy of Keep It Simple.


Three Children + One Class = SIMPLE.


Speaking of Maynard, this picture, which my sister Beth has hanging in her dining room, used to hang in the kitchen at our house in Maynard.


Even though I had taken four years of Latin in high school, I never stopped to really look at this picture and decipher it's meaning. I just thought that it was some ancient philosophical phrase. Or at least I did until Beth read it aloud to me, recently. And that's when I realized it was about a kid named Billy who confused 40 buses with a bunch of trucks loaded up with cows and ducks.

Oh see Billy, see her go!
Forty buses in a row.

No Billy! Them is trucks!
See what's in 'em?

Cows and ducks!

So much for my ancient philosophy theory.


  1. I agree with Jen. GASP. Mine have been together in kindie and first grade and they are thriving. The only issue I can see that would make Kelley's situation different than mine and Jen's is she has a set of identicals in the mix. Mine and Jen's look totally different and are different sizes and sexes, so it's easy for the other children to tell them apart and of course, the boys are going to do their own thing apart from the girls.

    Kelley, it's only half day kindie. This will be your year to see how they work together in the classroom and then make an informed decision for first grade.

    I have one of my girls (Amanda) asking to be in her own class next year for second grade. I am going to do a 2/1 split and see how that works. But I would keep them together for kindie.

  2. Actually, the family all went to first grade at Coolidge School. (I think???) There was no public kindegarden.
    Marylou had been going to La Petite Auberge, in Groton, for kindegarden that was all day program when she was 5 years old. Then we moved to Maynard---Eileen was 5 months and I had 5 children and was expecting Wally. (Or was that the next year?)
    I think Marylou and Janet and Frank, went to Coolidge, then I switched t o St Bridgets for a few years and then Rose Hawthorne---
    It was all so fast---was I there?

  3. Interesting - we used to live in Maynard too - walking distance from Erickson's Ice Cream - a liability instead of an asset. (but a yummy liability)

    The town changed a lot after Digital pulled out.

  4. This is so strange! I have been reading your blog for about two years, and my husband and I are moving to Maynard, MA this weekend! I was so surprised when I read your post today. I had never heard of the town before we found it a few months ago, it is definitely a small world!

    - Lindsay

  5. One of many cuzzins!1/14/11, 4:17 PM

    Face it Jen, Grandpa said enough is enough after you lit him up like a Christmas tree!

    Love the pics of Maynard. Such great times at that house and in that neighborhood. I remember holding your hand as we walked to the corner store for fudgesicles. Yours would be a melted mess, but I was always happy to clean it up with a few licks! Then, I'd wash your face with my spit before we got back to the house!!!

    I'm glad you had a chance to show the children where you lived when you were their age. I'm sure they enjoyed the tour...I loved it. Great memories!


  6. Next time you visit MA in the winter, you should try Nashawtuc Hill in Concord. That's a Suicide Hill too and fun!

  7. comment on your twitter post - oh the price of fame : )

    On keeping the trips in the same class together. My cousin and I were like twins (our moms were twins). We were born only 2 1/2 months apart so everyone treated us like twins. Our parents opted to have us be in the same class until 4th grade so we'd each have a chance to blossom without each other. I missed having her at my side for a long time.

  8. Wow. We used to visit you all quite often from SC. We were pretty young when we would visit but I can't believe how many things from your pictures I recognized. It's amazing how everything looks almost untouched. Too bad you didn't knock on the door of the house and ask if they ever fixed the lock on the bathroom upstairs!! ;-)

    Brings back nice memories here too. ;-)

  9. I love that sign. It made me laugh. I laughed even harder watching my husband trying to decipher it!

  10. Thank you for responding to my question. Instead of worrying about making the wrong decision for my girls that will affect their entire educational career, I've changed my perspective. Whether we keep our girls together or split them apart into three separate classes, I no longer think there is a wrong choice. There are so many positive reasons to go either route. Now to focus on other important issues like what my girls will be wearing to preschool on Wednesday since it is “wacky Wednesday” day at school. A mommy’s job never ends… Thanks again for the sanity check!

  11. I struggle with what to do w/ my twins (separate them or keep them in the same classroom) ever since I read a story online of twins who, once they went to college, could not function without each other. One in particular had trouble-severe depression, etc. My biggest concern is that they would not feel whole without the other one (especially when they get older) if I don't separate them early. I have b/g twins, age 5. The story was of identical girls whose parents dressed them alike and put them all in the same activities, as I recall.

  12. Oh so sweet, seeing these photos! We would spend HOURS sledding down the hills at Coolidge. I remember picking up stray pieces of coal out front because the school was still heated that way!

    It's fun to see that families careening down the hill just like the old days!

    PS. It's a wonder we had teeth left after daily visits to the Corner Store!

  13. dAh the old neighborhood brings us back to a place and time that we can only dream about now.......I have such fond memories of that big white house on the corner - so glad you got to do a little tour!

    PS - Thanks for the tip on sledding - that will be a new spot to try!