Tag Archives: Shrewbury

Book of Me – Prompt 10: Unexplained Memories

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week ten’s prompt is Unexplained Memories.

Do you have an unexplained memory or memories?

  • Items
  • Places
  • People

Things and times you can remember, but not sure how they fit into your past.

I really don’t have any unexplained memories that I can think of. So instead of this week’s prompt being easier or more reflective for me, I found it rather frustrating, mostly because I want to write and I have nothing to write about. Instead, I shall share a memory that I have that I know happened but the adults involved deny it occurred.

When I was six, my parents experienced a life shattering event. After years of denying his feelings, my father decided that he needed to accept who he was. This was during the mid seventies and the world was very much different then. One of my favorite childhood albums was Marlo Thomas’ Free to Be You and Me.  This message resonated throughout the house on many levels. It was much harder to come out of the closet then as it is today. After ten years of marriage and two children, my father chose to finally come clean. Amongst the family papers that I have now become steward of, I have copies of my parent’s divorce papers as well as letters that were written to and from my father from different family members. I always cringe when I read the divorce papers. My mother sued for divorce citing “intolerable cruelty.” My father is a gentle and kind man. I have never known him to be cruel or intolerable. So it hurts when I read those cold, legal words. Even during this turbulent time in my family’s history, my father (in one of his letters) tried to explain how my mother was suffering. To her, it was if her husband had died.

During this time, we were living in the Methodist parsonage in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. The house had a basement with stairs that led down from the kitchen. One of the improvement projects that my parents had done on the house was to finish part of the basement. The front half of the basement was a den or family area with old couches and chairs. On this particular day, the day of my memory, my parents were having a huge row in this part of the basement. Since I generally don’t even remember my father ever yelling, most of the noise must have been coming from my mother. My younger brother and I had heard the argument upstairs and had snuck down the steps to see what was going on. He was only three so I sincerely doubt he remembers these events. I recall that we sat there for a while listening and then quietly tiptoed upstairs before we were discovered.

Years later I mentioned this event to one or both of my parents. No one had remembered that this had happened. Or they denied it in order to protect me. Since it was such an emotional and traumatic time in our lives, I am not surprised that no one recalls this particular fight.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney

Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/11/02/book-of-me-pro…ained-memories/

Book of Me – Prompt 5: Childhood Home

book of meThis is week 5 of a 15 month writing project. This week’s writing prompt for the Book of Me focuses on childhood homes. This writing challenge is provided by Julie Goucher from the blog Angler’s Rest. Coincidently, I just took a big trip this summer to show off my childhood homes to my children. We stopped by three of the four to take pictures.

When did you leave home?
Where was it?
Where did you move to?…
Was it rented or owned? –  with parents/Grandparents
Was it inherited
What was it like – describe it – each room.
Were there a favorite room?
Is there anything you particularly remember from the house?
The road & area

Childhood Homes

During her childhood Deborah lived in 4 different houses.

Hale Street - Rockport

The foot of Hale Street in Rockport (Image courtesy of Google images)

Her first house was in Rockport, Massachusetts, also known as the Methodist church parsonage. This address appears on her birth certificate, 17 Hale Street. The house was built in 1800, so it turns out that this was the oldest house that Deborah ever lived in. She lived in this house for almost three years. One impression Deborah had of this house was that it was located at the top of a hill, at the end of the street.

In the yard outside Hale Street

In the yard outside Hale Street

Her parents did not own this house as it was provided by the church for their spiritual leader. Some of the furniture was old and second hand, having been used by previous occupants. The only memories that remain of this house are the photographs. They moved from this home to their new parish soon after the birth of Deborah’s brother.

Yegerlehner, David - 1969-02-08  Rockport Parsonage

Rev. Yegerlehner in his study at Rockport

The Sias Avenue house today is no longer owned by the church.

The Sias Avenue house today is no longer owned by the church (2013)

The next home was in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. As the first, this was also a parsonage for the Methodist church which was located nearby at the end of the street. This home was built in the early 1950s, a two story structure with a basement and an attic. All the bedrooms were on the second floor. The fourth tiny bedroom was used as David’s office. A large porch stretched across the front. The main floor consisted of an entry way (with staircase), living room, dining room and kitchen. All the rooms had two doors so it was possible to run in a giant circle throughout the rooms. In the 1970s, a large lilac hedge separated the property from the neighbor’s yard. The lilac has always been one of Deborah’s favorite flowers, due in part to these childhood bushes. Another contributing factor was the Nancy Drew book The Mystery at the Lilac Inn.

Deborah in her tree - Shrewsbury

Deborah in her tree – Shrewsbury

In the backyard was a large tree. The tree’s trunk branched about 4-5 feet above the ground. It was one of Deborah’s favorite pastimes to climb this tree or to sit in the trunk’s fork. While living in this home, Deborah attended pre-school and started elementary school. She took her first dance lessons and learned to ride the shiny red bike she received for her fifth birthday. She got her first kitten, an all black male that was mistakenly named Queenie before its sex was discovered. It was also the last home in which her family lived as a single unit. This was her home for less than four years.

Outside the house in Shrewsbury

Outside the house in Shrewsbury

Greybert Lane (1982)

Greybert Lane (1982)

During second grade, in the spring, Deborah, her mother and her brother moved to a small ranch home on the west side of Worcester. Of all four homes, the house on Greybert Lane deserves the grand title of childhood home. She lived in this home from second grade through ninth grade. The house was located on an acre parcel of land. The bulk of the land was wooded with a small creek, Tatnuck Brook, forming one of the boundaries. The house was located at the end of a cul-de-sac. Across the street, behind the neighbor’s houses was Patch Reservoir. In the winter, one of the neighbors allowed the neighborhood children to cut through their property to access an old dock for ice skating on the lake. The summers were filled with playing in the woods and brook. The house wasn’t particularly special, a cookie cutter ranch. Deborah’s grandfather was recruited to help “finish” the basement which became a combination play room and guest bedroom. By the time Deborah reached high school, the house had grown too small.

Greybert Lane (2013)

Greybert Lane (2013)

High school graduation day at Hadwen Lane

High school graduation day at Hadwen Lane

The fourth childhood home was also on the west side of Worcester, but closer to the high school. It was located up near the top of a hill. Although the back yard was wooded, the lot was smaller and there was no longer a brook in the back. When the house was purchased the second story was unfinished. Again, Deborah’s grandfather was recruited to frame the rooms in the upstairs although several contractors were hired to attend to the drywall, wiring and plastering. Deborah and her brother had the rooms on the second floor to themselves.  For the first few years, there wasn’t any heating upstairs. Deborah had a room almost double the size of her previous room and the closet was a walk in room beneath the eaves. This is the home where Deborah lived when she graduated from high school. She only lived there continuously for three and half years.

Hadwen Lane (2013)

Hadwen Lane (2013)

Deborah left home at age eighteen to attend college. She only ever came home for vacations after that, with the exception of the year that she left graduate school. She came home one last time for about six months. She met her future husband during that time and never looked back.