Hometown memories

Robert Frost lived in my hometown

Recently, I became a member of a Facebook page that was dedicated to my hometown. Although it doesn't really matter where my hometown was, I do believe it matters when I grew up in it.

The world has changed so drastically in the past 50 years that it is incredibly sad to envision growing up at any other time than I did. When I return to the "space" in my memory dedicated to the little town of Derry, New Hampshire, I return to it in my memory as a place in the 1960's to the 1970's. Graduating from high school in 1973, I lived through the hippie culture, the space program, the duck and cover drills of the 60's, having to eat fish on Friday;s as the Catholics only could eat fish then...and the list goes on and on.

As I have found in looking at my fathers old home movies and taping some of the distinct footage of the times, life was simpler then. We spent a lot of time in or watching parades. We celebrated graduations and birthday celebrations. Everyone was either in Girl or Boy Scouts, or Band, cheer leading, sports or baton twirling teams. The big event was to go to the drive-in movies, get Archie comics at the local Rexall, and new 45 records at the music store.

Each year the junior prom brought all the upperclassmen investing in gowns and tuxedos, bouquets and corsages, we had football fever and homecoming dances, Freshmen receptions and local bands play at the park. In the fall we had a Labor Day festival with cotton candy, rides, air shows and local celebs. Life was busy at the local swimming hole: Beaver Lake.

We welcomed a celebrity in the astronaut Alan Shepherd who hailed from our town, and we had several signers of the Declaration of Independence from there too. DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and Kiwanis Club, Knight of Pythias, Grange, Masons and Eastern Star meetings and Rainbow and Demolay. Churches all had church suppers, May breakfasts and holiday craft fairs. There was a certain rhythm to the town's seasonal offerings. Without violence and anger we lived in peace, even when the entire world was involved in other things.

I will always be happy I was a child of these times. I think about children growing up today and it makes me sad. With so many things that are dangerous and no ties to some of the things of which I speak, I wonder how they will grow and find commonality with others who are older than them.Spending time learning about the community in which I grew up does not make me wish to return there. I am happy with the memories of farmlands and cows crossing the main streets, ice skating on the little ponds scattered about the town, hearing the downtown church chimes, whistles and other noises of the town and remember the restaurants and the places I used to go with my friends when I lived there. I am better for having lived in this environment and yet I have changed so much since leaving it one may not even recognize me anymore as a Derry girl. My accent is mostly gone, I am more liberal than conservative now, I became a more directed student and a huge traveler and changed my whole philosophy on life. But I do not forget my roots, homegrown in a time of "Love Story" and Bell bottoms.

Life's sweet memories of a time gone by give me peace as I continue my journey in this life on another coast, in another time, with memories that last a lifetime.

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Comments 11 comments

Sue Patnaude 5 years ago

Wow Aley that was totaly beautiful As I read each word I felt it was written for me as well. hearing you talk of different places as I vision them so clearly. A time when I to grew up in the town of Derry. And the same years we both travel the roads in derry that lead us to the memories we now share.

Marcia Calabro 5 years ago

That was awesome Aley..I remember so many things growing up in East Derry, but going to school "down the hill"...Having grandchildren now, I cherish those simpler times, knowing they have so much more to face than we did. Like you, I wouldn't want to go back, but having the memories has carried me through good and not so good times, and a place I hold in my heart forever.

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Keri Queen 5 years ago from Houlton, Maine

Beautifully written Aley.

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Aley Martin 5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

Thanks so much Marcia, Sue and Keri...! I appreciate your sharing and taking the walk with me! Hugs all around!

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PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

I had forgotten about the bands in the bandstand at the park. What a nice trip down memory lane. Enjoyed sharing it with you.

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Aley Martin 5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

Thanks Peg!

Sierra Greer 5 years ago

Ah yes! Life in that era, no matter the town, was so incredibly more peaceful than it is now. It is unfortunate that life as it once was will never be known by the young people of today other than through our own memories of those days gone by.

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Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

This was a wonderful walk down memory lane for me also as I had many similar experiences. I very much enjoyed your hub.

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Aley Martin 5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

I suppose they will reflect on the "good ole days" much like I have...as my mother used to do, although life in the 30's was REALLY sparse and full of angst for the people living in it. But we all have those memories we can draw from, I'm just happy mine are when they are...thanks Sierra and Pamela for coming by and reflecting with me...

Michael Shripsa 5 years ago

I spent my early years [until 12] growing up in Londonderry. Going to Derry was a big deal back then & I still remember the main street. It was nice taking a little walk with you.

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Aley Martin 5 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA Author

thank you Michael. Are you related to Natalie? She went to school with my brother Don

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