I was raised to say please and thank you – a lot.

This is as good an opportunity as any, to say thank you to all the readers who call about information related to an old picture which they see in the Lakes Region Suburban Weekly; thank you, too, to my friend in Porter who told me how much she liked the new paper, The Sacopee Valley Citizen, being delivered to homes in her area (and also published by Current Publishing), and thank you to all my “snowbird” friends who may leave us for the winter, but transfer their subscriptions right along with them.

All the lopsided yellow and pink “peeps” and chocolate bunnies are now on sale at the local stores, along with other leftover Easter goodies. I remember how we used to destroy those peeps, pulling them apart and did not, as I recall, actually enjoy eating them. It was just something associated with Easter that, as kids, we felt we couldn’t live without. (My father always accompanied this activity with a lecture about the effect on our teeth).

Dying eggs was another event my mother didn’t look forward to, but she let us poke holes into eggs, blow the eggs out and then she’d use them up cooking something. We’d rip open the packages of dye tablets and generally make a big mess, which we grumbled about, while we were cleaning it up. Our decorated eggshells would never have won a prize, I assure you.

As kids in the country, with no television or mall to visit, when we got bored and couldn’t go outside to play, we’d often think up these craft projects. We tried making candles by melting paraffin wax and pouring it into a milk carton or can. Sometimes we’d add a few broken crayons, and if we weren’t careful, end up with unattractive brown candles that smelled awful when they were burning.

Other projects included making clay. Sometimes we tried using actual clay from the ground (Windham has a lot of clay in the soil). This never worked out too well, even though the place where we “mined” our product was originally a brickyard back in the 1800s.

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My sisters and I transformed an old henhouse into a summer place, using the compartments where the hens set, for our cupboards. We dragged all our dolls out there and put them all to bed on the shelves. If you’ve ever been in a henhouse, you’ll realize that the aroma never quite leaves, so our summer place was pungent, to say the least. But we filled containers with goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace and other field flowers, pretending we were keeping house. My brothers ignored us, and had their own projects up on the knoll behind the house. They made forts, made bows and arrows out of alder branches with dry goldenrod stems for the arrows. They draped old blankets and sheets among the trees, creating their own “cabin” using old milk boxes for furniture. Occasional foraging trips to the kitchen were necessary to stock up on molasses cookies and milk. Frequently, the family dog would catch a whiff of prey, and race through the cabin, pulling all the walls down. This was usually a good time to close up and go fishing – with yet another craft result: a fishing pole made from a long alder branch, string tied on, and sometimes a safety pin where a long angleworm was threaded.

Of course, we girls would close up our summer playhouse and follow them down the road to the brook, wheeling our dolls in their carriage (sometimes we’d dress up our cat and she would get wheeled along).

Somehow, in those long ago days of dirt roads and lots of imagination, we never had enough time to finish all our projects. That’s probably why more than six decades later, I still think (fleetingly, I’ll admit) about making candles or hand-made soap. Fortunately, I also remember the “look” my mom would give me when I uttered such an idea. I leave the blocks of paraffin wax off the grocery list.

See you next week.


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